Belarus bans US and Canada flyovers, BY 2-England 1, Could Putin go for 3rd term? Could Lukashenka run from Russia? Lungvall on Paulina
From the Top
To Counteract Present-Day Challenges is Possible Only by Way of Uniting Efforts
From: the office of the president
Belarus is a pro-active advocate of the integration processes in all spheres in the CIS framework. The statement to this effect was made by President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on May 25 when he was meeting with the heads of delegations of Prosecutors General of the CIS member states.
"We proceed from a simple truth: if there are common interests, any unification is beneficial. If there are common problems, it is easier to solve them together", the Head of the Belarusian State said.
This country is a consistent advocate of pro-active interaction with the CIS member states. It was in State of the Nation Address to the Belarusian people and the National Assembly that Alexander Lukashenko stated the intention of Belarus to develop all-round integration ties in the CIS framework. "We will continue the cooperation in the CIS framework. Indeed, the use of the reserves of multisided CIS mechanisms is not brining due benefits today. But this is not a cause for speaking about liquidating the Commonwealth. We have common interests; this is why any form of integration is beneficial. We should develop transit, social and humanitarian cooperation in the CIS framework in a more active manner".
The ensuring of the rule of law, securing peace of mind of the citizens and the fight against crime constitute the priority task of every country, the President noted. Significant attention is paid to these issues in Belarus.
The establishment of the Coordinating Council of Prosecutors General of the CIS was a well-timed and far-sighted step, Alexander Lukashenko said. вЂњI am very glad that I have come to play the most active role in the process of creation of this council. The appropriateness of that decision is evident today given the increase in crime which is taking ever more intricate forms, given the expansion of terrorism, drag business, illegal arms traffic, human trafficking, illegal migration and other socially dangerous phenomenaвЂќ, the Belarusian leader said.
The Coordinating Council of Prosecutors General of the CIS member states was established in 1995. It includes Prosecutors General of 10 countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine. The major objectives of the Council are to coordinate and unite efforts in expanding the cooperation between Prosecutors General of the CIS member states, secure rights and freedoms of citizens, ensure the rule of law, fight crime and outline proposals on drawing the national legislations closer to each other.
According to the President of the Republic of Belarus, the issues connected with the fight against crime have become so big that no country is able to cope with them alone. To counteract them is possible only by way of uniting the political will of the bodies of authority and sharing experience between law enforcement agencies, the President noted.
"We can have long debate on the issues of diplomacy and economy in the CIS framework now - whether something is needed or not. In fact, some say that the CIS in not needed. Some would like to withdraw from the Commonwealth. As for law enforcement bodies, there is no debate on this point: it is needed. The course of events makes it necessary. The course of events dictates, first of all, the necessity to be together. If some country does not need this and it decides not to act together with others against these negative phenomena, then it would become a "black hole" in the fight against crime. It is impossible to fight crime alone today in this interdependent and complicated world", the President said.
Commenting upon the fact that not all the members of the Coordinating Council of Prosecutors General of the CIS member states converged in Minsk, Alexander Lukashenko said: "He who is not with us today is against himself".
Formerly, the ex-Soviet republics "lost touch with each other while criminals, on the contrary, united", the president said. "This is why I welcome any kind of integration in the sphere of law enforcement bodies and security agencies with a view to preventing horrendous, negative phenomena in the society", the Belarusian leader said.
In the course of the meeting Alexander Lukashenko supported the unconditional fulfillment of the agreements reached in the CIS framework.
"Any good intentions will bring real benefits only in case every party treats the implementation of the already reached agreements with maximum responsibility. This is a big problem in the CIS framework. We sign a lot of documents at the level of the heads of state, but, unfortunately, their execution leaves much to be desired, to put it mildly", the President noted.
Belarus is ready to share the experience it has gained in the fields of fighting crime, counteracting human trafficking and illegal migration, Alexander Lukashenko said. "Belarus, like Ukraine, is exposed to these phenomena because all transit flows cross this country and illegal migration creates big problems for us", the president said.
Quite a lot has been done in the CIS framework in coordinating efforts to counteract crime and other present-day challenges, the Head of State said. There has been created and functions an antiterrorist center, a specialized databank of the bureau for the coordination of countermeasures against the organized crime and other dangerous types of crimes. Of exceptional importance is the comprehensive analysis and accurate assessment of the situation, forecasting of negative trends and preventive nature of measures to counteract crime and other present-day challenges, Alexander Lukashenko said.
It is in every possible way that Belarus will provide assistance to the strengthening of the role of the Coordinating Council of Prosecutors General of the CIS member states, the President said. "I would like to view the Coordinating council as an effective and influential body, a kind of center in the campaign against terrorism in the post Soviet space. This country is interested in this and will ensure it in every possible way", the Belarusian leader said.
Alexander Lukashenko thanked the Prosecutors General of the CIS member states for waging a hard-edged war on negative social phenomena involving all the law enforcement bodies and security agencies of the CIS. "All your initiatives in this field will be supported by Belarus, you may count on us", the president said.
Belarus Bans US and Canadian Aircraft Landing in Belarus
Government spokesman for Belarus, a former the Soviet country, said in exchange for the western ban on Belarus leaders visiting western countries, the Minsk administration has imposed a ban against Unite States and Canadian aircraft landing Belarus.
Last month, the United States and Canada refused a Belarus air craft carrying Belarus President Alexander Lukashenka to land forcing it to return to Cuba.
At a news briefing, Belerus government spokesman Andrei Popov said the ban decision was taken in response to the actions applied by both countries towards Belarus; he reminded that the ban includes only the United States and Canada.
Belarus says will appeal EU, U.S. entry ban for govt. officials
From: Ria Novosti
Belarus will appeal decisions by the European Union and the United States to deny state officials entry, a spokesman for the country's president said Thursday.
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday that he had instructed the government to prepare appeals against the EU and the U.S. decisions in international courts.
"The legitimacy of such an instruction is obvious," Andrei Popov said. "The restrictions directly violate the principles of the Helsinki accords related to freedom of travel."
Belarus tries to close human rights group
From: Seattle PI
The Justice Ministry said Thursday it had asked a court to close down one of the country's leading human rights groups, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee.
The move against a persistent critic of the authoritarian rule of President Alexander Lukashenko follows unprecedented protests against his disputed re-election in March.a statement posted on its Web site, the Justice Ministry said it had filed a motion at the Supreme Court requesting that it order the closure of the Helsinki Committee.
The ministry said the rights group "has been systematically violating Belarusian law and its own charter for a long time."
It accused it of posting unauthorized observers during 2004 parliamentary elections, occupying office premises reserved for residential housing and committing gross tax violations.
There was no immediate comment from the rights group.
England B lost 2-1 to 10-man Belarus
England B lost 2-1 to 10-man Belarus on Thursday in their first World Cup warm-up game overshadowed by an injury that will rule out Robert Green for the finals.
In the second half Green ruptured his groin making a save and when he took a goal-kick he collapsed, allowing Vitaly Kutuzov to sidefoot an equalizer.
Sergey Omelianchuk was sent off but Sergey Kornilenko fired in the winner.
Michael Owen had helped set up Jermaine Jenas' goal to give England the lead before he was replaced by Theo Walcott.
Walcott came on in the 61st minute and made an immediate impact, embarrassing the Belarus defence with his pace before he was unceremoniously upended.
The Arsenal striker also troubled Yuri Zhevnov with a powerful volley.
Green, who came on at the start of the second half for David James, had had a nervy introduction when he spilled a Maksim Romashchenko free-kick after only two minutes.
In making that save Green ruptured his groin and when he tried to take a goal-kick he collapsed in a heap, allowing Kutuzov to guide the ball into the empty net.
The game was delayed for several minutes as Green was treated by England physio Gary Lewin before the Norwich keeper was carried off.
Green was replaced by Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson, who is now set to go to Germany.
England never recovered from the bizarre nature of Belarus' equaliser.
Even when Omelianchuk was sent off for picking up a second yellow card, England were unable to capitalise on their one-man advantage.
Kornilenko capitalized on England's uncertainty, weaving his way into the box before angling a shot past Carson.
