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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Lukashenka leads CIS financial, INTL theatre festival in Brest, Iran, Ukraine and Venezuela like BY business, Belarus falls 0-3 to Netherlands

From the Top

Belarus meets with the heads of the superior financial control bodies of the CIS member states

From: The office of the president, Belta
On September 5, President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko met with the heads of the superior financial control bodies of the CIS member states. They arrived in Minsk to participate in the 7th session of the Council of the heads of those bodies. The session’s agenda features important issues of improving the financial and economic legislation, of interacting with other control bodies.

The above interstate Council was set up in 2000 with a view to strengthening and systematizing cooperation between the state financial control bodies. In 2005, the session of the heads of state of the CIS member states approved the provisions on the Interstate Council of the heads of the superior financial control bodies of the CIS member states.

From today, the State Control Committee of the Republic of Belarus has taken over the chairmanship of the Council.

Opening the meeting, Alexander Lukashenko emphasized: “It can be said without a doubt that this year our country has become the capital of the integration processes at highest and high levels.” Specifically, in June Minsk hosted the summits of the EurAsEC and t he Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Prosecutors general, heads of the border control agencies, foreign ministries, CIS railway transport bodies also had their meetings in Minsk. Presently, the capital of Belarus is preparing to receive the CIS heads of state, who will gather together in autumn.

Recalling the suggestions on reforming the CIS, Alexander Lukashenko underscored that “not under any circumstances must one destroy what has already been created in the CIS.” “The professionals have proved the efficiency of their activities. They have been talking the same language. To favour the creation of other professional councils within the framework of the CIS is the principled position of Belarus,” the Head of State said.

Alexander Lukashenko noted that within the CIS frames he values cooperation between heads of departments most. Having reminded of the proposals to reform the CIS, the Belarusian leader underlined that “in no circumstances we can destroy everything positive created in the Commonwealth”. “If we (presidents and heads of government) are ineffectively working, professionals confirm effectiveness of their activity. They speak the same language”, the Belarusian leader underlined.

“Whatever policy Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia and Russia may pursue, professionals face the same problems”, Alexander Lukashenko said. “Only together we will be able to fight this evil – economic crimes”, the Belarusian leader underlined.

At the same time Alexander Lukashenko noted that Belarus would support the idea to set up other professional councils within the CIS framework. “This is our fundamental position”, Alexander Lukashenko said.

MPs to prepare Belarusian-Ukrainian free trade agreement for ratification

Members of the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly are preparing Belarusian-Ukrainian intergovernmental agreement on free trade for ratification. The bill was brought in by the Belarusian Council of Ministers. The document will be read in the Oval Hall during the oncoming fifth session, which is scheduled to begin on October 2, BelTA was told by the press service of the Chamber of Representatives.
BelTA learnt from the international affairs and CIS relations commission, the agreement has several advantages before the CIS agreement on creating a free trade zone thanks to a more thorough coverage of relations and interests of the two states in every co-operation direction.
Ukraine is a key trade partner of Belarus. The annual trade turnover between the two countries nears USD2 billion. Ukrainian market capacity looks promising for the promotion of Belarusian products, noted the source.
In line with the agreement the two sides undertake to give each other the most favoured nation treatment in export-import operations, in particular, in aspects related to customs duties and customs clearance as well as various fees. The observance of transit freedom is laid down as a point vital for reaching the agreement’s goals.
Belarus and Ukraine undertake to share information on customs issues, including customs statistics, and will take efforts to bring each other’s customs duty rates closer while trading with third states. The sides agreed to hold regular consultations to reach the goals.
Effectiveness of integration processes depends mainly on the work of the CIS branch bodies, president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko is convinced.

International theater festival to open in Brest this week

From: Naveny
An international theater festival, Belaya Vezha, will take place in Brest between September 8 and 15 for the 11th consecutive year.
The festival is expected to bring together a number of theater companies from 21 countries, including Argentina, Armenia, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Israel, Korea, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine, the director of the festival, Aleksandr Kozak, told reporters in Brest on September 4.
The festival will feature performances by Russian-language theaters representing different countries, as well as performances by other companies working in various styles, including academic drama, modern experimental drama, street performances and dancing. The companies are expected to stage 25 drama plays and 24 puppet performances.
The jury will be reportedly led by prominent Belarusian playwright Aleksei Dudarev.
Belaya Vezha has become increasingly popular both with theater companies and spectators, and nearly all performances are to attract sell-out crowds, Mr. Kozak said.
The festival is to take place on several stages, including the Brest Drama and Music Theater, the Brest Puppet Theater, the Brest Regional Palace of Trade Unions' Culture, the Center for Youth Art and at the central square of the city.
About 30,000 people attended Belaya Vezha performances last year.

Iranian MP Comes to Belarus

From: INT. Heralt Tribune
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is due to arrive in Belarus on Thursday for a two-day visit, officials said Wednesday, the second visit to the isolated ex-Soviet republic this summer by a high-level Iranian official.
Mottaki is expected to meet with his Belarusian counterpart, Sergei Martynov, and with the speaker of the lower parliament house, Vladimir Konoplyov, Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Popov said. He is not expected to meet with President Alexander Lukashenko, Popov said.
The governments of Iran and Belarus are both foes of the United States, and Lukashenko has courted other nations that are severely critical of the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush.
Popov said talks during Mottaki's visit will focus on bilateral relations and "key issues on the world agenda."
Last month, Iran's industry minister inaugurated a new assembly plant for Iranian-designed cars during a four-day visit aimed to bolster ties.
The volume of trade between Belarus and Iran in the first half of 2006 dropped by 30 percent from the same period the previous year, to US$15.9 million (€12.4 million), according to the Foreign Ministry.
In July, Lukashenko played host to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a frequent and harsh critic of the United States.

Belarus National Bank includes rubles in forex reserves

From: Interfax
Assets in Russian rubles will be included in Belarussian forex reserves, according to the national definition, from September 1, 2006, the Belarussian National Bank's information department said, quoting a resolution from the National Bank board of directors.
The press release notes that according to international standards, reserve currency may be foreign currency from a leading states, used by other states to accumulate liquid international reserve assets, make international settlements and cover foreign obligations and to carry out currency intervention, accepted as payment throughout the world.
The National Bank said that from July 1, 2006 Russia removed all currency restrictions, which moved the Russian ruble significantly closer being a freely convertible currency. In addition, in recent years the sovereign rating of the Russian Federation has increased significantly," the National Bank said.
The Russian ruble accounts for about 20%-30% of total volume on the Belarussian domestic currency market and in foreign trade settlements, second only to the dollar, the press release said.
Also, as world confidence in the Russian ruble grows and its use in international settlements increases, the National Bank plans to increase the weight of the Russian ruble in the structure of reserve currencies.

Belarus Wants to Sell Venezuelan Oil to U.S.

From: MossNews
Belarusian government delegation is visiting Venezuela to negotiate the set-up of a joint oil venture. The initial agreement was reached during July visit of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Minsk.
The deputy director for oil and gas of the Belarusian state company Belgeologia Yaroslav Gribik told Interfax on Monday, Sept. 4, that Belarus is considering “cooperation with Venezuelan oil companies”. Belarus is ready to develop oil fields in Venezuela on concessionary terms and to sell the oil to the United States.
“If Belarus manages to secure a position on the Venezuelan oil market, we could produce oil and sell it to the Unites States. The profits would help to develop Belarusian oil refineries,” the official said.
He added that Belarus views Venezuela as a gateway to the Latin American market. Gribik also said that the survey and assessment of oil blocs as well as the design and construction of oilrigs are all promising areas for his country.
  • For more on Venezuelan/Belarusian relation, see below

    Block of historic buildings pulled down in Grodno

    From: BelaPan
    Authorities in Grodno have torn down a whole block of historic buildings at the center of the city. The area, which was called Zolotaya Gorka (Golden Hill), is located at the beginning of Gorky Street between the historic downtown and a modern part of the city.
    building were demolished because the road will be broadened there and because they looked bad.
    A house, which is located on the corner of Gorky Street and September 17 Street and is considered a good example of the Constructivist style, is also to be demolished. Only one house, which is faced with white brick, will not be pulled down because it looks fine, Mr. Karavayev said.
    He said that he did know what would be built instead of the demolished structures, and that there would be a lawn there for the time being.
    The condemned two-storied brick building on the corner of Gorky Street and September 17 Street, was built in 1936 and is one of the three finest examples of the Constructivist style in Grodno. The construction of buildings in this style began in Western Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and there are only few such buildings in Grodno, historian Andrei Vashkevich told BelaPAN.
    At the beginning of this past summer, Grodno historians petitioned the Grodno City Executive Committee for preserving this building. The city government rejected the petition, explaining that the house stood in the wrong place in terms of traffic regulations.

    Due to difficult weather conditions Belarus can lose 1 mln tonnes of grain

    From: Agromarket
    10.8% of grains remain to be harvested in Belarus, informed the Head of main department of Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Gregory Romanyuk. According to him harvesting is delayed because of cloudbursts. Grain quality has become worse - it gets dark and grows out in standing. Even old-timers don't remember such difficult harvesting. According to the preliminary estimations of Ministry specialists due to such unfavourable weather conditions Belarus can lose about 1 mln tonnes of grain. As of September, 6, gross grain output totaled 5.639 mln tonnes, down 719.000 tonnes from the previous year. The average yield of grains is 2.91 tonnes per hectare.

    Belarus president’s special fund allocates over Br146.3 million for bonuses to gifted students

    From: Belta
    The Belarusian president’s special fund for welfare support of gifted students has allocated Br146.31 million ($70,000) for material support of young talents. The head of state approved the resolution of the fund council on the eve of the new academic year, the Belarusian president’s press service told BelTA.
    Polina Dovnar and Vladislav Poritskiy, winners of the 4th international CIS and Baltic states Russian language competition in 2005, received Br1.705 million each ($1600) and badges “Laureate of the Republic of Belarus President special fund for welfare support of talented youth”.
    Maria Botvinkina, Nina Botvinkina, and Anastasiya Yatkova, students of Minsk State Technological College, were awarded Br330,000 each for winning international championships and professionalism contests.
    Money bonuses of Br310,000 each went to 61 laureates of the national contest of scientific papers of Belarusian university students in 2005. Br18.910 million has been spent on the purpose.
    515 students received all in all Br103 million for academic achievements.
    For their academic and researching achievements historic and local lore society Etno of Belarusian State Culture and Arts University and student scientific society No. 1 of Vitebsk received Br10 million each for building up the material base.
    The order testifies to the consistent support for young talents by the head of state, noted the press service.

    Parents of social orphans will be forced to reimburse their children support expenses

    From: Belta
    A draft decree “Additional measures to ensure reimbursement of support expenses of children the state takes care of and prevention of dysfunctional families” provides for extrajudicial mechanisms to allow the state to take care of the children by approbation of the local administration. The statement was made by deputy head of Belarus President Administration Natalia Petkevich during today’s president-chaired session on enhancing the state protection of children, BelTA learnt from the Belarusian president’s press service.
    According to Natalia Petkevich, within three months an executive authority will have to either apply to the court for deprivation of paternal rights or return children to their family. The mechanism can render a sobering-up effect on many misconduct parents and change the situation in the family for the better. If it is dangerous for the child to stay with his parents, he can be removed by court approbation without the parents’ getting deprived of paternal rights.
    Natalia Petkevich noted, the document is supposed to give the state a tool to take children out of danger fast and step up the responsibility of the parents, who de jure or de facto abandon their children.
    In practice many parents fail to willingly reimburse the money the state spends on raising their children. Therefore, the decree forces them to reimburse the expenses. The procedure used to file suits with the court on such cases is supposed to be simplified as well.
    “If we can ensure state protection of children, who happen to be in a socially dangerous situation inside their own families, it will be the ultimate manifestation of humanism and legality,” underscored Natalia Petkevich.
    “However if careless parents can not bring up healthy descendants if they drink alcohol and have an immoral lifestyle, the state should take their children away and look after them, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko told the meeting on the issues relating to enhancing the state protection of children.
    “These parents, if we can call them that, will reimburse expenses for their children’s maintenance to the state in full”, the Belarusian leader stated. If the parents can not earn necessary USD120 for the children care, it is necessary to force them to do this right up to public works, the head of state noted.
    During the meeting the president stressed that an every child should be raised and educated in the family. The task of the state is to create conditions for the well-being of families and appropriate development of children.

    Belarusian government delegation on visit to Venezuela

    From: Belapan
    A Belarusian government delegation led by Viktor Sheiman, secretary general of the Security Council, is visiting Venezuela, a source with the Security Council secretariat told BelaPAN on Monday.
    The visit is aimed at the implementation of Belarusian-Venezuelan agreements reached during Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's visit to Belarus, the source said.
    That visit yielded a number of bilateral agreements. In particular, Aleksandr Lukashenko and Mr. Chavez inked a joint declaration of the Republic of Belarus and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which outlined long-term strategic partnership priorities. In addition, the sides signed interstate agreements on cooperation in the scientific, technological, energy and petrochemical spheres, as well as memoranda of understanding regarding agricultural cooperation and political consultations between the two countries' foreign ministries.
    "In the near future, Venezuela will start carrying out joint projects, mainly in the construction sector," Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky said while commenting on the results of the visit of Mr. Chavez. "The Venezuelan president asked Belarus for support in constructing new enterprises. The head of the Belarusian state has already given direct directives to the government as to how to organize work in this area. Belarusian experts will soon be sent to Venezuela."
    As the prime minister said, the Belarusian and the Venezuelan heads of state also reached agreements providing for the supply of Belarus' MAZ trucks, tractors and quarry dump trucks to South America, and for a considerable increase in Belarus' export of potash fertilizers to Venezuela.
    Apart from that, Belarusian petrochemical experts are to take part in joint programs, Mr. Sidorsky said.

    Belarus to back Venezuela's candidacy to UN Security Council

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez on Tuesday said that Belarus was among a growing list of countries supporting his "anti-imperialist" government in its bid to join the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member.
    Speaking to a group of officials from the ex-Soviet republic, Chavez also said that Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko would "shortly" be visiting Venezuela, reported AP.
    "We thank the Belarus government for the firm support it has given for our candidacy," Chavez said, adding that Venezuela's candidacy was "the candidacy of all honorable peoples in the world, of those who fight for equality and liberty, it is the anti-imperialist candidacy."
    The U.S. government, which has long been at odds with Chavez's administration, has sought to block Venezuela's quest for a regional, non-permanent seat on the Security Council and is backing Guatemala instead.
    Chavez in his televised speech sent a "warm greeting" to Lukashenko — a man known in Europe and Washington as "Europe's last dictator" — as he hailed what he called Venezuela's deepening relations with Belarus.
    "Belarus is a free country, Venezuela is a free country, and that puts us in sight of the U.S. empire's ill-fated objectives," said Chavez.
    Chavez did not specify when Lukashenko, who also shares his anti-U.S. views, would come to Venezuela, only saying that preparations were underway for the visit by his "friend and brother."
    Venezuela is lobbying for one of 10 temporary seats on the 15-member Security Council held for two-year terms by members from regional blocs. If Latin American and Caribbean countries fail to reach a consensus by Oct. 16, the issue will be decided by a secret vote in the 192-member General Assembly.
    In recent weeks, Chavez has announced that he has secured the backing of China, Malaysia, Syria and Russia, as well as other Arab, African and Western Hemisphere governments.

  • Sports

    Natalya Sokolova wins Summer Biathlon World Championship

    From: Belta
    Natalya Sokolova has won the 3km sprint with two shooting bouts at Summer Biathlon World Championship in Ufa, BelTA was informed by head coach of the national biathlon team Alexander Belyaev. Regardless two misses the athlete managed to significantly outrun her rivals.
    A reminder, Natalya Sokolova is a seven-time winner of summer world championships. Last year at Biathlon World Championship in Finland she claimed gold in all events.
    The top junior Belarusian athletes Vadim Tsvetov, Igor Matlakov and Piotr Chvanov came in 10th, 11th and 13th respectively. The gold of junior sprint went to Uzbekistan’s Ruslan Nasyrov. Russians Evgeniy Pchelkin and Alexei Katrenko took silver and bronze.

  • From the UEFA qualifier

    Netherlans 3 Belarus 0

    From: UEFA
    Game 2; September 6) The Netherlands produced a convincing display to defeat Belarus in Eindhoven and go top of UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying Group G. Belarus had goalkeeper Vasili Khomutovski to thank for keeping the scores down, but two goals either side of the break from Robin van Persie and a late third by Dirk Kuijt were enough for the Oranje.
    Keen to deliver a better performance than they had managed in Saturday's 1-0 win in Luxembourg, the Netherlands dominated from the start with a succession of corners and deep crosses into the Belarus box. The lively Van Persie popped up from nowhere just after the half-hour to fire a right-footed shot past Khomutovski and Wesley Sneijder was unlucky to see his right-footer hit the post three minutes later.
    Kuijt and Klaas Jan Huntelaar both had opportunities to double the Dutch advantage before half-time but could offer little to seriously test the Belarus keeper. The second half began in much the same manner, with the Oranje applying the pressure but unable to find their way through. Van Persie finally made the points safe when a 78th-minute cross from defender André Ooijer found the Arsenal FC forward on the edge of the area and he curled a superb shot past Khomutovski. The hosts' third goal was then supplied by Van Persie whose cross was met by Kuijt's powerful header.

    Liberals wanted boycott of Dutch - Belarus match

    From: Expatica
    Within days of power company workers withdrawing a threat to cut power to the Philip's stadium in Eindhoven during the match, a leading member of the Liberal Party (VVD) called for a boycott by the Dutch side.
    MP Hans van Baalen wanted the boycott in protest at the increasingly authoritarian rule of Belorussian president Alexander Lukashenko.
    "We are talking about a harsh dictatorship where people disappear and sports people are not free," Van Baalen told news programme Netwerk on Monday evening. He said the Dutch eleven should not play the return match in Belarus in November either.
    Dutch soccer federation KNVB rejected the suggestion. "We are a football association and not a political organisation," a spokesperson said. "If the Dutch team does not football, disqualification will follow. As long as UEFA does not boycott these sorts of countries we will not consider not playing."
    He dismissed Van Baalen's performance as "short-term politics".
    "It is striking this call came two days before the international match, while it has been common knowledge for months that we have to play against White Russia (Belarus)," the spokesperson said.

    Belarus 2 Albania 2

    From: UEFA
    (From September 2) A late equaliser from veteran Besnik Hasi secured a terrific point for Albania in the first match of their UEFA European Championship qualifying campaign.
    The KSC Lokeren OV midfielder, who will turn 35 in December, fired in a long-range effort in the 86th minute to ensure it would be honours even in the Dinamo stadium in Minsk. Belarus had twice taken the lead and will be bitterly disappointed not to have got their Group G campaign off to a winning start, particularly as they visit Eindhoven to face the Netherlands on Wednesday.
    Timofei Kalachev gave Belarus the initiative with a neat close-range finish with just two minutes on the clock, but Albania hit back five minutes later when Ervin Skela converted from the spot after Vladimir Korythko had upended Igli Tare. Korythko was eager to atone for his error, but his strike from distance flew the wrong side of the upright, while team-mate Denis Kovba was denied by Albania goalkeeper Ilion Lika.
    Lika was forced into action again as Belarus piled on the early pressure, beating away Maksim Romashchenko's low drive and then saving Viacheslav Hleb's right-footed effort. The hosts regained the advantage after 24 minutes when Romashchenko found the bottom corner of the net from inside the area. Albania again looked for an instant response but Belarus keeper Vasili Khomutovski managed to keep out Altin Lala's header.
    The visitors were still seeking the equaliser in the opening stages of the second half. Armend Dallku blasted wide and then saw a long-range attempt blocked by Aleksandr Kulchy. At the other end, Kulchy's shot was parried by Lika. Tare nodded wide for Albania and Dallku also threatened, while Sergei Omelyanchuk tried to undo Albania on the break but the defender fired off target. The fourth goal of the night finally arrived when Hasi gave Khomutovski no chance. Albania will hope to build on the point earned when they welcome Romania to Tirana in four days.

    Qualifying round
    02.09.2006 v Albania (H) 2-2
    06.09.2006 v Netherlands (A) 0-3
    07.10.2006 v Romania (A) TBD
    11.10.2006 v Slovenia (H) TBD
    24.03.2007 v Luxembourg (A) TBD
    02.06.2007 v Bulgaria (H) TBD
    06.06.2007 v Bulgaria (A) TBD
    08.09.2007 v Romania (H) TBD
    12.09.2007 v Slovenia (A) TBD
    13.10.2007 v Luxembourg (H) TBD
    17.11.2007 v Albania (A) TBD
    21.11.2007 v Netherlands (H) TBD

    Standings »
    Group G G W D L F A Pts
    Holland 2 2 0 0 4 0 6
    Bulgari 2 1 1 0 5 2 4
    Romania 2 1 1 0 4 2 4
    Albania 2 0 1 1 2 4 1
    Belarus 2 0 1 1 2 5 1
    Luxembg 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
    Sloveni 1 0 0 1 0 3 0