News, opinion, sports and culture E-mail:

Today's Headlines for:
Monday, July 10, 2006

Hospital opens in Vtebsk, EU Resolutions for Internet censorship, Kozulin on trial, Chernobyl, Mirnyi, Austrailian Corruption?

From the top

President of Belarus opens new Emergency Hospital in Vtebsk

From: Belta

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has arrived at the Vitebsk emergency hospital to take part in its official opening ceremony. The building of the hospital was reconstructed not long ago. The head of state is expected to familiarize himself with the material and technical resources of the hospital and to speak to the medical personnel.

Vitebsk emergency hospital was founded in 2000 in the town clinical hospital #3. This medical establishment renders specialized, highly qualified and emergency aid to patients, victims of accidents and emergencies and those who suffer from traumas and life threatening diseases including ones connected with pregnancy and maternity. Every year the hospital renders medical aid to 16-18 thousand patients. 30 thousand people more come every year to the first-aid station.

It took Vitebskenergostroi Ltd. 19 months (4,5 months ahead the schedule) to reconstruct the building of the Vitebsk emergency hospital.

The government has allocated over Br5,5 billion for new equipment for the Vitebsk emergency hospital for new narcosis apparatuses and lung motors, Belarusian president said today at an official opening of the hospital after its reconstruction.

According to the head of state, an operation unit with 11 surgery rooms and an intensive care unit were overhauled and sent into service at record-breaking speed. This year alone over Br10 billion was utilized for the reconstruction of the hospital.

The modernization of the hospital, the outfit for the operation unit and intensive care unit and the organization of the reconstruction in line with modern practices will ensure round-the-clock fulfillment of technology-intensive operation and reduce the frequency of complication that may set in afterwards. This, in turn, will significantly enhance the effectiveness of treatment thus trimming the in-patient time. So, Alexander Lukashenko said, this hospital will render medical services at a qualitatively new level.

As the president added, the opening of a hospital in Vitebsk is a vivid example of systemic efforts to fulfill the program on the reconstruction and reequipment of operation units and intensive care units in all emergency hospitals of oblast centers and the city of Minsk. “It is very important that this program is fulfilled in an unswerving manner”, the Belarusian leader said.

“We are glad that every year on the eve of the festival Vitebsk receives good presents – new facilities Vitebsk and the whole republic need: new dwelling houses, a sports compound, a bus terminal, a hotel, cultural-historical centers, roads and today – a reconstructed emergency hospital”, the head of state said.

According to him, the reconstruction of the hospital was speeded up bearing in mind its importance for Vitebsk residents. The reconstruction ran 19 months. “It is a testimony to professional labor management, responsibility for the results and true love to the native town”, the president said. He expressed sincere gratitude to all those, who made their contribution to the reconstruction of the hospital.

The quality of health care in Belarus should be propelled to the world level, president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said today. “I am confident, this we can achieve”, the Belarusian leader said.

As the president said at the opening ceremony after the reconstruction of the Vitebsk emergency hospital, health care in Belarus has been proclaimed one of the crucial priorities of the current five-year period.

According to the president, in conformity with the health care development concept, Belarus is thouroughly upgrading all its central regional hospitals and creating a high technological level of rendering health care services nation-wide.

As Alexander Lukashenko added, over the recent two years alone three research medical institutions have been built – that of “Mother and Child”, the center of hematology and transfusiology and the center of neurology and neurosurgery. There is a children’s cardio-surgical center which operates under the research center “Cardiology”.

Villagers and town-dwellers should be rendered medical services on equal footing, president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko stated today when visiting the Vitebsk emergency hospital.

According to him, the present state policy of improving the health care system of Belarus aims to implement this principle of social justice. “The main thing is that people should feel comfortable”, the head of state added.

“Everything here is like in the best countries: the latest equipment, skilled and highly-qualified doctors and personnel”, the president added.

According to him, Belarus will not deviate from the policy it is pursuing in the health care branch right now: new hospitals will be constructed only in case of extreme necessity. “There should be no excesses in health care institutions. Doctors and equipment – this is what the funds should be spent on”, the Belarusian leader said.

Talking to Vitebsk residents, Alexander Lukashenko pointed to positive changes underway in the town: its streets and squares are being beautified, social facilities are being built and people’s life is getting better.