Before the game the focus had been on Owen's return to action, with the Newcastle striker continuing his recovery from a broken metatarsal.
Anschluss With Belarus Could Mean 3rd Term for Putin — Yavlinsky
Grigory Yavlinsky, the leader of the liberal Yabloko party has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin could stay on for a third term, overcoming the constitutional ban on such a move by what Yavlinsky called an “anschluss” with Belarus.
Speaking at the interview with the readers of the Russian internet daily Gazeta.ru, Yavlinsky said that Putin might not leave his post in 2008. “An authoritarian system does not know how to change its leader. This is the way it is made, it is not adapted to the change of the leader in general and so systemic problems will arise, I mean it will be hard (for the beaurocrats) to part with their privileges and property, and with their posts, and besides, Putin and his entourage have this Messianic feeling — Russia must be saved and what is there that cannot be done for the sake of that?”
“It will be very dangerous if this is done through an anschluss with Belarus. For everyone. But this option should not be excluded,” Yavlinsky said.
First Deputy Prosecutor General leaves for Minsk
From: Trend (Azerbaijan)
The first deputy prosecutor general of Azerbaijan, Rustam Usubov. left for Minsk on 24 May to attend a meeting of the Coordination Council of Prosecutor Generals of CIS member-states due on 25 May, the spokesman for the Prosecutor General’s Office, Vugar Aliyev, told Trend.
According to Usubov, the gathering is expected to ink documents on combat of crimes and terror in CIS.
The agenda of the gathering also includes a program on fighting with crimes, adopted under CIS, perspectives for development of cooperation on exchange of experience in organization of the work on support state accusations while considering the lawsuits at courts.
Parliamentary delegation of Uzbekistan leaves for Minsk
The delegation of Oliy Majlis [parliament] of Uzbekistan led by the Chairman of the Senate Ilgizar Sabirov has left for Minsk to participate in the session of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (IPA) of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC).
The visit of parliamentarians is aimed at direct familiarization with the activity of IPA, its bureau and permanent commissions, establishment of personal contacts with the delegations of other EurAsEC member states, RIA Novosti reported quoting the press service of the Uzbek Senate.
The delegation includes Gafur Aliev, Chairman of the Senate committee for agrarian, water management issues and ecology, as well as members of the Legislative Chamber, namely Nurdinjan Ismailov, Chairman of the Committee for legislation and judicial-legal issues, and Abdurafik Ahadov, Chairman of the Committee for budget and economic reforms.
In connection with Uzbekistan's accession to EurAsEC, the agenda of IPA Bureau sessions includes issues on introduction of changes and addenda in the Statute on EurAsEC IPA and its regulations. Moreover, it is planned to form the sixth permanent commission in the structure of IPA, which will specialize in agroindustrial policy, nature management and ecology. Uzbekistan will get chairmanship.
Investments in oil refinery industry of Belarus to exceed 1 billion USD by 2010
By 2010 the oil refinery industry of Belarus will receive USD 1,059 billion worth of investments, chief of the innovation department of the Belneftekhim concern Victor Plotnikov reported at a seminar held within the framework of the exhibition “Chemistry. Oil and Gas”.
According to him, the two Belarusian oil refineries JSC Naftan and Mozyr Oil Refinery will undergo modernization of production capacities. This will help improving the quality of products and boosting output.
By 2010 the volume of oil raw material will go up by 55.4 per cent to 24 million tons a year.
Mozyr Oil Refinery was put in operation in 1975. Its main products are petrol, diesel fuel, household gas, technical butane, kerosene, bitumen. This year the company plans to refine 10 million tons of oil. The plan of the company’s technical reequipment for 2006-2010 stipulates an increase in oil refinement up to 12 million tons a year.
Naftan oil refinery was set up in 1958 and jointstockisized in 2002. The potential volume of oil refinement is 12 million tons a year. Naftan’s main products are various fuels (petrol, diesel fuel, mazut, kerosene), lubricating oil and oil additives, aroma carbohydrates, dissolvent, sulphuric acid, bitumen. In 2005 the company’s production soared by 12.6 per cent in comparative prices in comparison with 2004. This year the plant plans to achieve a 9.5 per cent increase. Naftan exports 70 per cent of its produce, mainly diesel fuel.
