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New Nobel literature prize winner transcends easy categories
8 October 2015 - With a reporter's eye and an artist's heart, Svetlana Alexievich writes of the catastrophes, upheaval, and personal woes that have afflicted the Soviet Union and the troubled countries that succeeded it. The Belarusian author's writings, characterized by plain language and detail so visceral it's sometimes painful to read, won her this year's Nobel literature prize. She is an unusual choice. The Swedish Academy, which picks the prestigious literature laureates, has only three times before bestowed the award on non-fiction -- to Christian Mommsen, Winston Churchill, and Bertrand Russell -- and had never honored journalistic work with a Nobel. (more)

Belarus to invest $13 million in Green Towns project
21 April 2014 - About $13 million is to be invested in the project 'Belarus' green town -- support for green urbanism in small and medium-sized towns in Belarus', deputy head of the biological and landscape diversity department of the Nature and Environmental Protection Ministry Natalia Zharkina told reporters on 21 April. (more)

German MP praises peaceful situation in Belarus
4 April 2014 - A calm situation in Belarus is very important for the development of dialogue in Europe. The statement was made by German Bundestag MP Ulrich Petzold at the meeting with the Belarusian delegation in Berlin. The main purpose of the meeting is to develop bilateral and regional ties, promote Belarusian products in the German market, establish new ties, and identify prospects of trade, economic, and humanitarian cooperation between Belarus and Germany. (more)

Belarus, Hungary to develop inter-parliamentary cooperation
18 December 2012 - Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Hungary Alexander Khainovsky met with First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary, Head of the Parliamentary Group of Friendship 'Belarus-Hungary' Sandor Lezsak on 18 December. The sides specified projects to promote Belarus-Hungary contacts in culture, education, and youth exchanges. (more)

Culture ministries of Belarus, Poland sign cooperation programme
19 November 2012 - The 2012-2014 cooperation programme between the culture ministries of Belarus and Poland has been approved in Minsk on 19 November. the program aims to encourage government bodies and organizations to expand cooperation in culture and seeks to contribute to a greater involvement of public associations into cultural exchange projects. 'It is particularly relevant for Belarus and Poland, the countries with a shared history, that never interrupted their contacts,' the Deputy Culture Minister of Belarus said. By the end of the year the Culture Ministry of Belarus is also set to sign a cooperation programme with the Culture Ministry of Latvia. (more)

Belarus Embassy to open in Ethiopia
19 October 2012 - In Moscow on 19 October, the ambassadors of Belarus and Ethiopia signed the first international document on mutual relations. The protocol on cooperation between the foreign affairs ministries will become the legal base which will allow developing contacts in different spheres. Traditionally, the list of the most important issues includes cooperation in the spheres of education and culture, but first of all -- economy. (more)

Belarusian Minister in favour of cooperation on railway transportation between Belarus, Lithuania
2 October 2012 - Belarus-Lithuania cooperation in railway transportation should be developed, BelTA learned from Belarusian Transport and Communications Minister Anatoly Sivak at the expo Transport and Logistics 2012. The official also said that the management of Lithuanian Railways had suggested reducing the travel time of the Minsk-Vilnius train by 35 minutes. Anatoly Sivak said that it was an investment project. To make it happen, it will be necessary to electrify a section of the railroad to enable electric train passage. Electric trains will have sufficient speed, he said. (more)

EU ambassadors to return to Belarus
25 April 2012 - European Union nations are sending ambassadors back to Belarus, Britain said on Wednesday, as relations between Minsk and the 27-nation bloc improve following a diplomatic spat over the former Soviet republic's treatment of political dissidents. Poland, Lithuania, and Sweden also sent their representatives back to Minsk on Wednesday. (more)

Belarus to scrap high enriched uranium stocks - US
1 December 2010 - Belarus has pledged to eliminate its stocks of highly enriched uranium by 2012 as part of a United States-assisted drive to reduce global supplies of a material that can be used for making atomic weapons, the US State Department said on Wednesday. (more)

Belarus: President Lukashenko visits Pope after EU travel ban lifted
27 April 2009 - Belarus' President Lukashenko met with the Pope Monday on his first trip to Western Europe since the European Union lifted a travel ban imposed a decade ago over his human rights record. The Vatican said talks were conducted in a 'positive' climate. The EU lifted the ban to allow Lukashenko to attend an East-West summit in Prague, Czech Republic, in May. The summit is to launch an EU programme of trade and aid benefits for Belarus and five other former Soviet republics. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

AP Exclusive: Test finds Chernobyl residue in Belarus milk
25 April 2016 - On the edge of Belarus' Chernobyl exclusion zone, down the road from the signs warning 'Stop! Radiation,' a dairy farmer offers his visitors a glass of freshly drawn milk. Associated Press reporters politely decline the drink but pass on a bottled sample to a laboratory, which confirms it contains levels of a radioactive isotope at levels 10 times higher than the nation's food safety limits. That finding on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident indicates how fallout from the April 26, 1986, explosion at the plant in neighboring Ukraine continues to taint life in Belarus. (more)

Belarus guard get 2-year sentence for teddy bears
18 February 2013 - A Belarusian court has handed out a two-year prison sentence to a border guard who failed to protect the ex-Soviet nation from foreign teddy bears. Belarus Supreme Court said Monday the guard has been convicted of failure to report an intrusion of a light plane that dropped hundreds of teddy bears decked out in parachutes and slogans supporting human rights over the tightly controlled country of 10 million. Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko, dubbed 'Europe's last dictator' in the West, already sacked several top defense officials over the 4 July incident, in which two Swedish advertising agency employees piloted a light plane into Belarus' heavily guarded airspace in a show of support for Belarusian human rights activists. (more)

