At the session of the Liberals, Democrats and Reformers faction of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Union, Anatol Lyabedzka, leader of the United Civil Party, voiced the address of the wives of the repressed Belarusian oppositionists – Irina Krasouskaya, Ludmila Karpenka, Svyatlana Zavadskaya, Olga Zakharenka, Zinaida Hanchar, Tatsiana Klimova – to the EU Parliamentary Assembly. This document contains two proposals – for a PACE session in April : to adopt recommendation to Belarusian authorities to create an independent experts commission on investigation of loud cases; and to hold hearings on cases of Viktar Hanchar, Yuri Zakharanka, Anatol Krasousky, Dzmitser Zavadsky and Andrei Klimau at the session of sub-committee on human rights. Read further the following text of the letter:
In order to protect economic interests of the country and of enterprises, 22.226 actions on charges relating to a sum equal to more than 33 billions roubles were brought up by the Public prosecutors offices in 2001. More than 20,000 people were sentenced to administrative, disciplinary or financial accountability. More than 4,000 criminal cases on the gravest crimes were investigated by the investigation departments.
BelaPAN quotes Leonid Kalugin’s lawyer Alexander Pylchenko as saying that police prolonged by additional three months the detention term of the former “Atlant’s” director, detained on November 21 last year. According to the lawyer, “it is necessary to keep under lock the people, who robbed or killed someone”, but not the director of the plant. “Kalugin can’t influence the course of the investigation procedures, for he’s no longer a legitimate director. Anyway, they could have well applied against him such a measure as house arrest,”– deems the lawyer.
Former head of the OSCE AMG Hans-Georg Wieck, who’s currently living in Berlin and harbors the idea to visit Belarus in the near future, haven’t received the entry visa yet, although he had applied for it in the past. Ambassador Wieck needs visa in order to engage in the first session in Minsk on January 25-26 of the International monitoring council of the Center for European and Trans-Atlantic research of the European humanitarian university. The German diplomat is a member of this council. The center itself had been created with the financial support of the European Commission and the OSCE ODIHR.
As an influential British journal Jane’s Intelligence Digest informs, the the separatist Trans-Dniester region has long been regarded as an `economic black hole` through which all types of contraband moves: from cigarettes, oil and gas to weapons. In 1996 the Moldovans issued eight official customs document seals for use by the region`s customs officials.
Alexander Lukashenko and leader of the Chinese National Republic Jiang Zemin forwarded to each other messages on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two states. Lukashenko stressed that the Belarusian-Chinese relations are dynamically developing in most of the spheres, while the visits of heads of states to each other set the strategic directions of cooperation and led the bilateral relations to new heights. The Chinese president, in his turn, noted that owing to the support by both presidents the cooperation between Belarus and China is so successful. Jiang Zemin believes that the sides enjoy similar or common viewpoints on the most important international issues and are constantly supportive of one another.
Mordovia and the Belarusian companies signed overall 18 contracts on the consignment of agricultural equipment worth 66mln rubles. IA “Rosbalt” correspondent reports that the contracts had been signed by Mordovia within the framework of her cooperation with a group of the Belarusian companies “Jenti”. In total, Mordovia will receive 334 machinery units, including 107 dump trucks MAZ, 3 cranes, 110 presses and 100 MTP tractors.
Switzerland blocked the bank accounts, belonging to the former Argentina president Karlos Menem, reported the Geneva prosecutor Bernard Bertossa. According to the prosecutor, the accounts, worth $10mln, were arrested in an operation, unleashed in order to find money, laundered by high-ranking politicians from Argentina. The country’s authorities charge Menem with illegal enrichment.
Three minutes after the disconnection of the Russian TV-6 channel, Belarus launched into air the “First musical channel”. Instead of the popular Russian channel, which alone more or less objectively covered the events in Belarus, our viewers will have to watch foreign and Russian clips, received by the “Dobrovideniye Ltd” in a pirate’s way. TV-6 closure forced the company to intensify the process of expanding the “first musical” channel on the TV-6 frequencies. A 17-hour per day air time of the musical channel was supposed to start not until March 1. While the TV-6 correspondent in Minsk Maria Malinovskaya still refuses to comment on the shutdown of the Russian channel, referring to the Moscow-hosted meeting of the TV-6 leadership, which is underway now, the director of “Dobrovideniye” Valery Kravchuk gladly told Charter’97 press-center that the company wasn’t taken aback by the closure. Moreover, Valery Kravchuk happily declared that shortly they would also run MIDEM’s news instead of the TV-6 ones. The only problem, which is quite serious by the way and which “Dobrovideniye” has been seeking to solve since early hours of the morning, is what they should do with the commercials. The clients, which paid for advertisements, planned to be given a way larger audience, which by far exceeds that of a musical channel.