A Russian View of Lukashenka's Travel War with The West
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has no illusions about the West. His statements that his officials are not criminals and should not be prevented from traveling the world are strictly for local consumption. He understands very well that the officials are being kept at home because of him. A more interesting question is whether or not he has illusions about Russia.
The Belarusian is not hiding the fact that two factors are having a negative effect in the country. They are the West's intensive pressure and worsening world market conditions, especially for energy. There is a curious contradiction here. What is good for Russia is bad for Belarus. That is, it was good for Belarus too, until Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an end to financial aid to the Belarusian economy. The result is a strange union.
It is as if the wife has filled the house with flowers, even though she knows her husband is mortally allergic to them and will swell up and die in front of her eyes. Is that her goal? Or is it just a way to force him out of the house, which he is unwilling to leave otherwise?
Next promises nothing good for Lukashenko from Europe, or his closest ally and maybe not from his people either. The love of the people, which he is so proud of, is changeable. It depends on simple, homey factors. Are there eggs in the store? What do they cost? Is there light at home? What does it cost? Is the pension enough to pay for them both? Russia knows that. And Lukashenko knows that Russia knows.
"Come And See" reliesed to DVD
This double-disc edition from Nouveaux Pictures features the film itself, digitally remastered from a restored print (in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1), and with a choice of the original Russian/Belarus-language soundtrack (in 5.1 surround) with English subtitles, or an English dub (also in 5.1). It looks, and sounds, incredible.
Disc Two is packed with a comprehensive array of extras. In an excellent 20-minute interview, co-writer/director Elem Klimov discusses the seven year delay to the production, imposed by interfering authorities, who also insisted that the film's original title, Kill Hitler, be changed. He also relates how his fears that his young lead would be driven mad by all the on-set horrors encouraged him to hire a hypnotist for the actor.
Lead actor Alexei Kravchenko is still easily recognizable, despite no longer being a teenager. In fact, he looks much younger and healthier 20 years on than he does in the second half of the film. In a 13-minute interview, he describes how he was shown two hours of concentration camp footage immediately prior to his first audition with Klimov and adds that on-set he almost drowned in a quagmire and was nearly crushed to death by a cow that reared at the sound of gunfire. "Such," he says drily, "were my bright recollections of childhood."
There is also an eight minute interview with production designer Victor Petrov, who discusses DP Alexei Radionov's pioneering work with a steadicam, Klimov's crucial role over all aspects of production and the help received on-set from "God himself".
Lukashenko Speaks Chinese; No longer friends with Russia
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko made his annual address to the parliament yesterday. It was his first major speech since the imposition of sanctions by the United States and European Union and the announcement of Russia's new policy toward the country. He promised to dispute the legality of the sanctions in international court and said that he was in favor of “full-format cooperation” with the U.S. and EU. Lukashenko did not mention Russia among his friends, but mentioned that the Belarusian economy was threatened by the growth of energy prices. He said that China would become a priority in the new foreign policy of the country.
Lukashenko is known for his frequent and lengthy speeches, but that habit has been changing in recent times. Since his reelection to a third term, the Belarusian leader has been increasingly less visible to the public and significantly milder in his public statements. He has barely reacted to the recent attacks on him, remaining silent as the U.S. and EU imposed sanctions and Russia announced its decision to raise energy prices to the country and stop underwriting the economy in general. The Belarusian president was expected to make known yesterday what he intended to do in isolation.
Lukashenko began his speech with an unusual announcement. He assured the parliament, which he controls, that Belarus would be integrated into the world economy, and not limited to the CIS. “The priority task for the development of the Belarusian economy is to integrate with the world economy with unfailing attention to national interests. Belarus is thus pursuing a multi-line policy to expand the sales market for its goods, but that has to be done more aggressively,” he said.
Post-Soviet collective security group to be transformed-sec-gen.
From: Ria Novosti
The Collective Security Treaty Organization will undergo a sweeping reform at an upcoming summit in June to tackle a number of objectives, the secretary general said Wednesday.
