Accessibility links

Newsline - November 7, 1995


OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 217, 7 November 1995
TsIK REGISTERS YABLOKO.
The Central Electoral Commisthe Supreme Court and registered Yabloko as the 38th party to compete in the Duma campaign, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 November. The TsIK postponed its decisions on whether to register six additional blocs until 8 November. The TsIK denied registration to We serve Russia because it did not have an adequate number of signatures. On 10 November, the TsIK will hold a lottery to determine the order in which the parties will appear on the ballot and the schedule for the television broadcast of free party advertisements. * Robert Orttung

ZYUGANOV SEES "PRE-REVOLUTIONARY SITUATION" ON BOLSHEVIK ANNIVERSARY.
At a meeting to mark the 78th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov said the situation in today's Russia is similar to the that on the eve of the 1917 revolution. However, as he read his "Twelve Lessons of the 20th Century," he made clear that the current Communists plan to take power through democratic elections rather than by revolutionary means, NTV reported on 6 November. A poll of people living in St. Petersburg, the cradle of the revolution, found that only 37% of the city's residents consider 7 November to be worthy of a holiday, Russian Public Television (ORT) reported. * Robert Orttung

DUMA SPEAKER EXPECTS PRESIDENT TO SIGN BILL ON THE FORMATION OF THE UPPER HOUSE.
Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin said it is very likely that President Yeltsin will sign the bill on forming the Federation Council, Russian media reported on 6 November. The Duma forwarded the bill for the president's signature after it overrode the upper house's veto in October. Yeltsin's signature will depend on two changes to the bill. The first revision is to exclude the provision that requires governors to be popularly elected before they can join the upper house of parliament. Yeltsin has appointed many of the governors to their positions. Second, he wants the speakers of local legislatures who have extended their terms in office to be barred from the Council. Rybkin believes that because the deputies want the bill to be quickly approved, they will accept the proposed amendments. * Anna Paretskaya

SOSKOVETS MEETS WITH YELTSIN.
First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets discussed key problems regarding Russia's economic development with President Boris Yeltsin at Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital on 6 November, Russian and Western agencies reported. Soskovets told reporters that the president looks very well and is being kept fully informed. * Thomas Sigel

KHASBULATOV HOLDS TALKS WITH CHECHEN FIELD COMMANDER.
Mediator Ruslan Khasbulatov, former speaker of the Russian Supreme Soviet, held talks in Grozny with Akhmed Zakaev, commander of Chechen separatist forces in the southwest of the republic, Russian TV reported on 6 November. After the session, Khasbulatov again called for renewed Russian-Chechen talks, which he said should postpone discussion of Chechnya's future status. Instead, he said talks should focus on ending the fighting and criminal activity which dominate everyday life in Chechnya. On 6 November, a quarrel between a Chechen vendor and a Russian servicewoman in the Grozny marketplace ended in a shoot-out which left the servicewoman dead and two bystanders wounded. Elsewhere in Chechnya on 6 November, there were 30 attacks by separatist fighters on federal forces, one of which destroyed a railroad bridge connecting Grozny and Gudermes. * Scott Parrish

CHERNOMYRDIN MEETS CLINTON.
Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin met briefly with U.S. President Bill Clinton on 6 November while the two leaders were attending the Jerusalem funeral of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Russian and Western agencies reported. Chernomyrdin reassured Clinton about the health of President Boris Yeltsin and told him that Yeltsin hopes to hold another summit meeting with his U.S. counterpart in the near future. Russian media noted that Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, whose future remains uncertain, did not accompany Chernomyrdin to Israel. When asked to comment by Radio Mayak, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Kozyrev was on vacation. * Scott Parrish

ANKARA: TROOPS WILL NOT BE DEPLOYED ON BORDER WITH ARMENIA, GEORGIAN.
On 4 November, the Turkish press widely reported on Ankara's decision to concentrate troops on its border with Georgia and Armenia in the event that Russia fails to reduce its conventional forces based in the Transcaucasus by 17 November, as stipulated by the CFE treaty. Two days later, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Omer Akbel said those reports were baseless, Cumhuriyet reported. Russia has called for revisions in the flank limitations of the CFE treaty on the grounds that the collapse of the Soviet Union has altered the strategic balance. * Lowell Bezanis

