|When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. - Mark Twain|
No. 136, 20 July 1994
RUSSIA YELTSIN ISSUES PRIVATIZATION ULTIMATUM. Both Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Privatization Minister Anatolii Chubais indicated on 19 July that President Boris Yeltsin will implement the second stage of privatization by decree if the State Duma fails to approve the government's legislative package within the next three days. Yeltsin has given the Duma "one more chance" to approve post-voucher privatization, Chubais told Interfax. In a first attempt on 13 July, the Duma failed to approve the legislation; only 91 deputies voted in favor while 186 were opposed. Chubais acknowledged that only about 35% of the Duma supports the bill, and said he was pessimistic about its chances. Presidential chief-of-staff Sergei Filatov indicated on 18 July that the appropriate decrees are now ready for issuing. "The privatization process is irreversible, and will continue no matter what," Filatov said. At a cabinet session on 19 July, Chernomyrdin adopted a firm but conciliatory stance toward the Duma, arguing that time constraints rather than the parliament's opposition make decrees necessary. He stressed his continuing commitment to loyal cooperation with the parliament. Chernomyrdin also said that a fourth package of economic decrees is in preparation, including more liberal tax provisions. The Duma on 20 July postponed debate on the privatization bill for another day, to allow more time to consider amendments. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN EXPORTS, UNEMPLOYMENT RISING. Russia's exports in the first half of 1994 amounted to $21.3 billion, while imports were set at $13.2 billion, according to trade ministry figures reported by ITAR-TASS on 15 and 18 July. These figures reflect an increase of 10.4% in exports and 3.9% in imports in comparison with the first half of 1993. Oil exports rose by 11%; gas by 15%. The ministry's statistics reflect a reorientation in Russian foreign trade; developed countries account for an ever-growing share of both exports and imports, while trade with developing countries, former CMEA countries, China, Korea, and the former Yugoslavia is still on the decline. Meanwhile, the labor ministry reported on 19 July that unemployment in Russia is nearing 10 million, although only 1.3 million people are officially registered. If bankruptcy provisions are applied strictly, 5 million who now comprise the "hidden unemployed" could be added to the rolls virtually overnight. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. GENERALS WARN OF DELAYED WITHDRAWAL FROM ESTONIA. Two top-ranking Russian generals warned on 19 July that Russia would not meet its commitment to withdraw all military forces from Estonia by 31 August. Reuters quoted Deputy Defense Minister Boris Gromov as saying that troops would remain in Estonia after that date because "things are significantly more complicated with Estonia than we thought." In remarks reported by ITAR-TASS, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev spoke in stronger terms, saying that Russian troops would still be in Estonia at the end of the year if Tallinn did not provide social guarantees for the Russian-speaking minority there. Defense Ministry representatives have often tied the Baltic pull-out directly to treatment of the Russian minority, a policy linkage that other government officials have tried to deny; in this case, Grachev said that he was reflecting the views of Russian government leaders. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. YELTSIN TO PARTICIPATE IN NORTHERN FLEET EXERCISE? Izvestiya on 19 July reported that a major three-day training exercise involving surface ships, submarines, naval aviation, and over 2,000 personnel of the Russian Northern Fleet had commenced one day earlier under the direction of fleet commander Admiral Oleg Yerofeyev. The report said that Yeltsin was to participate in the exercise, but noted, oddly, that the scale of the maneuvers--particularly plans to launch ballistic and cruise missiles--would be sharply curtailed if Yeltsin (who has been ill) was not able to attend. Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry newspaper, Krasnaya zvezda, also described the exercises on 19 July, but made no mention of Yeltsin's participation. It described the maneuvers as an operational-tactical exercise aimed at assessing both the readiness of Russia's sea-based nuclear forces and the fleet's conventional capabilities. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. . . . WHILE PACIFIC FLEET FACES REDUCTIONS. Russia's naval CINC, Admiral Feliks Gromov, told reporters in Vladivostok on 19 July that the Pacific Fleet faces significant reductions and that out-dated ships would be the first to be decommissioned, Interfax reported. Gromov also said that a new fleet commander would soon be named. In May, Admiral Georgii Gurinov was dismissed from that post--ostensibly because of the fleet's sharply deteriorating combat capabilities--following an explosion at a fleet arms depot. The dismissal, which many believe actually to have been politically motivated, provoked an outcry from many of the fleet's officers. The Pacific Fleet is Russia's second largest, after the Northern Fleet, and has been especially hard hit in recent years by Russia's economic and social problems and by the declining military budget. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. LOBOV DENIES URGING CHERNOMYRDIN'S RESIGNATION. Oleg Lobov, President Yeltsin's longtime associate currently serving as the secretary of the Russian Security Council, has issued a memorandum denying that he had addressed a request to Yeltsin that Prime Minister Chernomyrdin and his entire government resign. In the memo, Lobov states his support for Chernomyrdin and the government, according to the Russian TV program "Vesti" of 19 July. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL, Inc. BASHKIR PARLIAMENT ACCEPTS PRIME MINISTER'S RESIGNATION. Bashkortostan's parliament accepted on 19 July the resignation of Prime Minister Anatolii Kopsov, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from Moscow. Kopsov resigned on 18 July following allegations in the local media that he used state funds to build a private villa. (See the RFE/RL Daily Report of 19 July.) A senior official of the Bashkortostan government told the correspondent that a special parliamentary committee had been set up to investigate the allegations. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL, Inc. DID OPPENHEIMER SECRETLY VISIT THE USSR? Sergo Beria, the son of the chief of Stalin's secret services, Lavrentii Beria, told Russian Television on 15 July that in 1939, the head of the American nuclear project, Robert Oppenheimer, suggested to the Soviet government to create an atomic bomb. Oppenheimer made this proposal during a secret visit to the USSR, where he met with Lavrentii Beria and Soviet scientists. The reason for Oppenheimer's proposal was allegedly his concern that Nazi Germany could produce atomic weapons first. The special commission headed by Vyacheslav Molotov rejected Oppenheimer's proposal as "too fantastic", according Sergo Beria. Historian Dmitrii Volkogonov, who has unique access to the Soviet archives, told the same television program that he did not find any evidence about an alleged visit by Oppenheimer. In June, the deputy director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence, Vyacheslav Trubnikov, said that his service has no information about alleged contacts of Oppenheimer and other American nuclear scientists with Soviet intelligence services. Victor Yasmann, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS CIS DOCUMENTS APPROVED. CIS Foreign and Defense Ministers, meeting in Moscow on 19 July, approved what Interfax called a "Convention of Common Defense" and a "project for the development of integration within the CIS." Details concerning the substance of the agreements were not available, and although it was not clear from the Interfax report, those CIS states that approved them presumably came from among the signatory states to the CIS Collective Security Treaty. Colonel General Viktor Samsonov, the chief of the coordination committee for CIS military cooperation, told Interfax that neither Azerbaijan nor Belarus had signed the documents. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL, Inc. CIS DEFENSE MINISTERS FAIL TO AGREE ON ABKHAZ PEACEKEEPERS. The CIS Defense Ministers failed, however, to reach agreement on the formation of a CIS peacekeeping force to participate in the ongoing operation along the frontier between Abkhazia and the rest of Georgia, Interfax reported. Tajikistan was the only country which offered to send peacekeeping troops; Grachev dismissed as "useless" the offer by other unspecified CIS member states to send observers. Some 2000 Russian peacekeeping troops are currently deployed in Georgia. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL, Inc. RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS IN MOLDOVA CLOSE EYES TO VIOLATIONS. In Nezavisimaya Gazeta of 16 July, Russia's chief delegate to the Joint Control Commission supervising the armistice in Moldova, Yurii Bychkov, was asked to comment on long-time Moldovan complaints that supplementary "Dniester" forces and posts have illegally been introduced in the demilitarized zone and have denied access to Commission inspectors. Bychkov acknowledged those steps by "Dniester" forces as "impermissible" and said that the Commission had formally asked Tiraspol to live up to its obligations. However, he failed to mention that the Russian peacekeepers have taken no corrective measures and that Russian inspectors have complied with the "Dniestr" interdictions of access. