Minsk

'Russia to raise oil exports to Belarus in 2014'

'Russia to raise oil exports to Belarus in 2014'Minsk, April 19 - Russia has agreed to increase oil flows to Belarus in 2014, a media report here said Friday citing a Russian official.

Russia will ship 23 million tonnes of crude oil to Belarus this year, up 10 percent from that in 2013, Xinhua quoted Russia's Federation Energy Ministry Press Secretary Olga Golant as saying, in a sign of thawing relations between the two countries.

Russia would deliver 21 million tonnes of oil (420,000 barrels per day) via pipelines and 2 million tonnes of oil by rail, the official added.

Five dead in crash of business jet

Five dead in crash of business jetMoscow/Minsk  - A private jet crashed late Monday near Minsk, killing the three crew members and two passengers aboard, the Interfax news agency reported, citing authorities in Belarus.

The medium-sized aircraft, a British Aerospace BAe 125-800, was owned by the private Russian charter carrier S-Air. The dead included a top executive of the airline.

There was no immediate explanation for the crash, which occurred in an uninhabited area.

The plane had taken off Monday evening from Moscow for Minsk, where the passengers planned to visit a casino. (dpa)

Pallam Raju holds talks with Belarus Defence Minister in Minsk

Pallam Raju holds talks with Belarus Defence Minister in MinskMinsk (Belarus), Oct. 26 : During his four-day visit to Belarus Minister of State for Defence M. M. Pallam Raju held wide ranging talks with Belarus Defence Minister Colonel-General Leonid Semenovich Maltsev in capital Minsk on Sunday.

Both the leaders took stock of the bilateral cooperation between the two countries including military and technical cooperation.

IMF gives Belarus 700 million dollars, praises Lukashenko

IMF gives Belarus 700 million dollars, praises LukashenkoMinsk - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) loaned Belarus 700 million dollars, with fund managers praising the planning skills of the country's authoritarian leader Aleksander Lukashenko, the Belapan news agency reported Thursday.

The IMF credit was the second tranche of a total 3.63-billion- dollar credit programme approved last year by the fund for the former Soviet republic.

Russia holds major army exercises in Belarus

Belarussian-soldierMinsk  - Thousands of Russian and Belarussian soldiers began joint training on Friday on the first day of a planned two weeks of war games and operational exercises.

Taking part in the Zapad-2009 manoeuvres are 6,000 Russian service personnel, 6,500 Belorussians and 30 Kazakhstani military personnel, officials at the Belarus Ministry of Defence said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Belarussian President Aleksander Lukashenko were scheduled to visit training sites at a later date.

Krishna describes attacks on Indians in Australia as unfortunate

Krishna describes attacks on Indians in Australia as unfortunateMinsk (Belarus), Sep. 17 : Reacting to the recent attack on Indians in Melbourne, Australia, External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna said on Thursday that the incidents were unfortunate.

He said the Indian Government would take up the issue with the Australian authorities.

Krishna issued the statement after concluding his two-day visit to the Central Asian state of Belarus. His statement came even as Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned Indian students living in Australia not to take the law into their own hands.

Krishna in Belarus to strengthen bilateral ties

Minsk, Sept 17 : Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has arrived here to foster bilateral ties between the two countries.

Krishna is the first Indian External Minister to visit this country.

On Wednesday, Krishna visited the Victory Square Monument in the city and paid tribute to soldiers who had laid down their lives during the World War II while fighting the Nazi invaders.

"This is the first ever visit by an Indian Minister for External Affairs to Belarus. I think it is an important visit with a view to further cement and strengthen relationship to mutual advantage," said Ramesh Chander, Indian Ambassador to Belarus.

Venezuela's Chavez praises close relations with Belarus

Hugo ChavezMinsk  - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez praised his country's close relations with authoritarian Belarus, state- controlled media in the former Soviet republic reported Wednesday.

"There is no limit to our integration!" Chavez said, at a televised meeting with Belarusian President Lukashenko.

Chavez and a Venezuelan delegation arrived in Belarus late Tuesday for a two-day working visit.

Belorussian reforms so far "cosmetic," says Slovak foreign minister

Belorussian reforms so far "cosmetic," says Slovak foreign minister Minsk - Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak on Monday criticised reforms enacted so far by Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko as "cosmetic."

Lajcak made the remarks in the capital of Minsk after meetings with leaders of the Belarusian opposition. A thawing of relations between Lukashenko and the European Union, initiated by Brussels in May in hopes of developing democracy in Belarus, was not showing sufficient results, he said.

Belarus President Lukashenko admits fixing vote result downward

Belarus President Lukashenko admits fixing vote result downwardMinsk - Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko admitted he fixed the results of a March 2006 national vote, saying he fudged the numbers downward, according to a Thursday interview in Russia's Izvestia newspaper.

"At the time 93 per cent of the people voted for me, and so I gave the command for a result of around 80 per cent," the authoritarian leader told Izvestia.

