News, opinion, sports and culture E-mail:

Today's Headlines for:
Monday, October 09, 2006

State Control Committee, Dozhinok festival, Minsk school sprayed with nerve gas, Lithuania, Opposition, blogs, Vica Maroz, Rybakov takes world's

From the Top

Alexander Lukashenko: State control committee – main tool to control economic situation

From: Belta
The state control committee is the main instrument of the head of state to exercise control over the economic situation in the country. The statement to this effect was made by president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko when presenting Zenon Lomat as a new head of the committee.

The head of state noted that the committee was vested with the widest responsibilities that no other state agency had.

“The office of the chairman of the state control committee is one of the key posts in the state management system. Its chairman is the highest official of the state, therefore it took us so long to make this appointment. It is very important to make the right choice. A person, appointed to this important post should be experienced, wise, educated and have high professional skills. And what is more important this person should be an honest and faithful man of principles. I believe that Zenon Lomat meets all these criteria,” the president said.

The president passed a certificate of the chairman of the state control committee to Zenon Lomat.

Directors should not be afraid to risk when introducing new technologies in manufacture.

The event was attended by prime minister of Belarus Sergei Sidorskiy, head of the presidential administration Gennadiy Nevyglas, state secretary of the security council Victor Sheiman, governors of Belarusian oblasts.

Prime minister Sergei Sidorskiy noted that the country would start up 73 new companies and more than 250 manufactures in the near future. The innovation development demands introduction of the cutting-edge equipment and know-how. This, of course, entails certain economic risks, the prime minister said.

The head of state highlighted that it was very important for directors not to be afraid to take justified risks. It is necessary to act instead of waiting. The president said: “Theft and sloppiness is one thing, risks – another. The state control committee should tell apart these notions”.

Zenon Lomat mentioned legislation gaps, particularly in the agricultural sector. Some standard acts have become obsolete, some of them pinion managers and give them no freedom to action. Regardless such obvious drawbacks representatives of the state control committee should abide by these legal acts.

In such situations, governors and heads of local authorities should assume more responsibilities. As for the outdated acts, they should be amended, the president believes.

Photo essay from the "Дажынак-2006" festival Bobruysk

From: Belta

A brief interview with Alexander Lukashenka from Bobruysk

From: ONT TV
Aleksandr Lukashenko answered questions of domestic and foreign journalists yesterday in the town of Bobruysk where the presedent was attending a ceremony during the towns festval day. According to tradition, only some of them concerned "Dozhinok".

In the opinion of Aleksandr Lukashenka, the agricultural year passed successfully, in spite of problems. The President confirmed his intentions for the future to be less occupied by the personal control of agriculture. Moreover Belarus has already begun to secure a plan for next years crops. From the large plans - to large policy, all will be ready and accountable.

Answering a question about the purposes of the summit of the CIS, which is to be held in Minsk, the President of Belarus' noted: It is possible that they will transfer the summit from October on November. The actions of another integrated structure - the European Union, which threatens Belarus' by the cancellation of preferential status, the head of the Belorussian state commented coolly that the conversation about the neighbors of the state was continuing. In answering, Aleksandra Lukashenka said: "We will attain the solution that is convenient for us. There are always civilized methods of solving conflicts." The President added that there was no need for hysteria, "Even in situations such as with the Belarus orphan Moroz. The relations between the countries will not spoil over this incident. But the behavior of the Italian family was quite strange.

Journalists inquired about the opinion of the Belorussian President in connection with South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon becoming the future replacement of the Secretary General of the UNITED NATIONS. Lukashenko noted: "I hardly think that this will change something in the organization," and added – " and this is an unfortunate thing.".
The president than asked of the journalists whether or not they liked the town of Bobruysk. The press in attendance replied that they did.

Stun Gas Sprayed in Minsk School

From: Charter '97
26 schoolchildren hospitalized in Minsk, of whom 5 are in intensive care. They have been poisoned by a neuro-paralytic agent. The incident has taken place in a Minsk school No. 69, the Belarusian TV informs. As the experts of the Belarusian Emergency situations ministry suppose, a neuro-paralitic agent had been sprayed in the building. “Most likely the gas was brought by one of schoolchildren,” the Emergency situations ministry spokesperson said.

As said by witnesses, an acrid odour was sensed even outside the building. Classes were stopped and pupils were evacuated urgently. A criminal action has been brought up and investigation carried out. It is supposed that the school will continue its work on Monday, the Belarusian TV informs.

"Children’s state is steady. Three of them will be transferred to the general unit today. Two are to stay in the intensive care until tomorrow’s morning. Children have an acute inhalant poisoning with Cheryomukha (“bird cherry”, army slang) gas, a neuro-paralytic agent used by law-enforcers. This gas can be excreted rather quickly. There will be no complications,” the press center of the Charter’97 was informed in the intensive care on the 4th children’s hospital of Minsk.

26 schoolchildren have been hospitalized in Minsk, of whom 5 are in intensive care. They have been poisoned by a neuro-paralytic agent. The incident has taken place in a Minsk school No. 69, the Belarusian TV informs. As the experts of the Belarusian Emergency situations ministry suppose, a neuro-paralitic agent had been sprayed in the building. “Most likely the gas was brought by one of schoolchildren,” the Emergency situations ministry spokesperson said.

As said by witnesses, an acrid odour was sensed even outside the building. Classes were stopped and pupils were evacuated urgently. A criminal action has been brought up and investigation carried out. It is supposed that the school will continue its work on Monday, the Belarusian TV informs.

Belarus Economy Resisting EU Sanctions

From: Prensa Latina
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, exhorted on Saturday European Union EU leaders to wide common sense, before having economic and trade sanctions of that bloc against ex-Soviet republic.

If European people impose commercial sanctions, our country won´ t be damaged, confirmed the statesman.

We will outlive, we have survived worse times, confirmed Belarus leader when commenting the possible cancellation to his country of the priorities in trade with EU.

I don´ t believe our trade system collapses, added the president, and expressed he has the hope common sense prevails and Europeans withdraw taking that measure.

Lukashenko was for the third time reelected last March 19, with 83 percent of the votes, in a process full of pressings and critics from United States and its European allies.
  • Obviously, Latin america is amoungst those who do not hate Lukashenka and Belarus.

    Belarus warns Lithuania on nuclear storage site near border

    From: Ria Novosti
    Belarus is ready to get involved in building a nuclear storage facility in Lithuania, but is opposed to its location near the country's border, President Alexander Lukashenko said Saturday.

    Lithuania's Ignalina nuclear power plant, scheduled to be shut down by 2009, is similar to the one in Chernobyl, Ukraine, where the world's worst nuclear accident happened in 1986. Lithuania's prime minister said in early September it will build a new nuclear power plant to resolve an energy crisis expected in 2009 and meet the European Union's nuclear safety requirements.

    "Belarus is ready to get involved economically, diplomatically and financially to address the matter of building a nuclear waste storage facility in Lithuania," Lukashenko said, adding his country was against the site being built near the Belarusian border.

    He said Lithuania was going to build a facility to store nuclear waste from the Ignalina NPP five kilometers from the Belarusian-Lithuanian border.

    "We have enough leverage to ensure that the facilities are not built near the Belarusian border," he said. "The decision to build [it] should be made by taking into account the interests of other states."

    He said he hoped the two countries will resolve the issue "in a civilized manner."

    Lithuania and Estonia dismissed earlier media reports that the Baltic states would build a joint storage facility for nuclear waste in Estonia.

    Local media cited Estonian MEP Andres Tarand as saying that his Lithuanian counterparts had repeatedly suggested that Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania would share responsibility for storing nuclear waste. The three Baltic states agreed to build a nuclear power plant in Lithuania by 2015.

    Foreign Minister Vaitekunas: Visa fees to drop for Belarusians going to Lithuenia

    From: NBelaPan
    Lithuania wants Belarus to develop as a safe, stable, democratic and predictable country, Foreign Minister Petras Vaitekunas said in an interview with Wider Europe, a privately owned independent Internet portal and resource center.

    After Lithuania joined the European Union, relations with Belarus became more important, said Mr. Vaitekunas, who had served as ambassador in Minsk until this past July.

