|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. 143, 29 July 1994
RUSSIA YELTSIN: WEAPONS' GRADE PLUTONIUM PLANT TO BE SHUT DOWN. Russian President Boris Yeltsin told journalists in the closed city of Krasnoyarsk-26 on 28 July that a weapons-grade plutonium production facility in the city would be shut down by the year 2000 because "we have no plans to build up the country's nuclear potential." According to ITAR-TASS and Interfax reports, Yeltsin said that he would sign an edict by the end of September stipulating that the mining and chemical combines in the city continue operation and that plans go forward for the construction of a new nuclear storage and reprocessing facility. A Russian official told ITAR-TASS that the construction project would take twelve years and require nearly two trillion rubles. Yeltsin went out of his way to emphasize that workers in the closed city would continue to have jobs. As defense spending in Russia has been cut, many cities dependent upon defense production have faced the prospect of massive unemployment. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc. RUSSIAN-US EXERCISE IS RESCHEDULED. Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev was quoted by ITAR-TASS on 28 July as saying that a joint Russian-US peacekeeping exercise will take place in September at the Totsk training grounds in the southern Urals. According to Reuters, Grachev dismissed as a "vestige of the past" opposition to the exercises, which were originally scheduled to be held in early July, and said that Russia would suffer financial losses and a diminution of its international standing if the exercises were canceled. In Nezavisimaya gazeta of 28 July Sergei Kornilov, a member of the parliamentary delegation that recently visited Totsk and met local leaders and military commanders, wrote that the trip convinced him that Russia would indeed benefit from participation in the exercises. However, he recommended that they not be held at Totsk because of environmental degradation in the area--the result of nuclear weapons tests conducted there in the 1950s--and a general feeling of suspicion among the local populace toward the army and the state that is a consequence of those tests. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc. PRIMORSKY KRAI THREATENS TO PEDDLE MILITARY HARDWARE. The governor of Primorsky Krai, Evgenii Nazdratenko, has threatened to sell helicopters, missiles, ships, submarines, and military spare parts on the international market as a means of helping the region extricate itself from dire economic straits, ITAR-TASS reported on 29 July. Nazdratenko suggested that the policy was unavoidable, blaming what he described as the indifference of the central authorities in Moscow to economic difficulties faced in the regions. He said that a local affiliate of the military trading company "Voeneksport" would be established in Vladivostok in the the future to conduct the transactions. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc. ZHIRINOVSKY THREATENS JAPAN. Ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky told journalists in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk during a tour of Sakhalin on 28 July that Russia would never give up the disputed Kuril Islands. According to Interfax, Zhirinovsky also threatened to turn the Sea of Okhotsk into a Russian lake and suggested that Russia might invade Japan if Tokyo did not give up its claims. He said that after achieving power through elections in November 1994 or March 1995 he would introduce visa requirements that would allow Japanese to visit Russia only to do what he called "dirty work" under strict supervision. Stephen Foye, RFE/RL Inc. TOP PRESS OFFICIAL ACCUSED OF ANTISEMITISM. A court hearing in the libel case brought by the chairman of Russia's State Committee for the Press, Boris Mironov, against Izvestiya editor Valerii Vyzhutovich has been postponed due to the judge's illness, ITAR-TASS reported on 27 July. In the incriminated article, published in Izvestiya on 28 May, Vyzhotovich had cited overtly anti-democratic and anti-Semitic statements by Mironov and accused him of misuse of office in subsidizing the publication of anti-Semitic literature by a state-owned publishing house. ITAR-TASS quoted Mironov's lawyer as saying that the revelations contained in Vyzhutovich's article had prompted the leaders of Moscow's Jewish community to request the office of Russia's Prosecutor General to prosecute Mironov for inciting racial hatred. Julia Wishnevsky, RFE/RL Inc. MMM PANIC FORCES GOVERNMENT RESPONSE. As tens of thousands of investors milled about at the Moscow headquarters of the MMM investment company on 28 July, hoping for a chance to redeem their shares before the firm's expected collapse, the Russian government attempted to stem panic by pledging energetic measures to regulate the securities market. The cabinet ordered the finance ministry to set up a committee to draft new rules; investigations were promised. The head of Russia's taxation authorities, Sergei Almazov, reiterated the general conclusion that MMM is a pyramid scheme, calling the firm "a group of skilled swindlers who take advantage of imperfect legislation