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Tatar-Bashkir Report: July 7, 2005

7 July 2005
World Bank Sends Tranche Of $50 Million To Kazan
Kazan Mayor Kamil Iskhaqov said the first tranche of $50 million under the $125 million credit allocated to Kazan by the World Bank will be received this week, reported on 5 July. Iskhaqov said this was the first time the World Bank issued a credit for an individual city instead of a state. The mayor added that the next tranches will be received only if Kazan meets all the bank's conditions. Specifically, Kazan is to pay off its debts, which total 415 million rubles ($14.4 million). At least 70 million rubles of the tranche should be distributed to needy people whose income is below the living wage. At least 30 percent of the sum should be spent on projects in the educational, health care, and social sectors.

Shaimiev Meets With Fujitsu Head
Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiev met on 5 July in Kazan with visiting Fujitsu Chairman Naoyuki Akikusa, Tatarinform reported the same day. The two discussed the development of Kazan's ICL-KPO VS plant, in which Fujitsu holds the majority stake. They agreed to introduce 10 personal grants as of September 2005 for the best students of the information technology departments of Kazan State University and Kazan State Technological University. It was also decided to hold competitions of programmers organized by ICL-KPO VS not only at republican but at the Russia-wide level.

ICL-KPO VS was established in 1991 by the Kazan Industrial Association of Computing Systems (KPO VS) and the British International Computers Limited (ICL).

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Appeal On Gay-Marriage Ban Accepted By European Court
Bashkir State Assembly deputy Edvard Murzin said on 6 July that he has received a response from the European Court on Human Rights saying that his appeal against the Russian ban on same-sex marriages violates human rights was registered in May and will be considered by the court.

The same day, Murzin and Moscow-based "Kvir" magazine Editor in Chief Edvard Mishin appealed to the Russian Constitutional Court against the law banning gay marriages, Interfax-Povolzhe and RosBalt reported. Murzin told Interfax that they want the court to declare the Family Code unconstitutional. He said the constitution prohibits "any discrimination along racial, sexual, or other characteristics," while the Family Code permits only marriages between a man and a woman. Murzin said the law should be amended to allow marriages between people of the same sex.

Earlier this year Murzin and Mishin tried unsuccessfully to register their marriage in Moscow and then appealed the refusal in different courts (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 19 and 21 January, 2 and 16 February and 15 and 22 April 2005). Murzin says he isn't gay, but is just defending their rights.

Bashkir Airlines Appeal Bankruptcy Verdict
Bashkir Airlines (BAL) on 5 July appealed to the Ural Federal District Arbitration Court's Appeals Board against the 24 June verdict by the Bashkir Arbitration Court on the company's bankruptcy (see "RFE/RL Tatar-Bashkir Report," 27 June 2005), RosBalt reported on 6 July. BAL lawyer Lyudmila Terenteva told the news agency on 6 July that the ruling is groundless. The BAL trade union has also expressed its disagreement with the court verdict. Trade union Deputy Chairman Sergei Yeshtokin told the news agency on 6 July that this is "an attempt of artificial bankruptcy" of the company.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova