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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Belarus to set up reinsurance co., Gazprom deal, Lithuanian diplomat falls to death in Minsk, US/Zionists picketed, Belarusian language rules debated

From the Top

Belarus to set up state-run reinsurance company

From: Belta

In line with the president’s decree #530 “On insurance”, a state-run reinsurance company will be set up in Belarus.

To ensure the umbrella approach in regulating commercial insurance in Belarus, the president signed a set of documents on August 25. They are decree #531 “On fixing the amount of insurance tariffs, insurance premiums, liability limits in terms of several types of mandatory insurance”, decree #532 “On approving mandatory insurance tariffs against production accidents and occupational diseases in 2006”, decree #533 “On amount, rules and areas of utilization of the financial resources of the preventive funds in terms of several types of mandatory and voluntary insurance”.

Decree #530 setting out the commercial insurance rules is a fundamental document. It reads about the basics of insurance in Belarus and also the special features of several types of mandatory insurance in the country.

Moreover, the decree envisages a range of measures to liberalize the national legislation on insurance in view of the work on Belarus’ accession to the WTO.

The document introduces economic responsibility of insurance companies, insurance brokers and administrative responsibility of their officials for the violations of legislation on insurance and also regulates the intermediate activity in insurance business.

In a move to increase financial stability of insurers, the document chalks out the terms of a phased-in increase of the authorized funds for all insurance organizations of Belarus.

The document imposes classification of types of mandatory and voluntary insurance and also determines the procedure and terms of mandatory insurance of responsibility of commercial real estate organizations for the damage.

To ensure the implementation of the document the president also signed the decree to fix the amounts of insurance tariffs, insurance premiums, liability limits in terms of several types of mandatory insurance and also the rules and areas of utilization of the financial resources of the preventive funds in terms of several types of mandatory and voluntary insurance.

For further information, please, visit the official site of the President of the Republic of Belarus.

Russia-Belarus agreement on pricing may not last

From: Naveny

Russia may withdraw from the agreement with Belarus on equal conditions for pricing that envisages the use of domestic Russian railway tariffs on export and import freight transportation and domestic prices for Russian gas supplies to Belarus, a source in the Russian diplomatic circles told PRIME-Tass.
The agreement was signed in April 2002 and is now used by Belarus as the main argument at the negotiations with Gazprom on prices of gas supplies in 2007. It was signed in a package with another agreement, on setting up jointly with the Gazprom joint-stock company a gas transportation enterprise on the basis of the Belarussian Beltransgaz.
According to the source, the Russian Foreign Ministry addressed a note to the Belarussian Foreign Ministry to set out the stand of the Russian side on its further participation in the agreement, taking into account the fact that Belarus does not fulfil the second agreement in the package.
"This does not amount to the denunciation of the agreement on equal conditions for pricing, as Russia has not ratified the agreement, and it has no legal force. The point is that it must have been ratified in the package with the agreement on creating the joint venture not later than in 2003, but the process stalled," the source said.
"Nevertheless, the Russian government, showing goodwill, has been fulfilling its obligations under the agreement," he added. "Now there is the question whether Russia should continue to adhere to the agreement, specifically, as regards the supply of cheap gas to Belarus. There are no questions regarding railway tariffs. I do believe they must keep, reaching agreement on this at interdepartmental level." the diplomat said.
The formal pretext for raising the matter was the fact that the agreement was concluded for five years, till April 2007, and envisages automatic extension unless one of the sides notifies the other, in the written form by diplomatic channels, of its wish to terminate the agreement not later than six months before the expiry of a regular term.
The Belarussian Foreign Ministry has not yet officially commented on the matter.

Lithuania's vice consul found dead in Brest

From: BelaPan

Vytautas Pociunas, vice consul of Lithuania's Consulate General in Grodno, was found dead in Brest on August 23.
The diplomat's body was found near Inturist Hotel at 8:30 a.m. by workers from a nearby construction site. He presumably fell to death out of a hotel window.
The Leninsky District Prosecutor's Office in Brest is investigating the circumstances of the accident but refuses to disclose any details.
Criminal proceedings are said to have not yet been instituted.
Ramunas Macius, a spokesman for the Lithuanian foreign ministry, confirmed the diplomat's death to BelaPAN. According to him, Mr. Pociunas had arrived at Brest on a working visit and was staying at Inturist Hotel.
Mr. Macius declined to comment on the accident.
  • For more on this story, please CLICK HERE...