    "Relations with countries that border on the EU are built on the basis of European values and principles," the minister explained. "The main thing is to establish a safe and efficiently managed border and maintain good-neighborly relations."

    Mr. Vaitekunas noted that in relations with Belarus, Lithuania prioritizes border security, the development of the economic and tourist potentials, environmental protection, and the prevention of illegal immigration, organized crime and human trafficking.

    "We realize how important it is to establish human contacts between not only our countries but also between the EU in general and Belarus," said Mr. Vaitekunas.

    Lithuania is making every effort in the European Union so that Lithuania's visa fee will be €5, not €60, for Belarusians, he noted.

    "Lithuania will continue to take an active part in the formation of the EU's policies and press for the involvement of Belarus in as a wide range of cooperation programs as possible," Mr. Vaitekunas said.

    Shushkevich calls for boycott of local elections

    From: Naveny
    Stanislav Shushkevich, chairman of the Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada, called on the country's opposition groups to boycott the forthcoming election for the local soviets of deputies.

    He made the call at a meeting of the Political Council of united opposition forces on Friday.

    The 71-year-old politician said that the country's opposition should stop "bringing grist to the regime's mill" and drop plans to run in the elections.

    The bill of amendments to the Electoral Code that has passed the national legislature this week makes opposition activists' chances slim, he said. "Only fools can participate in these elections," stressed Dr. Shushkevich, Belarus' formal head of state between 1991 and 1994.

    Other opposition politicians present at the meeting opposed the call, saying that opposition activists should use the campaign to reach voters.

    The Political Council earlier agreed that the campaign also might be used for nominating delegates to the second Congress of Pro-democratic Forces. It said that those opposition activists who would collect 300 signatures among voters should take part in the forum.

    In a related story, the nationalist Conservative Christian Party (CCP) also called for boycotting next year's elections warning that the Belarusian and Russian governments might use the vote to hold a referendum on the Union State's Constitutional Act.

    The statement was adopted by the CCP leadership at its meeting in Minsk on August 13.

    The party expressed certainty that "no fair election could be held under the occupational regime and dictatorship."

    "On the election day one should not go to the polls to vote for the regime but should rather take to the streets to join others for protests and actions," the statement said.

    The CCP boycotted the 2004 parliamentary elections and this year's presidential vote.
  • Note: Several pools have started in the bHTimes offices over the potential life expectancy of this organization. If you would like to throw a few dollars into the pot, drop us a line.

    Aleksandr Radkov: international adoptions would continue

    From: ANSA
    Commenting on a case which has been in the media spotlight for almost a month, Belarussian Education Minister Aleksandr Radkov told reporters here that "we do not rule out the possibility that this family can adopt Vika (the child)". He stressed that the Giustos would have to follow proper legal procedures in their request to adopt Moroz .

    "If we receive a request, then we will examine it in accordance with the law," he said .

    "Belarussians are happy that Vika has returned," he added .

    Belarus recently began restricting adoptions by foreign couples. In 2005, two foreign adoptions took place compared to about 600 in 2004 .

    Meanwhile, Radkov said Moroz was well and receiving psychological assistance at a "rehabilitation centre" .

    But he said that once the treatment was finished, she would be sent back to her old orphanage .

    Radkov said two Italian doctors who had accompanied Moroz back to Belarus would be allowed to assess the conditions inside local orphanages .

    "They will be able to see for themselves that the children are offered decent living conditions," he said .

    On Sunday, the head of Moroz's orphanage, Nikolai Volchkov, accused the Giustos of "lying" about the alleged abuse .

    He claimed that the Giustos had had "plenty of opportunities" to adopt Moroz but had failed to file a request to do so .

    After Moroz was taken away, the Giustos said they were "desperate" .

    "We are desperate and exhausted... Please have pity on Vika, who has suffered from the day she was born," they said .

    "She has been subjected to terrible violence in her home country and has threatened to kill herself if she goes back," they said .

    But the news was greeted with joy by the other parents involved in the foster scheme .

    The parents, who held a demonstration in front of government offices in Rome on Wednesday, said the Giustos' actions had threatened to sink the scheme .

    They stressed that some 30,000 Belarussian children were allowed to visit Italy every year and that some 600 adoption applications were currently being processed .

