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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Belarusian Nazi dies in prison, Metro extended, Bel/Rus union, Lenin painted orange, Polish ambassador quits again, Sex sells in tennis

From the Top

Construction of the Minsk Metro will proceed at accelerated pace in the years to come, said President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on November 7th at the solemn ceremony of commissioning three new underground stations of the Minsk Metro - ‘Kamennaya Gorka (Stone Hill),’ ‘Kuntsevshchina,’ ‘Sportivnaya.’

Modern and largely unique architectural solutions were put into effect during the construction of three new stations. Granite, marble, ceramic metal, and aluminum were used in finishing the stations’ interior. The new stations are equipped with lifts for wheelchair invalids. After opening the new stations, the total length of the Minsk Metro will be 30 kilometres and comprise 23 stations.

Conversing with the Metro workers, builders, and Minskers, Alexander Lukashenko underlined that the pace of construction of the metro needs to be substantially accelerated. “We will find funds for that,” said the President. It being so, one must not, however, forget about the quality,” the Belarusian leader warned.
The Head of State also deems it necessary to take measures in order to fill vacancies for the metro staff within the shortest time frame – as of today about 250 vacancies are currently available.

In Sportivnaya underground station, the Head of State had a conversation with Minskers – the first passengers at the new section of the Minsk Metro.


The Belarus-Russia Union State is the most “tangible, advanced and promising” formation of all integration projects on the territory of the former Soviet Union, aide to the Russian government Vladimir Andrianov reported.

“The integration is successful enough, although, as any integration process would have it, there are problems connected with promoting national interests of the two countries. This is a common and inevitable process”, Vladimir Andrianov believes.

The Union State worked out a wide legal-treaty base that regulates the issues on the economic policy, customs-tariff regulation, taxes, environment protection, equal conditions for economic agents. The union’s further development will be promoted by the Union State Constitutional Act which is still drafted.

According to Vladimir Andrianov, Russia shows interest in the Belarusian stability and integration strengthening for developing the common market and implementing economic potentials. “We are able to make mutually beneficial decisions”, he noted.

Possible adoption of the budget of the Belarus-Russia Union State for 2006 a year before than adoption of the national budgets of Belarus and Russia can be considered as “a historical event”, chair of the commission on budget and finances of the Parliamentary Assembly of Belarus and Russia stated when opening a meeting of the commission in Minsk.

According to the parliamentarian today’s difficulties around the principal financial document of the Union State are connected with the mechanism of adoption of the law rather than with the figures provisioned in it. The deputy believes that the “red tape thing” in this sphere will be eradicated as the Constitutional Act of the Union State is adopted.

At the same time Vladimir Nikitin noted that the Union State budget for 2006 will climb 10 per cent from this year’s figures to race above RUR3 billion 200 million.


From Kommersant

The Federal Customs Service presented a draft law to make changes to the Customs Code to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday. Customs officials explained that that the majority of the changes proposed were necessary for Russia’s admission to the WTO, but it turned out that most of the changes were solve the problems of the service, using methods far removed from the principles of the WTO. A new Customs Code came into effect in Russia at the beginning of 2004 with the agreement that no changes would be made to it in the first year so that all necessary changes could then be made in a single act. That, however, proved impractical due to the large number of proposed changes. Te State Duma Expert Council on Customs Legislation has prepared more than 80 changes, and the Customs Service (in spite of the fact that its right to prepare legislation was transferred to the Economic Ministry under administrative reform) has prepared about 140 changes.

Deputy chairman of the customs service Yury Azarov suggested yesterday that the 20 most important changes to the code be instituted first. Those, the service contends, are the ones necessary for WTO admission and that hinder foreign trade activities most. Some of the changes directly contradict WTO positions, however, such as the establishment of special customs points for individual types of goods. Head of the Federal Customs Service legal department Galina Balandina explained that the purpose of that is to control the export of lumber and scrap metal from Russia. “There is no other way to solve the problem,” she said. The customs service also wants stricter control over the shipment of goods between Russia and Belarus. “Sometimes that country abuses its neighborly advantages,” Balandina said. Belarusian goods can be shipped into Russia duty-free, but often goods from third countries are imported under the guise of Belarusian good, she added. The customs service wants the right to demand proof of origin for goods passing through the Russian-Belarusian border.


From Chart ‘97

On November 7 in Babrujsk more than 10 monuments and busts of Lenin were covered by orange paint. Housing and municipal services’ workers had to clean out the paint hastily, as on the same day local Communists were holding a wide celebration of the 88th anniversary of October revolution.

