Hrodna branch of the republican Unitarian enterprise “Belposhta” cancels the contract for distribution and delivery of the “Gazeta Slonimskaya” since December 31. That was informed in a letter from the deputy director of the enterprise S.Kazukevich to the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Viktar Valadyshchuk.
The democratic forces’ candidate for presidency in Belarus Alyaksandr Milinkevich is convinced that after the presidential elections in 2006 a “revolution of spirit” would take place in Belarus. Milinkevich told about that in his speech at the Kyiv Forum of Democratic Choice Commonwealth, the UNIAN informs. “We do not believe that the Belarusian regime would agree to hold fair and transparent elections, as ballots have not been counted here for a long time, and we promise that we would take people to the streets. We’ll have a revolution of spirit,” Milinkevich said.
The editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Glos znad Niemna” issued in emigration, is prohibited to go abroad. Today Andrzej Pisalnik was detained by the town of Skidzel and taken to Hrodna to a police department of Lenin district. His permit for going abroad was cancelled.
The unknown have beaten up a rector of the Belarusian State Academy of Arts Richard Smolsky. As the Minsk-Novosti reporter was told by a representative of thee Internal Affairs department of Frunzenski district of Minsk, the attack took place on November 27-28 in the doorway of his house. He was taken to the Republican hospital of the presidential administration and diagnosed a fracture of a radial bone and brain trauma. A criminal action has been initiated.
In different countries of Europe actions in support of the student of the Belarusian State Economic University Tatsyana Khoma continue. Tatsyana was expelled from the Belarusian State Economic University for her trip to France, where she was elected a member of the executive council of international student’s organization ESIB - the National Unions of Students in Europe. In Vilnius the protest was held in front of the building of Belarusian Embassy.
An exposition entitled "Magdeburg Law in 16-17th Century Mogilyov" opened at the city`s History Museum on November 30. Taking part in the ceremony were representatives of non-governmental organizations, city government head Viktor Shorikov, and George Krol, the US ambassador to Belarus.
Vladimir Shimov, rector of the Belarusian State Economic University (BSEU), defended his decision to expel a student after a trip to France, saying that it might have ended in a tragedy. In a reply posted in English on the university`s official web site in response to letters of protest, Mr. Shimov says that Tatyana Khoma committed a flagrant violation of the inner regulations of the University and demonstrated her disrespect for BSEU as an organization which is legally and morally responsible for the students` security during their educational process.
Speaking to reporters, Foreign Affairs Minister Artis Pabriks (People`s Party) neither denied nor confirmed today that Latvian Ambassador to Belarus Maira Mora could be recalled. Pabriks is planning to meet with Mora in the near future, and will make a decision after the meeting.
To attract investment in Belarus the government must declare its political will and take practical steps, Martin Hecker, the German ambassador in Minsk, said on November 30 opening a conference on the harmonization of national investment legislation with European standards.
On November 30 the first deputy chairman of the Minsk city executive committee Mikalay Pantsyalei held a meeting with the representatives of Minsk Motorcycle and Bicycle plant (“Motavela”). A prosecutor of Lenin district of Minsk Alyaksei Stuk was invited to the meeting. He warned the workers about the liability for holding street actions unsanctioned by the authorities. However, as the Radio Svaboda informs, public officers had not made any promises to workers concerning improvement of their situation and wage increase.
On November 30 due to the fault of the administration of the production enterprise “Belaruskalij” a conference of the Independent Trade Union of Miners (NPG) was not held. The management of the enterprise had not signed an order to release the delegates from work, despite of the fact that it is an employer’s duty. Thus, the labour contract’s provisions were violated, as the trade union had sent request for discharging the delegates from work for participation in the conference.
Paul Volcker`s findings on Oil for Food have been widely received as the final word on the United Nations relief program for Saddam Hussein`s Iraq. Far from it--as Mr. Volcker himself has admitted. In reporting that Saddam, along with his smuggling and oil graft, diverted $1.8 billion in kickbacks from U.N.-approved relief contracts under the program, Mr. Volcker underestimates, quite probably by billions, the amount the U.N. allowed Saddam Hussein and many of his favored business partners to graft out of Oil for Food deals for goods such as oil parts, milk, laundry soap and baby food. In low-balling the total, Mr. Volcker understates the negligence of the U.N., and overlooks some of the most potentially virulent links in Oil for Food.
Today activists of the vendors’ movement addressed Alyaksandr Lukashenka with a request for a personal meeting. The letter was signed by the members of markets’ councils, created under the control of the authorities after a wave of protest of small vendors last spring, the Belorusskiy Partizan informs.
The International Helsinki Federation for human rights believes that the new Belarusian legislation in fact human rights protection with a crime. Last Friday illegitimate Belarusian “parliament” passed amendments to the Criminal Code, which, like in the Soviet times, envisage punishment for “discredit of the state”. The punishment is also envisaged for “calls for forcible overturn of state and social system”, the Russian service of the Radio Liberty informs.
The chairman of the National Committee of Democratic Forces of Belarus, the leader of the United Civil Party Anatol Lyabedzka believes that “the choice of the brand and colour of the election campaign should have been made yesterday. Given that all the ideas and proposals have been put through a sieve through focus-groups and experts’ conclusions”. As for the idea to make jeans the main symbol and distinctive mark of changes’ advocates, the UCP leader says: “It is the most original, fresh proposal until now. For me personally jeans are the symbol of changes. Jeans clothes are the most democratic style. That’s why the slogan suggesting itself is: “be abreast of the times”.
The Sub-Committee on the Media of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is deeply concerned about respect for freedom of expression in the media in Belarus. In a statement adopted today, it said: “Belarus has aspirations for membership of the Council of Europe and has committed itself to respect such freedom under United Nations texts. Nevertheless, the president, the government, the parliament and the administration in Belarus have failed to act on the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Assembly in Resolution 1372 (2004) on the persecution of the press in Belarus.
The US and European Union condemned the fact of intended damage to the memorial complex in Kurapaty. “The unknown vandals scratched a swastika on an icon, overturned or damaged more than a dozen of crosses, and once again damaged the memorial bench, a gift of US President Clinton in 1994,” the statement of November 30 reads. Te statement was disseminated by the Great Britain Embassy in Belarus on behalf of the US and EU.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the members of a post-Soviet security alliance Wednesday to build a common air defense system to maintain their defensive capabilities. Speaking to defense and foreign ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), President Putin said: "In dealing with issues of such a systemic character, cooperation is particularly important, and not just important from the technological standpoint, although this is an essential [factor], as it makes defense companies face up to the need to solve modern issues, thereby keeping their technological level up to date."
Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom is planning to bring the Belarus segment of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline to its full capacity of 33 billion cu m in the fall and winter seasons of 2005-2006, a senior Gazprom official said Wednesday.