    "The Giustos have behaved selfishly, not generously .

    They didn't take into account the serious consequences of their actions, which have damaged not only Vika but lots of other children, many of them orphans with major health problems," the association representing the families said.

    Milinkevich: Scandal around Belarusian orphan girl was of propagandistic nature

    From: Belapan
    The scandal around Belarusian orphan girl Vika Moroz was of a propagandistic nature, former presidential candidate Aleksandr Milinkevich said while answering questions from the audience of the Belarusian Service of RFE/RL on Wednesday.

    "The authorities are very interested in showing how just they are and how they are concerned about their people," said the politician.

    They also try to show that there are a lot of enemies not only in the West, but inside the country as well, he added.

    "The adoption of children is certainly a complicated process, and if a country is not rich, children should be given such a chance, if we cannot ensure a good future for them here," Mr. Milinkevich said. "The government must have a serious attitude to supervision over the fate of this child because there are various instances in the world. But it is wrong to completely ban [foreign adoptions] and say that we'll do everything by ourselves."

    "Of course, it would be better if the country were so rich that children didn't have to go to live in Italy, if it could ensure well-being and a good future for them," Mr. Milinkevich said. "But in our present-day conditions, it is wrong to just say no and not to let anyone go."

    Vika Moroz, a 10-year-old inmate (!!!!!!!) of the boarding school for children with serious speech disorders in Vileika, Minsk region, was to return to Belarus together with other inmates as far back as September 8. But her long-time seasonal foster parents, Alessandro Giusto and Maria Grazia Bornacin, chose to send her into hiding, after, according to them, she revealed that she had been sexually abused and tortured by other inmates.

    On a complaint from the Belarusian embassy in Rome, which described the couple's move as a deliberate abduction, Italian police set out in search for Vika, who was ultimately found on September 27. The girl was surreptitiously brought to Belarus on the night between September 29 and 30 by a special flight of Belavia, Belarus' national airline.
  • Note: Perhaps the writer of this article does not speak English well, or perhaps they do, but the use of the word "inmate" in this article is completely inappropriate. The child would "live at" the boarding school for children with serious speech disorders in Vileika," or "Is one of the orphans at" the boarding school for children… or something like this. But she was not convicted of any crime, it is not a crime nor is it punishment to be a part of a state institution for children in Belarus. To even use this word is a ridiculous insult to the intelligence of the reader. The headline reads that Millinkevich implied there was propaganda involved, but in reading the article, the BHTimes finds that the only propaganda is from Belapan.

    Belarus-designed trucks soon to roll in Viet Nam

    From: Vietnamnews
    The Viet Nam Engine and Agricultural Machinery Corporation (VEAM) will soon market the first Maz trucks assembled in Viet Nam.

    The 10-tonne trucks, designed and assembled under the supervision of experts from Belarus and using Belarus components, will be sold through VEAM dealers throughout the country.

    A VEAM executive said that Maz trucks were expected to be well-received in Viet Nam, especially in mountainous areas, due to their endurance and off-road capability.

    The manufacturing of Maz trucks in Viet Nam was taking place pursuant to a technology transfer agreement between Viet Nam and Belarus.

    Belarusian online advertising market volume will total USD1mln by the end of 2006

    From: e-Belarus
    According to Yuri Zisser, the chairman of TUT.BY board of directors, Belarusian advertising market volume will will total USD1mln by the end of 2006 which is two times bigger than in 2005.

    In his speech made at the "Business Internet" conference, which took place on October 5, 2006 Yuri Zisser stressed that this is a typical growth indicator for Belarusian advertising market. Still this rate of growth is smaller than in neighboring countries.

    According to recent polls there are 33% of internet users in the country, and these figures are constantly growing. Yuri Zisser argues that this situation created favorable environment for advertisers.

    The chairman of the board of directors of the largest Belarusian Internet portal predicts that Belarusian advertising market will grow at the expense of large foreign companies. He points that lack of interest to the Internet advertising on the part of state companies is one of the factors impeding Internet advertising market development in Belarus.

