We have to understand the world can only be grasped by action, not by comtemplation. The hand is more important than the eye....The hand is the cutting edge of the mind. - J. Bronowski
RFE/RL Daily Report

No. 133, 15 July 1994

                              RUSSIA

DETAILS ON RUSSIA'S CSCE PROPOSAL. The director of the Russian
Foreign Ministry's European cooperation department was quoted by
Interfax on 14 July as saying that Russia has proposed enhancing
the CSCE and turning it into a central coordinating body that
would oversee the activities of the CIS, the North Atlantic
Cooperation Council, the European Union, the Council of Europe,
NATO, and the West European Union. Yurii Ushakov said that Russia
had also proposed the creation of a new executive committee within
the CSCE, consisting of 10-12 permanent and rotating members. He
said that the CSCE should focus its activities on "protecting
human rights from ethnic and religious intolerance and any
manifestations of aggressive nationalism." Ushakov's remarks
presumably refer to a formal proposal sent to the CSCE chairman in
early July that is intended for discussion at the next CSCE
conference (see 7 July Daily Report). The proposal seems to
reflect Moscow's twin goals of diminishing the role of NATO while
building a broader transnational European organization in which
Russia would have a greater role, and of using the human rights
issue--and alleged abuses against Russian minorities--to buttress
Russia's dominant position within the former USSR.  Stephen Foye,
RFE/RL Inc.

RUSSIAN EXPERT CAUTIOUS ON LIFTING IRAQ OIL EMBARGO. A Russian
government expert has told the Petroleum Information Agency that
lifting the UN embargo on the export of Iraqi oil exports could
destabilize the world energy market by lowering world oil prices,
Interfax reported. The result, he said would be a sharp decrease
in Russia's currency revenues from oil and oil-based products, a
development which he said would threaten both Russian oil
producers and attempts to liberalize Russia's economy. The
expert's remarks came in the wake of a request from Baghdad that
Moscow support the lifting of the embargo, and suggested that,
aside from geo-political considerations, Russia has economic
interests that may serve as a disincentive to supporting Iraq on
this issue. Iraq reportedly has promised to use oil revenues to
pay off its debt to Moscow, estimated by some experts at $7
billion. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc.

DUMA ADOPTS LAW ON MEDIA. On 14 July the State Duma adopted the
controversial Law on Coverage of Activities of the Bodies of State
Power by the State Media. According to the law, the state-owned
media must inform the public of the activities of the president,
government and parliament within 24 hours after any noteworthy
event. Journalists are required to assist the authorities in
addressing the nation via the state-owned media; they are also
required to refrain from making any commentaries in the
broadcasts. The law also provides for a separate broadcast of
parliamentary debates on Russian TV during prime time.
Furthermore, it states that parliamentary leaders, as well as
leaders of factions, are entitled to a certain amount of air time
on national TV, while other deputies are entitled to access to
local radio and TV stations in their constituencies. While the law
is generous in providing deputies with air time, it forbids bodies
of state power to own any media independently, except for purely
informative bulletins. Thus the cabinet of ministers must divest
itself of two major Russian newspapers, Rossiiskaya gazeta and
Rossiiskie vesti.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL Inc.

DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER JUSTIFIES AUGUST 1991 COUP. Testifying at
the trial of General Valentin Varennnikov, the only defendant of
the August 1991 coup against Mikhail Gorbachev to have refused the
amnesty, Russian deputy Minister of Defense Boris Gromov said that
the attempted coup was necessary to prevent the collapse of the
Soviet Union, Russian TV reported on 13 July. A provision in the
Russian law says that a person who violated the law in order to
prevent a more serious ill for society should not be penalized for
his actions, and Gromov took that line in Varennikov's defense. In
the fall of 1991, however, Gromov had said that he had opposed the
coup.  Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL Inc.

DUMA REVERSAL ON GOVERNMENT SESSION. Amid demands for a
no-confidence vote in the government from Agrarian and Communist
Party members, the State Duma resolved on 14 July that all of its
deputies would attend a special enlarged government session
scheduled for 15 July to review economic results from the first
half of 1994 and discuss policy for the future. The Duma later
reversed its decision, opting instead to send a smaller delegation
of committee chairmen, faction leaders, and deputies with good
attendance records. President Boris Yeltsin had originally been
set to chair the session. However, ITAR-TASS cited "reliable
sources" early on 15 July as reporting that Yeltsin had failed to
attend because of a cold. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL Inc.

