Belarus to pursue integration, Ru and BY evacuate from Lebanon, Protests for G8 arrested, Draft, First Multiplex in Minsk
From the top
Alexander Lukashenko: Belarus will continue pursuing integration policy
CIS cooperation and prospects of the commonwealth’s development were on the agenda. Special attention was paid to preparation and holding the fall CIS summit in Minsk and to meetings of governments and ministries of foreign affairs councils.
CIS cooperation and CIS development prospects were central issues on the agenda of the meeting.
A special attention was devoted to the preparation of the CIS summit in Minsk in autumn and also sittings of the councils of governments and foreign ministers of the CIS member states. The issues to be introduced before the Minsk summit were also touched upon during the meeting.
The head of Belorussian government will visit Kaliningrad region
As reported to "Interfax" in the press- service OF MID, the main goal of the prime minister’s visit is to conduct negotiations with the governor of Kaliningrad region Georgiy Boos for the purpose of working out a mutually acceptable decision regarding the transit of Belorussian cargo into the Kaliningrad ports.
Within the framework of the visit, Sidorski will be examining questions of the development of a collaboration in the construction branch, which would guarantee agribusiness with the Kaliningrad region with Belorussian farm machinery. The hope is to realize reciprocal deliveries of construction materials, pulp wood, cellulose and fish production, that are refined in MID.
Belarus to evacuate its people from Lebanon.
According to him, a transport from Moscow Ramenskogo has already departed which will be landing in Amman (Jordan) and will take onboard the citizens of Russia and several citizens of Belorussia".
The director of the support agency specified that we won’t know exactly the status of the Belarusians until all of the facts are examined. However, "We very tightly collaborate with MCHS of Russia", he noted.
As reported on Monday in Minsk at the briefing in MID of presses, the secretary of Department of Foreign Policy Andrey Popov said, "In the zone of conflict can be located about 300 citizens". 50 people, according to him, have already been connected with the Belorussian consular offices with requests to leave Lebanon.
"The questions regarding the evacuation of Belorussians is the job of the embassy of Belorussia in Syria", said A.Popov.
Speaking about the different scenarios for evacuation, the press- secretary OF MID named 3 basics. The first – the use of aid from Russia in the form of ground-based transport has already been set for Tuesday, 18 July. "Evacuees will be sent from the Russian embassy in Beirut at 9 in the morning." In this case those evacuated will reach Damascus (Syria) and from there they will be flown out by aircraft provided by the Russian MCHS.
The second version provides for evacuation by buses from Beirut to Damascus by the staff of the consul of Belorussia in Lebanon.
On 20 July airline "belavia" organizes will charter a flight from "Damascus to Minsk", reported the press- secretary.
The third version, and the most unfavorable course according to A.Popov, would be using the Ministry of Defense of Belorussia for the delivery of Belorussians from Damascus to Minsk. It is hoped the the Belorussians can reach Damascus from Beirut, using the first or second version ".
There is no "information about the injured Belorussians at the given moment", it said A.Popov.
Meanwhile VVS and air defense forces of Belorussia "interfaksu" stated that they were ready if necessary to evacuate Belorussian citizens from Lebanon with the help of military aviation if necessary. According to the collocutors of agency, "if necessary there is a possibility get people out via the Il-76 transport aircraft.”
Servicemen noted that Belorusian pilots are ready to fly this mission. "We fly to Peking all the time. To fly to Beirut or Damascus it is considerably nearer".
Venezuela president Hugo Chavez to visit Belarus July 22-24
The visit was initiated by an invitation of Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko. The leaders of the two countries have never met before.
For the last seven years Belarus' export to Venezuela has been limited to potassium fertilisers. Belarus' import of tobacco raw stock, spare parts and equipment for automobiles and tractors was insignificant.
Last year's trade turnover went up by 1.3 per cent up on 2004 to make USD15.6 million. The potassium fertiliser supplies to Venezuela shrank by 80 per cent to a total of USD8.5 million (54.4 per cent of the total). Belarus started exporting new goods: nitrogen-bearing heterocyclic compounds and intermediates made of carbon steel. Belarus imported only automobile parts and equipment. In January-April 2006 Belarus exported nothing to Venezuela and imported only automobile components and equipment as well as tyres and fruits from the country.