NUCLEAR SALES ABROAD TO TOTAL $1.2 BILLION IN 1995.
First Deputy Minister of Nuclear Energy Lev Ryabev told Interfax on 6 November that the ministry expects to earn $1.2 billion from foreign trade in 1995 and to increase that to $1.5 billion in 1996. Ryabev said that Southeast Asia could become a promising market for Russian nuclear power stations, adding that although no new contracts have been signed yet, Indonesia and several other countries in the region have expressed interest. Two thirds of the nuclear power industry's export earnings currently come from the sale of nuclear fuel (rather than technology), Ryabev noted. * Scott Parrish

NUCLEAR WASTE PUMPED FROM DECREPIT TANKER.
Liquid nuclear waste is being pumped from an ancient tanker aground in a bay near Vladivostok, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 November. Some 800 cubic meters of waste from nuclear submarines have been stored in a ship designated TNT-5 for several years, but the ship is in such poor condition that the Pacific Fleet is in the process of an emergency transfer of this material to another tanker, TNT-27. This ship, not in much better condition, gained notoriety in 1983 by dumping some waste into the Sea of Japan. A fleet official said the TNT-5 would be emptied in about a week and the waste would be treated at a new fleet facility that has been able to purify about 3,000 cubic meters of waste this year. * Doug Clarke

NEW ROADS PLANNED FOR SIBERIA.
Russia's Federal Road Department will develop new highways in resource-rich northwestern Siberia, Interfax reported on 6 November. At present there are no paved roads giving access to the oil and gas regions of Khanty-Mansii and Yamal-Nenets north of Tyumen. A new east-west highway will be built from Tomsk through Nefteyugansk to Khanty-Mansiisk, while another road will extend north from Yugorsk to the coal-mining region of Vorkuta. * Thomas Sigel

COLD WEATHER CAUSES TRAFFIC FATALITIES.
Cold weather turned Moscow roads into sheets of ice causing 48 serious road accidents that killed at least eight people, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported on 6 November. Cars ran over 36 pedestrians, and as many as 120 drunk drivers were detained, according to the reports. Snow mixed with rain on 3 November quickly turned into slick ice over the weekend when temperatures dropped to -7 C (19 F) in the capital. * Thomas Sigel

KAMCHATKA ATTRACTS FOREIGN INVESTMENT.
Data compiled by the Kamchatka regional statistical department shows that in the first six months of 1995 the inflow of foreign capital to that region reached $21 million, Interfax reported on 6 November. Kamchatka now ranks eighth in Russia in terms of incoming foreign investment (after Moscow, Tatarstan, the Tyumen Region, and four other regions). According to the report, the fishing industry, gold mining, and tourism attracted the largest amount of capital. * Natalia Gurushina

OIL COMPANY PENSION FUND WINS THE FIRST LOANS-FOR-SHARES AUCTION.
The Surgutneftegaz Pension Fund has beaten two other contenders at an auction for 40% of the shares in Surgutneftegaz, Russia's third biggest petroleum company, Interfax reported on 4 November. The Pension Fund offered the government a loan of 400 billion rubles ($89 million), in return for which they will be given the shares as collateral. An additional condition of the transaction is that the Pension Fund will repay the oil company's 1 trillion rubles ($227 million) debt to the federal budget within 10 days. * Natalia Gurushina

LABOR PRODUCTIVITY INCREASES.
Experts at the government's Working Center for Economic Reform claim that in the first nine months of 1995 (and for the first time since 1991) a number of key industries experienced an increase in labor productivity, Russian TV reported on 4 November. The report shows a 3.9% productivity increase in the fuel and energy sector, a 10.9% increase in metallurgy, and a 7.7% increase in the chemical and petrochemical industry. The figures indicate that those sectors have been shedding labor while maintaining, and in some cases increasing, the level of output. * Natalia Gurushina

RYBKIN CALLS FOR TOUGHER STATE CONTROL OVER ECONOMY.
The state should play a more active role in managing the economy, State Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin told ITAR-TASS on 6 November, following his trip to the Voronezh region in Central Russia. Rybkin urged the government to play a more active role in fixing energy prices and condemned energy-producing regions for "dictating" prices to their neighbors. * Natalia Gurushina



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 217, 7 November 1995
PROTESTS CONTINUE OVER ARRESTED COSSACK LEADER IN KAZAKHSTAN.
The Cossack community has mobilized international support to protest the treatment of Nikolai Gunkin, the ataman of the Semirechie Cossacks, who was arrested on 28 October for holding an unauthorized rally, Radio Rossii reported on 6 November. Those who have sent protests to President Nursultan Nazarbaev include Cossack organizations in Belarus, the Estonian Union of Russian Citizens, the leader of the Romanov house in Paris, Queen Elena Romanova, and the Russian Orthodox Center in Georgia. Gunkin also alleges that he has been denied registration as a candidate for the December parliamentary elections. * Bhavna Dave