The Austrian Socialist Peter Schieder was elected President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly on Monday, 21st January. Mr Schieder succeeds the British Lord Russell-Johnston. In his inaugural speech in Strasbourg the new president said: "Belarus remains a problem. On the one hand, the attitude of the presidential regime has not changed and remains totally unacceptable in terms of democratic and human rights standards. On the other hand, isolation does little to change the status quo. The Assembly will have to pursue its delicate diplomatic balancing act, between support for progressive forces in Belarus and the need to avoid condoning the dictatorial attitude of the present regime."
Overnight January 21-22, 35 minutes before the end of the program “Solovyinaya Noch” there came into legal force the order of the Minister of press Mikhail Lesin on switching off the TV-6 broadcasting. The TV screens turned blank, while those, who were watching the channel via satellite, abroad and in some Russian regions read the inscription “We’ve been disconnected from air”. The authorities ordered to cut off the TV-6 offices from electricity, phones and Internet. By this decisive act the authorities finally got rid of the “gifted journalistic crew” (as noted by Putin) with Evgeny Kiselev at the head. The whole confrontation between them and the authorities lasted for almost three years.
- it’s the title of an article published by a Swiss newspaper “Basler Zeitung”, and we would like to acquaint you with its gist. It looks like Belarusian leader personally made everything possible to amuse his people in the long evenings, -- the author of the article Thomas Roser wrights. This decisive man with a coquettish lock across his baldhead, constantly offers TV viewers a certain variety on TV controlled by him.
For some unclear reasons the key witnesses on ORT cameraman Dmitry Zavadsky’s disappearance case never showed up in court. The lawyers believe that witnesses aren’t willing to give testimony which would contradict the investigation. There unexpectedly emerged difficulties in the court proceedings over Valery Ignatovich and his accomplices. Today the judges intended to find out the origin of the spade, which had been allegedly discovered in Ignatovich’s car trunk, containing “fragments of Dmitry’s Zavadsky’s biological material”.
Two-day session of the OSCE Troika (Foreign Ministers of Romania, Portugal and Netherlands) was opened in Lisbon. The event attracted heads of the field missions of OSCE, including Michel Rivalye from Minsk. Ahead of the Lisbon meeting former head of the OSCE in Belarus Hans-Georg Wieck said that he doubts that his successor at the post would eventually be granted Belarusian entry visa. As for now, the OSCE AMG in Belarus is represented at the Lisbon meeting by its acting chair Rivalye, who once served as Wieck’s deputy. The official told Radio Svaboda that they would discuss the Belarusian issue in Lisbon.
Potential bidders to purchase 6 Belarusian oil refineries (Azot, Polimir, Belshina, Naftan, Khimvolokno from Mogilev and Khimvolokno from Svetlogorsk) began discussing the concrete ways of their involvement in the privatization of the Belarusian companies.
Speaker of the workers’ group in the ILO Committee for the freedom of associations, deputy chair of this organization Ursula Engelen-Kefer and the chairman of the Federation of free trade unions of Russia, deputy chair of the Russian-Belarusian trade union coordination center Mikhail Shmakov, addressed Alexander Lukashenko with an open letter. Read below the full text of their address.
Prohibiting paying of trade union dues through accounts departments of the enterprises, the government caused problems for librarians, staff of clubs and sport schools. More than 7.5 thousands of workers of clubs for children, libraries, sport schools were supported by the trade union funds. Now trade union federation has no money to support these institutions, to pay salaries. The authorities have to understand that now they are responsible for these 7.5 thousands people and must sponsor them from local funds or find them other jobs.
The destiny of the investment project of the “Baltika” and “Krynitsa” breweries remains undetermined. It was expected that the investment agreement between the two joint stock companies would be signed in mid-December last year. This never happened though.