Day of Solidarity, Foreign trade, Polish Ambassador sent back to Belarus
16 October is the Day of Solidarity with Belarusian political prisoners, missing opposition activist and all who struggles for freedom and democracy in Belarus. Belarusians are urged to turn off the light at 8 p.m. on for 15 minutes and put lit candles on the window-sills as a demonstration of solidarity. Please see Viasna report below
From the Top
NATO Courses in peacekeeping and use of airspace will be held in Minsk On October 17-21, 2005
A delegation of NATO School will arrive in Belarus for participation in the courses. The event is aimed at discussion of peacekeeping operations, role of UNO and NATO in peacekeeping.
Enlargement of cooperation between the Republic of Belarus and NATO in the sphere of international security proves Belarus' peaceful policy and its readiness for cooperation in peacekeeping.
Acting Chief of NATO School, experts from International Committee of the Red Cross, UNO experts, representatives from NATO military police will take part in the courses. Issues of international security threats, NATO's role in peacekeeping operations, NATO's policy in crisis management, tactics of peacekeeping operations will be considered at the courses.
Also a seminar on use of airspace with participation of NATO representatives will be held.
The seminar is aimed at exchange of experience and getting acquainted of the Belarusian service members with NATO's procedures and policy in the sphere of air traffic control.
The key element in air traffic control is the coordination of activity in use of airspace.
An instructor from NATO Strategic Command, representatives from NATO Headquarters will participate in the seminar. From the Belarusian side representatives of the Ministry of Defense, General Staff and other bodies of republican administration will take part.
In the course of the seminar the Belarusian service members will get acquainted with NATO airspace control systems and methods of air traffic control.
Women’s Conference held in Minsk
This week in Minsk a final conference in the framework of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s project, “Support to Expanding Public Space for Women in Belarus”.
The conference, which was entitled, “Breaking through the Glass Ceiling,” reviewed the results of the project that started in spring 2002, and exchanged experience among project participants with regard to gender development in Belarus.
“The project promotes gender equity and empowerment, a goal that is shared not only by women, but the society at large,” said Ms. Cihan Sultanoglu, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus, in her opening speech. “By creating artificial barriers to women’s professional, political and social advancement, society fails to benefit from the enormous potential possessed by this social group.”
Attending the conference were more than 100 people, including graduates of the project’s training programs, experts, and representatives of partner organizations throughout Belarus.
Conference participants recognized that the UNDP project has managed to draw the public’s attention to the problem of discrimination against women. This was achieved through social advertisements made in the framework of the project, films, television shows and newspaper stories. Journalists, whose training was the focus of attention during the implementation of the project, have done a lot for creating a friendlier social environment.
More than 700 women leaders have been trained at workshops and summer schools. In addition, the project has created a unique gender-oriented Masters course for women in business administration, which has trained 34 women.
“Assessing the results of the project, I can say that it influenced both legal and social regulators, creating preconditions for the fullest realization of women’s potential in labor and social activities,” said Irina Chutkova, National Coordinator of the Project who heads the Population, Gender and Family Policy Department of Belarus’ Ministry of Labor and Social Protection.
The project actors and participants involved in the project actively cooperated with lawmakers and law drafters. This process revealed the need for significant improvements in the national legal framework. As a result, the project experts have come up with specific recommendations for the improvement of the 2006-2010 National Plan of Action on Gender Equality in Belarus.
For further information please contact the manager of the project, Irina Dunayeva, at telephone number 284-29-94, or UNDP Information Officer Vladislav Khilkevich at 227-38-17. You also can visit the project’s website at www.gender.by.
Precious stones soon to be available in Belarus
MINSK, October 14 (Itar-Tass) - Wealthy retail and corporate customers in Belarus will soon be able to buy precious stones legally, deputy chairman of the country’s National Bank Vasily Matyushevsky said on Friday.
The sale of precious stones will begin on October 20, Matyushevsky said.
The first lot on offer consists of 250 carats of 1,055 certified diamonds. Stones of different forms and shapes vary in color from transparent to yellow. All stones were cut at a diamond-cutting factory in Gomel. Each stone has a quality certificate. Prices range from 500 U.S. dollars to 5,000 U.S. dollars per carat.
Matyushevsky said Belarus plans to satisfy demand for precious stones on the domestic market first and then to enter the international market upon completion of applicable procedures.
NEWS FROM THE NATIONAL BANK OF BELARUS
Belarus’s NBB instructs banks to attract foreign investments
From Belarus Today
The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) by its resolution #131 instructs CEOs of Belarus’s commercial banks to attract foreign investments in banks’ charter capital and in investment projects in the country, the NBB told Prime-Tass Tuesday. The NBB also recommends CEOs to look for promising investment projects that can be financed from foreign credit lines. According to the NBB, today the share of foreign investments in the charter capital of Belarus’s banks is at 11.63%, up 160% as of early 2001. In 2005 there was no flow of direct foreign investments into charter capital of the Belarusian banks. Belarus’s banks expect the share of foreign capital in their charter capital to reach 12% by 2006, up 150% on the year. In 2004 foreign investments in Belarus’ six banks amounted to U.S. $9.2 million, 1.5 million euros and 2.8 billion Belarusian rubles (Br). Today Belarus has quotas on the presence of foreign capital in the banking system set at 25%. Belarusian banks’ total charter capitals increased 3.7% in January-July to 2.241 trillion Belarusian rubles, while the equity capital of Belarusian banks rose 8% in the period to 3.127 trillion Belarusian rubles as of January 1, 2005.