“I am sincerely happy that you, as good masters, take care of your town, its exterior and the reputation of this cultural and historical center of the country. Vitebsk should be a worthy example of development in the field of arts and other spheres – economy, education and health care”, the president added.

European parliament resolution: Belarus executes harsh Internet censorship

From: Charter '97

The Deputies of the European Parliament claimed Belarus the second country with the most rigid Internet censorship, after China. The resolution adopted last week accuses the totalitarian regimes of restrictions imposed for freedom of speech on the Internet. Moreover, the EP Deputies insist the EU bodies should take into consideration free access to the Internet for the people while cooperating with regimes, as Radio Svaboda reports.
As the EP resolution states, the Internet is a way for political dissidents, democratic activists, journalists from all over the world to express their thoughts. Meanwhile, the authoritarian regimes execute more rigid control over the Internet. Post-soviet Belarus and Uzbekistan are among the countries where the Internet is censored particularly rigidly. Moreover, Belarus goes second on the list, following China.
The EU is attempting to seek ways to protect freedom of speech in the Internet for the people whose rights are violated.
EP Deputy Elizabeth Shrodter told in the interview to Radio Svaboda:
“Obviously, all we’ve done for Belarus so far is not enough. We are willing to do more, and in the regard of the access to the independent information, in particular. People must be able to compile the information about the events that take place in their country - the state Mass Media shouldn’t be the only information source.”
  • Full Text

    Single migration cards to be used in Belarus-Russia Union State

    From: Belta

    The form of single migration cards of the Union State, procedures of their issuing, filling in and using as well as the order of processing and using the information they contain have been determined. The sample was approved at the meeting between representatives of the interior ministries of Belarus and Russia, who signed a protocol on implementing the agreement between the governments of the two states on using uniform migration cards of October 5, 2004, BelTA was informed by head of the information and public relations department of the interior ministry of this republic Ekaterina Samusenkova-Shelegova.
    According to the source, this issue was considered at the Moscow meeting between the heads of the interior ministries (police) of the CIS member states and other CIS bodies competent in the migration field. The Belarusian delegation was headed by deputy interior minister of this republic Major General Viktor Filistovich.
    The participants of the meeting discussed issues on combating illegal migration and on control over staying of foreign citizens on the CIS territory. The parties noted that the minimum legal-treaty base necessary for the corresponding cooperation had been created within the CIS framework. The CIS countries also managed to develop an information exchange mechanism for their law enforcement bodies in the migration field. At the same time the participants of the meeting agreed to intensify adopting of common approaches to regulation of migration processes and the practice of holding operative-preventive operations, to integrate databases about foreign citizens and persons without citizenship and to enhance effectiveness of the use of the potential of international and intergovernmental organizations, involved in the activities in this field.

    Belarus candidate goes on trial: An opposition leader in Belarus has gone on trial in connection with mass protests that followed the disputed presidential election in March.

    From: BBC

    Defeated candidate Alexander Kozulin denies hooliganism and inciting mass disorder, Belapan news agency said.
    He was held after police broke up a protest march he led shortly after the 19 March poll in the capital, Minsk.
    Belarus' authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko was re-elected in the poll, denounced by the West as fraudulent.
    Western governments imposed sanctions on President Lukashenko and his top officials soon after the election.
    Reporters and some of Mr Kozulin's supporters were denied entry to the court in Minsk, although observers from the European Union were allowed in.
    If convicted, Mr Kozulin faces up to six years in prison.

    Belarus and Cuba reach preliminary agreement on supplies of Belarusian agricultural products

    From: NLIPRB

    Belarus and Cuba reached a preliminary agreement on supplies of the Belarusian agricultural products to the Cuban market. This is one of the main results of the visit of a Cuban delegation to Belarus. During almost two weeks the Cuban guests were familiarizing themselves with the work of the Belarusian agro-industrial sector. The delegation was composed of representatives of the Cuban food company Alimport, the food safety department of the health ministry, specialists in the field of veterinary, ecological and radiological food control. As BelTA was informed in the embassy of Cuba in Belarus, the main goal of the visit was to study potential purchases of the Belarusian agricultural foodstuffs for the Cuban market.
    The representatives of the Cuban delegation confirmed their interest in purchases of the Belarusian foodstuffs and called their visit to this republic fruitful. Talks on food purchases will become the next stage of development of the Belarusian-Cuban cooperation in the agrarian field.