In the central square of Babrujsk, where the town’s largest monument of Lenin is situated, a meeting authorized by the authorities was planned. However, in the morning the dwellers of Babrujsk saw in a great surprise that bright orange paints has been splashed on all the monuments to the revolution’s leader.

“The workers of the housing and municipal services had to wash the statue in the center of the town quickly, as an official meeting was to start at 10 a.m. Despite of the fact that patrolling with police dogs was reinforced in the town, Lenin’s monuments at the outskirts of Babrujsk were painted one by one,” a dweller of the town Danuta Chyhir told to the Radio Svaboda.

On November 7 only the monuments in the center of the town were cleaned. Today workers of housing and municipal services continued to clean the monuments. It is unknown who splashed the paint on the monuments; none of the organizations had taken responsibility.

“These guys have been noticed. They did it in the morning, and many people saw them. They were throwing beer cans with orange paint to the monuments,” Danuta Chyhir said. “Nobody has been detained. They were shouting: “In the name of our forefathers!” They were bombarding Lenins in the name of ancestors”.


10:16, 08/11/2005, From MosNews

A Nazi war criminal serving two life sentences in Britain for involvement in the Belarus massacre of Jews in 1942 has died in prison at the age of 84, Reuters reported. Anthony Sawoniuk was the only person to be found guilty in Britain of Nazi war crimes. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1999 after being convicted of murdering 18 Jews in his home town of Domachevo in Belarus.

He died in Norwich prison in eastern England, where he was being held in a unit for elderly prisoners serving life sentences, on Sunday, a police spokeswoman said. The Home Office said the death was due to natural causes.

Sawoniuk came to Britain in 1946, lived in South London and worked as a British Rail ticket inspector there. He was convicted of involvement in the massacre of Jews in German-occupied Belarus in 1942 although he always denied the charge.

During the course of his one-year trial, the prosecution said Sawoniuk, a policeman at the time of World War II, enthusiastically carried out Nazi policies of genocide against Jews.


Monday, November 7 2005
From the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS

BREST, Belarus – A solemn event took place in the Belarus city of Brest, which entailed the reburial of the remains of Jews, who had fallen victim to the horrors of the Holocaust. These human remains were discovered at the site of a building at 90 Kuibysheva Street 90, where the city's Ghetto was established by Nazi occupying forces during World War Two.

Today there stands 'a house on bones', called so because this nine-story apartment building was built on the site where 5,000 ghetto prisoners were shot to death in 1941. Not long after the war, the relatives of those killed put up a monument on this site. Eventually, the government erected a nine-story apartment building on this plot, which is located in the city's central quarter. During its construction, part of the human remains were extracted and re-buried in the 'Trishinskoye' and 'Ploska' cemeteries. Memorial signs erected under the Communist regime indicated that these mass graves contained multiple Soviet citizens.

In 1992, when the 'Day of Grief and Humanity' marked the 50th anniversary of the ghetto's destruction in Brest, new plaques appeared next to the memorial signs, informing that the people buried there were prisoners of the Jewish ghetto. Those residing near the 'house on bones' recalled that, for a long time after the construction of their building, dogs continued to dig at the earth. There were cases when they brought their masters a human bone or a child’s boot.

Just several days ago, during further digging, workers found the remains of five more persons. The City Administration took care of arrangements for the re-burial, organizing a ceremony during which the bodies were buried in the mass grave at the 'Ploska' cemetery in accordance with Jewish traditions.

Rabbi Chaim Rabinovich, a Chabad Lubavitch emissary and Chief Rabbi of Brest, led the ceremony and recited a memorial prayer. In addition to numerous members of the local Jewish community, this event also involved local layleader Boris Bruk, and several officials from the City Administration and from the office of the city's Mayor, Alexander Palishenkov.

This is one of numerous events organized by the Brest Jewish community in order to honor the memory of Holocaust victims and those who survived the tragedies of that period. Earlier this year, the community joined in the "March of Peace", for which participants visited several sites where the mass execution of Jews was carried out at the hands of the Fascists.

The Jewish community of Brest is a member of the Association of Jewish Communities of Belarus, which is affiliated with the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS.

10:15, 08/11/2005

From United Press International

The European Union Monday said it was ready to punish responsible Minsk officials if they rig the 2006 presidential election in Belarus. EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels expressed their "deep concern at the deteriorating situation of human rights and political freedoms in Belarus." European Commission foreign policy chief Benito Ferrero Waldner told reporters the government of President Alexander Lukashenko, dubbed "Europe`s last dictator," risked "further isolating itself from the international community" if it continued to deny its citizens basic human rights.