TAJIKISTAN MARKS ANNIVERSARY OF CONSTITUTION.
Tajik President Imomali Rakhmonov, in an interview on Russia's Radio Mayak, congratulated the Tajik people on the first anniversary of the constitution calling it a "historic event." Rakhmonov said there is room for many political parties in the country, although he also warned that they would have to operate within the framework of the country's laws. Anniversary preparations on 6 November were marred by an explosion in one of the capital's parks the previous day after a woman stepped on a land mine. The Tajik government and the opposition have agreed to hold their next round of negotiations in Ashgabat, according to a 6 November statement from the UN Security Council. The location has been a point of contention since the last round of talks were concluded in late May. No announcement has been made concerning the date. * Bruce Pannier

PLOT THWARTED IN AZERBAIJAN?
A report originating with the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry indicated Faig Baghshaliev, a former OPON commander in Agdam, has been arrested and will be put on trial for high treason for his role in an alleged plot to kill President Heidar Aliev. The plotters, also said to include Labor Party leader Mehmed Ali Aliev, former chief of staff General Shahin Musayev, Vahit Musayev and Huseyinbayla Huseyinov, allegedly planned to shoot down the plane in which Aliyev would be returning to Azerbaijan, Turan and Milliyet reported on 6-7 November. Azerbaijani authorities claim that, once again, the plotters are connected with former President Ayaz Mutalibov and thereby implicitly with Russia, which has rejected Baku's demands to extradite him. In related news, the Russian Interior Ministry arrested Ilgar Safihavov, the former chief of the Azerbaijan's Interpol office, Turan reported on 4 November. He is also charged under article 57 of Azerbaijan's criminal code for his alleged involvement in an effort to overthrow Aliyev in October 1994. This represents the fourth occasion on which Azerbaijani authorities claim they have prevented a coup. * Lowell Bezanis

EREVAN BEGINS RECEIVING POWER FROM NUCLEAR REACTOR.
One of the two reactors at the Medzamor nuclear power plant has begun supplying Erevan with electrical power for the first time in almost seven years. The plant, which is 25 km southwest of the capital, was given permission to begin operating on 14 October and on 27 October was formally switched on. According to a 6 November Reuters report, the plant will function at low power, producing only 50 mw of electricity a day, and will not reach its full daily capacity of 450 mw until next week at the earliest. Despite the controversy surrounding the opening, the International Atomic Energy Agency gave Armenian officials their approval, conditional upon extensive renovation of the plant. The plant was closed after the devastating Armenian earthquake which took place in December 1988. * Roger Kangas



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 217, 7 November 1995
DONETSK STRIKES EASE UP.
Interfax on 6 November reported the Ukrainian Coal Industry Ministry as saying that protest actions in the Donbass were decreasing. Workers at over 20 mines staged rotational strikes on 2-3 November. Three days later, strikes were reported continuing at only five mines. Miners have been demanding payment of back wages, pensions, and other benefits. In other news, leftist forces in Donetsk intend to ask the parliament and the people to "voice no confidence in President Leonid Kuchma and his anti-popular course" during the 7 November celebrations marking the anniversary of the October 1917 revolution. * Ustina Markus

KUCHMA MEETS WITH CHERNOMYRDIN.
Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, in Israel for the funeral of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, met with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin after the burial ceremony, ITAR-TASS reported on 6 November. The two leaders discussed problematic issues in Russian-Ukrainian relations. Details of the discussion were not made available. * Ustina Markus

NEW ESTONIAN GOVERNMENT SWORN IN.
Prime Minister Tiit Vahi and fourteen other ministers took oaths of offices on 7 November, ETA reported. The Coalition Party and Reform Party have six ministers each and the Rural Union three. Since parliamentary deputies are required to suspend their memberships on becoming ministers, the Reform Party will have four new deputies. The parliament's Reform Party coalition also elected Valve Kirsipuu to replace Siim Kallas as its leader. * Saulius Girnius