to bamboozle people and fill their own pockets." But police and justice authorities seemed powerless to take action, as MMM is believed to have manipulated loopholes rather than directly violated the law. Meanwhile, MMM officials launched a counteroffensive, publishing full-page ads that threatened to rally 10 million shareholders and their families in a "referendum" against the government. MMM also vowed to continue operations, but Interfax reported that only 37 of 17,000 people in line managed to redeem shares on 28 July. Presidential adviser Aleksandr Livshits tried to put the debacle in a positive light: the securities market is poorly regulated, but the population has savings that it is prepared to invest, and emerging economic stability means that "the Russian Klondike will soon be over," eliminating the conditions in which MMM and similar undertakings can flourish. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL Inc. ANOTHER HOSTAGE DRAMA. Some forty bus passengers, including eight children, were taken hostage on 28 July by four armed men in the town of Mineralnye Vody in Russia's Northern Caucasus, the Russian Minister for Emergency Situations told the media. The hostage taking is the fourth of this kind in the region since December 1993. Ostankino Television reported that the bandits demanded 15 million US dollars and a helicopter. By the evening of 28 July, the kidnappers released six hostages. Negotiations between the kidnappers and representatives of Russia's Counterintelligence Service continued through the night, before a special unit stormed the helicopter at dawn. News agencies reported on 29 July that four hostages were killed in the rescue operation while all kidnappers were captured. Vera Tolz, RFE/RL Inc. TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA KARABAKH CEASEFIRE EXTENDED. On 27 July the Armenian and Azerbaijani defence ministers and the commander of the armed forces of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic signed an agreement on a ceasefire that gives legal force to the agreement on a truce signed in May, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported. The signatories further pledged to work toward the signing in August of an agreement on military-technical issues and on the deployment of international peacekeepers and CSCE observers. Liz Fuller, RFE/RL Inc. TAJIK UPDATE. As fighting continued in the Tajikabad, Garm and Tavil-Dara regions east of Dushanbe on 28 July, Tajik leader Imomali Rakhmonov met in emergency session with the Defense, Interior, and Security ministers and urged them to destroy the rebels, Interfax reported. A Tajik Defense Ministry officer also told Interfax that 30 of the 56 soldiers "captured" by the rebels had been found near Khorog, capital of the predominantly opposition-controlled Gorno-Badakhshon autonomous republic; he said they appeared to have defected to the rebel side. This contradicts earlier statements by Badakhshoni authorities that the prisoners were not in Gorno-Badakhshon. ITAR-TASS reported that the command of Russia's 201st motorized infantry division, stationed in southern Tajikistan, had "for the time being" refused requests from the Tajik government to intervene on its behalf against the rebels. Russian media also reported that CIS forces had repelled armed opposition groups trying to cross from Afghanistan into Tajikistan. Russia's defense minister, Pavel Grachev, told Interfax that tensions on the Tajik-Afghan border will intensify, and that the lack of a single command for the border guards and other military units is making it impossible to effectively guard the border. He also urged the Tajik leadership to broaden its contacts with the opposition and with the Badakhshoni authorities. Keith Martin, RFE/RL Inc. CIS SHUMEIKO FOR CHANGING CIS INTO CONFEDERATION. Vladimir Shumeiko, speaker of Russia's Federation Council and chairman of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly, urged at a news conference on 28 July a "close integration among the former Soviet republics" and the transformation of the CIS into a "confederation," Interfax reported. Shumeiko, who has made several statements of this kind recently, expressed confidence that such a confederation, "a single community with a single goal and a single program, will eventually appear on the territory of the CIS." He also predicted that economic integration would lead to "political unity." Shumeiko nevertheless contended that such integration would "by no means violate the sovereignty of independent states." Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc. BALTIC-BLACK SEA LEAGUE PROPOSED. At a briefing in Kiev on 26 July, reported by UNIAN, representatives of Ukraine's Republican, Democratic, and Green Parties announced the impending holding of an international conference in Ukraine's capital to establish a League of Parties of the Baltic-Black Sea region. The organizers expect representatives of 22 parties from Ukraine, the three Baltic States, Poland, Belarus, Moldova, Romania, and Bulgaria to attend. Ukraine's leaders and other officials, as well as former President Leonid Kravchuk, have also been invited. The organizers, who include Volodimir Yavorivsky and Mikhailo Horyn, envisage the formation of a "Baltic-Black Sea bloc of free peoples" as an alternative to plans for integration within the CIS or a "Eurasian Union." The idea of a confederal organization of the peoples of the Baltic-Black Sea space to resist outside domination has its roots in the nineteenth century and in interwar Poland (Prometheanism and Inter-Marium). Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc. ARMED INCIDENT ON DNIESTER. On 27 July "Dniester" forces set up an illegal "customs station" outside the right-bank city of Bendery to establish a "border" that would separate the "Dniester republic" from the rest of Moldova, Basapress reported on 28 July. Summoned to the scene, a senior representative of the Russian side of the Joint Control Commission claimed that the Russian peacemaking commander in Bendery had personally authorized the move. Such a decision would constitute a multiple violation of the armistice convention. A tense armed standoff and threats of force ensued but the Moldovan side backed down. This is the third "customs station" that "Dniester" forces have managed to set up on the right bank recently, condoned by the Russian peacemakers. On the left bank such encroachments have been more common. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc. CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE TWO ALBANIANS KILLED IN RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. On 27 July two ethnic Albanians were shot and killed by Serbian border officials. Details of the incident are scant, but according to accounts reported by the rump Yugoslav state-run news service Tanjug, the shooting victims had attempted to forcibly enter rump Yugoslavia. They were some 300 meters in rump Yugoslavia when they allegedly ignored warnings and shot several rounds at the Serbian border guards who returned the fire. On 28 July, however, Reuters reported that the Albanian Interior Ministry, after the Albanian government's conducting an on-the-scene investigation, has learned that the victims were unarmed and were not Albanian citizens but ethnic Albanians from the rump Yugoslavia. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc. BOSNIAN SERBS DUB PEACE PLAN A PATH TO "NATIONAL SUICIDE." On 28 July the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb parliament convened in Pale to discuss and tacitly reject once again the latest international peace proposal for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which gives 49% of the country to the Bosnian Serb side. According to Tanjug and SRNA reports, the Bosnian Serb side has not rejected peace in principle, and is willing to negotiate further. Yet in a letter revealing little willingness to adopt a conciliatory attitude, and sent to Russian President Boris Yeltsin and rump Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, Bosnian Serb parliamentarians insisted that the current peace plan is merely a "prelude to national suicide." Bosnian Serbs renewed demands for control over more territory than accorded by the peace plan, access to the Adriatic, and a "right to self-determination" not excluding the possibility of "uniting with other neighboring states." Meanwhile, on 28 July Reuters reported that Milosevic and Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias met in Belgrade following the latest Bosnian Serb rejection of peace, and called for "a comprehensive peace plan" for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Finally, on 29 July AFP reports that representatives from the international "contact group" will meet on that same date, one day prior to a scheduled meeting of "contact group" foreign ministers on 30 July, to discuss the current situation in Bosnia. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc. ROSE BLASTS BOSNIAN SERBS FOR CONVOY ATTACK. On 28 July international agencies reported that UN commander General Michael Rose condemned sharply a Bosnian Serb attack on a UN fuel convoy on 27 July, and reiterated that NATO air strikes could result if peacekeepers' lives are again threatened. According to Reuters, Rose has described the Bosnian Serb interpretation of the event, which centers on explaining the attack as a case of mistaken identity, as "worthless." Following the incident, the Bosnian Serb side claimed it fired on the UN convoy because it thought that in fact the convoy belonged to the Bosnian government. Stan Markotich, RFE/RL Inc. ONE-TENTH OF CROATIA'S POPULATION ARE REFUGEES. Vjesnik on 27 July reported the latest census of the republic's refugee population, which now stands at 379,908. This accounts for a tenth of the country's inhabitants and three-quarters of them are without a regular source of income. Refugee relief has been the second largest item in the state budget after defense. Meanwhile, Bavarian Radio said on 26 July that Croatia hopes to take in over one billion dollars this year in tourist revenues, but other German media note that the Croatian economy remains on the ropes despite an abundance of hard currency in the country. At fault are not only the damage and dislocation of war, but also the fact that the old communist management structure remains largely in place. What