Lukashenko`s decree, imposing stricter regulations on mass assemblies, came into legal power. Under the decree provisions any action can be halted if one of the protesters, say, hid his face behind a mask. Meantime, the party or public organization, which failed to ensure public order can automatically get shut.
Final consideration of a draft ruling of the "house of representatives" concerning the appointment of presidential elections date is delayed once again. The snag is, there arrived certain complaints from the Administration, Cabinet and Central Electoral Commission on the matter of scheduling the election date for September 9, 2001. It is planned that the plenary of the working group to deal with the election date setting, will take place May 16 morning.
The Ministry of education put off the 2nd Congress of teachers from June to November, the official reasons being "a series of unforeseen problems". The Congress was to adopt the amended version of the Law on Education, but now the event is postponed for a year - upon the ruling of the 1st Congress it was to take place back in October 2000.
Elena Zakhozhaya, head of the primary branch of the Belarusian independent trade union "Belshina", went on a hunger-strike two weeks ago on May 2. One of the basic claims the woman laid to the plant`s administration was to provide her organization with a legal address, required for registration purposes in local executive council.
Vice-President of the Belarusian Hockey Federation Vladimir Berezhkov intends to file in resignation owing to the poor performance of the national squad at the recent world championship in Germany. As you know, our team was kicked out of the world hockey elite and will play next year in an inferior league. Belarusian hockey, he says, is undergoing a "management crisis": "Our team is aging in spirit, rather than physically. Such a squad as ours not only needs a new leader, but the new management system likewise."
Former head of the Polish state is indicted for releasing an order to shoot 44 workers, slain in 1970 during the crackdown on the protest in Gdansk dockyard and Gdynya. Back then Yaruzelsky occupied the post of the country`s Defense Minister.
Authoritative human rights watchdog "Reporters without Frontiers" urged president Lukashenko to make public the details of ORT cameraman Dmitry Zavadsky`s abduction. In their address to the president the journalists remind him of his own promise, voiced ahead the parliamentary ballot last fall, that he would "do everything in his power" to locate Dmitry. Although recently the procuracy officials stated that Zavadsky had been kidnapped by a gang of mobs, organized by former "Almaz" riot police commander Valery Ignatovich, their press-conference produced more questions than answers, leaving the audience assured of the government`s implication in the matter.
The draft project by the "house of representatives", designed to fix the date for the presidential elections, will be considered later in the day at the session of the lower chamber of the "parliament". The project proposes to carry out the ballot on September 9, 2001. Moreover, the document sets forth certain activities, which will ensure the election`s implementation. The draft document also envisages the formation of a special MP group to monitor the casting of votes and the turnout.
Commission for foreign press accreditation of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry reprimanded the reporter of the Latvian newspaper "Diena" Yuri Svirko. The journalist was blamed for violating the forth provision of the presidential decree#19, signed in 1998. Yuri Svirko argues that the decree, regulating the proper coverage of president`s activities, has never been published. That`s been the third reprimand. Previously similar warnings were issued against NTV special correspondent in Minsk Alexander Stupnikov and head of the ORT Minsk bureau Pavel Sheremet.
Budgets of Belarus and the union state could be seriously shattered by high expenditures, incurred in course of the International Arts Festival in Vitebsk "Slavic Bazaar in Vitebsk", said Belarus Vice-Premier Mikhail Demchuk, acting chair of the "bazaar`s" organizing committee. The man pointed out that they would probably need the presidential reserve fund for the purpose: it`s no big secret to anyone that the "Slavic Bazaar" is held under Lukashenko`s personal patronage. However, the Vice-Premier couldn`t tell the overall cost of the 10th festival. He only stressed that it`s millions of dollars.
Minsk city court declined the appeal of Chigir the junior`s defense to free him (son of the former Belarus PM Mikhail Chigir, Lukashenko`s potential contender at the ballot). Presently Alexander Chigir is charged with large-scale theft. Investigation proceedings will continue for another two months, which Alexander will serve in jail awaiting trial.
Almost 42% of Belarusian companies are nearing bankruptcy mark. A year ago their percentage equaled to 37%. The total size of economic losses constituted by March 1, 2001 almost 80bln rubles. In April, reports the Ministry for statistics and analysis, 103,7 thousand employees were engaged in part-time work (2,7% of the total number of country`s workers). 108,3 thousand were on involuntary holiday leaves (2,8%). No monetary compensation was obtained by 32,6 thousand or 30% of those away on holiday leaves.
1200 vacancies for teachers and tutors are still to be taken up in Minsk schools. Hiring back the retired pensioners is hardly any solution at all - their number averages somewhat 9%. As a result every teacher is now working in class for up to 30-32 hours weekly. The most complicated of all is the situation with foreign languages: at times they even ask university sophomores to help them out and lead classes. This statistics was mentioned at the recent session of the "parliamentary" commission for education, culture, research and scholarly-technical progress, head of the department for education of the Minsk city hall Mikhail Titenkov. He claimed that the situation with kindergartens is very similar: they have 1000 vacancies open right now.