    Lithuanians cautious on Belarus claim that dead diplomat was drunk

    From: The raw story
    Lithuanian authorities reacted cautiously on Friday to reports from Belarus that a Lithuanian security officer who died there on Wednesday was drunk. "We have not received such information. I only heard this from the media," Prosecutor-General Algimantas Valantinas said, according to Baltic News Service BNS.
    Valantinas' comments came as a response to a report from Belarusian state news service Belta, released late on Thursday.
    "Chemical analyses (during the post-mortem) showed the presence in the blood of 1.9 promilles (millilitres per litre of blood) of alcohol, which, according to the prosecutor, is a rather high dose," the report said.
    Belarusian investigators carried out the post-mortem on diplomat Vytautas Pociunas in the presence of Lithuanian specialists, it added.
    Pociunas, a security advisor at the Lithuanian consulate in Grodno, was found dead outside a hotel in the city of Brest early on Wednesday morning.
    "During the investigation, multiple injuries to internal organs caused by a fall from a great height were revealed," the report said. Belarusian authorities believe the diplomat's death was caused by an accidental fall from his ninth-floor hotel window.
    However, rumours are already circulating in the Lithuanian media that Pociunas, a long-serving security officer, was a very moderate drinker. A blood level of 1.9 promilles is approximately five times the Lithuanian legal drink-driving limit.
    And some politicians have already suggested that Pociunas' death might not have been an accident, but a political killing. Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas admitted on Thursday that some of the information brought to light by the inquiry was "worrying."
    Pociunas' body was returned to Lithuania late on Thursday night. Further forensic tests are expected to be carried out in his homeland, BNS reported.

    Lithuanian Prime Minister: We seek good relations with Russia

    From: Regnum

    On August 22, Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas expressed his final position concerning the possible repairs of the railroad to Kaliningrad. In an interview to Lithuanian National Radio Kirkilas says that the transit will not be limited even if this is required by the technical state of the railroad.
    “Lithuania seeks good relations with Russia. We actually have very tight relations for different reasons: because there is Kaliningrad region, because there are three types of transit: military, cargo and passenger. Lithuanian has undertaken commitments on this transit. No EU country has undertaken such commitments. I think that this is a very important circumstance in our relations. I hope that Russia understands this.” “We have very close trade relations, very many our companies – over 600 – operate or invest money in Kaliningrad. I don’t mention culture and other relations.”
    “And if some, as I have once said, conservative circles in Russia seek to worsen or destroy these relations, the Lithuanian authorities do not. We seek good relations, legal relations, mutually beneficial relations. I think we have already shown this in many directions. For Lithuanian and Russian people such relations are also useful. Ask people in Kaliningrad what will happen if all our companies with all their investments leave their market. I think many Kaliningrad residents will lose their jobs, as a result. I don’t know if Russian residents are aware of the actions of some conservative circles but I hope that good sense will prevail even though somebody is displeased that the Poles have bought the company (Mazeikiu Nafta – REGNUM). The Polish company has won honestly, they offered the highest price. That’s why I can’t say that this contract (with PKN Orlen – REGNUM) was a hostile gesture towards Russia. I would be very much surprised if such actions came from Russia. This would not be good for our bilateral relations, especially for our people.”
    Kirkilas is sure that the deal among PKN Orlen, the Lithuanian Government and Russian Yukos will be successfully completed. As regards the reports by some Lithuanian politicians and media that Russia is, allegedly, trying to wreck the deal, Kirkilas says that this is only talk with no facts. “I think that the deal will take place and will be successful. There are several proofs of that. First, as we already see Mazeikiu Nafta is successfully using the sea route of oil supplies. As you know, there are some more alternatives too.” “PKN Orlen has got Mazeikiu Nafta in a very tough rivalry. There were many different companies who sought the shares. Perhaps, this all competition (Kirkilas means the current scandal over the stoppage of oil supplies to Mazeikiu oil refinery via Druzhba pipeline – REGNUM) is the result of that hard period. That’s why the Polish company is firmly resolved to carry the matter through.
    In September they will submit to the European Commission documents necessary for receiving response from the Competition Council (the EU – edit.). We hope that this response will be received in late Oct or in Nov. We hope to get it. The Polish Government also supports this deal. It is very important for the whole region and, particularly, for the Polish company. In other words, there are no prerequisites for the contract not to be signed. Today, we cannot confirm and nobody in Russia can that this (the breakage of Druzhba pipeline near Bryansk – REGNUM) is a pressure, that any such pressure is being made.
    We know them. This is not the first time, but there is a difference between what is going on now and the previous blockades. Today, Lithuania can get oil via the terminal in Buting, in Klaipeda. This is one point: we have alternative channels. The second point is that, today, there is a favorable situation on the oil market: there is much oil on the market, its price is very high. This makes oil more profitable. Today, oil profitability is high, supply is big and Mazeikiu Nafta is successfully buying oil for the time being. I think that until the plant goes to the Poles – and I am sure that this will happen by the end of this year – everything will be like that. For the time being, we can provide ourselves with oil. I hope that until then Russia will find ways to repair the damages at the pipeline. Probably, some other decisions will be made, but, for the moment, we don’t see any problems with oil supply.”
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    American-Zionist aggression in Middle East picketed in Minsk