RUSSIA'S LOW INFLATION: STABLE TREND OR ABERRATION? President
Boris Yeltsin and government officials have cited low inflation
figures for June--4.8% in some accounts, 6% in others--as a sign
of Russia's progress in achieving fiscal stabilization. These
figures have been used to justify the official optimism expressed
on the economy at the recent G-7 summit and other international
gatherings. Several recent forecasts suggest, however, that prices
are likely to surge again in coming months. An Academy of Sciences
report quoted by Interfax on 14 July predicts that monthly
inflation will remain at 10% for the rest of 1994. Stringent
credit policies have "artificially" prompted a production
collapse, the report said; if the government attempts to halt this
collapse by easing interest rates, inflation could bounce back to
earlier levels of 20-25%. A report by a government economic
research center summarized by Interfax the same day predicted
inflation of 12-14% per month by year's end. It also warned that
an "avalanche" of bankruptcies is imminent in the banking system.
Should the government attempt to salvage troubled commercial banks
by issuing new credits, inflation could go even higher. Louisa
Vinton, RFE/RL Inc.

TURKEY, RUSSIA TO DISCUSS ARMS FOR DEBT DEAL, COOPERATION. Russian
First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets will visit Turkey on
15-21 July to discuss a deal whereby Turkey would take delivery of
Russian military hardware to pay off some $404.3 mil-lion in loans
taken by Moscow between 1989 and 1991, Reuters reported. A Turkish
Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the two sides would also
discuss the progress of joint working groups formed last year on
such issues as pipelines, energy, industry, and transportation.
The spokesman characterized the visit of Soskovets and his
delegation as "the most important and comprehensive visit since
Prime Minister Tansu Ciller visited Moscow in September 1993 and
President Boris Yeltsin was in Istanbul [in June 1992]." Stephen
Foye, RFE/RL Inc.

RUSSIAN BANKING RESTRICTIONS TIGHTENED. In an effort to prevent
the proliferation of undercapitalized commercial banks, Russia's
Central Bank has raised the minimum capital required for
registration to 1 million ECU (about 2.2 billion rubles), Interfax
reported on 13 July. The minimum capital level had already been
raised from 100 million to 2 billion rubles on 1 March. Central
Bank chief Viktor Gerashchenko reported earlier in the month that,
as of the end of June 1994, 2,214 Russian banks with an aggregate
capital of roughly 2 trillion rubles ($1 billion) had been
registered in Russia. Noting that foreign banks control about 5%
of that sum, Gerashchenko restated his cautious approach to
issuing further licenses for foreign operations.  Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL Inc.

POTENTIAL ARMS SALES TO IRAQ, LIBYA. Quoting an Interfax report,
Radio Rossii on 14 July said that Russia was prepared to resume
arms sales to Iraq and Libya if UN sanctions against the two
countries were lifted. Interfax reportedly received its
information from a spokesman for the state arms trading company,
Rosvooruzheniye. Company spokesmen reportedly claimed that Russia
has lost up to $16 billion since the sanctions were imposed.
Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc.

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY ON HAITI. Izvestiya on 15 July quoted a
"highly placed" but unnamed Foreign Ministry source as saying that
Russia had not ruled out the possibility that force would be
required to deal with the crisis in Haiti, but that "we believe
that it is necessary to work out sanctions before deciding on a
military operation." The source reportedly refused to answer when
asked how Russia would respond to a US intervention in Haiti in
the near future.  Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc.

JAPAN SEES RUSSIA AS POTENTIAL DESTABILIZING FACTOR. The Japanese
Defense Agency's annual "White Paper," released on 15 July, said
that Russia still maintained approximately 240,000 ground troops
in the Far East, with massive air and naval capabilities, and that
the "future of the Russian military remains uncertain because it
is linked to political and economic instability in Russia,"
Reuters reported. According to ITAR-TASS, the White Paper said
that although there was evidence of some reductions in Russia's
Far East forces, that development was balanced by the
modernization of Russia's military hardware in the region. AFP
said that the document had elevated the crisis on the Korean
peninsula to Tokyo's top concern, and had dropped the Russian
military threat to second position. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc.