In other news from the National Bank of Belarus, the international reserve assets of Belarus calculated following the IMF methods have increased by 54.4% in January-September to reach USD 1189,2 million, BelTA has been told in the information department of the National Bank. In September they increased by 5.8%.
According to the National bank, reserve assets in foreign currency account for 89.3% or USD 1061,7 million of the international reserves of Belarus, monetary gold – for 10.6% or USD 126,5 million. In January-September assets in foreign currency and monetary gold grew by 53.8% and 59.3% respectively.
According to the IMF methods, international reserves of the Republic of Belarus are determined as foreign assets consisting of monetary gold, Belarusian special drawing rights in the IMF, the reserve position of the country in the IMF and currency reserves. They can be used for intervention operations on foreign markets for stabilizing the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble, financing the imports of goods and services by the government, repayment of the state foreign debt and other things.
Poland Returns Ambassador To Belarus
From Radio Free Europe
12 October 2005 -- Poland's Foreign Ministry said today the country has sent its ambassador back to Belarus three months after recalling him amidst diplomatic problems between the neighboring countries.
Poland had on 28 July recalled its ambassador from Belarus, sending diplomatic relations between the two neighbors into a tailspinat the time, Poland and Belarus had been locked in a round of diplomatic expulsions. But the 28 July decision by Warsaw to recall its ambassador took the crisis to a new level.
Poland's move came after Belarusian police and OMON special forces in the city of Hrodna on 27 July stormed the headquarters of the Union of Poles in Belarus (SPB).
SPB Chairwoman Andzhelika Borys described what happened, in a telephone interview with RFE/RL: "Yesterday, at around 9 p.m., the police and OMON forces, carrying weapons, broke into the building of the Union of Poles," Borys said. "They began to demand that members of the Union of Poles, who were inside, leave the building. People were indignant. There were about 20 of us. On what basis was the order issued? Why were the police there? Why was OMON there? Without any explanation they began to throw people out by force."
Borys said she and her colleagues were driven to a local police station, where they were interrogated for several hours before being released at around 1 a.m. Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksander Checko said earlier this week that the temporary withdrawal had sent the intended message.
The ministry said Ambassador Tadeusz Pawlak started work at the Polish Embassy in Belarus on 11 October.
Belarus discusses conditions of textile trade in 2006 with EU
Also From BELTA
Belarus has discussed conditions of trade in textile in 2006 with the European Union, BelTA was informed in the foreign ministry.
According to the Belarusian side, if the quotas for textile supplies to EU are not abolished, they should be at least raised by 30 per cent on some textile categories. Along with that the European side did not agree to lift quantitative restrictions on the Belarusian textiles. Yet the possibility to increase supplies is being considered. The final decision should be made by the end of the current year when last year’s agreement expires.
‘The main function of quotas is to protect EU domestic market. However, export of the Belarusian textiles does not exceed 1 per cent of the total textile exports from third countries therefore the Belarusian goods can entail no economic damage upon the European textile producers. It is more of a political issue rather than economic,’ the foreign ministry noted.
About 40 per cent of the overall textile production in Belarus is sold to the EU market. Belarus exports textiles to Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Lithuania, Check Republic, Latvia, Slovenia, Hungary and Poland.
In 1993 Belarus and the European Union signed an agreement on textile trade which envisages an annual 5 per cent increase in textile quotas. However in order to preserve efficient work of the national companies of light industry the quotas should be much higher.
We remind that quotas for deliveries of the Belarusian textile to the EU countries were increased 1,5 times this year. In 2004 textile exports to the EU countries reached USD 120 million. At present some 11 categories of textile are pivotal in the Belarusian exports.
Vitsiebsk: Personal Guards for opositionists
From Viasna via RFE/RL
Recently the police have started keeping duty near house #28 in Lenin Street in Vitsiebsk. As soon as the policemen see Barys Khamaida, Uladzimir Plieshchanka or Aliaksandr Salauian they call a car and take them to a police station. This week Mr. Khamaida has been detained four times, because he hands out independent editions there everyday.
During the last detention the police composed a report on Barys Khamaida for distribution of Vybar, the unregistered newspaper her issues and distributes. This time he was accused in sale of newspapers in inappropriate place.
However, there were no witnesses and Mr. Khamaida insisted he accepted donations for development of democratic movement. As a result, judge of Vitsiebsk Chyhunachny Borough Court Iury Urban rejected the police accusation. At the same time, the detainees Uladzimir Plieshchanka and Aliaksandr Salauian were interrogated at Vitsiebsk Chyhunachny Borough Board of Internal Affairs concerning “their possible relation to the explosion of 22 September in Vitsiebsk”.
