The official representative of the American Foreign Ministry Richard Boucher has publicized a statement, claiming “the USA treat seriously the allegations that the arms are being sold to the countries and organizations that support or encourage terrorism. We employ different measures to oppose such kind of activities, including introduction of sanctions where necessary”, Reuter informs. Belarus is meant, as according to the information of Washington, exports arms disregarding the UN sanctions. In particular, the training of the Iraqi soldiers for work with anti-aircraft complexes S-300 by Belarus, smi.ru informs.
Hearings of Alyaxandar Lukashenka’s defamation case resumed today in the Shklov district court. Among the ones facing trial are five ZUBR movement activists, who put on Lukashenka’s masks and staged a satirical pre-election skit in the village of Gorodets, where Alyaxandar Lukashenka once worked as a collective farm’s director. A few minutes ago ZUBR activists’ attorney Supelko petitioned the court over the appointment of complex expertise of all evidence, that relate to this incident. Among the stuff due to pass examination will also be notorious Lukashenka’s masks. They also interrogated two female witnesses – elderly women of 1917 and 1920 years of birth, who could not give any clear testimony owing to their old age.
The Regional Public Prosecutor’s Office has brought about a criminal action against some directors of the Navapolatsk unitary enterprise “Naftan”. As BelaPAN informs, the first vice deputy public prosecutor of the Vitsebsk public prosecutor’s office Anatol Leskavets, the accusations have not been brought up yet. As said by him, there are officials of the level of the deputy general director. He refused to give more detailed information referring to the secret of the investigation. He also refused to comment on the link between the criminal action and inspection of the State Controlling Committee that have been working at the “Naftan”.
Large-scale training of the Northern Alliance, the “Strong Resolve-2002”, is to start on March 1. In is to take place on the territory of Norway and Poland. The maneuvers will last until March 15, Russian military and diplomatic sources have informed strana.ru . They underlined that the main objective of the exercises would become a check of the NATO military forces’ ability to carry out strategic maneuvers at the different theatres of operation simultaneously. In the course of the training in the proximity of Russia and Belarus the following situation would be regarded: while criminal and terrorist groups in the frontier areas increase their activities, relations between the two countries, former parts of one state, that “have heterogeneous ethnic make-up of the population”.
In course of the investigation, carried out by the UN, the United States and Europe, there has been revealed a huge network, specializing in illicit arms sales. The weaponry was shipped from Africa to Afghanistan through the Philippines. The central figure in these contraband deals was the former Soviet air force officer Viktor Anatolievich But. According to the “Sunday Times” of February 17, “he was the main supplier of arms and equipment for the bin Laden’s network in Afghanistan”.
The Hrodna City executive committee declined the petition of the editor-in-chief of the closed down independent newspaper “Pahonya” Mikalai Makarevich to register a new newspaper under the title “Newspaper “Pahonya”. The city executive committee regards the title of the new newspaper as practically identical to the old one, that was closed by a decision of the Supreme Economical court. In response Markevich forwarded documents to the city executive committee to registration of another newspaper “Muzhitskaya Pravda” (Simple Man’s Truth).
Acting chairman of the Mogilev town hall Viktor Dubailov said that in January’2002, as compared with the analogous period last year, the volumes of industrial production at the Mogilev plants fell by 13,5%. The reserves of the finished goods at the warehouses reached 85% of the monthly production volume. The foreign trade turnover dropped by 4,5%, while the debts for the consumed energy (on Feb.1) exceed 21bln rubles.
America intends to impose her sanctions on Belarus. As a matter of fact, the one who should really worry about that isn’t even Alyaxandar Lukashenka himself, but rather Saddam Hussein. Despite Washington’s suspicious treatment of the “Europe’s sole dictatorship”, remaining after the replacement of the Yugoslav government, it has never before raised an issue of sanctions application against Belarus on the international level. Two months ago this problem was brought up by the senator Helms in the US Congress, but it never had any serious effect.
The US Department of State doesn’t rule out a possibility of applying sanctions against Belarus, suspected by Washington of supplying fire arms to the rogue states, supportive of international terrorism, reports Reuters. “The United States take serious any claims on the transfer of weapons to the states and organizations that are either supporting or encouraging terrorism,” – reads the Wednesday’s statement of the official from the US Department of State Richard Boucher. “We are using various methods of resisting such practices, including the application of sanctions where necessary.”
Hearings on Alyaxandar Lukashenka’s defamation case will resume today in the Shklov district court. Five ZUBR movement activists will act at the trial in capacity of witnesses. Those five put on Lukashenka’s masks and staged a satirical skit in the village of Gorodets, where Alyaxandar Lukashenka once worked as the director of the collective farm. As you remember, at the very last session of court the lawyer Supelko stated the necessity to repeatedly interrogate some of the witnesses. The district prosecutor intends to summon to the courtroom an investigator, who was in charge of the case originally. The snag is, two of the witnesses – babushkas, born in 1917 and 1920 – said that they signed the interrogation protocol not even readying it and that they don’t remember anything.
Attorneys of the former director general of the Minsk “Atlant” company Leonid Kalugin intend to demand re-qualification of the indictment, brought against him. In a conversation with the BelaPAN correspondent lawyer Alyaxandar Pylchenko reminded that not so long ago there entered into force the presidential decree#40 “On additional measures to regulate economic relations” of January 16, 2002. This order interprets all charges against Kalugin as being mere administrative misdemeanors, entailing nothing but economic or administrative penalties. So, the attorneys plan to raise the issue of the charges’ re-qualification and therefore change the inhumane detention conditions of a 61-year old Kalugin.
On March 1 the private entrepreneurs of Novopolotsk manifested their intentions to go on an indefinite strike. On February 27 they held a meeting at which they protested against the decision of the town authorities to raise by a few times the trading places rent. The organizers of the rally will be the independent trade union of “Polimir” and the independent trade union of private entrepreneurs of Novopolotsk. The trade unionists addressed the Novopolotsk residents with a request to uphold their protest and demand that the authorities solve the mini-market problems and introduce smaller taxes, so that the citizens could afford paying them. The businessmen consider the rise in rent to be the result of unsound competition and desire to arbitrarily drive the businessmen out of the marketplaces.
Alyaxandar Lukashenka left for Alma-Ata to engage in an informal CIS heads of states’ summit, to take place on March 1. “Interfax” was told by the president’s press-secretary Natalya Petkevich that the Belarusian side will come up with an issue about the foreign military presence on territory of the Collective defense treaty states-signatories, as well as to discuss cooperation in the CIS national security area. Supposedly, Lukashenka will also meet Russian president and hold a series of bilateral meetings with other CIS leaders.
Statistics of the Belarusian economic miracle does not emanate from the official cabinets. Rather the exaggerated figures are born in the companies’ accountant’s offices. This is proved by the results of the examination, carried out this week by the Grodno regional department for statistics. The examination touched upon the reliability of the state statistical data on the companies and organizations’ financial performance. The distortions in the statistics were revealed at 73,9% of the checked objects.
Under the Cabinet of Ministers’ ruling of June 26, 2001 #954 “On changes and amendments into the Cabinet of Ministers’ ruling of August 27, 1996 #566” and the concomitant orders by chief physicians of the country’s medical institutions, it was decided to significantly enlarge the list of paid medical services, rendered to the population, reports praca.by. This list includes practically everything, beginning from the issue of any medical certificates (700 rubles each in average), ending with all sort of ultra-sound and X-ray examinations (from 2000 to 16000 rubles). The real problem is that most of the country’s residents have miserable incomes and pensions, while they are deprived of an opportunity to choose free-of-charge treatment, as it is practiced in all the world’s civilized countries – “either it is you who pays for all the necessary medical treatment or your insurance company”.
The Minister of the Municipal Economy of Belarus Alyaxandar Milkota does not rule out that this year the municipal tariffs would grow. The head of the Ministry reminded that according to the law “On Budget-2002” the population of the country should pay 40 percents of the costs of the maintenance costs.
The volume of manufacturing has dropped by 7 percent in January in Homel region as compared to the last year. For this reason the regional center is to cut down some social programs, while the vice-chairman of the Homel city executive committee Viktar Kuznyatsou ensures that the approach towards them will be careful, and the most defenseless strata of the society would not be affected. He also said that introduction of such unpopular steps as charges for feeding in hospitals is almost decided on.