    Belarus Close to Losing GSP Benefits:
    EU cites lack of worker rights as reason

    The EU is likely to remove Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits from Belarus for its lack of “compliance with ILO (International Labour Organisation) commitments,” said a European Commission official.
    If that should occur, it would only be the second time that the EU has removed a country from its GSP program. Burma was the first country to be dropped from the program.
    The EU ranks as Belarus’ second largest export market after Russia.

    Exhibit on Belarus shows proud people in desperate straits

    From: Newsfeed.Recorder

    The signature shot in Ottawa photographer Michelle Valberg's exhibit on Belarus shows a woman with tears in her eyes.
    One might think she is aged, but in fact, decades of post-Chernobyl radiation, poverty and malnutrition have made her look older than her true years.
    And she is crying, says Valberg, because she does not know who will care for her 32-year-old son, who has Down syndrome, after she is gone.
    Hers is one of the faces of Belarus that area residents can see next week when Valberg's exhibit opens at the Brockville Museum.
    In The Shadow of Silence: 20 Years After Chernobyl was to open on Monday, but museum director Bonnie Burke said Thursday the exhibit was still being set up.
    "They're just putting the finishing touches today," she said, describing Valberg's images as "haunting."
    It is now slated to open Monday and run until November 6.
  • Full Text

    Help the Chernobyl children


    THE charity that provides respite for the children of Chernobyl has issued a plea for help from more Tynedale families.
    Each year, a contingent of children from the countries affected by the nuclear disaster are brought to England for a month of fresh air and uncontaminated food.
    A group of 13 from Belarus has just arrived in Tynedale for this year’s visit.
    The organiser, Chernobyl Children Lifeline, estimates the coming month will add at least two years to the life expectancy of the children.
    Twenty years after the nuclear disaster it is thought three million people are still living in contaminated areas where life expectancy is just 30 and cancer rates have soared.
    Chairman of the charity’s Tynedale branch Jonathan Oldham and his family have shared their Corbridge home with six children from Chernobyl during the past seven years.
    “A month in this country breathing unpolluted air and eating unpolluted food can make all the difference in the world,” he said.
    Visits to the dentist and optician are organised, and a packed programme of events ensures the youngsters have a holiday to remember.
    For further information about the scheme call Jonathan Oldham on (01434) 632444
  • Note: For another children of Chernobyl story, this from England, please click "HERE"

    Bryan/Williams Earn Place in Final; drops Mirnyi Jie Zheng in mixed semis

    From: /

    Bob Bryan will have to clear some space in his trophy cabinet at this rate. The American followed up his men’s semi-final win with a victory in the last four of the mixed event where he is partnered with Venus Williams. The un-seeded pair overcame No.2 seeds Max Mirnyi and Jie Zheng in a closely fought contest, with a 7-5, 7-5 score-line.
    It was Bryan’s second appearance on Court One this afternoon and his earlier win with brother Mike had clearly put him in a jovial mood, if an incident in the fifth game is any guide.
    Williams returned a Mirnyi service fault with blistering pace, narrowly missing Bryan’s head and prompting the twin to playfully plead with Williams to avoid him on the next ball. The theatricals were well received by the raucous crowd who were clearly buzzing from the electricity being generated by the match.
    At 6-5 Bryan and Williams earned their first set point on Zheng’s serve. Fantastic net defence by Mirnyi saved one. The second set point saw the women slogging it out from the back of the court with exaggerated sound effects.
    But it was Bryan who eventually topped the grunt-o-meter when he hit a winning volley to clinch the first set 7-5. The pair followed up the set with exactly the same score-line in the second to take the match in 84 minutes and secure a place in the final.

  • Austrailian Corruption?

    Tractor fine bungled: Brett Pownceby received a bill from CityLink for supposedly driving his Belarus Tractor along the tollway.

