Belarus lifts ban on two regime-critical newspapers

Belarus MapMinsk/Moscow - The leadership of Belarus lifted a ban on two regime-critical newspapers after almost three years, the advisor to authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday in Minsk.

The decision was taken out of domestic interests, but the country hopes for better relations with the West after the step, a source said.

The two papers affected - the Nasha Niva and the Narodnaya Volya - were banned in early 2006 due to "serious breaches." However, those wanting to purchase the papers will have to register by name and have the papers delivered.

Libya's Gaddafi in Belarus, Lukashenko calls for "multipolar" world

Belarusian President Aleksander LukashenkoMinsk - Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko called for a "multipolar world" not dominated by any superpower, upon Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi's arrival in the former Soviet republic.

Gaddafi was in the Belarusian capital Minsk on the first of a two-day official visit.

Lukashenko, isolated internationally because of his authoritarian regime, in a welcome statement to Gaddafi argued smaller countries must band together, to block hegemony by a major country.

Russia to give Belarus 2 billion dollar credit for natural gas

Russia to give Belarus 2 billion dollar credit for natural gas Moscow/Minsk - Moscow will give Belarus a two billion dollar credit to purchase Russian natural gas Minsk cannot otherwise afford, the Belapan news agency reported Tuesday.

Russian Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin announced the loan at a Moscow press conference. At least half of the money would be transferred to the Belarusian government by the end of 2008, he said.

Indian student knifed in Belarus town, university demonstrate

Belarus MapMinsk  - An Indian student was knifed and hospitalized in serious condition in a provincial Belarusian town, sparking a rare university demonstration and class boycott, the Belapan news agency reported on Tuesday.

The racially-motivated attack by a reported gang of Slavic nationalists took place in the central city Gomel near the town's medical school.

The male victim, a medical student, was expected to recover fully, according to the report.

Polls pass off peacefully in Belarus, but opposition fears fixing

Polls pass off peacePolls pass off peacefully in Belarus, but opposition fears fixing fully in Belarus, but opposition fears fixing Minsk/Moscow - Parliamentary elections in Belarus were passing off peacefully Sunday.

By midday, one-third of the country's 7 million eligible voters had cast their ballots, Elections Supervisor Lidiya Yermoshina was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying from the capital Minsk.

The opposition has expressed fears that the polls would be fixed by the Belarusian leadership.

Belarus opposition to boycott elections

Moscow/Minsk - Opposition parties in Belarus said Sunday they will boycott next week's parliamentary elections despite assurances from President Alexander Lukashenko they will be democratic.

The United Democratic Forces alliance justified the move by saying the government had refused to allow the opposition to sit on regional election commissions, thus depriving them of the chance to monitor the vote.

Lukashenko, criticized by human rights groups in his homeland as "Europe's last dictator," said Belarus had strictly adhered to the guidelines laid down by the West in preparing the elections.