                  TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

KAZAKH PARLIAMENT ACTS. After considerable debate, the Kazakh
parliament officially approved a new budget which sets spending at
87.7 billion tenge, and revenues at 67.5 billion tenge ($1.96
billion and $1.51 billion, respectively, at the official exchange
rate of 44.7 tenge per dollar). Interfax reported on 14 July that
the northern regions of the republic, where the population is
predominately Russian, complained that they were shouldering a far
greater tax burden than the southern regions; as a result, no
budget structure detailing sources of revenue and targets for
spending was approved. The parliament also ratified an agreement
on leasing the Baikonur cosmodrome to the Russian Federation.
Under the terms of the agreement, which was signed by the
presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan on 28 March 1994, the
cosmodrome will be leased to Russia for 20 years, with a 10-year
renewal option; Russia will pay Kazakhstan $115 million annually
for the use of Baikonur. The agreement has yet to be approved by
Russia's State Duma, where deputies have reportedly complained
that the fee is too high and that the Baikonur facilities are in a
"critical" state.  Keith Martin, RFE/RL Inc.

                               CIS

TRANSDNIESTER ARMISTICE TERMS AGAIN VIOLATED. The Bendery-based
Joint Control Commission, which oversees the implementation of the
1992 armistice convention, held an extraordinary meeting in
Dubasari on 13 July to deal with violations in that area,
Basapress reports. The commission noted that "border guard" units
of the "Dniester republic" have repeatedly entered the security
zone entrusted to Russian peacekeepers, set up "border" posts
there, illegally stopped and checked Moldovan peacekeepers and
vehicles on patrol, and blocked access to military (including
Russian) observers on inspection. The Moldovan side has long
complained that Russian peacekeepers tolerate such violations by
"Dniester" forces. The Joint Commission at its meeting ordered the
commander of Russian peacekeeping force in the area to improve his
performance.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc.

                    CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

SERBS CALL PARTITION PLAN "INCOMPLETE." AFP on 14 July quotes
Radio Pale as saying that the take-it-or-leave-it peace proposal
leaves too many questions open and that the ruling party wants
more details before the legislature votes on it. Of particular
interest to the Serbs are: long-term constitutional arrangements;
the status of Sarajevo; and a Serb outlet to the Adriatic.
Meanwhile, international and Belgrade papers are full of
speculation about some sort of political clash over the plan among
top Serbs. According to some scenarios, Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic wants the Bosnian Serbs to agree in order to get
international sanctions lifted against Serbia-Montenegro but is
opposed by Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. Other models show
Milosevic joined by Karadzic but opposed by parliamentary
hard-liners and by Bosnian Serb military commander Gen. Ratko
Mladic. Yet another theory suggests that Milosevic might seek
Mladic as an ally against a stubborn Karadzic, etc., etc.. Two
points, however, need to be recalled in analyzing any alleged
Serbian in-fighting. First, the Bosnian and Krajina Serbs are
totally dependent on Serbia for support of all kinds, and
Milosevic has the power to cut everything off whenever he so
chooses. Second, while the sanctions have meant hardship and
suffering to ordinary Serbs, many powerful people have profited
handsomely from the resultant smuggling and profiteering and
presumably have little interest in killing the goose that produces
so many golden eggs.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc.

UN AND NATO TO DISCUSS MEASURES IF PLAN NOT ACCEPTED. News
agencies reported on 14 July that officials of the world
organization and the Atlantic alliance will meet over the weekend
as part of ongoing contingency planning to discuss options if
either the Serbs or the Muslim-Croat federation fail to give
unqualified endorsement to the "contact group's" proposal. It is
not clear, however, what might happen if all agree but then go
back on their words. As so often in the Wars of the Yugoslav
Succession, agreement is one thing but implementation is another.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Suleyman Demirel has postponed a
visit to Sarajevo slated for 15 July because the Serbs would not
guarantee his safety.  Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc.