It’s quite interesting that at first the police were looking for a car with Russian numbers and three persons who were described by the witnesses. Then suddenly the unknown organization Belarusian National Liberation Army took the responsibility for the explosion and the police interest switched to opposition activists.
Police Refuse to Bring Criminal Case against Themselves
Also from Viasna
Minsk Tsentralny Borough Police refused to bring a criminal case against the riot squad policemen who on 16 September beat the activist of Zubr movement Mikita Sasim. He was detained at the street action, dedicated to the anniversary of the kidnap of Viktar Hanchar and Anatol Krasouski and beaten on the way to the police station.
Then he got to hospital with the diagnosis – brain concussion as a result of cranial trauma. The victim’s testimony was put down, but the policemen refused to bring a criminal case on the fact. Mikita Sasim stated he would complain to all appropriate organs to get the case brought.
In July a policeman hit in the face Sviatlana Zavadskaia who protested against the protraction of the investigation of the kidnap of her husband Zmitsier Zavadski. The criminal case against the aggressor hasn’t been brought either.
Mikita Sasim, the well-known Belarusian journalist Iryna Khalip and the leader of the civil initiative “We Remember” Iryna Krasouskaia proposed to hold the Day of Solidarity with Belarusian political prisoners, missing opposition activist and all who struggles for freedom and democracy in Belarus. They urge Belarusians to turn off the light at 8 p.m. on 16 October for 15 minutes and put lit candles on the window-sills
Maria Sharapova ousted at Kremlin Cup
From Sports Ticker
MOSCOW (Ticker) - Maria Sharapova struggled once again as the Russian contingency took a major hit at the $2.3 million dual-gender Kremlin Cup on Friday.
The world's top ranked player who received a bye in the opening round, Sharapova caught a huge break in Wednesday's second round when German Anna-Lena Groenefeld was forced to retire with an ankle injury despite being two games from advancing.
The 18-year-old Sharapova was not as lucky in the quarterfinals on Friday as the top seed fell to countrywoman Dinara Safina, 1-6, 6-4, 7-5. It was the first victory in three meetings against Sharapova for Safina, including a straight-sets loss in the third round at Indian Wells in March.
After dropping the first set, Safina fell behind 4-2 in the second before winning the next five games to tie the match at a set apiece and go ahead 1-0 in the third. After Sharapova held her own serve, Safina won four more games before holding on for the victory.
"It was the best win of my career because I never defeated a No. 1 before," Safina said. "I felt so much support from the crowd. Everywhere I looked I saw friends and relatives and it helped me a lot."
"A couple of points in the third set made a difference to the end result," said Sharapova, who was making her career debut in Moscow. "When I was 1-5 down, I played very relaxed and tied the score but at 5-5, she held her serve after she had a couple of lucky points and it turned her way. I should forget this loss because I had two good weeks in Russia and will take positive things from my game today."
Sharapova was one of four Russians to lose in the quarterfinals, including two-time defending champion Anastasia Myskina. The sixth seed, Myskina fell to compatriot and fourth seed Elena Dementieva, 6-2, 6-3.
"I'm usually too emotional when I play her, but today I was able to control my feelings," Dementieva said. "It obviously had a positive impact on the result."
Myskina, who dropped to 13-4 all-time in the main draw here, had won the last four meetings with Dementieva, including the final of the French Open and the championship match here last year.
Eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 U.S. Open champion, became the latest victim of Italy's Francesca Schiavone, losing 6-3, 6-1. It was the second consecutive upset victory for the 25-year-old Schiavone, who defeated No. 2 Amelie Mauresmo of France on Thursday, 6-1, 6-1.
Hleb needs knee surgery.
From 4 the Game
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger received another major injury blow on Friday when it was confirmed that Alexander Hleb needs knee surgery.
The midfielder picked up an injury during Belarus' 1-0 win against Scotland last weekend and is now facing the prospect of an operation and eight weeks on the sidelines.
ALEKSANDR HLEB With Thierry Henry, Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole already on the injured list, Wenger admitted he was struggling to find 16 experienced players for Saturday's trip to West Brom.
"Hleb will be out for six to eight weeks and he is due to have surgery on his knee today," he said.
"I really can't remember having as many injuries as this but it is not a crisis. We have enough good players in the team to win the game. The bench will be quite young."
Ilana Ozernoy of the US NEWS and WORLD REPORT yesterday printed a story about Belarusian Politics. As it is somewhat repetitive of several articles that have already been represented here, it will not be printed. However, because it is news and from a viable source, you can simply click HERE to have a look.
And please check out the newest addition to the Being Had Blog:
The Polish Police and Administrative Corruption Page.
Click HERE to check out a rogue’s gallery of scandal, disgrace, shame, dishonor, humiliation, outrage, indignity, gossip, dishonesty, abuse, bribery, sleaze, fraud, thievery, discredit, misuse, exploitation, violence, brutality, ignominy, vice and pay-offs coming to you direct from Poland.