Journalist faces 5 years in jail in Belarus
23 June 2012 - A journalist for a leading Polish newspaper was arrested in authoritarian Belarus and faces up to five years in jail for criticizing the ex-Soviet nation's dictatorial president, his wife said Friday. Last year, Andrzej Poczobut, an ethnic Pole who writes for the Gazeta Wyborcza daily, was given a suspended three-year sentence on charges of libel and insulting President Alexander Lukashenko in his articles. His case had drawn attention to the repressive regime of Alexander Lukashenko, especially from Poland, since Belarus has a large ethnic Polish community. Poland's Foreign Ministry summoned the Belarusian ambassador on Friday afternoon and presented him with a note of protest over Poczobut's arrest. Lukashenko has ruled the nation of 10 million for nearly 18 years, earning the nickname in the West of 'Europe's last dictator.' (more)

Belarus KGB gets new powers amid growing anger
14 October 2011 - Belarus' authoritarian President is trying to tighten his grip on the ex-Soviet nation with new legislation that boosts the already sweeping powers of the secret police, still known as the KGB. As well as lifting restrictions on the KGB's use of weapons, the legislation also makes it even easier for President Alexander Lukashenko to put his political opponents behind bars. A new ban on receiving foreign funds carries a two-year prison sentence, while simply calling for an anti-government protest can send someone to prison for three years. Ominously, the government is also expanding the definition of treason in such a way as to cast possible suspicion on anyone working for a foreign organization. (more)

Belarus outlaws silent rallies over soaring prices
5 October 2011 - Belarus' Parliament on Wednesday outlawed 'silent' protests which have swept across the former Soviet republic in the last few months as it struggles to overcome a financial crisis. Belarus, trying to curb a large current account deficit, devalued its rouble by 36 per cent in May, pushing consumer prices up, prompting thousands of cash-strapped Belarussian to protest. Taking part in unsanctioned protests is illegal in Belarus. Hundreds of those detained at earlier protests have been fined or detained for up to two weeks. Amendments to the law approved on Wednesday classify any 'mass presence of people in a public place agreed beforehand ... aimed at performing actions agreed beforehand or inaction ... to express political views or protest', as picketing which requires official approval. (more)

Belarus subway blast: 12 dead, 200 injured
12 April 2011 - The toll in the Belarus subway bombing rose to 12 dead and more than 200 wounded Tuesday and authorities said several people have been detained in what they are calling a terrorist attack. The opposition, meanwhile, voiced fears that authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko would use the attack to launch an increased crackdown on dissent. In all, some 700 people were arrested after a massive demonstration broke out against the allegedly rigged election. Alexander Klaskovsky, an independent political analyst, said Lukashenko would likely use the attack to further tighten controls. 'Lukashenko will use it to strengthen his hand ahead of a looming economic catastrophe and social tensions,' he told the AP. (more)

UN: Belarus sent attack helicopters to Ivory Coast
28 February 2011 - The defiant leader of Ivory Coast is suspected to have received three military attack helicopters from Belarus in violation of an international arms embargo, the UN Chief said -- a development a diplomat warns may lead to even graver abuses. The office of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the first delivery of helicopters reportedly arrived Sunday, and additional flights were scheduled for Monday. A senior diplomat called the news 'a game changer' and said -- if true -- it would mean sitting President Laurent Gbagbo -- whose forces are accused of killing hundreds of civilians -- would be able to use the helicopters to commit even graver abuses. (more)

Belarusian KGB raids journalists' homes, offices
31 December 2010 - The Belarusian KGB has been searching the homes and offices of independent journalists following an election that handed the authoritarian President a fourth term, journalists and a media watchdog group said. Reporters Without Borders condemned the systematic raids, which it said seem aimed at seizing all documents and files related to coverage of the 19 December presidential election and the mass opposition protest that followed. The Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe had also condemned the violent dispersal of a protest rally by riot police after the polls had closed. Tens of thousands of opposition supporters marched through Minsk on election night to protest fraudulent vote counting. About 700 people were arrested, including dozens of journalists and seven presidential candidates. (more)

700 arrested in Belarus
21 December 2010 - A presidential candidate arrested after Belarus' weekend election says the KGB tried to pressure him into renouncing his opposition to the country's authoritarian regime. Grigory Kostusyev spoke Tuesday as opposition figures tried to rally after the arrests of seven of the nine opposition challengers to President Alexander Lukashenko and the detentions of nearly 700 protesters. Many were seized when riot police clashed with thousands of demonstrators outside the main government building to protest alleged fraud in Sunday's vote. The preliminary count gave Lukashenko nearly 80 per cent of the vote, but international observers say the count was seriously flawed. (more)

Belarus strongman keeps grip on power after vote
20 December 2010 - The leader of the last dictatorship in Europe appeared to have quashed any immediate threat to his continuing rule, declaring Monday that he was the overwhelming winner of a presidential election that ended with a violent crackdown on reformists hoping for change. President Alexander Lukashenko exercises overwhelming control over politics, industry and media in this nation of 10 million bordering Poland and the Baltic nations. The repression has been an embarassment to the European Union, which offered 3 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in aid to Belarus if the elections were judged to be free and fair. Those hopes dissipated as international observers and Western governments accused Lukashenko of using fraudulent counting and violence against protesters to keep himself in power. Elections officials declared Lukashenko got almost 80 per cent of the vote in a preliminary count, handing him a fourth term in office. (more)


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