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MILLIONS OF UKRAINIANS SAID TO BE WORKING ABROAD. Ombudswoman Nina Karpachova reported to the Verkhovna Rada on 2 April that, according to various estimates, between 2 million and 7 million Ukrainians are working abroad owing to the difficult economic situation and high unemployment in Ukraine, UNIAN reported. Karpachova said she believes that no fewer than 5 million Ukrainians -- or one in five employable citizens -- works abroad, the overwhelming majority of them illegally. Karpachova said Ukrainians abroad earn more than 2 billion hryvnyas ($375 million) per month. She added that most of that is subsequently transferred to family members in Ukraine, thus circumventing the country's banking system and tax authorities. Karpachova said 23,620 Ukrainians have been deported in the past two years, primarily from Turkey, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Italy. JM
UKRAINIAN PROSECUTORS CLOSE PROBE INTO JOURNALIST'S DEATH. Prosecutors in Kyiv said on 2 April that in March they closed an investigation into last year's death of Mykhaylo Kolomiyets, founder and head of the Ukrayinski novyny news agency, UNIAN reported. Kolomiyets was found hanged in a forest in Belarus in November (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 November 2003). Prosecutors declared the journalist's death a suicide. JM
...AS PREMIER HERALDS EARLY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. Miller also presented in his statement a "four-point political plan" that calls for Poland's integration into the European Union, consolidating pro-European forces before the accession referendum in June, restoring economic growth, and holding parliamentary elections simultaneously with elections to the European Parliament on 13 June 2004 -- that is, a year ahead of schedule. "I feel that on the threshold of this new reality, a new democratic legitimation for parliament and the government would be useful," Miller said. Miller currently governs with a minority in parliament (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 3 and 4 March 2003). Kwasniewski assured Miller that he fully supports the cabinet's four-point program, rejecting reports of a "war at the top" between the president and the premier (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 26 March 2003). JM
NAVAL COMMANDERS MEET AT BULGARIAN BLACK SEA PORT. Naval commanders from NATO member states and countries neighboring the Black Sea met in Varna on 2 April to discuss their role in fighting international terrorism and other security threats, BTA reported. The participants from Britain, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and from NATO's Allied Naval Forces Southern Europe gathered to assess so-called "asymmetrical threats" that include international terrorism, organized crime, arms and human trafficking, as well as environmental disasters. Meanwhile, Bulgarian Chief of General Staff General Nikola Kolev announced on the sidelines of the meeting that the Bulgarian Navy will order new ships and submarines, "Standard" reported. UB