    Yuri Zusser informed that there 20 000 web sites now in Belarusian sector of the Internet, including 2 500 enterprises' web sites, 1800 internet shops and catalogues (211 - home appliances, 124 - computers, 206 - construction materials, 167 - mobile phones), 239 media web sites, 542 web-design studios and 209 hosting providers.

    Belarus introduces responsibility for agrotourism service violations

    From: NLIPRB
    The Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly has passed amendments to Belarus Administrative Violations Code to introduce responsibility for violations of agro and ecotourism sellers.

    Rural individuals with private subsidiary plots can sell agroecotourism services, noted Belarus deputy tax and dues minister Vasiliy Kamenko. Such citizens have certain obligations. They have to inform the local council of people’s deputies about the intention to enter the business, get registered with tax authorities, pay the due, sign service contracts, and once in a year inform the tax authorities about contracts they sign.

    Failure to comply will result in responsibility. Measures outlined by the president decree will stay in effect until the amendments come into force. A fine of 1-10 basic amounts will be enforced to failure to inform the local council of people’s deputies about the intention to enter the business, or get registered with tax authorities, or pay the due, or sign a service contract. Failure to inform the tax authorities about contracts the service provider signs is punishable by a fine of 1-5 basic amounts. The measures are part of the amendments, which will enter the Administrative Violations Code. The measures are expected to protect consumers who come to Belarusian villages for recreation, Vasiliy Kamenko believes.

  • From the Blogs

    Lavrov adds up fire to Russia-Belarus “squabble”

    From: Tolblogs:Belarus
    Visiting Warsaw, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov suddenly declared that the situation with the Union of Poles in Belarus reminds him the situation with Russians in Latvia.

    Wait a second. It is the same Union of Poles taken over by the government last year. And it is the same Lavrov who declared that OSCE was “instigating mass disorders” in Minsk in March, when it criticised the conduct of presidential elections.

    Such declarations add credibility to those who believe that Russia-Belarus relations are really strained over all those gas issues. Few weeks ago, Lukashenka publicly declared that rising prices will bring forth the break-up in relations between Russia and Belarus. And it sounds like his counterparts don’t mind. Or do they?

    Of course, Lukashenka cannot afford breaking up with Russia. And Russia probably cannot afford losing its most precious (although preciouseness is largely virtual) ally either. So, far, it is time for some propaganda excercises. We’ll see what’s gonna happen next year and with prices. My prediction: not much.

    Oh, and by the way, once the Georgian-Russian conflict escalated, Belarus began planning to introduce visas for Georgians. So much for “breaking up relations…”

    When Regime Goes Audacious

    From: Belarusan American Blog
    There have been many articles in the oppositional press and on blogs attempting to figure out the reasons for Lukashenko’s outward attack on Russia. Some of those posts are expressions of sheer glee, others tend to be more cautious. I find myself in the camp of the latter, as nothing seems to indicate any positive turn for our economy and political climate even if Lukashenko and Putin get more vocal of their long-lasting feud rumored about since the first days Putin was elected. Sometimes, the relations between the two presidents overtly deteriorate, but they continue to play the brotherhood game, because they both need each other.

    I agree that one of the most probable causes for Lukashenko’s blast of pugnacity was that he had found new important allies among the non-aligned nations. And he must be feeling more secure confronting the Kremlin’s push to accelerate the integration, alternatively threatening to impose higher gas prices.

    Meanwhile, repressions against Malady Front (Young Front), a youth opposition group, continues with a new twist of absurdity. Paval Krasouski, one of the organization’s regional leaders, was arrested as a suspect in organizing a series of blasts in Vitsebsk in fall last year. As reported by TOL blogs, Krasouski was abroad on the day of blasts, and border stamps in his passport confirms it. The guy, who happens to be my old acquaintance, faces capital punishment. Now the regime has done many weird and absolutely lawless things. But I can’t believe they will frame an absolutely innocent person just like that. The world must not just watch from the distance.

    Kazulin in “Quarantine”

    From: Charter '97
    As stated in the recent letter of the former presidential candidate, political prisoner Alyaksandr Kazulin, a meeting with German ambassador Martin Hecker had been allowed to him. According to the rules in the colony, Kazulin has a right for 3 short meetings a year. The meeting with German ambassador has been included into the list of meetings with relatives.