Foreign ministers called for further funding for independent free media in the former Soviet republic, which has been ruled with an iron fist by Lukashenko since 1994. They also welcomed moves to unite the country`s opposition parties and present a single candidate in next year`s presidential poll.

Brussels has already applied visa restrictions to top officials in Minsk, who have allegedly been involved in election fraud and the disappearance of opposition politicians and journalists. On Monday, the EU warned Belarus it would tighten visa restrictions on senior officials if international election standards are not adhered to.


From Charter '97 and UPI

On Monday Extraordinary and plenipotentiary Ambassador of Poland to Belarus Tadeusz Pawlak submitted his resignation, the press service of the Polish Foreign Ministry confirmed to RIA Novosti.

The reasons for this were not explained.

As is expected, the new head of Polish foreign ministry Stefan Meller is to consider the request of Mr. Pawlak on Tuesday.

The Polish Ambassador to Minsk was recalled for consultations this summer in connection with the conflict around the Union of Poles in Belarus. However, in the beginning of October, 2005, Mr.Pawlak returned to Minsk.

S. Meller, who is in Brussels now, told to journalists that the decision is to be taken on Tuesday, adding that “Belarus is an important country for Poland, and there should be an ambassador there”.

Editor’s note: Good riddance!



After 7 of nine rounds having been played, the Chinese men's team has overtaken the Russians and looks poised for victory in Beer Sheva, Israel. Armenia and Ukraine care third and forth respectivly follow bvy The USA, Georgia, host Israel is in sevenths place, with Cuba and the winless Chinese Women's team a winless ninth.

The championship is taking place in the Yad Lebanim House, Reger Ave, Menahem Begin Square, Beer Sheva City, Israel. The world's strongest teams are participating, headed by Ukraine, Russia, Armenia and the USA. Israel, the host, is ranked fifth worldwide.

The youngest player in Beer Sheva is WFM Hou Yifan from the China Women's team. She was born in 1994, and so is 11 years old. She is officially ranked here at 2200 but has performed at as high as 2400 during previous tournaments. A great talent.
The World Team Championship in Beer Sheva is not the first to see a women's team. The 1997 World Team Championships in Lucerne, where the Georgian women's team – that included their all-star line-up of Maia Chiburdanidze, Nino Kurtsidze, Nana Ioseliani, Nona Gaprindashvili and last, but not least, former Scottish champion Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant – took part. China can make the news though for the right reasons. While they continue to dominate women's events with a multi-gold medal winning Olympiad squad, the Chinese men's team is in a position to make a major breakthrough on the world stage with a win here.

Standings after seven of nine rounds

No.Nation W L D Pts.
1 China Men 6 0 0 19.5
2 Russia 6 0 0 15.5
3 Armenia 3 1 2 14
4 Ukraine 2 3 1 12.5
5 USA 2 3 1 12
6 Georgia 2 4 1 12
7 Israel 2 3 1 11.5
8 Cuba 1 4 1 9
9 China Women 0 6 1 6

The official web site has live transmission of the games, which are also broadcast on



Max Mirnyi defeated Nicolas Massu from Chili in straight sets 6:2, 6:3 in the first round of the BNP Paribas Masters Paris, France. In the second round the Belarusian will play David Ferrero from Spain.


By Barry Flatman
From The Sunday Times


ANNA KOURNIKOVA was a multitude of things to so many different people during her reign as the most photographed and marketed female in sport.

She never won a singles title but still profited from a fortune in excess of $US50 million ($67m) that even after more than two years of enforced retirement is growing. And the words she uttered in 1997 as a 16-year-old ring true.

Almost a decade on and the Kournikova template is still being updated. Today there are two statuesque blondes who hit a ball with severe force and usually accompany it with a screech. As with their predecessor, their origins are in the former Eastern bloc and both were moved to the US as children to work under the tutelage of Nick Bollettieri at his Florida tennis academy.


Maria Sharapova already earns $US18m a year from sponsorship and endorsement deals alone; Nicole Vaidisova possesses all the attributes to tread the same path.
At 16, the German-born Czech rejects the suggestion she is just another marketing man's dream, though she assuredly is, and is determined to make her mark through her tennis. She respects Sharapova's achievements but, in Vaidisova's eyes, the world No.1, who is two years her senior, will soon become just another opponent to beat rather than emulate.

