12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 2, 1996
1million strike in
NOVOKUZNETSK, Russia (AP)-
More than a million Russian and Ukrai-
nian coal miners went on strike yester-
day in a wave ofanger that could lead to
budgetary chaos and affect Russia's
presidential election campaign.
From Ukraine's coal-rich Donbass
region to eastern Siberia, miners were
demanding hundreds of millions ofdol-
lars in unpaid wages and protesting
government neglect of state-owned
"We'll make them respect us and
teach them a lesson," Ivan Mokhnachuk,
deputy head of Russia's Union of Coal
Industry Workers, said in Moscow.
The walkout comes in the dead of
winter in countries heavily reliant on
coal. In eastern Siberia, coal is the only
energy source, and some regions have
only about a week's reserves.
In many areas, however, Russia has
other energy sources. Gas and oil are
both used far more than coal in Russia,
and with the use of gas on the rise, it
would be the apparent fallback if the
strike stretches on. Hydropower and
nuclear power account for a much
smaller percentage of the power sup-
The strike's immediate impact is ex-
pected to be political.
Coal mining is still a state-owned
industry in both of the former Soviet
republics. Workers in other cash-starved
state sectors also are angry, and say
they have lost faith in government prom-
ises to address the problems of unpaid
wages and payments to industry.
"The miners could start a chain reac-
tion that would bring about an emer-
gency situation in the country," said
Alexander Zhukov, a moderate law-
maker and deputy chairman of the bud-
get committee in Russia's lower house
"It's enough to make a concession to
one industry, and others will come for
the same," he said.
Thousands of men trudged off the
night shift in the predawn darkness in
the Kuznetsk Basin region of western
Siberia, a scene repeated at dozens of
mines across Russia.
"I have to go to pensioners and bor-
row money to buy bread and milk for
my family," Ravil Shafigulin said out-
side a mine near Novokuznetsk, 1,800
miles east of Moscow, his face grimy
from the night shift.
Union officials said about a million
of a total 1.2 million miners went on
strike in Ukraine, along with about
500,000 Russian miners - a majority
ofthe workforce in Russia's seven coal-
The officials said the strike closed or
restricted operations of203 ofUkraine's
Russian coat miner Yevgeny Trianov counts his day's wages as he and others go off shift to begin a nationwide strike.
245 mines, and shut down at least 87
percent of Russia's 245 mines.
Although the strikes apparently were
coordinated, the miners in each country
were pressing their own demands only.
In addition to back wages, Russian
miners want a system to ensure prompt
payments in the future, payment ofover-
due government subsidies to mines, and
a restructuring of the ailing industry.
The Ukrainian workers' demands in-
clude a return to Soviet-era subsidies to
help the struggling mines.
The head of Ukraine's Independent
Miners' Union, Mikhailo Volynets,
called the miners' plight "the deepest
crisis the industry has ever seen."
"We fully understand the possible
negative effects of the strike, but an-
other option simply doesn't exist," he
Russian President Boris Yeltsin, once
immensely popular among miners, was
scrambling to deal with their demands
as he prepares for an expected re-elec-
tion bid in June.
Yeltsin's chief economic aide,
Alexander Livshits, told the Interfax
news agency that a "tough monthly
schedule" for payments to miners was
being drawn up on the president's or-
But the president has been besieged
by election-year demands for back
wages from various industries, and pay-
ing out the huge sums would risk fuel-
ing inflation and jeopardize the
government's economic austerity pro-
WASHINGTON (AP) - In a mas-
sive rewrite oftelecommunications rules
for the 21st century, the House voted
yesterday to ease limits on the explod-
ing television, telephone and home com-
The 414-16 vote set the stage for
action in the Senate, which was already
debating the bill. President Clinton has
said he will sign it.
The huge reworking of the 61 -yea*
old Communications Act would let lo-
cal and long-distance telephone com-
panies and cable companies into each
others' businesses, deregulate cable
rates and restrict smutty material on
computer networks and television.
It also would let media companies
more easily expand their holdings.
Supporters say the measure would
boost jobs, expand consumer choic
and potentially lower prices for cabl ,
telephone and other communications
But opponents say that more jobs
will be lost than gained through con-
solidation, that choices will be limited
and that cable and telephone rates are
likely to go up considerably because
the level of competition envisioned by
supporters will not emerge.
