NEW GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS IN UKRAINE. President Leonid Kuchma on 11 August appointed Valery Smoliy as deputy prime minister. Smoliy, a historian and member of the Academy of Sciences, replaces Ivan Kuras, who is retiring. Kuchma also appointed Valeriy Cherep, the chairman of the parliament's regional development committee, as minister for transportation; Volodymyr Radchenko as first deputy minister of the coal industry, Volodymyr Husakov to be Construction, Architecture and Housing Committee chairman. The information, justice, and family and youth portfolios remain to be filled, UNIAN reported.
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS DECREE WRITING OFF DEBTS. Also on 11 August, Kuchma signed a decree writing off debts incurred by state car manufacturer AvtoZaz, Ukrainian Television reports. The move was demanded by the South Korean car manufacturer Daewoo as a condition for the creation of a joint venture.
"VECHIRNYA ODESA" EDITOR KILLED. Borys Derevianenko, editor in chief of the newspaper "Vechirnya Odesa" was shot dead on 11 August by an unknown assailant. Odessa Oblast Police Administrator Col. Hryhoriy Yepur said Derevianenko was shot in the chest and abdomen with an automatic gun. An investigation team has been set up on the orders of President Kuchma by the Interior Ministry, the Prosecutor-General's Office, and the security service. The Odessa Oblast administrator called the murder a political act that was most likely connected with his work and therefore an attack on democracy, Unian reported. Colleagues of Derevyanko say they believe his killing is related to the newspaper's opposition to the municipal authorities.
STALLED CHISINAU-TIRASPOL TALKS. Anatol Taranu, the chief negotiator for Moldova in parleys with the breakaway Transdniester region, told BASA-press on 11 August that Tiraspol's stance does not tally with the viewpoint of the three mediators -- Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE. He said Tiraspol does not accept the principle of Moldovan territorial integrity. Transdniestrian intransigence, Taranu added, can be explained only by the fact that Tiraspol is supported from the "outside." Vladimir Atamanyuk, the deputy chairman of the Transdniester Supreme Soviet, told BASA-press that Tiraspol accepts the principle of the "common state" but wants that state to be a confederation of equal partners. Atamanyuk added that if Moldova is not ready to accept this position "there are other countries we could build a common state with -- look at the example of the RussiaBelarus union."