    From: The Herald Sun

    CITYLINK fined a Cororooke farmer for riding his tractor on the tollway -- even though the ageing machine has never come within cooee of Melbourne.
    Cattle farmer Brett Pownceby was slugged for travelling in his beaten-up Belarus tractor without an e-tag at 7.57am on June 3.
    But a bemused Mr Pownceby has told CityLink his trusty tractor was safely tucked away in a shed about 160km north-west of Melbourne at the time.
    "It's a joke -- there's no way it was there," he told the Herald Sun.
    "It's half worn out and has a front-end loader on it, which I use for feeding out the hay.
    "It's clearly not something you'd be driving around the streets of Melbourne. When I opened the notice up and read the rego number I thought 'that's one of my tractors'. I went out the back and checked it and sure enough it was.
    "I rang the sheila up and I was sort of laughing when I was talking to her and said: 'I think you've made a bit of a blue here'."
    The 46-year-old said it would have taken him more than eight hours to drive the 1990-model tractor, boasting a top speed of 22km/h, from Cororooke to the Tullamarine tollway.
    "And this alleged offence was at 7.57am -- so I would have had to have left before midnight to get there by then," he said.
    He said if he did make a rare venture to the big smoke he was more likely to get behind the wheel of his beloved Holden Monaro.
    "But the thing that intrigues me is, if this is wrong, how many others are wrong?" he asked.
    CityLink officials yesterday agreed to withdraw the $11.97 penalty notice. "The invoice was sent to the customer as a result of human error at CityLink," said spokeswoman Jane Calvert.
    "It would appear an image reader has misread the licence plate number on a slightly obscured plate. CityLink apologises for any inconvenience caused and will obviously withdraw the invoice."
    Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said the error was the latest in a long line of CityLink stuff-ups.
    "There is no doubt that the tractor was not on the Tulla," Mr Mulder said.
    "A Liberal Government would introduce real accountability to protect the public from these types of mistakes."
    Citylink issues about 3500 late toll invoices a day.
  • Note: According to a subsequent story, the fine was revoked.

    Belarusian surgeons sew on severed arm to 4-year-old boy

    From: Belta

    Specialists of the national centre for plastic and reconstructive microsurgery at the premises of Minsk regional hospital performed a most complicated operation by restoring a severed arm of a four-year-old boy. The information was released by head of the centre Vladimir Podgaiski, Doctor of Medicine.
    Sasha Gorokhov was delivered to the hospital by air from Vitebsk region at 5 a.m. on July 8, 2006. On the eve he was injured while visiting a cattle farm together with his mother. The severed arm was delivered to the national centre for plastic and reconstructive microsurgery in a cooled container.
    The operation performed by the on-duty team led by surgeon Dmitriy Batyukov lasted for about 6 hours and was a success.
    At present the boy is in the intensive care ward. His health is stable. According to Vladimir Podgaiski, the arm's acceptance process is going well. The medics hope the motion activity of the arm will be fully restored eventually.
    Vladimir Podgaiski noted, every year the centre receives 15-20 people with similar traumas. Mainly those are able-bodied citizens, who suffered from industrial accidents.

    Belarusian victims of Irkutsk aircraft crash out of danger

    From: Belta

    The three Belarus citizens, who suffered in the Irkutsk aircraft crash, are said to be no longer in danger, BelTA learnt from Oleg Rudakov, head of the Irkutsk Belarusian culture community named after Yan Chersky, who is supervising the aid to the Belarusians on site.
    Oleg Rudakov informed, Belarus citizens Alexander Borovikov, Leonid Kornyshev, and Yuri Lukin were admitted to city hospital #3. They are Vitebsk residents and were flying to Irkutsk on a business trip. The Belarusians were in the tail section of the plane and that obviously saved their lives. During the landing when the tragedy occurred, Leonid Kornyshev was injured most — his seat was sent several metres forward into the air by the collision. The other two were injured when they had to jump from quite a high altitude when leaving the plane. Oleg Rudakov noted, one of the Belarusians helped open the emergency hatch to aid other passengers.
    Oleg Rudakov visited the hospital and said that Alexander Borovikov and Yuri Lukin can walk already but Leonid Kornyshev is still in the neurosurgery department receiving treatment for his brain concussion.
    Oleg Rudakov said, the transportation of the Belarusian citizens to Moscow for further treatment is under consideration.
    The list of passengers also included child Vyacheslav Bryukhanov, who assumedly is a Belarus citizen. He was said to have been admitted to Ivano-Matreninskaya children hospital. The information is being checked now.