Russia police break up G8 sit-in, up to 37 held
The demonstrators, who included European Union nationals, sat down in the middle of St Petersburg's main thoroughfare and held up posters with the slogan "No G8!", said Olga Miryasova of campaign group the Anti-G8 Network.
She said 37 participants were detained, but police confirmed only 22 detentions. Demonstrations around the summit have been low-key, in sharp contrast to the mass rallies at past G8 gatherings.
Activists say Russian police have used intimidation and arbitrary detentions to keep protesters away from the city. Officials say people are free to protest but only if they abide by the law.
Miryasova said the protesters who took part in the sit-in on Nevsky Prospekt were from Belarus, Britain, Bulgaria, Germany, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.
"We wanted to voice our demands: to stop the commercialisation of education and not develop nuclear energy," she said.
"Our people sat down on the ground and joined hands ... The riot police dragged them off. No one was wounded. The riot police used truncheons."
G8 leaders are meeting at a former imperial palace just outside St Petersburg, about a 40-minute drive from Nevsky Prospekt.
Police also said they had detained four protesters outside the Pribaltiiskaya Hotel, where journalists covering the G8 summit are staying.
A police spokesman said they tried to stage an unauthorised rally against the authoritarian rule of President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, which is Russia's main post-Soviet ally.
The spokesman also said 29 participants in Saturday's anti-globalist march in central St Petersburg would appear in court on Sunday. Those found guilty of disrupting public order face up to two weeks in jail.
Less than 300 people took part in the march, called by the Communist party and its allies.
Center for Belarus Studies started at Southwestern College
David H. Swartz collaborated with Andy Sheppard, Southwestern's academic vice president, to begin the center for Belarusian Studies at the college in Winfield.
Swartz, who was in Winfield on Tuesday to work on plans for the center, has been interested in Belarusian studies for decades. After graduating from Southwestern in 1964, Swartz earned his master's degree in Soviet and East European studies at Florida State University in 1966.
He held embassy and consular posts in Rotterdam, London, Moscow, Kiev, Zurich, Calgary and Warsaw. After leaving the diplomatic service in 1996, Swartz became president of the European Humanities University Foundation Inc., a group he founded in Minsk, Belarus.
The university was forced to close in 2004, and the foundation subsequently dissolved, enabling Swartz to award its money to Southwestern for the center. Swartz said his goal in establishing the center is to promote the revival of the Belarusian nation through higher education.
Belarus, a country about the size of Kansas, is between Russia, Ukraine and Poland. Although it became independent of Soviet rule in 1991, its 10.5 million inhabitants are still under a dictatorship, and there are restrictions on freedom of speech, press, peaceful assembly and religion, he said.
Because part of the mission of Southwestern College is leadership through service in the world, both Sheppard and Swartz said organizing the center fits the college's mission.
"It's about outreach and dissemination of country and culture. This will allow us to share this culture with the students here at Southwestern," Sheppard said.
For a biograghy of David Swartz please click
Poland wins name change for Auschwitz camp
“This decision marks a victory for both Poland and historical truth,” Culture Minister Kazimierz Ujazdowski told a news conference. Poland asked the UN to rename Auschwitz in April. Some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, died at the camp during World War Two.Ujazdowski said Israel and German officials had agreed to the new name.
Warsaw objects to references to “Polish gas chambers” at the “Polish concentration camp” in foreign media. Nearly 3 million non-Jewish Poles died at Nazi hands, and Poles see themselves as victims of the war.“We hope this will help correct the misconception that Auschwitz is a Polish death camp,” Ujazdowski said.
The role of Poles in the deaths of millions of Polish Jews, and at Auschwitz, is a sore topic. Some accounts say Poles assisted the Nazis at Auschwitz, where 6,000 died every day during 1944. This month, Jewish and Polish officials marked anniversaries of two massacres of Jews carried out by Poles before and after World War Two.
