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.

Belarus calls on Europe to revoke travel ban, build gas pipelines

Belarus calls on Europe to revoke travel ban, build gas pipelines Minsk - Belarusian officials on Tuesday called on Brussels to revoke a travel ban imposed on President Aleksander Lukashenko, and to reconsider a stalled plan to build gas pipelines connecting Russian producers with the West.

"The time has come to remove these barriers, which prevent the development of normal relations between Belarus and the European Union, said Andrei Popov, spokesman for Belarus' Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Belarus police raid home of anti-nuclear protestor

Belarus police raid home of anti-nuclear protestor Minsk - Belarusian police on Wednesday raided the home of an anti-nuclear activist protesting government plans to build an atomic power plant nearby.

Uniformed and plain-clothes police entered the residence of Nikolia Ulesevich, in the outlying Ostrovensky district of Grodno province.

Ulasevich in recent months had led a campaign to prevent the construction of a nuclear power station in the Ostrovensky district, citing environmental and health concerns.

Belarus hails "step foward" after US partially lifts sanctions

Brussels MapMinsk - Belarus welcomed on Wednesday a decision by the US to partially lift sanctions on Minsk's state-owned oil firm Belneftekhim.

The decision to unfreeze some foreign bank accounts held by Belneftekhim subsidiaries could hint at a thaw in long-frigid relations between Washington and the authoritarian regime of Belarus' President Aleksander Lukashenko.

Belarus' Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement "greeted the understanding of our American colleagues," referring to the US decision to lift the sanctions on some foreign bank accounts for the Minsk-headquartered Belneftekhim.

Belarus' Lukashenko: Economic crisis to last two years

Belarus MapMinsk - Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko on Tuesday warned citizens that effects from the world financial crisis would be felt in the former Soviet republic for at least two years.

"We need to survive 2009 and 2010, and I can tell, these two years will not be simple," the authoritarian leader said in remarks broadcast by the state television company.

"But we shouldn't panic, the situation in the country can be controlled," he added. "I have seen three economic crises in my time (as Belarus' leader), and we have the tools to overcome this one."

Belarus traders protest, government announces "anti-crisis" plan

Belarus MapMinsk - Thousands of Belarusian small traders took to the streets on Monday as a senior government official announced a phased plan to fight the effects of the world financial crisis.

More than 2,000 protestors gathered in central Minsk to demonstrate against the government's intention to make illegal most small-scale goods imports.

Most of authoritarian Belarus' economy is owned and run by the state. Small-scale import/export trade is one of the few sectors of the economy where free enterprise is allowed.