LATVIAN PRESIDENT OPPOSES SIEGERIST AS MINISTER.
Guntis Ulmanis, in an interview with Diena on 6 November, said he opposed the inclusion of Joachim Siegerist, chairman of the Popular Movement for Latvia, in the cabinet, Reuters reported. Ulmanis said Siegerist has made extremist statements in the past, adding that he "cannot agree and never will agree that such a person should be in the government of Latvia." The PML is a member of the National Conciliation Bloc, which reportedly chose Siegerist as its candidate for economics minister. Siegerist did not run for the parliament because of insufficient knowledge of Latvian. He is now hinting that he will accept the post of deputy economics minister until he gains the necessary proficiency in Latvian. * Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIA, DENMARK SIGN MILITARY COOPERATION AGREEMENT.
Deputy Defense Minister Valdas Sarapinas and his Danish counterpart, Per Carlsen, signed in Vilnius on 6 November a military cooperation agreement for 1996, BNS reported. Cooperation is envisioned to be more intense than this year: more bilateral visits of military specialists are planned, several dozen Lithuanian officers will be trained in Danish military academies, and Lithuanian soldiers will participate in Partnership for Peace exercises in Denmark. Denmark is the first country with which Lithuania has signed a military cooperation agreement. * Saulius Girnius

POLISH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE.
According to unofficial results released by PAP, Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander Kwasniewski won 35.11% of the vote and incumbent President Lech Walesa 33.11% in the 5 November elections. Turnout was 64.79%. Meanwhile, the Freedom Union, three former prime ministers of Solidarity-led governments (Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, and Hanna Suchocka) and two former foreign ministers (Krzysztof Skubiszewski and Andrzej Olechowski) have expressed their support for Walesa. Kwasniewski on 6 November said that if he wins the second round, he will ask Walesa to be Poland's chief negotiator for entering NATO, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 7 November. * Dagmar Mroziewicz

CONTROVERSIAL SLOVAK PARLIAMENT SESSION.
Opposition deputies have met to discuss the agenda of the parliament session scheduled to begin on 8 November, Sme reported. The parties agreed to reject calls by the Slovak National Party (SNS) for the creation of a parliamentary committee to investigate the activities of President Michal Kovac. They also decided that although there is a need for a new language law, they will not support the current version, which they called unconstitutional, anti-minority, and anti-Slovak. Meanwhile, representatives of the Democratic Union on 6 November met with ethnic Hungarian deputies to discuss the draft laws on the state language and on anti-communist resistance. According to DU Deputy Chairman Jan Budaj, both bills are aimed at driving a wedge between opposition parties, TASR reported. Parliamentary chairman Ivan Gasparovic told Slovenska Republika on 7 November that the issue of the DU mandates will not be discussed during the current session. * Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK INTELLIGENTSIA OPPOSES GOVERNMENT POLICIES.
The Forum of Intelligentsia of Slovakia--which includes a number of well-known scholars, actors, and writers--on 6 November issued a statement expressing opposition to government policies. "Slovak society is being turned into a boxing ring" in which political opponents of the current government are being labeled "people who insult the nation" or "traitors [bought by] Western agencies," the group said. The forum also said Slovakia is becoming a "European disappointment" that may have "unforeseeable consequences," Pravda reported. In other news, the Liberal International, meeting on 4-5 November in Opatija, Croatia, accepted two resolutions on Slovakia. With regard to the DU mandates, the LI demanded that the coalition stop its attempts to change the election results. It also requested that the government start a dialogue with minorities. The Hungarian Civic Party became the first Slovak party to be accepted as a regular member, while Coexistence and the DU maintain observer status, Sme reported. * Sharon Fisher

CONTROVERSY OVER HUNGARIAN OFFICIAL IN PREMIER'S PRESS OFFICE.
Hungarian media on 6 November reported that Endre Mihalyi, a newly appointed staff member of the Prime Minister's Press Office is currently being investigated by the police for embezzling funds at his previous work place. Henrik Havas, a well-known journalist who heads the office, said Mihalyi will not be taken on until the investigation is over. In the future, staff members will be asked to make a statement on whether any proceedings are under way against them. The office was recently created to advance dialogue between the government and society. * Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARY'S HIGHEST TAX BRACKET TO BE SET AT 48%?
Magyar Hirlap on 7 November reported that the Finance Ministry has drawn up a tax schedule imposing a 48% tax on those whose annual income exceeds 1 million forints ($7,600), instead of the current 44%. The new tax schedule comes in the wake of a bill on personal income tax approved by the government on 26 October. The only main difference between this bill and the 1995 tax legislation is that the zero tax bracket has been eliminated. Although talks within the Interest Coordination Council--a group composed of government, employer, and employee representatives--are under way, the Finance Ministry said it will not back down from its plan to collect 480 billion forints in personal income tax next year, adding that if necessary, the highest tax bracket could be set at 48% or somewhere near that figure. * Zsofia Szilagyi