IMF: Belarus's economy improving, but foreign reserves short

IMF: Belarus's economy improving, but foreign reserves short Minsk - Belarus's economy is showing signs of a turnaround, but the country's dwindling foreign currency and gold reserves are a major concern, a representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Tuesday.

"We consider this (the shortage of currencies and gold) one of the main problems of the Belarus economy," Marek Belka, senior representative of the IMF to Belarus, said at a meeting with Belorussian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky.

IMF loans 680 million to Belarus

IMF loans 680 million to Belarus Minsk  - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday loaned to Belarus 680 million dollars badly needed to cover a widening budget deficit, the Belapan news agency reported.

It was the second tranche of a credit programme aimed at increasing Belarus' gold reserves and creating an emergency fund to cushion future economic shocks, said Anatoly Drozdov, National Bank of Belarus (NBB) spokesman.

The IMF in January approved a stand-by loan to Belarus with a total value of 2.46 billion dollars, aimed at stabilising the former Soviet republic's economy.

US Congressmen visit Belarus, authoritarian President Lukashenko

US Congressmen visit Belarus, authoritarian President Lukashenko Minsk - A group of US Congressmen on Tuesday were in Belarus on Tuesday for meetings with authoritarian President Aleksander Lukashenko.

The visit by the US legislators marked a step towards a thaw in relations between Minsk and Washington, which until recently enforced wide-ranging sanctions against Belarus for Lukashenko's poor human rights record.

Russia to "fully finance" Belarus nuclear reactor

Russia to "fully finance" Belarus nuclear reactor Minsk - Work on Belarus' first nuclear power reactor will begin next year with billions of dollars in financing from Russia, a senior Belarusian energy official said Friday.

"We have resolved the issue of financing completely," said Vladimir Semashko, Belarus Vice Premier. "Russia will be providing assistance."

Construction of the atomic power station will start in 2010 and end in 2018, with Russia providing 9 billion dollars in financing as well as engineering advice, Semashko said at a Minsk press conference.

Belarus KGB: Massive spike in drug smuggling into Poland

Belarus KGB: Massive spike in drug smuggling into Poland Minsk - Rising demand in Poland for recreational narcotics is behind a sharp spike in the smuggling of drugs and intermediate chemical substances from Russia through Belarus, an official from Belarus' KGB secret police said Tuesday.

Clandestine shipments of psychotropic narcotics manufactured in Russia and ready for use in Poland or elsewhere in the European Union shot up a whopping ten times over the same period, said Valery Nadtochaev, a KGB spokesman.

EU's Ferrero-Waldner meets with Belarus opposition

EU's Ferrero-Waldner meets with Belarus oppositionMinsk  - The European Union Commissioner for External Relations, Benita Benita Ferrero-Waldner, visited the authoritarian nation Belarus on Monday on an official visit.

It was the first-ever bilateral visit by the EU's external affairs commissioner to the former Soviet republic, Ferro-Waldner said at a Minsk press conference.

Belarus leader Lukashenko fed up with Eurovision "rubbish"

Belarus leader Lukashenko fed up with Eurovision "rubbish"Minsk - Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko on Friday said he was "fed up" with his country's "rubbish" efforts in the Eurovision song contest, the Belapan news agency reported.

"I am really fed up - the hot air, the brawls, and all that," the authoritarian leader complained after singer Petr Efimov's rock-and- roll act failed to reach the Eurovision final for Belarus.

This year's contest in Moscow was won by Norwegian singer Alexander Rybak on May 16.

Fifteen Belarusian anti-Lukashenko activists go on hunger strike

Fifteen Belarusian anti-Lukashenko activists go on hunger strikeMinsk - Fifteen opponents of Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko went on hunger strike on Monday, in a rare challenge to the country's authoritarian regime.

The strike would continue until three Belarusian businessmen arrested in February are released or face formal charges, said Nikolai Statkevich, leader of an anti-government political party.

Polish radio journalist arrested in Belarus over reporting

PolandMinsk - Belarusian authorities have arrested a Polish radio reporter for broadcasts criticising the government and the economy, the Belapan news agency reported Friday. Ivan Roman, a Belarusian national working for the Poland-based broadcaster Radio Racja, violated media law with reports of economic and social problems in the former Soviet republic, Belarus KGB security officials in the central province Hrodno claimed.

KGB agents arrested Roman at home and questioned him at a police station, before releasing him late on Friday.

Radio Racja transmits from the Polish city Bialystok, near the Belarusian border.

Belarus Christian church leader asks for tighter internet control

Belarus Christian church leader asks for tighter internet control Minsk  - The spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians in the former Soviet republic Belarus on Friday asked state officials to tighten access to the internet, citing a moral threat to the country's youth.

"The state should control internet content," said Metropolitan Filaret, head of the Orthodox Christian church in Belarus. "I sincerely hope that the government will not leave the problem of open access to dirty resources alone," he said.




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