    From: Belta

    A picket in protest of the American-Zionist aggression in the Middle East and solidarity with the nations of Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Iraq in their anti-imperialistic fight was held in People's Friendship Park in Minsk on August 26.
    The picket was organised by the national public association "For Union and the Communist Party of the Union" (NPA FUCPU). The slogans read "Keep your hands off Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria!" and "Let's make American-NATO-Israeli butchers answerable!"
    NPA FUCPU secretary and coordinator Leonid Shkolnikov told BelTA, participants of the event adopted a statement, which condemns "many years of American-NATO-Zionist aggression in the Middle East aimed at capturing strategic footholds and oil riches owned by Arabian nations and the latter's enslavement by military occupation and enforcement of puppet governments". "We blame the aggressors in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and Israel for the deaths of innocent civilians, destruction of the economic infrastructure of the states. Syria and Iran are threatened as well," reads the document.
    The picketers called upon the Middle East nations to unite in the fight against the aggressors for the liberation of the occupied territories and pullout of the foreign troops. "For the benefit of the nations both of the Middle East and the entire world the problem of access to the region's oil riches should be resolved not by combats but by negotiations taking into account legal rights and interests of everyone," reads the statement.
  • Note: Note the lack of police harrasment...

    Opposition activists in Minsk mark 15th anniversary of sovereignty declaration by rock concert

    From: Navany

    N.R.M., Neuro Dubel, Krama, Tav.Mauzer, Pamidor/OFF, Partyzanskaya Shkola and other rock bands who do not conceal their dislike for Aleksandr Lukashenko's government performed before an audience of some 2,000 people, mostly opposition youths.
    Official organizers of the "Songs for Freedom" event in Nations' Friendship Park (near Bangalore Square) were opposition activists who had obtained the city government's permission.
    Earlier, the Minsk authorities had not allowed the concert to be staged on July 27 (the anniversary of the Declaration's adoption).
    The concert was ultimately staged on August 25. The declaration was given the status of a constitutional act on this date in 1991.
    Emcee Aleksandr Pomidorov called on the crowd not to wave white-red-white flags and not to smoke and drink alcohol in order not to give authorities a pretext to stop the concert. People largely obeyed.
    Vintsuk Vyachorka, chairman of the Belarusian Popular Front, made a speech in an interval. Other prominent opposition leaders were absent.
  • Note: Note the lack of police harrasment...

    Education ministry working on new version of Belarusian language rules

    From: PelaPan

    The education ministry is currently working to streamline the Belarusian language's spelling and punctuation rules, Minister Aleksandr Radkov said in an interview with BelaPAN.
    The issue was under discussion at the minister's meeting with Aleksandr Lukashenko on Friday. The Belarusian leader reportedly gave the ministry two weeks to submit a new version of the Belarusian language's rules.
    "The point is that the existing rules were enacted as far back as 1957," Mr. Radkov told BelaPAN. "For this reason, as well for the reason that the rules are being understood differently, the president believes that there is an urgent need for modern clear spelling rules. We want some order in business correspondence and textbooks."
    The official noted that Mr. Lukashenko wanted the new rules to be written in a clear language so that everybody, including schoolchildren, could easily understand them.
    The work on the draft reportedly involves general education school teachers, university professors and scientists.
    In an interview with BelaPAN, Oleg Trusov, head of the Francisak Skaryna Belarusian Language Society (BLS), said that changes in language rules was a normal practice around the world but stressed that the matter should be given wide public discussion.
    He said that the discussion should last six months at least to allow the public to "really" participate.

    Progress of field works in Belarus for the 28th of August

    From: Agromarket

    According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the republic, for the 28th of August 5.3 mln. tonnes of grain are already milled in agrarian enterprises of Belarus.
    Grains and legumes in the republic for this date are already harvested from 1.826 mln. ha, this is about 83.08% of the harvesting area. The average yield of grains and legumes is 29.34 c/ha or down 2.55 centners as compared to the last year.
    According to the Mininstry of Agriculture and food, for the 28th of August agricultural organizations of the republic have 5.330 working combine harvesters, including 4.196 machines working on harvesting grains and legumes.
    The harvesting campign of rape and flax is going on in the Belarussian agricultural organizations. For the 28th of August they mowed about 55.25% of the harvesting areas and milled 120.910 tonnes of seeds, flax is pulled from 62.190 ha or 92.41% of harvesting areas, 11.180 tonnes of flaxseeds are already collected.

