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Today's Headlines for:
Friday, May 12, 2006

Victory Day, Belarus 2nd place in Hockey Worlds, opposition news, Trade Unions, BelKA Satellite scheduled for launch June 28

Head of State Takes Part in the Victory Day Celebration

From: Office of the president

Following the tradition, President of the Republic of Belarus took part in the veterans march on May 9, on the occasion of the Victory Day.
The march which started from Orktyabrskaya Square and continued towards Victory Square was also joined by top-level officials, representatives of the government bodies, NGOs, foreign guests, participants of the international action “We – Heirs of the Victory.”
The Head of State laid a wreath of flowers at the Victory Monument.
The wreaths were also laid by members of the government, parliament, ministries and departments, Orthodox and Catholic clergymen, diplomatic corps members.
The march participants observed a minute's silence in paying tribute to those perished in the Great Patriotic War.
“We, the Belarusians, appreciate in full measure the greatness of the feat of millions of well-known and unknown heroes who had saved the world from the brown plague, ” said Alexander Lukashenko addressing those gathered for the ceremony.
“The more the victorious 1945 goes down in history, the better we realize the greatness of the outstanding feat of the multinational Soviet people, which, even centuries after, will remain a symbol of unbending courage and tenacity, says a message of felicitation addressed to President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. - Remembrance of the selflessness and heroism displayed by grandfathers and fathers in gaining the victory helps the present-day generation of Belarusians and Russians to create, through combined efforts, a reliable basis for the prosperity of the two brotherly states.”

Belarus, Russia both win at World Hockey Championships

RIGA, Latvia (Ticker) - Glen Hanlon may have missed the NHL playoffs but the Washington Capitals coach watched his other team advance on Wednesday as Belarus pounded Kazakhstan, 7-1, to reach the qualification round of World Hockey Championships.
Sergei Zadelenov had a hat trick and Mikhail Grabovsky scored twice, including once on a penalty shot, as Belarus continued its superb play to take over second place in the Group C standings behind Russia.
At Riga Arena, Capitals rookie sensation Alexander Ovechkin was held scoreless for the second straight game but the Russians still completed the first round with an unblemished mark of 3-0 after posting a 4-3 win over 2002 champion Slovakia.
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    More coverage of this story can be found "HERE", "HERE", "HERE", "HERE", "HERE", "HERE" and "HERE"

    Belarus opposition leaders released from custody

    Belarus opposition leaders detained late April over their involvement in an unsanctioned rally will be released from custody Thursday and Friday.
    Alexander Milenkevich, Sergei Kalyakin, Vintsuk Vyachorka and Alexander Bukhvostov were given a 15-day 'administrative arrest' sentences after they organized an unsanctioned rally on April 26 dedicating it to 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl tragedy.
    Communist party leader Kalyakin and Labor Party leader Bukhvostov were the first to leave the prison, with Vyachorka, the leader of Belarus People's Front, expected to be released later in the evening. Milenkevich, the main opposition candidate in Belarus' presidential elections held in March, will be released tomorrow.
    Belarus' opposition holds rallies each year dedicating them to anniversaries of the Chernobyl tragedy, the world's worst nuclear accident, which affected much of the country.
    More coverage of this story can be found "HERE"

  • Eurovision prep

    Polina Smolova takes to the stage; Belarus rehearsal complete

    With the preparations for the contest well underway, artists continue to take to the Athens stage for their first rehearsals in the venue. Belarussian performer Polina Smolova and her four dancers appeared in front of an enthusiastic audience of press members and fans waiting to catch their first glimpse of the song Mum.
    The rehearsal kicked off with a small vocal warm-up before Polina and her dancers went through the beginning of the performance, which sees a very dynamic street dance on stage before Polina steps over two of her dancers and launches into song.
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    Opposition Leader Detained In Minsk

    From: RFE/RL
    Belarusian authorities today detained a prominent opposition figure as he was on his way to attend an unsanctioned rally in the center of the capital, Minsk.
    Anatol Lyabedzka, who heads the United Civic Party, said he was seized by "seven or eight" plain-clothes policemen.
    The opposition demonstration he was heading for was to mark the seventh anniversary of the disappearance of opposition politician Yury Zakharanka.
    Lyabedzka was released after three hours. Lyabedska says he believes the police detained him in the hope that his absence would prompt the opposition to cancel the protest.
    Twelve other people were also detained before the demonstration. All were subsequently released.
    More coverage of this story can be found "HERE"

    Hard labour for graffiti in Belarus; Artur Finkevich acknowledged painting some slogans on walls, including "Enough!" and "We want a change".