The first Battle of Bollitierri's Babes has yet to take place on court but can only be a matter of weeks away. The Battle of the Brands, however, is well under way and big bucks are at stake.

Mortified by the amount of coverage Kournikova produced for her sponsor adidas, rival sportswear manufacturers saw the need to get even. Long before Sharapova celebrated winning Wimbledon in 2004, she had been signed up to be the glamour girl of the Nike catalogue.

Reebok, not content with third place in the market, was quick to react when its Prague office noticed another youngster of comparable talent. Vaidisova signed on at 14 and now Reebok is preparing to reap the dividends of its investment as she demands world recognition by becoming the youngest member of the world's top 20 after winning three successive titles in Asia.


A 15-match winning streak that included tournament victories in Seoul, Tokyo and Bangkok lifted Vaidisova to 17th on the WTA Tour rankings, and the excitement emanating from Reebok is palpable. The company had long believed its girl was good - it named her alongside such luminaries as Kelly Holmes, Ryan Giggs and a host of American celebrities in its "I Am What I Am" marketing campaign - yet Vaidisova has proved her worth ahead of schedule.

"Nicole exudes just the right image," Reebok's global tennis director Dianne Hayes said. "She is bright and intelligent, she is socially skilled and she is photogenic. She exuded confidence even at a really young age and that's so important in tennis.
"There is a sense of self, (she's) very poised, very confident. The fact she is attractive is very important to us. She is just one or two wins away from exploding into the world's perception."

Tennis-wise, Vaidisova is not breaking new ground at the age of 16. At a comparable age, for example, Martina Hingis was world No.1 and had taken out the 1997 Australian Open.

However, Vaidisova's progress compares favourably with others currently on the circuit. Sharapova was only ranked 34th in the world at 16 with one title to her name, while Serena Williams was 40th, still to grasp any silverware.

What Vaidisova's rapid rise has done is increase her chances of greater financial guarantees from tournament directors who are determined to have the most enticing players contest their event - $500,000 is not thought to be an exorbitant fee for the marquee names. Then there is the added lure of the exhibition circuit. Though Sharapova's schedule has been arduous on her still-growing body, she is reputedly giving serious thought to a $2m offer for a short December tour, playing on three successive nights in different Japanese cities.

If Vaidisova's success continues, it is safe to assume she will be moving close to that bracket in little more than a year.

Nigel Currie, director of the GEM Group that specialises in sports and entertainment marketing, observed: "There is room for somebody who is young, talented and photogenic to get a slice of the action. There has been a dearth of female sports stars who fit the criteria.

"Vaidisova appears to be comfortable with the demands away from the tennis court and that is in her favour. If she's personable, photogenic and has a distinct public relations savvy about her, then it augurs very well. That's the key the people who pay out the big bucks look for and there are an awful lot of sportswomen that just don't have those qualities. It's a little bit of X-factor that gives them so much more."

Obviously the ultimate object of any marketing exercise is to sell more product, but as Currie notes, Nike or Reebok do not expect a huge turnover in Sharapova or Vaidisova apparel.

"Primarily the investment made by the companies, be it Nike for Sharapova, adidas for Kournikova or now Reebok for Vaidisova, is based on heightening the perception of the brand rather than the actual retail of the goods," he said.
Sharapova is still not at her earning peak and many estimate she will be amassing more than $US25m a year if she collects another couple of majors next year and cements her No.1 ranking. However, it is not without problems. Though she reached the semi-finals in three of the four Grand Slams this year she has struggled with her fitness and has been forced to withdraw from a string of tournaments. There are those who insist her commercial commitments are affecting her tennis, and long-term coach Robert Lansdorp issued a plea for the teenager to cut down on travel and off-court work.

But she and Vaidisova remain the financial envy of many players who have met with more competitive success and as Peter Lawler, a veteran of tennis management with Octagon, the company that represented Kournikova towards the end of her career, observed: "When it comes down to it, the whole thing is based upon one thing: pure and simple sex appeal. Anna was, Sharapova is and Vaidisova could well become one of sport's most lucrative and successful marketing machines. They are gorgeous, young, attractive females and companies are queuing up to have their names connected with them."

Lawler insists Kournikova turned down at least six potential deals for every one to which she agreed. Other familiar names never had the opportunity to be so selective. No matter what their management companies might say, nobody could find a deal for the likes of Davenport or Capriati. "I'm not going to come out and say what the reason is but I think everyone knows."

The Sunday Times