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Kazakhstan: Brief News Items

Almaty, 18 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - Hundreds of subway construction workers of Almaty Metrostroy demonstrated in the main square of the Kazakh capital yesterday demanding back wages for the last six months. The head of Almaty Metrostroy, Murat Okshebayev, says his company has carried out construction work on the subway system over the last seven years totalling the equivalent of about 20 million dollars, but he the state treasury had allocated less than 1.3 million dollars to cover these costs.

Serov To Visit Baikonur

A Russian delegation led by Russian Vice Premier Valeriy Serov is due to arrive at the Baikonur space center in Central Kazakhstan on Monday. Interfax and the Kazakh news agency Kaztag report Serov will participate in a session of the Kazakh-Russian joint commission on regulating debts for leasing the center. Our correspondents in Almaty say Russia has been hesitant to pay Kazakhstan for using Baikonur at a cost of $115 million annually. Russia is reported to currently owe Kazakhstan more than $500 million. The two sides disagree over how much each side owes. Moscow has been trying to persuade Almaty that Kazakhstan's debts to Russia in other spheres are more than Russia's debts to Kazakhstan.

Editor In Chief Commits Suicide

The editor-in-chief of the Kazakh daily "Sary Arq," published in Jezqazghan City, Central Kazakhstan, has committed suicide. Aubakir Ahmetov left a suicide note saying he was sorry that he had not been able to be a real administrator and leader of the newspaper. Our correspondent reports that the newspaper was heavily in debt to the tax authorities and employees of the newspaper have been working without salaries for several months.