| POLITICS |
Belarus Dictator Keeps Misery of Soviet Era Alive
11:23, 24/09/2002, By BEN ARIS
The Daily Telegraph
Belarus dictator keeps misery of Soviet era alive Ben Aris in Minsk had a rare audience with the erratic and authoritarian president who has made his country a pariah.
11:22, 24/09/2002, www.belgazeta.com
Relatives of Nemiga Stampede Victims Don’t Give Up
No wonder, Lukashenko was very careful when answering the question about his possible nomination for the third term on September 17. The sad experience of the previous plebiscites gives him little ground for optimism. Insight into the contemporary history of Belarus shows that Lukashenko is more comfortable winning elections, than organizing referendum. Passions were running extremely high ahead of the previous two referendums, with Lukashenko almost getting toppled as a result.
Protestants Seek Shelter from State Media Libel
Parents of the children, who were crushed to death in the “Nemiga” underpass in May 1999 aren’t satisfied with the outcomes of the official investigation. On September 26 the Minsk city court will open consideration of the lawsuit, initiated by one of the parents, whose son died in that tragedy. Igor Belov is a plaintiff in the matter. He demands moral compensation from the “Nemiga Trade Ltd.”
ADAM MALDIS ATTACKED IN THE STREET
Leaders of the four Protestant churches of Belarus prepared an open address to the upper house’s “deputies”, pleading with them to turn down the discriminative religious law. Moreover, the heads of the Protestant churches spread their statement, calling on the Committee for religions and nationalities of the Cabinet, Administration, the Ministry of information and procuracy to put an end to the constant attacks of the state media against their belief systems.
Belarus Falls Short of CoE Standards Says Wolfgang Berendt
Famous Belarusian writer, doctor of philology, professor Adam Maldis was beaten up yesterday evening at the entrance to his house in the Chervyakova street. Charter’s press-center was told by professor himself that an unidentified evildoer assaulted him at 10.30p.m. ten meters from his house and hit him with a heavy object on his head. 70-year old writer lost consciousness from pain, while the mobster stole his portfolio with important files, working correspondence and books, and was gone. At the moment professor Maldis plans to pass X-raying, as far as the attacker had seemingly broken his ribcage and jaw. Adam Maldis doesn’t rule out a possibility that the Belarusian authorities can well be implicated in the incident. “Not everyone in the government likes what I’m doing,”
– said Adam Maldis.
EU Demands Improvement of Belarus-OSCE Relations
Reading and discussion of the report, drawn by the special PACE rapporteur for Belarus Wolfgang Berendt, is scheduled for September 27, while on September 23 the text of the report was circulated among the deputies, which assembled in Strasbourg. The document, among other things, reads: “Despite the progress, there’s a deficit of democracy in Belarus and it still doesn’t meet the concomitant CoE criteria. The election process is unsophisticated, they violate human rights, while the civil society dwells in an embryo state. The independence of the judiciary is called into question, local authorities are undeveloped and the parliament’s functions are limited.”
Belarus Doesn’t Long for EU Accession Says Lukashenko
Denmark, as EU chairing country, passed another statement concerning Belarus’ relations with OSCE in light of the recent statements by deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Alexander Mihnevich, reports Radio Svaboda.
Unfinished Business in Europe
Journalists of the British TV corporation BBC interviewed on September 23 the leader of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko reassured them that he doesn’t sell arms or military technologies to Iraq, invited investors into the country and refused to enter the European Union through reforming the Belarusian economy. “The leadership of Belarus doesn’t pursue an ultimate goal of entering the EU. We will not use any unpopular measures in order to be granted membership in this European institute,” – said Lukashenko.
11:07, 24/09/2002, By Michael McFaul, "The Washington Post"
Police Ordered to Retaliate Journalists
President Bush has made a strong commitment to a distinct tradition in international diplomacy by stating repeatedly that the United States has a strategic interest in regime change in Iraq. If Iraq changes from dictatorship to democracy, so the argument goes, then Iraq will follow a friendlier foreign policy toward the United States.
Belarus, Ukraine Trade Turnover Falls by 1,5 Times
Journalist Irina Halip faced libel action for her article “Afgansiye Bozuye-2” under provision 188/2 of the Penal code. According to Halip “there’s no corpus delicti in the matter. Everything I wrote there reflects the reality. I’m convinced that the charges are trumped up and the case set against me will fail, as it did three years ago when they charged me with libeling prosecutor general Oleg Bozhelko. However, with present tendencies one cannot be so sure. A few months ago the law-enforcement bodies were commanded to deal with the journalists, who are doing professional research. Something we are witnessing now can well be an execution of this order,” – said Halip.
11:04, 24/09/2002, AFN
Russian Beer to Vanish from Belarusian Stores
Trade turnover between Belarus and Ukraine in January-July 2002 amounted to $290mln and contracted by 1,5 times due to the general fall in export level by 2,2 times. Oil goods supplies were lower than during the analogous period last year by 8 times. Import of goods from Ukraine rose by 4,5%. Meantime, Ukraine occupied only fifth spot in the size of Belarus’ trade turnover with other countries of the world, after Germany (as in the past years), Latvia and Great Britain, reports the Ministry of economy.
In case the government introduces excise duties on beer, the Russian breweries will abandon the Belarusian market, said the head of the executive secretariat of the Union of Russian brewers Vyachelsav Mamontov in an interview to the Internet-edition “Utro.ru”. According to him, the Cabinet’s ruling, ordering the “Belgospischeprom” state concern to develop an excise tax for the beer products, is the last drop which filled the cup, being nothing new in the history of Russian beer-makers’ rights violation in contemporary Belarus.