BERLIN TO BACK KYIV ON AID, DESPITE DISCORD OVER REACTORS. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told visiting Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma on 12 July that Berlin will support Ukraine in its efforts to obtain IMF assistance for its economic development. This indication of German backing came despite a disagreement on how Ukraine will replace the powergenerating capacity of Chornobyl once that nuclear plant is shut down. Ukraine wants to build two additional nuclear power plants, while Germany insists that its money be used to fund other kinds of power-generating facilities. PG

UKRAINIAN ECONOMIC STATISTICS IMPROVE. Ukraine's GDP grew 5 percent in the first half of 2000 compared with the same period a year earlier, AP reported on 12 July. A rise in industrial production accounted for most of the growth, while agriculture continued to decline. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko announced that Kyiv has largely solved its energy crisis by eliminating barter arrangements and boosting cash collection, Reuters reported. PG

IFC PLANS TO BEGIN INVESTING IN UKRAINE. Peter Vojke, the president of the International Finance Corporation, told Ukrainian officials on 12 July that his group plans to begin investing in the Ukrainian economy, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported. He said that this decision reflects the conclusion of IFC officials that the present Ukrainian government is committed to reforms. PG

UKRAINE, RUSSIA CONTINUE TALKS ON SEA OF AZOV. The eighth round of bilateral negotiations on the status of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait and also on the delimitation of the Black Sea began in Kerch on 12 July, ITAR-TASS reported. The two sides continue to disagree over the Sea of Azov, with Ukraine calling for its delimitation and Russia urging that it be jointly exploited. PG

POLAND, RUSSIA TO BEGIN PIPELINE TALKS. Polish Economics Minister Janusz Steinhoff told ITAR-TASS on 12 July that Warsaw and Moscow will begin talks "within days" on the construction of a second branch of the Yamal-Western Europe gas pipeline. Steinhoff added that the plan does not call for the new pipeline to run through Ukraine. PG

POLISH POLICE SMASH PROSTITUTION RING. Polish police announced on 12 July that they had broken up an international gang involved in trafficking in women and forced prostitution, dpa reported. Police spokesman Zbigniew Matwiej said that "Polish, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Romanian, and Ukrainian women were kidnapped, abused and forced into prostitution. He added that the gang had used brutal methods- -including the breaking of legs--to prevent the women from escaping. PG

... AND DETAIN NTV EDITOR AT AIRPORT. Yulia Muromtsova, an editor with NTV's "Independent Investigation" program, was detained at a Moscow airport on 7 July en route to Ukraine after police confiscated several grams of marijuana in her possession, according to the Interfax news agency. An NTV spokeswoman, Tatiana Blinova, said she had heard the report of Muromtsova's detention, but had been unable to contact her or to confirm the information through the police, the AP reported.


NEWSPAPERS TAKE PAYMENT FOR ARTICLES. Even media outlets do not deny they engage in this practice: a spokesperson for the Kyivbased daily "Fakty" says that his paper will not consider a story based on a press release unless payment accompanies it, reports the 5 July "Kyiv Post." Mikhail Soroka, editor of the weekly "Uryadovy Kyrer," says his paper does not use press releases as the basis for their articles since it already has enough information. In violation of Ukrainian law, public relations material often is found in magazines and newspapers without any indication that the material is an advertisement -- a practice defended by Yury Honcharenko, vice president of the business weekly, "Halytsky Kontrakty." Furthermore, local business clients "tend to demand the right to review an article before its publication," according to Dmitry Kotelenets, public relation manager at the Leo Burnett ad agency. The only solution to this widespread problem, the "Kyiv Post" concludes is that "newspapers have to run themselves as money-making businesses, rather than subsidized mouthpieces."