    A.Kazulin writes: “I had to agree to hold it on account of short-term meetings. Even in this situation they are so petty trying to put pressure on me”.

    Professor Kazulin describes his life in quarantine: “The space and access to information are limited. There is one TV set for 70 persons, with one and only TV programme, Belarusian State TV. I am not watching it much. That is why every piece of news from you is not only pleasant, but important for understanding the situation at large. There are certain problems and aspects, but I am no stranger to new “universities”. I think that in due course I would get to the bottom and sort it out”.

    Romania beats Belarus 3-1 in Euro 2008 qualifier

    From: IHT
    Adrian Mutu and Ciprian Marica scored in the opening 10 minutes to help Romania beat Belarus 3-1 Saturday in a European Championship qualifier.

    Sergei Kornilenko scored for Belarus in the 20th minute.

    Romania continued to attack in the second half and its strikers missed several scoring chances. Belarus remained dangerous until Dorin Goian grabbed a third for the hosts in the 76th.

    "I breathed a sigh of relief after Goian's goal," Romania coach Victor Piturca said. "Belarus was a dangerous team."

    After three games, Romania has seven points in Group G and Belarus has one.

    Mutu scored in the seventh by deflecting the ball from five meters (yards) after Florentin Petre advanced on the right flank.

    Marica made it 2-0 three minutes later by dribbling past a defender and beating Belarus goalkeeper Vladimir Gaev with a low shot from about 15 meters (yards).

    Mutu failed to increase the lead further in the 20th when one-on-one with Gaev. In the counterattack that followed, Belarus midfielder Alexander Hleb passed to Kornilenko, who beat the offside trap and fired past the Romania goalkeeper Daniel Coman.

    Coman made a good save in the 72nd after a deflected shot threatened to sneak in the top corner.

    Goian gave the hosts the cushion they needed in the 76th with a header after a corner kick.


    Romania: Daniel Coman, Petre Marin, Gabriel Tamas, Dorin Goian, Razvan Rat, Cristian Chivu, Laurentiu Rosu, Florentin Petre, Nicolae Dica (Razvan Cocis, 87), Adrian Mutu (Mugurel Buga, 72), Ciprian Marica (Claudiu Niculescu, 90).

    Belarus: Vladimir Gaev, Aleksandr Kulchy (Oleg Strakhanovic, 65), Vladimir Korytko, Denis Kovba, Sergei Shtanyuk, Dmitry Lentsevich, Sergei Omelyanchuk, Maksim Romaschenko, Timofei Kalachev (Vyaceslav Hleb, 50), Alexander Hleb, Sergei Kornilenko.

    Andrei Rybakov from Belarus wins world weightlifting championships

    From: Belta
    Andrei Rybakov from Belarus pressed 383kg in a double event leaving behind all his rivals to secure the first place at the world weightlifting championships in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic.

    The Belarusian also captured minor gold medals in certain events – 180kg in the snatch and 203kg in the jerk. Aslambek Ediyev of Russia won the silver in the men's 85kg category with a total of 373kg (172kg in the snatch and 201kg in the clean and jerk) and Tigran Martirosyan (Armenia) took bronze with 370kg (172 + 198).

    Belarus ready for international cycling race

    From: Belta
    Belarus has prepared actually everything for the international cycling that will go through the country on October 14-22, Belarus first deputy sports and tourism minister Valeriy Khatylev told BelTA.

    The international action is dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe as well as memory of all victims of radioactive catastrophes. The cycling race began in Moscow’s Red Square on April 26 and after passing 38 countries will be finished in the same Red Square on October 26. The racers will come from Poland to enter Belarus and pass through Brest, Kobrin, Baranovichi, Minsk, Borisov, Orsha towards the border checkpoint Lyady in Smolensk.

    The central event of the cycling race will take place in Minsk’s Victory Square on October 18. After that participants of the charity action will call a press conference, visit memorial Khatyn and historical and patriotic memorial Stalin’s Line. According to Valeriy Khatylev, representatives of local administrations as well as public sport, youth, children, and religious organisations are expected to take an active part. Along the cycling race route those who feel they share values of the cycling race — uniting people of the planet in friendship, mercy and ecological purity — can join the race.