privatization there is, has largely served to consolidate the hold of privileged members of Tudjman's party, many of whom are ex-communist functionaries. Elsewhere, the Croatian press continues to be taken up with the future of UNPROFOR as well as with a rather esoteric debate on alleged attempts to rewrite the history of the 1971 Croatian Spring, during which Tudjman and two prominent opposition leaders in today's Croatia made their names. Patrick Moore, RFE/RL Inc. TYMINSKI SUES POLISH TV. Graciela Tyminska, the Peruvian-born wife of the eccentric emigre who unexpectedly finished second in the first round of the 1990 presidential elections, testified in a Warsaw court on 28 July that the only conflict in her marriage arose because she put too much chili in her husband's tomato soup, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 29 July. Tyminski is suing Polish TV over a program aired during the final days of the 1990 election campaign, in which his Mississauga (Canada) neighbors accused him of beating his wife and starving his children. Tyminski is demanding an apology and damages (for charity); the case has already dragged on for years. In other court news, a second day of testimony was heard in the trial of President Lech Walesa's son on charges of drunk driving and resisting arrest. Przemyslaw Walesa has admitted to drinking heavily and smashing into another car after learning that his girlfriend was pregnant, but claims he cannot remember what happened next. According to the arresting officers, Przemyslaw kicked and struggled and finally had to be put in a straight jacket. He is said to have shouted, "You'll all be fired. You don't know who I am," PAP reported on 28 July. Louisa Vinton, RFE/RL Inc. SLOVAK POLITICAL UPDATE. During a press conference on 28 July, Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky and Jan Langos, spokesman of the Permanent Conference of the Civic Institute, announced the signing of a cooperation agreement, TASR reported. Carnogursky said his party does not agree with the recent decision of the National Property Fund to hold a direct sale of the shares of five major Slovak firms. He argued instead that the firms should be privatized through a transparent public competition or through sale on the capital market and said the issue would be brought up at the next meeting of the coalition council. Concerning the letter recently sent by Movement for a Democratic Slovakia Chairman Vladimir Meciar to the CSCE, recommending Carnogursky's removal as vice-chairman, Carnogursky said it was sent to someone who is no longer the chairman or even a member of the CSCE parliamentary assembly and that it should be re-addressed. CDM Deputy Chairman Frantisek Miklosko said that signatures of thirty Slovak parliament members should be collected by 29 July, and an extraordinary session of parliament can be expected to begin on 9 August. A major issue to be discussed is the limiting of campaign spending in the upcoming elections. Sharon Fisher, RFE/RL Inc. HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT DECIDES AGAINST WORLD FAIR. Prime Minister Gyula Horn told reporters after a cabinet meeting on 28 July that Hungary could not afford to host the 1996 World Fair, MTI reports. Horn said that the plan of the previous conservative government to finance the fair primarily from private investments proved to be an illusion, and that the state budget could not carry the estimated costs of between 50 and 60 billion forint. He pledged that infrastructure improvements connected with the fair--including new roads, bridges, and better telecommunications--will be completed. Most opposition parties protested against the government's decision on the ground that the fair would have helped Hungarian entrepreneurs and created much needed jobs. Organizations representing the interests of entrepreneurs also expressed disappointment. The government plans to submit the proposal to cancel the fair for approval to parliament in September. Edith Oltay, RFE/RL Inc. US GENERAL VISITS HUNGARY. General Charles G. Boyd, Deputy Commander of US Forces in Europe, on 28 July completed a three-day visit to Hungary at the invitation of the US-Hungarian Military Working Group, MTI reports. Boyd discussed important issues dealing with bilateral military ties with Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti and awarded a high US military decoration to Maj. Gen. Jozsef Biro, first deputy chief of staff. Alfred Reisch, RFE/RL Inc. MINERS STRIKE IN ROMANIA. About 15,000 miners in Rovinari went on strike on 28 July, demanding a raise of 50% in salaries. The mining company said it could agree only to a raise of between 5 and 7%. Radio Bucharest and Western agencies reported miners also rallied in Targu Jiu, where a delegation of the strikers began negotiations with management. Leaders of the miners said they had planned a 24 hour strike but the action could be prolonged indefinitely if their demands are not met. At least ten miners began a hunger strike in Targu Jiu, outside the main headquarters of the mining company, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. The two sides agreed to continue negotiations on the next days. Michael