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.
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. *
DUMA SPEAKER EXPECTS PRESIDENT TO SIGN BILL ON THE FORMATION OF THE UPPER
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.
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
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
ANKARA: TROOPS WILL NOT BE DEPLOYED ON BORDER WITH ARMENIA, GEORGIAN.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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. *
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. *
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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. *
CHIEF EDITOR OF ALBANIAN OPPOSITION PAPER FACES TRIAL.
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. *
TURKISH GOVERNMENT WINS PARLIAMENTARY CONFIDENCE VOTE.
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