UKRAINE'S GDP DROPS NEARLY 5 PERCENT IN FIRST QUARTER. The State Committee for Statistics reported on 28 April that Ukraine's GDP decreased by 4.8 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period in 1998. Industrial production was down 2 percent. Agricultural output among private farms increased by 2.4 percent, but owing to the poor performance of state-run farms, the increase in total agricultural production was only 0.5 percent. JM

KUCHMA SIGNS EDICT ON PROTECTION OF MORALS. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has signed an edict on "developing spirituality, protecting morals, and establishing a healthy way of life," Ukrainian Television reported on 28 April. The document sets up a nationwide body, headed by Deputy Premier Valeriy Smoliy, to coordinate the edict's implementation. Among other things, the cabinet and local authorities are ordered to take urgent measures to prevent the "propaganda of violence" in the media and the dissemination of pornography. "The edict is by no means intended to return to the former times [in Ukraine] of censorship or bans of a political or ideological character," Smoliy commented. JM