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Tatar-Bashkir Report: August 18, 2004

18 August 2004
Enrollment Figures Fall In Tatar Schools
Education Minister Reis Sheykelislamov said at a 17 August news conference that 474,000 students are expected to be enrolled when the new school year begins on 1 September, 29,000 fewer than last year, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 18 August. Twenty-two new schools hosting a total of 2,775 pupils will be opened in rural areas for the start of the school year. Prime Minister Rustam Minnikhanov frequently criticized Sheykelislamov's predecessor, Faris Kharisov, for the fact that the republic was building new schools while the number of students was on the wane. Sheykhelislamov acknowledged at the press conference that urban schools, especially in Kazan, are currently overcrowded and said new schools are needed in those areas.

Government Discusses Reasons For Rise In Traffic Fatalities
Tatar Road and Transport Minister Vladimir Shvetsov told a governmental meeting on 17 August to determine the reasons behind the recent upsurge of lethal traffic accidents that, along with the constant increase of the number of vehicles in Tatarstan, funds used for repairing roads are being reduced, RFE/RL's Kazan bureau reported on 18 August.

According to head of Tatarstan's Traffic Police, Rifqat Minnikhanov, some 3,100 traffic accidents have occurred so far in 2004, 10 percent less than in the same period of 2003, while the number of fatalities rose by 10 percent. The number of injuries resulting from traffic accidents also has grown by 10 percent this year. During the first seven months of 2004, 760,000 violations of traffic rules were registered, demonstrating a 17 percent increase as compared to the same period in 2003.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi

Federal Interior Ministry's Commission Finishes Work In Ufa
A Russian Foreign Ministry commission headed by Ambassador Vladimir Boiko finished its inspection of the ministry's representation office in Ufa on 17 August, with special attention being paid to the office's interaction with Bashkortostan's governmental bodies, an RFE/RL Ufa correspondent reported on 18 August. The ministry's office is intended to facilitate Bashkortostan's economic activities abroad and the expansion of its contacts abroad. The office will reportedly assist in organizing the official celebration of 450th anniversary since Bashkortostan's voluntary merger with Russia, as well as the opening of the republic's offices in Istanbul, Astana, and Tashkent. The commission praised the efficiency of the Foreign Ministry's office in Ufa and outlined its positive contribution to the foreign activities of Bashkortostan's government.

HIV-Infection Rate Drops In Bashkortostan
The HIV-infection rate has dropped by half in the first half of 2004 as compared to recent annual infection-rate figures, Bashinform reported on 18 August. Approximately seven people per 1,000 are contracting HIV, as compared to the previous annual rate of 14.1 per 1,000. The number of HIV cases registered in Bashkortostan stands at 4,525, with a ratio of 110.9 HIV cases per 100,000 people, as compared to 228.3 per 100,000 in the Volga federal district's and 197.1 per 100,000 in Russia as a whole.

Bashneft Meeting Oil-Production Targets
Bashneft oil company produced more than 7 million tons of oil and 194,000 cubic meters of gas in the first seven months of 2004, Regnum reported on 17 August. The news agency commented that if the company manages to maintain its current monthly output, its annual output will meet targets of 12 million tons for the year.

Compiled by Iskender Nurmi