UKRAINIAN CABINET APPROVES TWO-STAGE PENSION INCREASE. The government on 8 November approved a two-stage increase in state pensions, Interfax reported. Currently, the monthly minimum and maximum pensions are 48 hryvni ($8.8) and 81 hryvni, respectively. As of 1 December, those pensions will be raised to 55 hryvni and 90 hryvni and as of 1 April 2001 to 58 hryvni and 108 hryvni. Out of Ukraine's 49 million residents, more than 13 million are pensioners. The officially approved monthly subsistence minimum in Ukraine is 270 hryvni per capita (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 October 2000). JM

UKRAINIAN EX-PREMIER REJECTS RECENT BRIBERY CHARGES. Lawyers of former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, who has been jailed in the U.S. on charges of laundering $114 million, have told Interfax that Lazarenko "categorically rejects" the recent accusation that he accepted bribes from Oleksandr Tymoshenko, a member of the Unified Energy Systems Board (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 November 2000). The lawyers added that Lazarenko has "never maintained business or other relations" with Oleksandr Tymoshenko. JM