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JOURNALISTS COMPLAIN OF POLICE BEATING DURING PUTIN VISIT. A group of Crimean journalists issued a joint statement on 6 August complaining of an attack on Yevhen Rybki, the editor of the Sevastopol daily "Melitopolskie Novosti," in the city during last week's visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, dpa reported. The statement said police beat Rybki "for no good reason" and then charged him with resisting arrest. He was detained by police and interrogated for six hours. Ukraine's Internal Affairs Ministry said it was not immediately aware of the incident. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 6 August)

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT MEETS TATARSTAN'S SHAIMIEV. During his vacation in Crimea, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has met with Tatarstan's President Mintimer Shaimiev and discussed cooperation between Ukrainian regions and Tatarstan, Interfax reported on 12 August, quoting the Ukrainian president's press service. Kuchma and Shaimiev are reportedly interested in ensuring the steady operation of the joint company Ukrtatnafta. Ukrtatnafta was created in 1994 to incorporate the oil refinery in Kremenchuk, Poltava Oblast. The Ukrtatnafta management has repeatedly complained that the Tatar cofounders of the company fail to meet their obligations, in particular those regarding supplies of Tatar oil to the refinery. JM

UKRAINE'S REPUBLICAN PARTY WANTS COMMUNIST PARTY BANNED. The Ukrainian Republican Party (URP) has asked the Justice Ministry to ban the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU), Interfax reported on 12 August. URP leader Levko Lukyanenko told journalists that the KPU should be banned under Ukraine's law on political parties, which prohibits political activities oriented toward the liquidation of Ukraine's independence, propaganda of violence, and encroachment on human rights and freedoms. According to Lukyanenko, the KPU program's provision calling for the restoration of a "union of fraternal peoples" is tantamount to a postulate to liquidate Ukraine's independence, while the KPU's MarxistLeninist ideology implies such political measures as a violent overturn of the government and encroachment on human rights and freedoms. JM

LITHUANIA HAS LOWEST HIV RATE IN REGION. According to the Lithuanian AIDS Center, there are 316 HIV-positive persons -- 266 men and 50 women -- registered in the country, BNS reported on 11 August. Most of the HIV-positive persons reside in Klaipeda (142) and Vilnius (104). They contracted the disease by sharing needles when using intravenous drugs (197) and during unsafe sex (102). Lithuania's HIV rate of 6.8 per 100,000 people is significantly lower than the rates recorded last year of 33.08 per 100,000 in Latvia, 26.1 in Estonia, 350.1 in the Kaliningrad region, 16.95 in Poland, 26.79 in Belarus, 19.89 in Russia, and 45.72 in Ukraine. SG

ETHNIC ALBANIAN LEADER: RUSSIA MUST STOP ARMING SKOPJE. Interfax reported from Moscow on 10 August that Imer Imeri, who heads the Party of Democratic Prosperity, told "Vremya novostei" that disarmament of the UCK "will not become a reality before an agreement on this is backed by international guarantees and Macedonia does not receive any more military supplies from Ukraine, Russia, and the entire Slavic world," Imeri said. He stressed that "we are for a unitary state with [one] sovereignty and [one set of] borders. What we want is a better legal and political status for the Albanians in the framework of a unitary Macedonian state." PM