UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS DEAL WITH WORLD BANK... Lawmakers on 1 December voted by 167 to 74 to reject an agreement signed by the government and the World Bank, AP reported. That agreement would have allowed the cabinet to provide guarantees to foreign creditors and investors to protect them from possible losses or other risks linked to Ukraine's economic instability. The World Bank pledged to back the guarantees by a special fund amounting annually to $120 million. The vote came on the same day as a World Bank mission arrived in Kyiv to discuss new projects and loans. Valeriy Aloshyn, head of the parliamentary Finance Committee, commented that the failure to ratify the document stemmed from the "general negative attitude [among lawmakers] to any deals that have to do with foreign loans." JM

...PROHIBITS PRESIDENT FROM CHANGING TAX LEGISLATION. Also on 1 December, the parliament voted by 342 with one abstention to override President Leonid Kuchma's veto on a tax law that forbids the president from setting tax rates and granting tax exemptions. Kuchma had argued that the legislation could lead to lower budget revenues because it would not allow the president to change excise and import taxes if necessary. Serhiy Teryokhyn of the parliamentary Finance Committee urged lawmakers to override the veto, arguing that the country's constitution grants them the exclusive right to determine tax rates and breaks. Earlier this month, the parliament approved amendments prohibiting the president from limiting state spending on certain items in the budget. JM