But Poles say their fellow nationals risked their lives to hide Jews. Poles are the largest group awarded Israel’s Righteous Among the Nations title for helping to save Jews.
Some Jews were angered that Poland’s communist government portrayed Auschwitz in the 1940s and 1950s as a place of martyrdom of Poles, too. Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals and Russians also died at the camp.
30 detained at Belarus demo against Russian backing
From: gulf times
The demonstration was mounted as Russian President Vladimir Putin, one of only a handful of world leaders to congratulate Lukashenko on his re-election in March, hosted a G8 summit in St. Petersburg.
The leader of the United Civil Party
The demonstrators had defied a ban three days after opposition leader Alexander Kozulin was sentenced to 5-1/2 years in prison for hooliganism and incitement to mass disorder in connection with protests against Lukashenko’s re-election.
They held up portraits of Belarussians convicted of political offences and of prominent figures who have disappeared during Lukashenko’s 12 years in power. Police seized the portraits.
Tough laws against illegal assembly in Belarus keep most opposition gatherings small.
Among those detained was veteran opposition leader Anatoly Lebedko, one of several top activists given short jail terms for public order offences in the run-up to Lukashenko’s victory.
“For me, this was an act of solidarity with those who have suffered under this regime,” Lebedko told Reuters by telephone from inside a police bus.
“That list has been made longer by the conviction of Kozulin. I am expressing solidarity with him too.”
The outcome of the March poll, in which Lukashenko won 83% of the vote, sparked rallies up to 10,000-strong in Minsk for four days. Police then dispersed the demonstrators and more than 600 people were jailed for up to 15 days.
The US and the EU have long accused Lukashenko of hounding opponents, closing down media and rigging elections.
Both were highly critical of Kozulin’s conviction last week and the US ambassador to Minsk said the issue of human rights in Belarus would be discussed at the St Petersburg meeting. – Reuters
Uncommonly hot weather for Belarus
From: Nasha Niva
The uncommon hot weather already has Belarusian tired of the summer. And many are dreaming about cold weather. Or at least about purchasing and air conditioner.
Meanwhile 30-degree heat, as it described to us the chief synoptic meteorologist of the republic hydrometeorological center Olga Fedotov, as a phenomenon for Belarus' is, although frequent, also exceptional.
“Every year we have at least a few days where the temperature soars. But having a prolonged period of such high temperatures as we are having now occurs considerably less frequently. We had such 30 degree temperatures in that lasted for a whole week in 1994, 2001, 2002. But the record for hot temperatures was in July 1936- The temperature in the republic at that time reached plus 33 - 38 degrees, in the capital it was plus 35...
Tropical air masses have caused our hot weather. The predominance of a high-pressure area led to how little rain we have received during these days. From the middle of June to the middle of July in the republic we didn’t even have 15 - 40 percent of the monthly standard of precipitation. The Baltic States have also suffered from the heat as well as Poland. Recently such high temperatures have also been the norm in the western part of Russia. But here in Belarus, according to the forecasts of the specialists of hydrometeorological center, the weather conditions should sharply change. Active atmospheric fronts from West Europe will bring a decrease in the temperature during the day down to 17 - 23 degrees. Only in the east of Belarus' should continue to stay high - to plus 27.
In the beginning of the following week the coolness will be preserved. But here again a little it will grow warm toward the end of the seven-day week.
In Belarus' the sending of draftees into the military has begun.
According to the agency, " approximately 10 thousand draftees will be directed for the passage of urgent military service to the armed forces and other military formations".
In addition to those directly in service in the course of the current draft campaign 3 thousand more will be directed towards reserve service.
The sending of draftees into the troops will be prolonged until 26 July.
Noted in the Ministry of Defense that the call to the military service took place "on a competitive basis". The troops will not fall the judged citizens, poorly educated, or who stand on the calculation in the organs of internal affairs".
The duration of urgent military service in Belarus' is 1 yr 6 months.