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA AKAEV ASKS RUSSIAN TV TRANSMISSION AID. Radio Mayak reported on 19 July that Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev has appealed to his Russian counterpart for Russian government support of Ostankino TV broadcasts to his country. According to the report, the plea was motivated by the fact that as of 18 July, Ostankino had to drastically reduce its broadcasts to Kyrgyzstan because of a lack of money. Akaev, deeply concerned over rising interethnic tensions and the large-scale migration of Russian-speakers out of Kyrgyzstan, presumably saw the reduction in Ostankino broadcasts as another blow against his efforts to make staying in Kyrgyzstan an attractive proposition for its Russian population. Bess Brown, RFE/RL, Inc. BAT IN UZBEKISTAN. The Financial Times reported in its 19 July edition that the British tobacco and financial services group BAT industries is close to signing a deal that would result in Uzbekistan's largest privatization to date. Under the plan, BAT would buy a 51 per cent stake in Uz Tobacco, a state-owned company that runs the only cigarette factory and tobacco processing plants in Central Asia's most populous country, for $60 million. According to the report, BAT plans to invest a further $232 million over the next five years to upgrade the existent factory and one of the processing plants, as well as build a new plant in Samarkand. After the investment is completed, BAT expects to boost Uzbekistan's cigarette production from 4 billion to 25 billion cigarettes a year; estimated demand in Uzbekistan is 20 billion. The article uses the example of BAT's difficult negotiations with the Uzbek government to analyze the complexities of, but also potential windfalls from, investing in Uzbekistan. Keith Martin, RFE/RL, Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE SERBS PLAY "I'VE GOT A SECRET" OVER PARTITION PLAN. International media reported on 19 July that Bosnian Serb legislators ended two days of debate in Pale and that their leaders drafted a declaration to the international "contact group" in Geneva. The document was kept secret in a sealed envelope, which the Serbs plan to present in Geneva on 20 July. Observers tended to conclude that the secretive behavior was an attempt to string the international community along, and that the document would be a vague text that would not constitute an outright rejection or acceptance. The key element of the Serb response, however, seems most likely to be a package of conditions. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. WHERE TO FROM HERE? For weeks diplomats and journalists have been describing the proposal as a "take-it-or-leave-it" proposition, and the Croats and Muslims accepted it on that basis. Now, however, the Los Angeles Times quotes US National Security Adviser Anthony Lake as saying that the plan is not so rigid and that the parties may "reopen negotiations over details, including the map" if they all agree. A "no" answer by the Serbs to the plan, Lake added, would, however, lead to "consequences." Reuters on 19 July quoted a British expert as saying that, if the Serbs in effect reject the proposal, the major powers must either "swallow their pride and hope to produce a slightly better peace plan . . . [or] decide their credibility is at stake, their ultimatum has to be fulfilled, and the arms embargo [on the Muslims] lifted." Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. SERBS EXPEL 128 MUSLIMS FROM ROGATICA. Borba on 20 July quotes Radio Sarajevo as saying that Serbs are continuing the ethnic cleansing of eastern Bosnia by driving out this group of mainly women and children to Sarajevo, while taking the 25-35 men to "a Serbian labor camp" at Rudo. Meanwhile at the UN, Reuters reports that the new chief prosecutor for war crimes says that he wants the first indictments before the end of the year. The problem with the investigation is, however, that it will require the cooperation of officials in the Yugoslav area to carry it out; and the Serbian authorities in particular are highly unlikely to hand over indicted war criminals, some of whom sit in parliament or hold other high positions. In Zagreb, finally, US Ambassador Peter Galbraith denied that the Muslim-Croat alliance is under any real strain, Reuters reported on 19 July. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL, Inc. PERRY VISITS MACEDONIA. US Defense Secretary William Perry, who is presently touring the south European states, on 19 July arrived in the Republic of Macedonia. After talks with his counterpart Vlado Popovski and President Kiro Gligorov, Perry told a press conference that he believed Macedonia "in many ways is key for the stability in the entire region." He said there are no plans to augment the United Nations peacekeeping troops--consisting of 524 US and 600 Nordic soldiers--stationed in the country, but noted that "peace and stability in the Balkans is a crucial matter not just for this area but indeed for the whole world." Gligorov informed journalists that the two had discussed the bilateral dispute with Greece regarding Macedonia's name, flag, and constitution, as well as the economic blockade Athens imposed five months ago to compel Skopje into compliance. Perry and Popovski also announced a defense cooperation agreement which will allow Macedonia to receive excess US military equipment and send some of its officers for training in the US. AFP and Reuters carried the reports. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. TURKEY SUPPORTS POLAND'S EUROPEAN ASPIRATIONS. President Lech Walesa made an official visit to Turkey on 19 and 20 July. Turkish President Suleyman Demirel pledged his country's firm support for Polish membership in "the most important European structures." Both presidents stressed that the emergence of a democratic Russia in a new Europe would be a "blessing," and that Russia should not be pushed into isolation, Rzeczpospolita reports. Demirel expressed the hope that Polish-Turkish trade will rise well above the current level of $300 million, with a target of $1 billion annually. The joint production of F-16 fighter-bombers and other armaments was discussed, and Walesa visited the arms plant where the jets are produced. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. PAWLAK FIRES PAP CHIEF. Polish Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak dismissed Polish Press Agency chief Ignacy Rutkiewicz on 19 July and appointed a computer science professor, Wlodzimierz Gogolek, to take his place, Rzeczpospolita reports. Although PAP is still formally a government-owned agency, it has functioned as an objective and impartial wire service since Rutkiewicz was appointed in September 1990. With the exception of a brief period under the Olszewski government, Rutkiewicz had held the post since then. Pawlak's move came a few weeks after the opposition Freedom Union (UW) had submitted draft legislation to transform PAP from a government agency into a joint-stock corporation, thereby insuring its independence from political interference. Government officials refused to explain the decision, but Rutkiewicz theorized that the UW draft had "set in motion a political mechanism" that prompted the ruling parties to react with displeasure. Gogolek heads the computer science department at a technical college in Radom. Pawlak is a computer enthusiast, and recently made public his Internet e-mail address (email@example.com). Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. POLISH PRODUCTION BOOMS BUT PRICES ALSO RISE. The latest figures from the Main Statistical Office (GUS) show that production in June was 9.2% higher than in June 1993. In comparison with the monthly average for 1992, June production was higher by 17.3%. After two months of decline, wages climbed 1.6% in real terms in June. While real wages dropped 6.8% in the first half of 1994, they were still 4.7% higher in a year-to-year perspective, Rzeczpospolita reported on 19 July. Prices rose a disturbing 2.3% in June, an increase that GUS attributed to recent energy and transport price hikes and the high cost of fresh fruit and vegetables. June prices did not yet reflect protectionist "equalizing payments" on selected agricultural imports, as these were imposed only at the end of the month. But GUS expects these surcharges to have only a minor impact on food prices. Overall, prices were 31.3% higher in the first half of 1994 than for the comparable period in 1993; January-June inflation for 1994 was 12.4%, Gazeta Wyborcza noted. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL, Inc. NEW COALITION AMONG SLOVAKIA'S RIGHT-OF-CENTER PARTIES? With recent polls showing that the Democratic Party and the Entrepreneurs' Party may not make it to the parliament, even in a two-party coalition, on 19 July TASR reported that DP and EP Chairmen Ivan Miklos and Vladimir Randa proposed to Democratic Union Chairman Jozef Moravcik that a three-party preelection coalition be created. Moravcik said his party would study the proposal and said he also would not exclude the possibility of creating a four-party coalition, together with the National Democratic Party, which has already accepted an offer to be included on the DU's candidate list. (Coalitions of two or three parties require 7% of the vote to enter the parliament, compared with 10% for coalitions of four or more parties.) The DU Republican Council decided earlier that the party would go to the elections independently and offered other right-of-center parties the opportunity to be included on the candidate list. This proposal, however, was rejected by both the EP and DP and caused friction between the two parties and within the DP. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL, Inc. CHANGES IN HUNGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY. The new leadership of the Hungarian defense ministry was introduced on 18 July in the presence of President Arpad Goncz and the new chairman of the parliamentary defense committee, Imre Mecs (Alliance of Free Democrats), MTI reported. Both defense minister Gyorgy Keleti and his political state secretary, Andras Toth, belong to the Hungarian Socialist Party. Colonel Jozsef Feher was appointed administrative state secretary for defense with the rank of major general, and deputy administrative secretary Maj. Gen. Jozsef Kelemen was replaced by Lt. Gen. (retired) Laszlo Borsits, chief-of- staff until 1991. Keleti listed three sources of threat to regional security, namely the different sizes of the regular armies of the region; civil war conflicts and differences over nationality issues; and ongoing mass migration in the region. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. UNCERTAIN HUNGARIAN ECONOMIC PROSPECTS FOR 1995. According to a report by the Kopint-Datorg economic research firm, Hungary cannot in the short term improve its external balance of payments by means of budgetary measures, MTI reported on 19 July. Should exports improve, the current balance of payments deficit could be reduced by $2 billion next year, but the budget deficit will still be at least 400 billion forint and tax revenues will not significantly increase. Should Hungary's GDP grow by 2%-3%, the GDP-budget deficit ratio will not be significantly reduced. Because of the high budget deficit, the inflation rate cannot fall much below 20% and the level of unemployment will continue to stagnate, the report concludes. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL, Inc. MOLDOVAN-ROMANIAN TREATY TALKS DEADLOCKED. Romania's political daily Adevarul on 18 July reported that Moldovan-Romanian negotiations on a state treaty are "in crisis." Romania insists on the formula "two Romanian states," deemed inappropriate by Moldova, and on language about overcoming the consequences of the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, implying restitution to Romania of territories currently in Moldova and Ukraine. Another major stumbling block since 1991 has been Romania's wish to include language implying a commitment to eventual Moldovan-Romanian unification. Noting that Moldova had made its views clear, Moldovan Deputy Foreign Minister Alexandru Buruian declared that "the ball is now in the Romanian court," Basapress reported on 19 July. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. NATO LEADER ON MOLDOVA'S SITUATION. Heading a delegation of the North Atlantic Assembly to Chisinau, NAA chairman Loic Bouvard said that Moldova "finds itself in a special geostrategic situation, at the intersection of spheres of interest of larger states," ITAR-TASS reported on 17 July. NAA "knows about Moldova's internal difficulties, such as the Dniester problem and the presence of [Russia's] 14th Army," and "intends to support Moldova's independence and territorial integrity in the family of European peoples," Bouvard said. In talks with Moldovan Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli, Bouvard "came out for support to the small states which emerged in the former Soviet space," Moldpres reported on 18 July. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL, Inc. BULGARIAN RELIGIOUS CENTER IN DECAY. On 19 July the spiritual leader of Bulgaria's largest monastery--located in the southwest of the country--said authorities must return the monastery's extensive properties to the Church or the religious center will fall into deeper decay, Reuters reports. Abbot Yoan, speaking at a press conference in Sofia, said half a century of communism has reduced the Rila monastery to "shambles" and bigger revenues are needed in order to restore its buildings and treasures. Before nationalization of its properties in 1946, Yoan recalled, the Rila monastery possessed nearly 2,500 hectares of forests and farm land, a distillery, a timber plant, and a couple of dairy farms. A major center of Orthodox Christianity in the Balkans, the Rila monastery stands under the protection of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL, Inc. KUCHMA APPOINTS STAFF CHIEF. Ukraine's new president, Leonid Kuchma, has made his first staff appointment, Interfax reported on 19 July. Dmytro Tabachnyk was named head of the presidential staff. Previously Tabachnyk had worked as the press secretary of the cabinet and headed the public relations department of the government. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. IN THE BELARUSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY. On 18 July Belarusian radio reported an interview with Belarusian Foreign Minister Piotr Krauchanka regarding his 15-16 July meeting with EU representatives in Trieste. According to Krauchanka, it will be at least 10-15 years before Belarus can be integrated into the EU. Before Belarus can be integrated, Krauchanka says it must change over to a market economy. He also said the EU is not willing to accept Belarus at this point because Belarus is poor while western Europe is rich. Therefore, Belarus's markets in Russia and Ukraine must be preserved. On 20 July Interfax reported that the main priority of Belarus's foreign ministry under Lukashenka will be the creation of favorable conditions for the country's economic development. It is also expected that there will be a shakeup in the foreign ministry and one of the new key figures will be 29-year-old Valery Tsypkala, a graduate of the Moscow Institute for International Relations and one-time advisor to the former chairman of the Supreme Soviet, Stanislau Shushkevich, on foreign affairs. He had supported Lukashenka in his election campaign. Tsypkala has been critical of Krauchanka's record as foreign minister saying that he had spent too much time promoting Belarusian culture rather than addressing economic issues. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL, Inc. LAAR ON ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN SUMMIT. Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar has denied rumors that the Russian and Estonian presidents are to meet in Helsinki. Laar said the principal issue at such a meeting would be the withdrawal of Russian forces from Estonia. In this context he declared that despite Russia's insistence that Estonia sign an accord similar to the Latvian-Russian treaty, Estonia "will by no means sign such an agreement," Interfax and BNS reported on 19 July. Laar also told the press that there will be a flag-lowering ceremony at the Russian Baltic Fleet's base in Tallinn when it leaves Estonia later this month; after this base is vacated, three more Russian military facilities still remain in Estonia: Paldiski submarine base, Russian navy headquarters for Estonia and the 144th Motorized Rifle Division based in Tallinn and Keila. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT TO FORM NEW LATVIAN GOVERNMENT? Diena reported on 19 July that President Ulmanis has proposed that Latvia's National Independence Movement form the new national government. LNIM has until the end of this week to consider the proposal and its ability to form an administration. The president is expected to announce the name of the LNIM prime minister-designate on 21 July. Should the LNIM fail to obtain the necessary support for its ministerial candidates in the parliament, then the president will ask Latvia's Way to try form the government. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. LATVIAN-RUSSIAN COMMISSION STARTS WORK. A mixed commission of Latvian and Russian representatives has finally started work on resolving outstanding differences and problems related to the withdrawal of Russian forces from Latvia, Diena reported on 19 July. The Latvian side had already chosen its 17 representatives shortly after the Latvian-Russian accords related to the troop pullout were signed on 30 April, while the Russian side designated its representatives only recently. The Russian parliament has also just started to examine those accords in preparation for their eventual ratification. The Foreign Affairs Commission of the Latvian Saeima has decided to wait and see what the Russian parliament does, rather than to rush with the ratification process; the commission does not expect Russian ratification before 1 August. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. NEW LITHUANIAN ENVOY TO THE UN. President Algirdas Brazauskas has named Oskaras Jusys, 40, to replace the 85-year-old Anicetas Simutis as Lithuania's ambassador to the United Nations, BNS reported on 18 July. Jusys, who holds a doctorate in law, headed the legal affairs department of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry and also served as an advisor to the foreign minister. Dzintra Bungs, RFE/RL, Inc. TEN CHILDREN DIE NEAR PESTICIDES IN ALBANIA. In the town of Milot in the past six months, seven women have had miscarriages and three children died after premature birth, Zeri I Popullit reported on 15 July. In all cases the pregnant women lived near a pesticide storage area in which 94 out of 450 tons of old pesticides are located. The toxic waste came to Albania from Germany marked as humanitarian aid in 1992. Greenpeace recently warned that the pesticides could contaminate Lake Shkoder, the biggest lake in the Balkans, and brought one truck of them back to Germany. German Environmental Minister Klaus Toepfer estimated last November that it would cost about DM 1.4 million to neutralize the poisons. Nonetheless, there has been no follow-up visit of German experts to the area. Meanwhile, the neglected containers could well explode because of the continuing hot weather, Koha Jone reported on 2 July. Fabian Schmidt [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Keith Martin and Stan Markotich The RFE/RL DAILY REPORT, produced by the RFE/RL Research Institute (a division of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc.) with the assistance of the RFE/RL News and Current Affairs Division, is available through electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU. This report is also available by postal mail, as are the other publications of the Institute, and by fax. 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