RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN CRISIS TASK FORCE TO MEET. Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma agreed during a 19 October telephone conversation that their joint anti-crisis task force will convene in Moscow on 23 October, Interfax reported. They also said that a planned meeting of Russian and Ukrainian businessmen in Kharkiv on 30 October could give "a new impulse to bilateral economic cooperation," according to the Russian news service. PG

CHORNOBYL-RELATED CANCERS INCREASE IN UKRAINE. Ukraine's Health Ministry and UN officials have reported a rise in the number of Ukrainians suffering from thyroid cancer, dpa reported on 19 October. "The disease is a consequence of the catastrophe at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant," Ukrainian Health Minister Andriy Serdyuk told Interfax. Some 1,030 children now suffer from this disease in Ukraine, Serdyuk said, whereas "not long ago," there were only 800 to 900 victims. PG

EARTHQUAKE HITS UKRAINE'S CRIMEA. Ukraine's Emergencies Ministry told Reuters on 19 October that a moderate earthquake shook Crimea the previous day, but the ministry reported no deaths or damage. Earlier officials at Ukraine's Geodesic Institute said that the remaining seven seismological stations in Crimea (out of the 13 that had existed there in 1991) would close by the end of this year because of a lack of funds. PG