    Belarus is crafting system of direct economic incentives to encourage exports

    From: NLIPRB
    Belarus is creating a system of direct economic incentives to encourage its exports. For this, the country is using lending and insurance mechanisms to forestall any commercial or political risks related to exports. On August 25, the president of Belarus signed the relevant Decree No 534 “To Encourage the Development of Exports of Goods (Works, Services)”.
    The decree stipulates in details the order of insuring exports risks featuring assistance from the government and formulates the mechanisms of compensating for losses Belarusian banks suffer in cases of extending lax credits, the presidential press-service reported.
    In accordance with the decree, insurance operations against export risks shall be carried out exclusively by the Republic of Belarus and the national unitary export/import insurance enterprise Beleximgarant acting on its behalf.

    SA and Belarus to co-operate more

    From: and NLIPRB

    Economic co-operation between South Africa and Belarus had a lot of potential, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said on Monday.
    She was hosting her Belarussian counterpart Sergey Martynov at the Presidential guest house in Pretoria for bilateral talks.
    "Our trade turnover is modest. I would like to see much more economic intercourse between the two countries," said Martynov.
    He said Belarus was a world-class producer of equipment needed in agriculture, roads and mining. The country could provide South Africa with these at better quality and cheaper price than other countries in the European Union or the Americas.
    The two countries last year had a trade turnover of R23,68-million.
    Shortly after meeting with Dlamini-Zuma, Martynov signed a co-operation agreement with Arts and Culture Minister Pallo Jordan.
    Jordan said it would enable South African musicians and other artists to have exchanges with their Belarussian counterparts. South Africa could also benefit from Belarus's experience in European classical music.
    While in South Africa Martynov is also expected to hold talks with Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota and Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa.
    Belarus and South Africa have also been coordinating agreements on mutual legal aid in criminal cases and extradition. Pending is the legal-treaty base between the Belarus and South Africa. The countries have already signed intergovernmental agreements on trade-economic cooperation, avoidance of double taxation, sci-tech cooperation. Protocol on cooperation between foreign ministries, memorandum on understanding between Belarusian State University and Pretoria University and other documents were signed as well.

    Sedmoy Continent to acquire 50% shares of Belarusian retail company ProstoreMarket.


    Sedmoy Continent OJSC will acquire 50% shares of ProstoreMarket CZAO, a retail company (Republic of Belarus, Minsk), as the Company informs.
    The probable cost of the controlling stake will be $5 mln. According to Sedmoy Continent, this will mean the shop chain's entering the international market. The acquisition of an additional stake in the Belarusian company is planned too.
    ProstoreMarket CZAO was registered in July 2005. Its core business is retail trade.
    In 2005, Sedmoy Continent's net income grew by 69% to $45 million, its proceeds rose by 40% to $713 million. The Company's major shareholder is 7C Invest-Holding CJSC controlled by Alexander Zanadvorov and Vladimir Gruzdev. At the turn of last year 13% of the Company's shares were sold during IPO in the RTS for RUB 2.3 billion. An additional issue has recently been placed, as a result of it, the free-float rose to approximately 25%.
    In other business news, Rosbank AKB OJSC has increased its share in its subsidiary Belrosbank to 73.08% from 57.69% shares, as Rosbank informs. The number of shares was raised from 3.75 mln to 4.75 mln.
    Belrosbank CJSC was registered in 2003; its authorized capital totals 17.88 Belarusian rubles. The Bank specializes in crediting enterprises of the real sector of the economy and the power sector, including Belarusian power plants. Power Machines OJSC and SP IPK Yarovit (Belarus) were the co-founders of Belrosbank too at the point of its registration.
    Rosbank was founded in 1993. 97.26% of the Bank's shares are held by the Cyprian KM Technologies (Overseas) Ltd. that represents Interros' interests. In June, Societe Generale became the holder of 10% shares of the Bank, having paid $317 mln for them.
    Rosbank is one of the ten largest Russian banks. As to July 1, 2006, Rosbank's assets totaled RUB 209.22 bn, its owned capital - RUB 21.16 bn. Rosbank currently comprises about 800 branches, 69 of them operate in most of Russian regions.

