Fasel expresses confidence that the Ice Hockey World Championship should be held in Minsk
The head of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Rene Fasel arrived in Minsk and held a meeting with Alexander Lukashenko. The latter assured the sports functionary that there are no obstacles to the holding of the Ice Hockey World Championship in Belarus. “Protesters and other disaffected do not storm government offices and capitols,” he said. In turn, Fasel also expressed confidence that the championship should be held in Belarus.
Rene Fasel tried to persuade Lukashenko not to mix sports and politics. He believes that the current situation is slightly different from the one that was in 2014, when, despite external pressure, “we managed to organize a wonderful championship.” In 2014, Belarus hosted the 78th World Ice Hockey Championship. The competitions were held at two arenas in Minsk.
“Since recent problems started in Belarus, we are under great pressure. But we have a clear position — we don’t want to mix sports and politics. Sports should unite peoples, not separate them,” Fasel said at a meeting.
After the meeting, he stated that “we are here to rectify the situation and find constructive solutions. The process began and will continue at new meetings in Minsk and discussions in the IIHF Council.”
The Belarusian Sports Solidarity Foundation (BSSF) is perplexed about the meeting of the IIHF head with Lukashenko. “The cordiality and warmth with which Mr. Fasel negotiated with Mr. Lukashenko gave the impression that the meeting is not taking place in a country where over 30,000 people have been in prison over the past four months and where about 170 political prisoners are still behind bars,” the fund comments on its Facebook page.
The BSSF called on the leadership of the IIHF to respect the Belarusian people and the suffering it endured from the power of Lukashenko. In this regard, the fund called on the IIHF to announce the impossibility of holding the World Championship in Belarus due to the gross violation of human rights and all universal principles on the part of Lukashenko.
Former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya also reacted to the meeting. She called the position of Fasel “inconsistent”. According to Tikhanovskaya, this inconsistency could damage the IIHF’s reputation. It is unlikely that the championship can be held in a country “where political prisoners are serving detention in cells a few kilometers from the ice arenas.”
Belarusian Officials will be able to close online stores “to support the economy”
In Belarus, measures to support the affected industries and organizations have been extended due to the epidemiological situation. The corresponding decree was signed by Alexander Lukashenko.
This decree also extends the operation of the controversial clause 20, which allows the authorities to check business entities working in the field of trade and catering for 2 years from the date of state registration, as well as suspend the operation of a trading or catering facility for up to 90 days for violations of legislation on pricing, trade and public catering, consumer protection, advertising, sanitary and epidemiological welfare, as well as the requirements of technical regulations, including mandatory confirmation of compliance with these requirements.
Moreover, now, in addition to trade and catering facilities, officials will be able to suspend the work of online stores.
Using this regulation, the authorities have closed many shops, cafes, and restaurants in the fall of 2020 after they supported a general strike by protesters. The controversial clause 20, containing the sanctions norms, should have become invalid on January 1, 2021.
“Persian Lessons” nominated by Belarus for an Oscar was excluded from the list of candidates
Vadim Perelman’s “Persian Lessons” nominated for an Oscar from Belarus has been excluded from the list of nominees for the Best Foreign Film category.
The reason for the exclusion is the non-compliance with the qualification requirements of the award. The publication explains that for a film submitted from a specific country, most of the creators indicated in the credits must represent the country that nominates it for an Oscar. But “Persian Lessons” was created by an international team, so this requirement was not met.
The movie tells the story of the Second World War. The picture was created in the co-production of Russia, Germany, and Belarus, where the drama was filmed.
By the way, “Persian Lessons” is not the only foreign film to be excluded from the Oscar nominees this year. Earlier, the American Film Academy ruled out the Canadian-nominated drama Funny Boy directed by Deepa Mehta, for too many dialogues in English.
The number of people infected with COVID-19 in Belarus exceeded 210,000
According to the Ministry of Health, 1,792 cases of COVID-19 infection were registered in Belarus last day, 1,300 patients were discharged.
Over the past 24 hours, 8,207 tests have been done; in total, 4,139,118 studies have been conducted since the beginning of the pandemic.
With the arrival of the coronavirus in Belarus, 213,993 people have been registered with a positive test for COVID-19. During this time, 196,284 patients, in whom this diagnosis was previously confirmed, recovered.
1526 patients with diagnosed coronavirus infection died, 9 people died in the last day.
Belarus has announced the start of vaccination with the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine. The first to be vaccinated will be medical workers, teachers, and those specialists who, due to the peculiarities of their profession, have to contact with people a lot. Vaccinations will be voluntary.