BUSH DOWNPLAYS “SOVEREIGN DEMOCRACY” AT PUTIN’S BARBECUE
Russia returns to idea of global security
From: Ria Novosti
In Gorbachev's times this idea was dubbed "a new political mentality for Russia and the rest of the world." In Putin's words the idea sounds somewhat different, but the gist is the same. In an interview with the American NBC, he said: "We need to develop a system of guarantees that can ensure security in the world and I think that we can achieve this."
Putin believes that Russia can and must play a major role: "How can one talk about ensuring global security and address the issues of non-proliferation and disarmament if Russia, one of the biggest nuclear powers, is not included? And how can the problem of poverty in the world be tackled without Russia, taking into account its vast territory and opportunities for interaction with Asia and with the developing world in general?" His view on the economic component of universal security is similar: "I'd like to point out that in proven reserves alone the Russian Federation has four times more oil and gas than all the other G8 countries together. How can we tackle the problems of energy security without taking Russia's views into account and involving it in finding common solutions?"
During perestroika Gorbachev's idea became a thing of the past together with the Soviet Union. It faded into oblivion when Gorbachev resigned. This was unfortunate, because as the subsequent period has shown, it is the absence of a common approach to the global situation that has prevented the world's leaders, such as the G8, from tackling the arising challenges. It is essential to talk about important details, and this is what will be done at the summit in St. Petersburg, which will focus on the problems of energy, education, and healthcare. It is only too obvious that without agreement on global issues, the G8 is bound to run into more difficulties, some of which it may not be able to overcome.
How can the G8 tackle the energy problem if they have different views on the Middle East settlement or the Iranian issue? How can the world community cope with terrorism if it doesn't even have a common definition of it? How can it defend human rights if there are double if not triple standards in their observance? The United States and Russia criticize each other, and Europe lashes out at both of them.
Defense of democracy will be another difficult subject. It is enough to recall Iraq, or the situation in the post-Soviet space, where the positions of the U.S., Europe and Russia are significantly different.
There is obvious lack of harmony in fundamental approaches. But there is more to it. Every big power has its own geopolitical interests, and it is even more difficult to find common ground here. It is not a complete list of difficulties, but this is not the point.
What matters here is that Russia, the host of the summit, is certainly right. In the 21st century the world has encountered global threats of a new dimension - from terrorism to clashes between civilizations. But it has not even started looking for new instruments to deal with all these challenges. It is simply dangerous to sit and wait like this, afraid of problems at negotiations. Mankind is like a boiler, where a safety valve is the last defense against failure. If the safety valve does not release the pressure adequately, the boiler may explode, and so may mankind. The world needs security guarantees, and only its leading countries can provide them, but with due account of the opinion of other nations.
Cold war stereotypes hamper Russia-U.S. relations - Putin
From: Ris Novosti
Differences between Russia and the United States stem from forces that are still influenced by Cold War ideas, President Vladimir Putin said Monday.
"There are forces both in Russia and the U.S. that abide by the thinking of the 20th century, rather than the 21st century, those who live and feed on ideas of the past confrontation," Putin told a news conference at the conclusion of the summit of the Group of Eight industrialized countries near St. Petersburg.
However, relations between Russia and the U.S. have improved drastically in the last few years, the president said, adding that the two countries have close views on many issues.
"While protecting our national interests, we can always find solutions to problems through compromise rather than confrontation," the Russian leader said.
But Putin and his American counterpart George Bush have apparently found little common ground on key issues of bilateral relations during talks ahead of the G8 summit, including Russia's democratic track record, the Iranian nuclear crisis, Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization and the Middle East.
The first “multiplex” to be built in Minsk
From: Minsk Evening News
The initiative of the building of this multi-hall motion picture complex belongs TO UP "kinovideoprokat". The work will be conducted due to the means of enterprise and urban budget. Tender to the building of the project in the past month won capital construction trust.
“The entire spectrum of the film world will be shown here at the Multiplex” noted Drozhzhinov. “In our five halls we will show all different genres, and people will be able to choose what they like according to their tastes. Of course there will be sensational blockbusters that can be will be shown simultaneously in several halls – Proving tickets will not be a problem. And we will also have a cafe, bars, stores and a play center. This motion picture complex, unique to the Belarus is planned for opening in April 2008.