    Cross-border seminar in Belarus


    How can co-operation between three countries, some in the EU some not, be organised in such a way that the border regions are able to develop tourism and protect nature at the same time? That was the theme of a seminar 24-25 August in Braslav, Belarus, as part of the Baltic Euroregional Network (BEN).
    Participants from Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus attended the seminar "Water Resources of Euroregion - Country of Lakes", the first BEN event in Belarus. The actual border region in question consists of beautiful scenery with forests and lakes. The seminar has been funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and the EU’s BSR INTERREG III B programme.
    The aim of BEN is to promote closer co-operation over the borders between the Baltic countries, Belarus, Russia and Poland. A number of Nordic cross-border regions related their experiences of cross-border co-operation. A total of 35 partners from nine countries are taking part in the project, which also serves as an example of the willingness of the Nordic and Baltic countries to collaborate at local level with regions in Belarus as well.
  • Note: Have a look at a pretty good environmental site devoted to Belarus...

    Lyakhovich: "Be a Man Klitschko, I Already Knocked Brock Out"


    After hearing the details of IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko choosing to fight undefeated contender Calvin Brock on November 11 in Madison Square Garden, WBO heavyweight champion Sergei Lyakhovich and manager Ivailo Gotzev were furious with Klitschko's decision.
    "I think HBO is making a bad decision with this fight. They are taking a step backwards. HBO and Shelly Finkel should be ashamed of running (Shannon) Briggs out of this fight. Calvin Brock does not deserve to be in this fight. He's going to be gone in 60 seconds. It wont even be a fight. He's a smart kid, a nice kid, but should not be in the title fight against Klitschko." Gotzev said.
    Lyakhovich wanted Klitshcko to be a man, take the fight against him, and not against challanger Calvin Brock.
    "I knocked this guy (Brock) out in the gym five years ago with headgear and gym gloves. He was out. When they picked him up he was wobbling and shaking, his legs were gone. Imagine what would happen in a real ring. Don tried to make a fight with me and Brock, he didnt want to fight me. Klitschko should be a man and fight me. I know I want to unify the world titles, I don't know what Klitschko wants," Lyakhovich said.
    Gotzev told BoxingScene that discussions are ongoing with Shannon Briggs to stage a fight with Lyakhovich for November 4, on Showtime.
    "We are talking right now. Don King is talking with Showtime, working out a good deal to take care of his champion and we go there on November 4 and knock Briggs' ass out" Gotzev said.
    Originally the fight for Wladimir Klitschko was against Shannon Briggs, but quickly the target changed to Oleg Maskaev, once Maskaev obtained the WBC heavyweight title by knocking out Hasim Rahman three weeks ago.
    "They run to the old man. They want the guy with the old legs. He (Maskaev) is 37-years-old, all sorts of injuries from the Rahman fight, just went through a war and this is the guy they to fight. They could have had a tough strong fighter from Brooklyn (Briggs), who can punch, who can trash talk, dangerous fighter, and they basically turn their backs on him by keeping him waiting around for months. We were ready for the November date. Klitschko knows Lyakhovich is the true heavyweight champion. Klitschko wants easy fights, " Gotzev said.
    If negotiations go as planned, Lyakhovich will defend his WBO title against Shannon Briggs, in the main event of November 4 card, televised nationally by Showtime.

    Czechs beat Belarus women 3-0

    From: UEFA footbal.

    The Czech Republic's convincing 3-0 win against Belarus in Čelákovice maintains their hopes of qualifying for the FIFA Women's World Cup in China next year.
    The home side began both periods in style as Pavlína Ščasná opened the scoring in the fifth minute and fellow striker Gabriela Chlumecká doubled the advantage just after restart following a goalkeeping error. Defender Lucie Kladrubská sealed the victory with the third goal ten minutes before full time.
    Two-goal target
    The qualifying group will be decided in the final game between Sweden and the Czech Republic in Vaxjo on 24 September. Sweden won the first encounter 3-2 and only a two-goal margin of victory in the return can send the Czechs to the finals.

    Staggering throw puts Vili ahead

    AN opening throw of almost 20 metres in Austria last week bodes well for brilliant Pakuranga shot putter Valerie Vili’s European campaign.
    Vili threw 19.83m at the Intersport Gugi meeting in Linz to beat European champion Natallia Khoroneko of Belarus and Cuban Olympic champion Yumileidi Cumba.
    Coming out of a cold New Zealand winter, it was a staggering performance by the rising young star against a classy field. Khorenko threw 19.42m and Cumba 18.92m.
    Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus, who has a world best 20.56m this year, was a distant fifth with 18.34m.
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  • Note: It is with great sadness that the BEING HAD Times has learned the reason behind the closing of the BR23 Blog. Apparently an accident has occurred which has left the operator of the BR23 blog in a coma. Many people of the blogging community have offered condolences and good wishes for a speedy recovery.