Belarus prime minister sacked over corruption scandal

A new Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Rumas poses for a photo in Minsk, Belarus, on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (AP)
Updated 19 August 2018
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Belarus prime minister sacked over corruption scandal

MINSK: Belarus’s strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko on Saturday sacked his prime minister and other key members of government following a corruption scandal that saw top officials arrested.
Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov will be replaced by former development bank head Sergei Rumas, the president’s press office said in a statement.
Several vice-premiers as well as the ministers for economy and industry will also lose their posts.
“I won’t name names, but in our government we had the following situation — one program would be announced and then another program would be carried out,” Lukashenko said in comments released by his press office.
“I’ve never allowed this and I never will! What we have promised the people — with a government formed precisely with this program in mind — we must follow this program,” he added.
Over the summer a corruption scandal rocked the health service of the ex-Soviet nation.
Authorities arrested dozens of top health officials, medics and drug company representatives on suspicion of siphoning off millions of dollars in state funding.
Even the head of the security services in the country dubbed “Europe’s last dictatorship” called for an overhaul of the system in the wake of the arrests.
Other smaller instances of corruption and administrative failures have hit local and national governments in recent months.
Independent economist and director of the Scientific Research Mises Center, Yaroslav Romanchuk welcomed the government shake-up.
“It is good to replace these people, pillars of the old socialist economy,” he told AFP, adding that the new team were not “bogged down in corruption.”
“Sergei Rumas knows what the economy and finance are about, he’s an intelligent economist...we can hope for the start of economic reforms, as long as Lukashenko gives a mandate to carry them out,” Romanchuk said.
Political analyst Valeriy Karbalevich said: “Lukashenko has discovered the government wasn’t afraid of him, it clearly wasn’t carrying out his orders.”
The president “hopes the new people will be too scared to steal or sabotage his directives,” he added.
Lukashenko has ruled Belarus, wedged between Russia and Poland, with an iron fist since 1994.


Two killed in Munich shooting

Updated 21 February 2019
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Two killed in Munich shooting

  • Police assume that one of the people now dead fired the shots
  • Germany has been on high alert since December 2016, when a Tunisian asylum seeker with extremist links caused chaos

MUNICH: Two people have been killed in the southern German city of Munich after locals reported shots being fired at a construction site on Thursday morning, a police spokesman said.
Police say they believe one of the dead fired the shots, spokesman Sven Mueller said.

"There is no danger for people there anymore," Mueller said, adding that he had no other details for the time being.

The incident is not believed to be terror related.
Germany has been on high alert since December 2016, when a Tunisian asylum seeker with extremist links hijacked a truck, killed the driver and then ploughed it into a crowded market place in Berlin, killing 11 more people and injuring dozens.