CROATIAN REFUGEES ON THE MARCH. International and Croatian media
report that several hundred refugees from the 30% of Croatian
territory under Serb occupation blocked UN headquarters in Zagreb
on 14 July. Impatience is growing again among the quarter of a
million people displaced by the fighting and ethnic cleansing, and
the refugees often blame UNPROFOR for sealing off Serb conquests
rather than reintegrating them with Croatia. Some observers
suggest that the Croatian authorities have at least condoned the
protests as a way of drawing attention to UNPROFOR and away from
themselves, and of keeping up pressure on the UN. Last summer a
column of refugees threatened to march back to their old homes,
but were talked out of it at the last minute by a Russian UNPROFOR
commander. Since early July this year, refugees have been blocking
UN control posts off from the Croatian hinterland, AFP notes.
Elsewhere in the Croatian capital, Hina said that the Bosnian and
Croatian prime ministers had met to discuss a variety of economic,
humanitarian, and infrastructure questions. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL
Inc.

SESELJ CALLS FOR "WESTERN SERBIA." On 15 July Serbian media
continue their coverage of rump Yugoslav reactions to the current
international peace plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Borba reports
that ultranationalist leader of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS)
Vojislav Seselj once again, at a 14 July press conference,
condemned the plan. This time, Seselj seemed little content to
merely criticize, and argued that as an alternative to the
proposal, the Serbs in Bosnia could unite with the rebel Serbs in
Krajina to form their own "independent" state of "Western Serbia."
Meanwhile, the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO), led by Vuk
Draskovic, has declared that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic
has, in seemingly supporting international peace efforts, adopted
a general position advocated by the SPO "already for three years."
Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc.

POLISH-RUSSIAN TALKS ON KATYN. A Polish delegation including
General Staff chief Tadeusz Wilecki, State Security Office head
Gromoslaw Czempinski, and foreign ministry and presidential
representatives attempted during talks in Moscow on 15 July to
break the impasse in Polish-Russian relations that has followed
the shift to "neoimperial" attitudes and Russia's resulting
dismissive indifference to Poland. Polish officials, who said the
talks featured "strong words," pressed the Russian side to fix a
date for the start of exhumations at Katyn and Mednoye. A
Polish-Russian agreement requires the Russian side to finance the
exhumations and build cemeteries. The Russian delegation, headed
by Deputy Prime Minister Yurii Yarov, agreed to appoint an
official to set the date within ten days, Gazeta Wyborcza reports.
Polish Ambassador Stanislaw Ciosek said the delay was likely
caused by Russian hesitance to set a precedent in exhuming Polish
victims, as there are thousands of similar mass graves all over
Russia. Yarov cited Russian Orthodox religious qualms, however.
The Poles also urged Russian prosecutors to move quickly to
complete the official investigation into the Katyn massacre, the
Politburo-ordered executions of 20,000 Polish officers and
civilians in 1940. This investigation was opened in 1990 and has
seemed near conclusion several times in the past.  Louisa Vinton,
RFE/RL Inc.

POLISH STRIKERS THREATEN TO TAKE OVER PRODUCTION. As the impasse
between the trade unions and the Italian management continued at
the Lucchini steel mill in Warsaw, striking workers threatened on
14 July to resume production on their own. Strike com-mittee
leaders acknowledged that any attempt to renew production would
violate the law, but argued that the defense of the plant from
"physical liquidation" was a higher necessity. The Lucchini group
said that the start-up of production would mean "confrontation"
and make the settlement of the strike more difficult. Although the
occupation strike has already lasted 36 days, no negotiations have
taken place. Lucchini demands that the strike end first. The
industry ministry on 14 July reiterated that it is "not a side" in
the conflict. A second hunger-striker was taken to the hospital on
14 July, Rzeczpospolita reports.  Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL Inc.

CZECH TRADE DEAL WITH IRAQ. Czech Industry and Trade Minister
Vladimir Dlouhy told CTK on 14 July that the Czech Republic had
signed a barter agreement with Iraq which will take effect when
the UN. Security Council lifts sanctions against Iraq. According
to Dlouhy, the agreement was signed when Iraqi Foreign Minister
Muhammad Said Kazim Al-Sahhaf was in Prague at the beginning of
July. The agreement allows Iraq to start paying off its large debt
to the Czech Republic as soon as the sanctions are lifted. Iraq
would use some of its exports to the Czech Republic to repay its
debt and the rest to trade for Czech goods. The Czech Republic is
currently a member of the UN. Security Council.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL
Inc.