The bill covers the $700 billion tele-
communications industry, which a
counts for one-sixth of the nations
A major roadblock to Senate passage
was cleared when Majority Leader Bob
Dole (R-Kan.) received assurances from
the Federal Communications Commis-
sion that it would not issue new digital
television licenses until Congress de-
cides whether broadcasters should have
to pay for them.
In the House, Rep. Billy Tauzin (
La.), said the bill "will link us as Ameri-
cans together as never before. This is a
grand celebration of the free market
system. It is a grand strategy to unleash
the technologies geniuses are working
on and to give them a chance to become
But one opponent, Rep. John Conyers
(D-Mich.), said it does more for big
business than for consumers. Congress
has decided, he said, "that consum*
protection must take a back seat to
Sri Lanka govt vows to 'eliminate' Tamil terrorists
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) - Using every-
thing from small shovels to huge earthmovers,
soldiers and construction workers found 13 more
bodies yesterday in the scarred landscape of down-
town Colombo, and the government vowed to
"eliminate" the Tamil rebels it blamed for the
At least 73 people were killed and 1,400 injured
Wednesday when a suicide squad rammed a truck
packed with explosives into Sri Lanka's central
The attack, one of the worst in Sri Lanka's 12-
year war with the rebels, ignited towering fires in
the capital's business and tourist district.
Seven injured people died overnight in the
hospital, and nearly 100 others were still in critical
condition last night.
As darkness fell on Colombo's blackened sky-
line, floodlights illuminated the devastation. Res-
cue teams dug into piles of rubble with the deter-
mination of worker ants. Some used heavy ma-
Group blamed for Wednesday's bombing
that killed 73 and injured 1,400 people
chinery and some simple shovels, but all said they
did not expect to find more survivors.
Heavily armed soldiers kept large crowds at
bay. Some onlookers were distraught, believing
that a family member was still buried under the
shattered glass, twisted steel beams and slabs of
The attack came in desperation, said Presi-
dent Chandrika Kumaratunga, who claimed the
Tamil Tiger rebels had suffering military set-
backs and realized that other Tamils backed her
plan to decentralize and give them limited au-
"This unfortunate incident has once again re-
minded us that the threat to Sri Lankan society by
terrorism must be firmly dealt with," she said in a
statement. Terrorists "must be eliminated."
The separatists are fighting for a homeland in
northern and eastern Sri Lanka, hundreds of miles
away from Colombo, a port city in the south.
The Tamils say they are discriminated against
by the majority Sinhalese, who control the govern-
ment and the military. More than 40,000 people
have died in the war.
Kumaratunga came to power in 1994, vowing to
hold peace talks with the rebels and end the war,
but those talks failed last year and the fighting
intensified. In December, government troops cap-
tured Jaffna City, the rebels' stronghold in the
Wednesday's bomb, which police believe
weighed 110 to 220 pounds, left a crater eight feet
deep and shattered windows of buildings hun-
dreds of yards away. The driver of the truck was
killed, but two others were arrested shortly after-
Investigators, interrogating those suspects yes-
terday, were trying to piece together the opera-
Police said the truck left Monday from Vavunia,
a northern front-line town and took more than a
day to reach Colombo, normally a five-hour trip.
It parked overnight Tuesday in a Tamil neigh-
borhood of Colombo, and left Wednesday morn-
ing for the business district with explosives con-
cealed under bags of rice hulls.
Police have identified the suspects only as Ragu
and Dharma Ruben from the northern rebel-held
town of Kilinochchi, and the dead driver as Raj.
Detectives raided a house in northern Colombo
they believe the bombers had used and arrested
several other people yesterday, but refused to
for a Stu
"HOW TO GET PUBLISHED"
and Advancement Program)
ice of University Relations is making a Call for Entries
udent Speaker at Spring Commencement
aturday, May 4, 1996
dent speaker must be receiving a
Winter Term 1996 or Summer Ter
ulum Vitae (or resume) highlighting U-J
arship and campus leadership
draft of speech (no more than 5 minut
cassette tape of yourself reading the s
Feb 9 (Fri) 6-8pm Room D
Feb 16 (Fri) 6-8pm Room D
This workshop will teach you the
basics of astrological chart reading.
Also, you will learn the necessary
requirements of astrological
interpretations. Find our where your
sun and moon are located in order to
make you better understand yourself.
Bring notepad and pen and you may
also want to bring small tape
-wA Y A " "AY N A A "
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