    Belarus Introduced New Payments On Roads

    From: Viasna

    International cargo-carriers have to pay up to 0,70 USD per kilometer for escorting them along Belarusan roads. As Belarusan economic analyst Kanstancin Skuratovich says, “the authorities found another way to fill the budget. There is no such necessity to escort trucks with cargo, it is the attempt to place one more sphere of business under state control. For a transit country like Belarus this measure is harmful – the transporters will choose another countries instead of paying huge money for extra obstacles.”

    Belarus' Mikhail Grabovski signed by Canadiens

    From: CBC News

    The Canadiens also announced the signings of prospects Mikhail Grabovski, Mathieu Aubin and Matt D'Agostini to multi-year contracts.
    Both Aubin and D'Agostini signed three-year deals, while Grabovski agreed to a two-year contract.
    Grabovski, 22, was Montreal's fourth-round pick in the 2004 entry draft. The smooth skater has impressed scouts with his offensive skill and skating ability.
    At the 2006 world hockey championship, Grabovski scored nine points in seven games for Belarus. He also had 10 goals and 18 assists in 48 games last season with Moscow Dynamo of the Russian Elite League.
    Aubin, 19, had 47 goals and 56 assists in 70 games with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Lewiston Maineiacs last season. The native of Sorel, Que., was a fifth-round pick in the 2005 draft.
    D'Agostini, 19, had 25 goals and 54 assists in 66 games with the Ontario Hockey League's Guelph Storm last season. In 2005, he was the Canadiens' fifth pick and 190th overall.
  • Full Text

    Officials in Russia, Belarus Still Pin Hopes on Union

    From: MosNews
    Russia and Belarus could hold a referendum on a constitution for a joint state as soon as this fall. Pavel Borodin, the state secretary of the Russian-Belarus union, told the RIA-Novosti news agency that he hopes the Supreme Council will set dates this summer for the referendum and parliamentary elections.
    “In practice, we can hold the referendum this fall and elections to the future parliament either this fall or next spring,” Borodin said.
    The two countries have been discussing a union state with a common customs area, economic policy and political regulations for almost a decade, UPI reported. But there have been recent disagreements over economic policy, including Russia’s plan to raise the price Belarus pays for gas.
    Belarus contributes one-third of the cost of the union even though its population is only 7 percent of Russia’s.

    Lukashenka salutes the Arts

    From: Belta

    Today chairman of the Supreme State Council of the Belarus-Russia Union State, president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has given the Union State Prizes for the Achievements in the Spheres of Literature and Arts for 2005-2006 to writer Stanislav Kunyaev, People’s Artist of the USSR Rostislav Yankovsky and People’s Artist of Russia Alexander Kalyagin.
    Also Alexander Lukashenko conferred an Order of Francysk Skaryna on Distinguished Artist of the Russian Federation Nikolay Baskov, People’s Artist of the Russian Federation Nadezhda Babkina and People’s Artist of Ukraine Nikolay Gnatyuk.
    Nadezhda Babkina voiced cordial gratitude to the president of Belarus and the Belarusian people for the honor they paid to her. According to her, the Belarusian and Russian peoples are united. Speaking about Belarus and Russia, Nadezhda Babkina said: “I do not share these two states because they have always been a home for me in my heart. Whatever happens in our lives, we have mutual understanding, love and kindness”.
    Having received his award, Nikolay Baskov said: “I serve to the Slavonic people”.
    Head of state Alexander Lukashenko also congratulated the national symphonic and pop music orchestra on the 20th anniversary of its foundation, the Belarusian president's press service told BelTA.
    In particular, the congratulation reads, "During these years, which were filled with inspiring and fruitful work, your collective became one of the best orchestras in the country, became hugely popular and won recognition from the public. Today the national symphonic and pop music orchestra of the Republic of Belarus is truly a visiting card of the Belarusian culture".
    "Let the art of your outstanding collective continue multiplying the achievements and glory of the national art both in Belarus and abroad," wished Alexander Lukashenko.