    A Belarussian court has sentenced an activist opposed to the president to two years of enforced labour for spraying graffiti on walls.
    Belarussian police, meanwhile, rounded up and detained demonstrators at a new protest nearly two months after Lukashenko's disputed re-election - this time against the disappearance of prominent public figures.
    Artur Finkevich acknowledged painting some slogans on walls, including "Enough!" and "We want a change".
    He had initially been charged with malicious hooliganism and damaging property worth more than $15,000 in 17 cases directed against Alexander Lukashenko, the president.
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    More coverage of this story can be found "HERE"


    From: BelPan
    In its latest World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Belarus' GDP to rise by four percent and prices by 13.3 percent in 2007.
    The Belarusian government has not yet adopted its official Social and Economic Development Prognosis for next year.
    The Ministry of Economy is in charge of the draft Prognosis and is to submit it for consideration by the Council of Ministers in late June.
    The IMF predicts that in 2006, the country's GDP will increase by 5.5 percent and consumer prices by 10.4 percent, whereas the government has projected rises of seven to 8.5 percent and seven to nine percent, respectively.
    The Fund had expected that Belarus' GDP would rise by 7.1 to 8.5 percent in 2005, but the country's official statisticians reported a rise of 9.2 percent. An increase of up to 10 percent had been forecast by IMF experts in consumer prices, whereas the government reported an eight-percent rise.

  • Victory Day

    Belarussian Pres calls of rebuffing falsifications of WW II history

    From: Itar Tass
    President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus has urged the nation to defend the heritage of Soviet Union's victory in World War II and to rebuff resolutely the attempts to spread falsification of and insinuations about historic events.
    "Attempts have been going on throughout the past decade to falsify the history of World War II and to understate the role the Soviet people played in the defeat of Nazi Germany," Lukashenko said Tuesday as he addressed a solemn ceremony of laying flowers at the monument on Victory Square in Minsk.
    "War veterans in Belarus should have the status of most respected people and we, on our part, won't let anyone jolt the heritage and memories of fiery war years," Lukashenko said.
    He welcomed citizens of more than 20 countries of Europe, Asia and the Americas who arrived in Minsk in the format of an international action commemorating the Victory.
    "Participants in that action have a noble goal of pooling together the efforts of young generations and all the people of good will from different continents for the sake of keeping up the memories of World War II," Lukashenko said.

    Day of sadness, triumph

    From: Edmonton Sun
    To War veteran Samuel Lutsky, today is a day of sad memories and great triumph.
    Victory Day - the day Germany surrendered to Allied Forces in 1945, marking the end of the Second World War - has forever coloured Lutsky's life.
    "I'm so happy I could reach 86 years of age and still celebrate our victory," he said yesterday at a V-Day celebration hosted by the Russian-Canadian Association of Alberta.
    "Yet I'm sad so many of my old buddies who perished in the war are not here," he said, his fingers briefly touching several war medals on his breast pocket.
    Lutsky was born in Pinsk, a city in Belarus, and joined Russia's Red Army as a 120-mm mortar operator on the front lines of the war when he was just 20.
    He was among 43 other veterans to receive a black-and-orange striped St. George's ribbon at yesterday's ceremony, held at the Chateau Louis on Kingsway Avenue.
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    Survivor teaches Holocaust to kids; Ceremony is for young as much as old

    From: Detriot Free Press
    At Sunday's ceremony in Farmington Hills, three Holocaust survivors help light a menorah in memory of 6 million victims: Sarah and Sam Weinberger and Abe Weberman, right, are all of West Bloomfield.

    For 50 years, Dr. Emerich Grinbaum healed bodies.
    Now he's trying to heal humanity.
    The 76-year-old former concentration camp victim started volunteering at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills this year to tell his life story over and over again. And he was among an estimated 500 people -- including numerous survivors and their families -- who packed the center's auditorium Sunday at the annual memorial service, two days before Holocaust Remembrance Day.
    "I talk to people, because we need people, survivors to tell their stories," said Grinbaum, a native of Transcarpathia in modern-day Ukraine who lost more than 25 relatives in the Holocaust. "I was just prompted."
    People in attendance wept as nine families stepped on the stage to light a menorah and center volunteer Shari Ferber Kaufman read a poem about a survivor whose three children were killed by the Germans.
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    Int’l WWII remembrance conference opens in Belarus

    From: Itar Tass
    Belarus, which was the first to face the Nazi hordes and sustain heavy human losses during World War II, is hosting an international campaign called “We are the Descendants of the Victory.”
    “The event, which is taking place under the patronage of President Alexander Lukashenko, shows that the memory of the great feat of their fathers and grandfathers is sacred for Belarusians,” Prime Minister Alexander Kosinets told a conference that started the campaign on Monday.
    The head of the Department of the General Staff at the Belarusian Military Academy, Yuri Portnov, said, “The priceless lessons of the Second World War have a tremendous impact on the modern military policy. The war was unleashed largely because peace-loving forces were unable to stop the aggressor.”
    In addition to war veterans, the campaign also involves their children and grandchildren from 26 countries of the world.
    A war veteran from Latvia, Alexander Khmelevsky, who is the head of the international association “French Resistance,” told Itar-Tass he feels at home in Belarus.
    “Veterans can bear their awards here with pride and without fear. Unfortunately, it’s not the case in Latvia any more,” he said.
    Khmelevsky presented the French Resistance Cross to three Belarusian war veterans.
    A war veteran from France, Guy Lamotte, said WWII fighters are bound by “the big historical truth.”
    “It is very important not to distort history and to remember those who gave their lives for victory,” he said.
    The “We are the Descendants of the Victory” campaign has brought together people from 25 countries and will be held in Belarus on May 8 and 9. It has been organised by the Defence Ministry.

