KUCHMA SAYS COMMUNIST CAN BE PARLIAMENT SPEAKER. At a meeting with leaders of the parliamentary parties on 29 June, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said that Pyotr Simonenko, head of the Communist Party caucus, would be acceptable if the parliament voted for him and if the rightof -center caucuses were allowed to control at least 10 of the 20 parliamentary committees, according to ITAR-TASS. The other candidate in the next round of voting on 30 June is Leonid Chernovetskiy, a member of Kuchma's own People's Democratic Party. The parliament has been seeking to elect a speaker since 12 May. Kuchma warned that the deadlock is having a negative impact on Ukraine's development. PG

ARGENTINA TO HELP UKRAINE ENCASE CHORNOBYL. During an official visit to Kyiv on 29 June, Argentinean President Carlos Saul Menem said his country will provide financial assistance to help build a more environmentally safe container for the Chornobyl nuclear power station, ITAR-TASS reported. Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials have shut down reactor no. 2 for repairs at the country's Yuzhnaya atomic energy station. Seven of Ukraine's 14 nuclear power reactors are now undergoing repairs. PG