Nikolai Bordyuzha said the reform at the June 23 Minsk meeting would mean the group, founded in 2002, would form its own peacekeeping forces, collective forces to tackle emergency situations and a number of auxiliary bodies to combat extremism and illegal migration.
Bordyuzha said the CSTO, which unites Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan, would be transformed "from a military-political organization into an organization that can promptly and effectively respond to modern threats and challenges."
He said a joint exercise was scheduled for June 24 and there were plans to draw up lists of terrorist organizations operating in CSTO member countries.
Just as well Smolova didn't make it to the final
From: Tobias Ljungvall on Belarus
I am on holiday in Finland, and last night I watched the Eurovision song contest broadcast from Greece. Belarus had not made it to the final, where 24 songs competed for the phone votes of European TV-viewers. Perhaps this was just as well, because I do not particularly like what I have seen of the artist Polina Smolova, who represented Minsk this year. And since she had participated in a series of propaganda concerts for Lukashenko in the run-up to this year's March election, there had also been calls for having her barred from entering Greece entirely. If so, she would have shared the embaressment of former sports minister Sivakov, who because of his implication in political disappearances was stopped from coming to the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.
Personally, I would have been in favour of such a step. Yes, I do understand that Smolova may have found it problematic to find work in Belarus if she had turned the Lukashenko concerts down. But there is more at stake than her career as a pop star here, and I do not share the view - which seems to be prevalent - that artists are not morally responsible for their own actions just because they are artists.
It is obvious that moral pressure on the Belarusian regime needs to be intensified, because it will not give in before it is finally broken. Recently, Lukashenko sent a clear message about this in a speech on local government, saying that vertical control from above must be even further strengthened and voicing his contempt of "democratic experiments." On one hand, the European Union seems to be getting the drift. This week it decided to freeze the assets of those regime functionaries it has already banned from entering its territory. But on the other hand, I am not sure what this freezing of assets will mean in reality, if anything at all.-
The United States has long since announced similar steps in relation to Lukashenko. But from a report to Congress made public by the White House a few months ago, I was left with the impression that the Americans have not really been able to locate the regime's hidden resources, which are reputedly stashed in various Arab or rogue states. I have serious doubts that the EU will find much to freeze too, although any news of a crooked Belarusian judge or other official loosing his apartment in Paris would be nice to hear. I do think, however, that the EU would have been better advised to simply broaden the list of currently 37 officials barred from entering the member countries. The Belarusian opposition has already prepared lists of names that would allow a ten-fold increase of this figure.-
As for the Eurovision song contest, it would have been nice to see a Belarusian representative of both higher artistic and higher moral quality. But I suppose dictatorship has a tendency to foster mediocrity. An exception in this case was Russia's Dima Bilan, who to my mind deserved victory. Instead though, hard-rock fans all over Europe laid their telephone votes for the Lord-of-the-rings-inspired monsters from Finland, causing amused perplexity around the TV that I was watching.
Some 300 presidential scholarships to be instituted in Belarus
Some 300 scholarships of the President of the Republic of Belarus (200 scholarships for students and 100 scholarships for post-graduate students) will be instituted in this country, head of state Alexander Lukashenko said in a meeting with the talented youth. According to him, this will inspire the younger generation to learning and creative work in science.
The program “Young Talents of Belarus”, designed to run for five years, will also promote the development of the talented youth, the president said. Under the program, laureates and exhibitioners of the presidential funds will be given priority in choosing where they would like to work after the graduation; young specialists from the ranks of the talented youth will have their salaries pushed up, and will be entitled to priviledged credits for the construction of housing, the Belarusian leader said.
The program “Young Talents of Belarus” will become “a wonderful launch pad for the youth to reach stars”, Alexander Lukashenko said.
As the head of state said while addressing the young men and women, Belarus is proud of their achievements in studies, science and arts. “May the prizes you have received today inspire you to reaching new highs and become a stimulus for constant self-fulfillment”, Alexander Lukashenko wished.
The president also thanked the pedagogues who attended the meeting for their selfless work, commitment to their students and believing in them.