BELGIUM SUPPORTS HUNGARY'S NATO MEMBERSHIP DRIVE.
Hungarian Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti on 6 November received support for Hungary's bid to join NATO from his visiting Belgian counterpart, Jean-Pol Poncelet, Hungarian media reported the next day. With regard to Russian leaders' concerns about the eastward expansion of the alliance, both ministers stressed that while Russia is a major power, accession is the sovereign decision of independent countries and cannot be vetoed by Moscow. On the subject of stationing Belgian peacekeeping forces in Bosnia, Keleti confirmed that Hungary will give all possible assistance when the troops pass through Hungarian territory. It is also conceivable, he said, that Hungarian medical or logistical units will join the international force. * Zsofia Szilagyi



OMRI DAILY DIGEST

Vol. 1, No. 217, 7 November 1995
BOSNIAN ARMY COMMANDER SAYS PEACE DEPENDS ON MILOSEVIC.
General Rasim Delic told the Sarajevo paper Dnevni Avaz that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is the one to make "crucial decisions" for the Serbian side. Hina on 6 November quoted him as adding that he did "not know whether [Milosevic] is yet willing to do so." The general stated that his troops will do their part to implement any peace agreement once it is finalized. But Mlada Fronta Dnes on 7 November noted that Delic also said that "if the talks do not succeed, the Bosnian army will launch a new liberation campaign." In another development, seven French soldiers were lightly wounded when three gunmen attacked them at Vrapcici, near Mostar, on 5 November. AFP quoted a French spokesman as saying "we have no idea who [the attackers] were." The gunmen escaped, apparently wounded. * Patrick Moore

SERBIAN PRESIDENT SAID TO BE "UPSET."
Nasa Borba on 7 November reported that Serbian President Slobodan "Milosevic is upset because he thinks the Americans brought him to Dayton on false pretenses." Milosevic is said to be most concerned about the demand that his negotiating team agree to the ouster of Bosnian Serb civilian leader Radovan Karadzic and his military counterpart, General Ratko Mladic, before the implementation of any regional peace accord. Milosevic is reportedly not opposed to Karadzic and Mladic facing trial at the Hague on charges of war crimes, but he has stressed that both men must first be convicted in Serbia of any wrongdoing. He also insists that the Dayton talks focus only on issues agreed to in advance, which allegedly do not include the fate of the Bosnian Serb leaders, Reuters reported. * Stan Markotich

BOUTROS GHALI SAYS DUTCH DID "GOOD WORK."
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 7 November quoted the UN secretary-general as saying that the small "Dutchbat" stationed at Srebrenica had acted within the limits of its mandate. He noted that UN member countries did not make available anywhere near the number of troops that the world body had requested for peacekeeping in the first place. The Dutch have been widely criticized at home and abroad for allegedly turning a blind eye to Serbian massacres of thousands of Muslims, primarily civilian males, in July. Boutros Boutros Ghali said it was not Dutchbat's assignment "to defend the enclave" and that he has "no criticism [of the Dutch]. They performed good work." Meanwhile Nasa Borba reported that in Banja Luka, the number of Serbian refugees stands at 71,750. More than 60,000 have been moved out of reception points and into "individual accommodations." * Patrick Moore

SARAJEVO GAS SUPPLIES CUT BACK.
Three weeks after natural gas again started flowing to the Bosnian capital, supplies have been reduced again, Hina reported on 6 November. A UN official said the reasons are technical and not political. Besides the great losses of gas due to the makeshift pipelines, the biggest obstacle is money. UN experts estimate that supplies for November will cost around $1 million, while the total for the winter will be $20-30 million. Meanwhile, the Russian gas supplier Gazprom wants to charge the Bosnian government for October gas deliveries, while agreeing to freeze a debt from previous years. The spokesman said that the UN has been looking for international donors but without results. * Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN REFUGEE AGREEMENT NOT YET IMPLEMENTED.
Implementation of the agreement reached in Dayton on 2 November by Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic and Croatian President Franjo Tudjman to allow 600 families inside Bosnia to return home has not yet begun. According to a 6 November AFP report, Sarajevo accused Bosnian Croat authorities of not allowing several hundred Muslim families to return to Jajce, while Tudjman blamed "extremists" on both sides. At the same time, repatriation of Velika Kladusa refugees organized by the UNHCR on a voluntary basis has successfully started, Hina reported on 6 November. * Daria Sito Sucic