MUBARAK IN SLOVAKIA. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was on a
one-day official visit to Slovakia on 14 July. Speaking to
journalists following their meeting, Mubarak and Slovak President
Michal Kovac declined to respond to a number of questions
concerning the possibility of Slovak arms sales to Egypt. Without
elaborating, Mubarak said, "Let's not call it arms purchases, but
trade, a possible joint venture agreement." International media
report that Egypt and Slovakia reached general agreements covering
trade, taxation, and cultural exchanges.  Jiri Pehe, RFE/RL Inc.

HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER DESIGNATE OUTLINES GOVERNMENT PROGRAM.
Gyula Horn, Chairman of the Hungarian Socialist Party, in
presenting his coalition government program during his inaugural
speech to parliament on 14 July, said ". . . a new [national]
reconciliation is necessary for progress, prosperity and peace",
reported MTI. Horn said the first-ever Hungarian socialist-liberal
coalition government will be an instrument of national unity, and
outlined specific aims of foreign and domestic policy. The
coalition's 72% parliamentary voting majority will not lead to
dictatorship, he said. He did warn, however, that even with the
new parliament, significant rises in living standards could not be
hoped for by the end of this legislature's four-year term. The
country is in a critical economic and financial situation,
drifting toward insolvency, he cautioned. On a personal note, Horn
said that when he put a wreath on the grave of the 1956
revo-lutionary Imre Nagy last month, he also paid tribute to his
own brother who was killed by the revolutionaries and who was also
the victim of 1956. Horn said that a spirit of reconciliation is
needed to avoid and heal divisions. Karoly Okolicsanyi, RFE/RL
Inc.

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT IGNORES OBJECTIONS TO LAW ON JUDICIARY. On 14
July BTA reported that the National Assembly decided to overrule
the objections of President Zhelyu Zhelev and adopt the
controversial law on the judiciary. After meeting with a number of
legal experts, Zhelev had returned the law to parliament with
critical remarks regarding 14 different passages in the law. Among
the key objections were that it is unfair to bar jurists without a
5-year experience as judges or prosecutors from top positions in
the Bulgarian judiciary (a rule which is bound to increase the
influence of the former communists), and that the legislation will
have retroactive power in the sense that already appointed jurists
who do not fit the requirements will be replaced. During the
stormy discussions that preceded the balloting--in which 129 voted
for and 78 against--several opposition deputies argued that part
of the text contradicts the 1991 constitution and consequently
threatens to clog up the legal system. The lawyer and leader of
the Union of Democratic Forces, Filip Dimitrov, specifically
warned that the law will delay the establishment of vital
institutions like the Supreme Court of Cassation and a Court of
Appeal. On the same day the chief justice of the US Supreme Court,
William Rehnquist, arrived on a 4-day visit. He had been invited
by the Chair of Bulgaria's Supreme Court, Ivan Grigorov, himself
likely to become one of the first victims of the law.  Kjell
Engelbrekt, RFE/RL Inc.

ZHELEV PROPOSES CONFERENCE ON EFFECTS OF UN EMBARGO. Bulgarian
National Radio reported on 15 July that Zhelev during a meeting
with UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has suggested a
conference of states affected by international sanctions against
Serbia and Montenegro. Zhelev said Bulgaria, which estimates it
has lost over $2 billion primarily by being cut off from West
European markets, is ready to host the conference, but would like
Boutros-Ghali to attend it personally. The pretext for the
president's visit to the United States was the unprecedented
performance of the Bulgarian national team at the World Cup soccer
games--reaching the semi-final--but he has also used the
opportunity for meetings with top US and UN officials.  Kjell
Engelbrekt, RFE/RL Inc.

KUCHMA PRESENTED WITH PRESIDENTIAL CERTIFICATE. The head of the
Central Electoral Commission, Ivan Yemets, presented Leonid Kuchma
with his presidential certificate on 14 July, Ukrainian television
reported. Official election results showed that almost all of the
votes cast were valid. In all, 71.74% of the electorate voted and
almost all ballots (71.63% of the total electorates' votes) were
considered valid. Final results showed that 52.14% voted for
Kuchma and 44.45% against him, while 45.06% voted for Leonid
Kravchuk and 54.54% against him. Kuchma is to be sworn in on 19
July. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc.