Shafir, RFE/RL Inc. BULGARIAN PRIVATIZATION MAKING PROGRESS? At a seminar devoted to Bulgaria's achievements in the field of privatization, held in Sofia on 28 July, BTA reports that specialists engaged in lively discussions both about the government's past performance and its recently adopted mass privatization scheme. The Director of the newly established Center for Mass Privatization, Dimitar Stefanov, argued that the denationalization of the economy had made so little progress primarily because it was lacking a comprehensive and coordinated approach. By contrast, Aleksandar Bozhkov, the former head of the Agency on Privatization, defended the market-based law of 1992, and warned that the mass privatization scheme would mainly provide members of the ex-nomenklatura with an opportunity to further extend their influence over the economy. On the previous day the Agency on Privatization said it had completed no more than 12 deals during the first half of 1994, but is about to sell 55% of the shares in the SOMAT Limited. SOMAT is the country's largest transport company with 6,500 employees, over 6,000 trucks and trailers, and offices in 22 countries. Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL Inc. MOLDOVA ADOPTS CONSTITUTION. On 28 July Moldova's Parliament, elected in February of this year, July approved by an 81 to 18 vote the country's new constitution, due to go into effect on the anniversary of the country's independence on 27 August. The constitution defines Moldova as an independent, democratic, and "single" state, its official language "Moldovan" (not Romanian) in the Latin script; guarantees the use and development of the Russian and other languages spoken in Moldova; declares the country's permanent neutrality and bans the stationing of foreign troops on its territory; and makes provision for the autonomy of Transdniester and the Gagauz region, to be detailed in organic laws due for enactment by 1 January 1995. Human rights and freedoms, political pluralism, civil peace, and the rule of law are declared supreme values. The government is semi-presidential, with executive authority divided between President and cabinet, while Parliament holds supreme legislative authority. Parliament and a non-partisan President are to be elected for four-year terms (the next elections would fall due in December 1995 for President and February 1998 for Parliament). The pro-Romanian opposition, which had as a minority controlled the previous parliament and stalled constitutional development for three years, unsuccessfully resisted this constitution within and outside Parliament. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc. MOLDOVA GRANTING AUTONOMY TO GAGAUZ. In what may be a precedent-setting step for postcommunist Eastern Europe, Moldova's Parliament adopted overwhelmingly in the first reading on 28 July an organic law establishing a "national-territorial autonomous unit" for the Gagauz. Moldova's top leaders and the Agrarian parliamentary leadership had negotiated the document with Gagauz leaders, who sent a delegation to attend the voting in parliament. The law provides for a far-reaching devolution of powers. The new region will have its own elected legislative and executive authorities, will use three official languages--Gagauz/Turkish, Russian, and Moldovan/Romanian--and will be entitled to secession from Moldova in the hypothetical case of the latter's merger with Romania. Chisinau had offered these terms already in the spring of 1993 but the Gagauz leaders had held out for more. The pro-Romanian minority vehemently resisted the deal all along. The second reading of the law is scheduled for August. Vladimir Socor, RFE/RL Inc. RUSSIA RESUMES TROOP WITHDRAWAL FROM ESTONIA. Juri Tohvri, the Estonian Defense Ministry official responsible for Russian military sites, said that the Russian troop withdrawal had resumed and is progressing better than previously, Interfax reported on 28 July. Two Russian ships, loaded with equipment from the navy's air force base at Amari, left Padilski that day and seven more transport ships will take away more equipment in August. Property of the tank regiment of the 144th infantry division were being loaded on 51 railroad cars at Klooga. Official ceremonies, scheduled for 27 July, closing the naval base at Tallinn were apparently canceled for "unknown" reasons. The base's deputy commander, Anatolii Derevyanko, said, however, that the base "doesn't even function anymore" and even lacked the personnel to run the one remaining ship, Western agencies report. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc. LATVIA, CHINA RESTORE DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. On 28 July Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen and Latvian Deputy Prime Minister Maris Gailis signed a joint declaration in Beijing restoring diplomatic relations, Western agencies report. The two countries had established diplomatic relations in September 1991, but China recalled its ambassador after Latvia established consular relations with Taiwan in February 1992. The signing of the declaration terminated Latvia's relations with Taiwan. Saulius Girnius, RFE/RL Inc. RUSSIAN TROOPS IN BELARUS. On 28 July Interfax reported that Belarusian defense ministry spokesman Yeuhen Rzhavtsev said that Belarus is keeping to the timetable for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the country. All of the long-range nuclear missiles in Belarus are to be removed to Russia by 1998 at which time all Russian strategic rocket forces guarding the missiles are to be withdrawn. Rzhavtsev said that Moscow has asked Belarus to consider keeping some Russian military installations in the country because of their strategic importance to Russia, including a radar station in Hantsevich and a communications center for Baltic Fleet warships in Vileika. The issue will be discussed at the summit talks between Russian and Belarusian leaders in Moscow on 3 August. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc. IMF IN BELARUS. Following his visit to Ukraine, IMF managing director Michel Camdessus arrived in Belarus at the invitation of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Belarusian radio reported on 28 July. Camdessus will meet with Lukashenka, Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir and Chairman of the Supreme Soviet Mechyslau Hryb to discuss the country's economic policies and IMF credits to the republic. Last year the IMF gave Belarus part of a $98 million credit package to support the country's economic reforms. Most of the credit was used to pay for Russian energy supplies. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc. UKRAINE ON YUGOSLAVIA. On 28 July Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitalii Masol held talks with the prime minister of rump Yugoslavia, Radoje Kontic, Reuters and Interfax reported. After the talks Masol announced that Ukraine should restore its former economic and cultural ties with rump Yugoslavia. Ukraine's foreign minister Anatolii Zlenko said that sanctions against rump Yugoslavia could be eased with regard to food and medicine, although he stressed that Ukraine upholds UN sanctions against that country. Zlenko also said that Ukraine agreed with Russia's position on replacing UN troops in Bosnia with NATO forces. According to Zlenko, NATO is a military bloc and thus cannot be considered a peacekeeping force. Kontic's three-day visit to Ukraine ends on 29 July. Ustina Markus, RFE/RL Inc. ALBANIAN HIGH COURT CONFIRMS NANO SENTENCE. Reuters reports that Albania's Supreme Court on 28 July ruled to uphold a 12-year jail sentence against Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano, accused of having misappropriated state funds. Judge Avni Shehu said the court had reached the conclusion that Nano was guilty of actions that had cost the state 72 million lek (then $7 million) when serving as prime minister, by arranging an aid deal through friends and connections. According to the verdict, Nano will also have to return the 72 million to the state. While the police dis-persed a crowd of some 50 Nano supporters in front of the courthouse, Deputy Socialist Party leader Luan Hajdaraga called the ruling "a political verdict" and promised that the party would "fight until he is free." Kjell Engelbrekt, RFE/RL Inc. CONSTRUCTION BOOM IN ALBANIA. At a recent press conference, Minister of Construction Ilir Manushi spoke of a housing construction boom in Albania (Rilindja Demokratike, 26 July). Production in the construction sector this year was up 165% over the corresponding period in 1993. Over 10,000 housing units are being financed by the state, out of which 1,200 will go to former politically persecuted people. The rest will go to homeless families (42,000) and to those who return their homes to the former owners. More than 4,000 jobs have been created in this sector which two years ago came to a complete standstill. Louis Zanga, RFE/RL Inc. [As of 1200 CET] Compiled by Vladimir Socor and Dan Ionescu The RFE/RL Daily Report is 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 (NCA). The report is available by electronic mail by subscribing to RFERL-L at LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU, on the Sovset' computer bulletin board, by fax, and by postal mail. For inquiries about specific news items, subscriptions, or additional copies, please contact: in North America: Mr. Brian Reed, RFE/RL, Inc., 1201 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 Telephone: (202) 457-6912 or -6907; Fax: (202) 457-6992 or 828-8783; Internet: RI-DC@RFERL.ORG or Elsewhere: Ms. Helga Hofer, Publications Department, RFE/RL Research Institute, Oettingenstrasse 67, 80538 Munich, Germany;.Telephone: (+49 89) 2102-2631 or -2624; Fax: (+49 89) 2102-2648, Internet: PD@RFERL.ORG ~1994, RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. 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. RFE/RL NEWS BRIEFS, an edited compendium of items first published in the Daily Report, is distributed along with the RFE/RL RESEARCH REPORT, a weekly journal providing topical analyses of political, economic and security developments throughout the Institute's area of interest. Longer analyses are available in a monograph series, RFE/RL STUDIES, and brief analytic summaries appear monthly in the RESEARCH BULLETIN. 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