INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM TO REINFORCE CHORNOBYL SARCOPHAGUS. An international consortium has won a tender to reinforce the sarcophagus covering the damaged reactor at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, AP reported on 4 August. The consortium, headed by the French company Technique Atom, includes British, German, and U.S. companies. The $5.4 million deal is the second stage of a broader project on improving Chornobyl's safety. The funds will be used for, among other things, the technical maintenance of and repairs to the sarcophagus. Some 20 donor nations have pledged $400 million to make the concrete and steel sarcophagus environmentally safe. JM

KUCHMA SACKS CHIEF AVIATION OFFICIAL. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has fired State Aviation Administration chief Volodymyr Maksymov for failing to improve the safety of Ukrainian air flights, AP reported on 4 August. The formal reason for the dismissal was Maksimov's failure to implement Kuchma's January 1998 decree on measures to tighten air transport regulations. The decree was issued shortly after a Ukrainian Yak-42 crashed in Greece, killing 70 people. Last month, a Ukrainian Il-76 aircraft fell into the sea near the United Arab Emirates, killing all eight people on board, and a Ukrainian Il-78 military plane crashed in Eritrea, killing 10 people. JM

UKRAINE SETTLES BORDER DISPUTE WITH MOLDOVA. During Moldovan Prime Minister Ion Ciubuc's visit to Kyiv on 4 August, agreement was reached on resolving a border dispute in an area near the Danube delta. Under that agreement, Moldova will receive a small area of Ukrainian territory to build an oil terminal on the banks of the River Danube. In exchange, Ukraine will receive a section of the road connecting the Ukrainian cities of Odessa and Izmail. Ukrainian Prime Minister Valeriy Pustovoytenko said that Moldova is Ukraine's strategic partner and that economic relations between both countries must be intensified. JM