US CONCERNED OVER IRANIAN-UKRAINIAN DEAL. A15 July article in The
Journal of Commerce reports that the US and UN seem concerned that
an oil-for-oil equipment deal between Ukraine and Iraq may violate
UN trade sanctions against Iraq. The deal involves a machine
building plant in Bukovyna which would become Iraq's main supplier
of oil refining equipment in exchange for oil. Ukraine's economic
counselor in Washington, Yurii Yakusha, denied that any protocol
had yet been signed and said the deal depended on the lifting of
sanctions.  Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc.

BELARUSIAN NEWS. On 14 July Belinform-TASS reported that
Vyacheslau Kebich continues to act as prime minister despite his
resignation. Kebich and his government submitted their
resignations on 12 July, but will still fulfill the duties until
parliament meets and accepts their resignations. Belinform-TASS
also reported that a member of president-elect Alyaksandr
Lukashenka's team, Alyaksandr Feduta, has said that the price of
bread may be lowered in the near future. Lukashenka had promised
the electorate that he would stop inflation and bring down prices.
According to Belarusian radio from 12 July, however, the pricing
department within the ministry of economics announced that there
would be no price reductions on foodstuffs in the near future. In
other news Interfax reported on 14 July that Lukashenka is
considering appointing the first deputy prime minister of Kebich's
former cabinet, Mikhail Myasnikovich, as his prime minister.
Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc.

RENEWED MOVES AGAINST THE LATIN SCRIPT IN TRANSDNIESTER. The
"Dniester republic's" education ministry announced on 13 July that
any "attempts to impose the Latin script upon the Moldovan
language may bring punishment under the existing laws," Basapress
reported from Tiraspol. "Writing in the Moldovan language shall in
every case without exception be based on the Cyrillic." The
"Romanian language" in Latin script (as used in right-bank
Moldova) may be taught as an elective foreign language, the
instructions say. The ruling Russian minority in Transdniester has
since 1989 vetoed moves by the native Moldovan population to use
the Latin script.  Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc.

RUSSIAN BORDER GUARDS SET UP CHECKPOINTS AT ESTONIAN BORDER. In
compliance with Russian President Boris Yeltsin's decree of 21
June 1994, Russian border guards have started setting up
checkpoints and control strips on the temporary border demarcation
line with Estonia. This border is contested by Estonia, since it
includes Estonian territories transferred to the RSFSR after World
War II without Estonia's acquiescence, BNS reported on 14 July. In
a related development, Nikolai Zhdanov, chief of Russia's geodetic
service, told Interfax on 14 July that his country is negotiating
with the former USSR republics over the demarcation of borders. He
said that of these countries only Estonia was making territorial
claims against Russia and that the talks with Estonia were
deadlocked. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL Inc.

EFFORTS TO FORM A NEW GOVERNMENT IN LATVIA. On 14 July Prime
Minister Valdis Birkavs and his cabinet of ministers officially
resigned. Birkavs told the press that he could no longer bear the
responsibility for this government. Birkavs linked the decision to
step down to the withdrawal of Latvia's Farmers' Union deputies
from the parliamentary coalition with Latvia's Way (Birkavs and
most of the ministers are LW members) and the subsequent
resignation of three LFU ministers from the government. President
Guntis Ulmanis has started consultations with the political groups
on the formation of a new government. Earlier that day the
president's office issued a statement pointing out that Birkavs
had not observed the relevant point of law by failing to inform
beforehand the president and the chairman of the parliament.
Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL Inc.

BETTING FEVER IN ALBANIA OVER WORLD CUP SOCCER. Enthusiasm for the
world championship has swept the entire Balkans and not just
Romania and Bulgaria, two countries in the area actually competing
in the tournament. In Bosnia, front-line fighters have taken a
break to cheer their favorite teams. In Albania, where all manner
of old traditions and practices have returned with gusto after 45
years of Stalinist rule, betting on game outcomes is all the rage.
The VOA reports on 15 July that big stakes can be involved.
Reuters noted the previous day that one person bet $14,000 on the
US-Colombia match, with wagers of $3,000 being nothing unusual.
One Germany supporter in Kruja dropped dead after his team scored
a goal against Bulgaria last Sunday, while the most remarkable
story could be an unconfirmed report that one man bet and lost his
wife over the Romania-Sweden match later that same evening.
Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc.

  [As of 1200 CET]
  Compiled by Ustina Markus and Stan Markotich,
  RFE/RL Inc.
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