SANDZAK PARTY DEMANDS UNITY OF BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA.
The Executive Committee of the Party of Democratic Action of Sandzak issued a declaration saying a "just peace" is not possible "without the unity of Bosnia-Herzegovina [in its internationally recognized borders]; the return of refugees to their houses; and free, democratic elections under international control." The declaration, published by Montena-fax on 6 November, also states that no war criminals be allowed to participate in elections. * Fabian Schmidt

CROATIA ANNOUNCES MAJOR OIL FIND.
The Croatian oil company INA has discovered an important new oil and gas field near Bjelovar. AFP on 6 November quoted INA spokesmen as saying it will be the third-largest such field in Croatia and that it is expected to yield 70 tons of oil and 3 million cubic meters of natural gas daily. The annual revenue is expected to be $3 million. Plans are under way to begin operations before the end of the year, despite the onset of harsh winter weather. * Patrick Moore

BALKANS HIT BY BLIZZARDS.
Local and international agencies on 6 November reported that heavy snowstorms in the Balkans have disrupted transportation, shut down ports and airports, and contributed to a dozen traffic deaths in Romania. In Sarajevo, the supply route over Mount Igman was blocked and there were a rash of traffic accidents, some involving UN vehicles. The Bulgarian Black Sea port of Varna and the Romanian port of Constanta were closed due to four-meter high waves. The weather caused a backup of trucks and buses on the main Bulgarian highway to Greece and Macedonia. A large number of roads and some airports had to be closed in Romania. In Moldova, hundreds of villages were plunged into cold and darkness when heavy snow disrupted electricity supplies. * Michael Shafir

ROMANIAN ACTORS STAGE PROTEST.
Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu received a delegation of Romanian actors on 6 November after they had staged a protest march in Bucharest to demand pay increases and better working conditions. Local and international media reported that actor Ion Caramitru, who heads the actors' trade union, said the monthly wage of a professional actor--150,000 lei ($66)--was not enough to survive on, while technical staff in theaters earned about half that amount. The union, which represents 13,000 actors and technical staff, is demanding a 70% rise. * Michael Shafir

ROMANIAN PREMIER ON ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE.
Vacaroiu told a 6 November meeting with ministers and officials in charge of the country's economic structures, that from January to September, imports considerably exceeded exports. Vacaroiu said immediate measures must be taken to redress the country's trade balance but added that agreements concluded with the EU and GATT must be respected. Romanian TV reported the premier saying imports geared toward investment are welcome but that imports of consumer products are often "competing unfairly " with local goods. * Michael Shafir

AMERICAN PRAISE FOR MOLDOVA.
US Ambassador James Collins, at the head of a delegation in Chisinau on a one-day visit, said the U.S. reconfirms its support for Moldova's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, Infotag reported on 6 November. Collins, who is special adviser to the secretary of state for the new independent states, told a press conference that Washington considers Moldova to be a leader in political and economic reforms among those states. He added that the U.S. welcomes the Chisinau-Moscow agreement on Russian troop withdrawal and will be backing all efforts for its implementation. "As an independent state, Moldova has a full right to decide whether or nor foreign troops should remain on its territory," Collins said. The delegation met with President Mircea Snegur, Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli, parliamentary chairman Petru Lucinschi, and other officials. * Michael Shafir

CHIEF EDITOR OF ALBANIAN OPPOSITION PAPER FACES TRIAL.
Blendi Fevziu, chief editor of the opposition Democratic Alliance's weekly Aleanca, is facing trial for "slander," Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 7 November. Blerim Cela, head of the anti-corruption agency, has accused Fevziu and Democratic Alliance deputy Perikli Teta (who enjoys parliamentary immunity) of incorrectly reporting his involvement in the illegal activities of the oil import firm EPIDAMN, including falsifying documents. Fevziu claimed that the state lost about $1.6 million as a result of these activities, while Teta published a list of politicians who he claims were involved in corruption. * Fabian Schmidt

TURKISH GOVERNMENT WINS PARLIAMENTARY CONFIDENCE VOTE.
The week-old coalition government of Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller's center-right True Path Party (DYP) and the social democratic Republican Peoples' Party (CHP), led by Deniz Baykal, has won a vote of confidence in the parliament by a margin of 243 to 171, international media reported on 5 November. Baykal, who was instrumental in bringing down the coalition in September and subsequently helped block Ciller's efforts to form a minority government, will serve as deputy prime minister and foreign minister. The Turkish Constitutional Court must now decide if early elections, announced for 24 December, can take place. * Lowell Bezanis

[As of 1200 CET]


Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave




XS
SM
MD
LG