UKRAINE LOOKS FOR MORE WESTERN MONEY AS HRYVNYA STABILIZES. A government delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Tyhypko left for Washington on 15 August for two day of talks with the IMF, the "Eastern European Daily" reported. The main goal of the visit is to discuss the disbursement of an IMF loan tranche to Ukraine. It is thought that Tyhypko may agree with the World Bank on the date for releasing a $100 million tranche under the so-called Financial Sector Adjustment Loan program. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian hryvnya has stabilized and returned below the government exchange limit of 4.6 to $1. On 13 August, the hryvnya was trading at $4.54 to $1. JM

UKRAINIAN MINERS CONTINUE PROTESTS OVER WAGE ARREARS. The Independent Miners' Trade Union has threatened to suspend coal supplies to consumers beginning in September and to stage a large-scale protest unless the government reduces its wage debt to coal miners, AP reported on 13 August. More than 2,000 miners are on strike in the Donetsk region, while hundreds of miners' wives and children continue to demonstrate in Luhansk. First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh met with the protesters last week. According to the Independent Miners' Trade Union, however, "miners' hopes for a positive resolution of their problems have not been fulfilled." The government owes the miners more than 2 billion hryvni ($435 million) in back wages, including 145 million hryvni for 1999, according to trade union leaders. JM

SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADER OPPOSED TO HUNGARIAN AUTONOMY IN VOJVODINA. Nenad Canak, who heads the League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina, said in an interview with Hungarian Radio on 15 August that he opposes granting territorial autonomy to Vojvodina's ethnic Hungarians. He charged that providing autonomy "would only facilitate the spread of Serbian nationalism in Vojvodina and lead to new disputes." Canak added that he opposes the concept of "personal autonomy" because it would involve a "redistribution of budget funds" based on the numerical strength of ethnic communities, meaning that "the small Ruthenian and Ukrainian minorities would get practically nothing." In an interview with the Belgrade weekly "NIN" on 15 August, Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians chairman Joszef Kasza said that as long as the Yugoslav authorities "struggle for their own survival," they will have "neither the strength nor the means to deal with minority issues." MS

ALBANIAN POLICE SMASHES INTERNATIONAL PROSTITUTION NETWORK. Albanian police have cracked a network smuggling prostitutes from Russia, Moldavia, Ukraine, and Romania via Albania to Italy, dpa reported on 15 August. Police detained 13 prostitutes and three men in a motel near Shkodra on 15 August. The detainees had apparently entered Albania from Montenegro. Several days earlier, police detained 12 prostitutes in Shkodra. Also on 15 August, Prosecutor-General Arben Rakipi said that Italian Mafia bosses are active in Albania. Three weeks ago, he said, Albanian police arrested Giuseppe Muolo of Sacra Corona Unita, a Mafia group from Puglia. In other news, police found three members of the notorious gang of the Gerdhuqi brothers killed in their car near Vlora on 13 August, AP reported. The three had been released from jail in July for lack of evidence. They had been charged with various crimes ranging from robbery to murder. FS