    Alexander Lukashenko intends to continue supporting trade unions

    From: Belta
    Trade unions of Belarus enjoy great support from the president and it will always be this way, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said today while meeting with General Secretary of World Federation of Trade Unions George Mavrikos.
    “Trade unions in Belarus are not just trade unions like those in the West but they represent one of the strongest foundations of our country. This organization unites 99 per cent of the working population. This is why the president has always supported trade unions may someone like it or not,” the head of state stressed.
    Alexander Lukashenko has underscored that everything which is said about Belarus in the West right now is heightening of tensions over the situation in the country and does not correspond to the reality. “I think you have been able to make sure of that yourself while visiting working collectives in Belarus”, the head of state said to the WFTU General Secretary.
    The Belarusian economy suffered severe crisis after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Alexander Lukashenko pointed out. “We faced enormous difficulties in the employment sphere. Over the last 10 years we managed to make some progress. It has to be taken into consideration that we had to restore the economy virtually from ruins and set up favorable working conditions. This fact is usually ignored by some western trade unions leaders and politicians,” the head of state declared.
    “We are determined to settle all the problems of job placement in the next five years,” Alexander Lukashenko emphasized.
    George Mavrikos said that it was a great honor for him to meet with the president of Belarus. “We are very well informed about the situation in Belarus, we have received precise information about the state of workers in this country, their wages, healthcare and education,” George Mavrikos said.
    The Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus has been actively cooperating with the World Federation of Trade Unions uniting trade union organizations from more than 130 countries. The number of trade unions members in Belarus exceeds 4 million people.

    First Belarusian satellite BelKA scheduled for launch June 28

    From: Belta
    The launch of the first Belarusian artificial earth satellite BelKA is scheduled for June 28, president of the Belarusian National Science Academy Mikhail Myasnikovich told BelTA after a sitting of the Belarusian-Russian joint state commission, which had taken place in Moscow on May 10.
    The sitting summed up results of the satellite development stage and okayed it for flying tests. To accomplish the latter, the satellite will be delivered to Baikonur Space Centre in the night between May 10 and May 11. June 11 will see the final checkup of the satellite.
    Mikhail Myasnikovich informed, some states had already expressed interest in the Belarusian satellite. In particular, proposals to copy the apparatus had been received. The president of the National Science Academy said, he was confident the first Belarusian satellite would be a success. In his words, at present the possibility of using the satellite in the interests of third countries is being considered.
    President of the Russian rocket and space corporation Energia Nikolai Sevastynov told the press, Russia lacks surveillance satellites, which are similar to BelKA. In his words, nowadays earth remote sensing is getting explored by various branches of the economy.
    In turn, deputy director of the Russian Federal Space Agency Yuri Nosenko stressed, launching the satellite for Belarus is a huge leap in improving consumer qualities of information. He said, BelKA's optical and electronic components are highly sophisticated.
    Let us remind you, the satellite is designed by the Russian rocket and space corporation Energia using universal space platform Viktoria on the order of the National Science Academy of Belarus. BelKA will perform geodesy, cartography, and meteorology projects.

    Value of Belarusian State Prizes goes up 10 times while their number reduces to six

    From: Belta
    The new order of awarding State Prizes of the Republic of Belarus will be introduced this year. A corresponding decree was signed by Alexander Lukashenko on May 5.
    According to the information given to BelTA in the presidential press service, the decree passed the provisions “On State Prizes” and “On State Prize Committee and its composition”.
    The State Prize will be awarded as supreme acknowledgement of achievements of scientists, literary men, artists, architecture, etc. before the state and society.
    The number of the State Prizes will be reduced to six – three in the area of science and technology, three – in literature, art and architecture (so far there have been 28 of them). They will be awarded by the head of state once in two years.
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    Will the opposition stick to Aleksandr Milinkevich?

    From: Tobias Ljungvall on Belarus
    1 May passed this Tuesday, and the numbers of demonstrating opposition supporters seemed to be back at the relatively modest levels of three or four years ago. The reported number of people gathering in Minsk was two thousand, which means they probably could have been anything from one to two thousand. Although many from the central leadership is still serving their 14 or 15 days administrative arrests, the impression is that opposition forces have lost momentum since the election in March.
    Worrying as this may be, I think the trend does not need to be long-term. The anti-regime sentiments that were so clearly displayed in March are surely still alive among large parts of the Belarusian people. The question is, as it always has been, whether the opposition will be able to channel this energy.
    Its chances of doing should be better than perhaps ever before. It worked actively during the election campaign, reached out to a lot of citizens, and the name of its candidate Aleksandr Milinkevich is now known by virtually everyone in the country. Whether this chance will be used is, however, another question.
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