UKRAINIAN VETERANS, SCIENTISTS RALLY FOR MORE BUDGET FUNDS. Some 5,000 war and labor veterans picketed the parliament building in Kyiv on 18 October, demanding that the legislature reject a provision in the 2001 budget draft calling for cuts in social benefits for them, Interfax reported. In a separate picket, 400 scientists from the National Academy of Sciences called for higher salaries and more spending for scientific research. The parliament will start debating the 2001 budget draft on 19 October. Premier Viktor Yushchenko said all parliamentary caucuses, except the Communists, are ready to endorse the draft in the first reading. "The government plans to direct the lion's share of its revenues to the social sphere, but they say they will not vote [for it]. What [budget] criteria would suit you, gentlemen?" Yushchenko commented on the Communists' stance. JM

MACEDONIAN PRESIDENT IN KYIV. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and his Macedonian counterpart, Boris Trajkovski, signed agreements on cooperation in the military sphere and agriculture in Kyiv on 18 October, Interfax reported. Kuchma and Trajkovski concurred that European integration is a common goal of their countries. "Today we agreed that we need to coordinate our actions starting from European integration, cooperation in regional institutions, as well as our aspiration for integration into the EU," AP quoted Kuchma as saying. JM