ASTANA, Feb 17 (THE GLOBE)
On Thursday, February 17, at the meeting of the Finance Minister Mazhit Yesenbaev with members of the Committee on Economic Reforms and Regional Development the deputy Minister Yerbolat Dosaev announced that the Finance Ministry had decided to postpone the privatization of distributive power companies (DPC) until April 1, 2000.
According to the deputy, this decision is to stave off the situation, when DPC were sold along with power-producing enterprises. In the result, in some regions power monopolies established.
Dosaev said that the state should determine, what DPC will remain national, and in what regions and how they will be privatized.
In Dosaev�s opinion, at present it is necessary to issue the law on regional monopolies not only in the power industry, but in other branches of the economy as well.
MOSCOW, Feb 17 (AFP)
Russia on Thursday ruled out appointing an international ombudsman to investigate alleged human rights abuses in Chechnya, a Kremlin spokesman said, cited by Interfax news agency.
Moscow is studying whether to nominate a special human rights commissioner in the separatist republic, but only a �citizen of the Russian Federation� would be chosen for the post, said top Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky.
NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said Wednesday that acting President Vladimir Putin had agreed to appoint an international rapporteur to probe accusations that thousands have been killed by Russian bombardment and many others interned in detention camps during Russia�s operation in Chechnya.
Feb 17 (BBC)
Iran�s pro-reform President Mohammad Khatami has called for a big turnout for Friday�s election to enable him to fulfil his promises for a bright future.
On the final day of campaigning, he said: �This day will show the people�s firm will to be independent and free.
�By voting, the people will not only demonstrate their will but they will help the president and the government realise their ideas.�
President Khatami particularly urged women and young people to vote, the two groups that were decisive in ensuring his landslide victory in 1997, which opened up Iranian politics.
He said the election could be the most significant since the Islamic revolution of 1979.
The president�s supporters are hoping to win control of the parliament, or Majlis, from the conservatives who dominate the outgoing chamber and who have thwarted many of his reform plans.
Thousands of young Iranians have gathered at boisterous rallies in the capital Tehran to back reformist candidates.
Although the popular support for President Khatami clearly worries the hard-liners, the biggest conservative coalition predicted on Wednesday that it would hold on to half of the Majlis.
Ayatollah Khamenei: Conservatives are still confident
The Coalition of the Followers of the Line of the Imam and the Leader is backed by the country�s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
The Ayatollah still holds great sway in Iran. He can veto the president, and controls the army, judiciary, and the state-run radio and television.
The BBC�s Jim Muir reports from Tehran that most analysts expect the conservatives to lose their majority in parliament.
The question is whether the reformists will gain an outright majority or depend on former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and his centrist party to get legislation through.
Most of the liveliest election rallies have been in support of the reformist parties of which there are 18 in all.
Probably the most active has been the Islamic Participation Party which was set up specifically to support President Khatami.
Many of its activities, criticised in the conservative press, have involved young people and students, who have been campaigning strongly on its behalf.
Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani>Mr Rafsanjani may hold the balance of power in the new parliament
The coalition led by former President Rafsanjani, the Executives of Construction Party, has also been holding rallies.
By contrast, the more conservative political parties have been running a very low-key campaign.
They have staged virtually no rallies at all - confining themselves to distributing leaflets and holding small scale public meetings, with candidates making speeches and answering questions from the public.
All Over the Globe is published by IPA House.
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