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August 14, 2012 | Staff and Wire Reports
Just hours after the close of the Olympics, a female shotputter from Belarus was stripped of her gold Monday in the first case of an athlete losing a medal for doping at the London Games. With the disqualification of Nadzeya Ostapchuk, the gold medal was awarded to Valerie Adams of New Zealand - who winds up as Olympic champion for the second time in a row. The International Olympic Committee said Ostapchuk, a former world champion, tested positive for steroids before and after winning the shotput last week for her first Olympic gold.
March 18, 2012 | Bill Dwyre
Sports fans love streaks, which gives them a nice reason to pay attention to a 22-year-old tennis player from Belarus named Victoria Azarenka. She won the women's title Sunday in the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. Not only did she do so with ease, as the 6-2, 6-3 score against Maria Sharapova would indicate, but she built on her increasingly impressive streak - 23 victories now without a defeat in 2012. Sharapova, a three-time major tournament winner who won't even turn 25 until April and is the No. 2 player in the world, was as impressed as most of those watching in the sold-out, 16,100-seat Indian Wells Tennis Garden stadium.
March 6, 2012 | By Diane Pucin
Victoria Azarenka, the No. 1 female tennis player in the world and winner of the most recent major tournament, the Australian Open, is being gentle with a pupil. She is filming a promotional spot last week at the Mulholland Tennis Club and good-naturedly giving a simple tennis lesson to a novice. "Bend your arm," Azarenka says. "Knees low. Reach for it. " As tennis balls spray everywhere, Azarenka fetches them, laughing. "Yes, I am the real coach now. I'm picking up the balls.
February 5, 2012 | Wire reports
Venus Williams returned from a five-month layoff, and Serena Williams and Christina McHale won singles matches Sunday, sending the United States past Belarus, 5-0, in the first round of the Fed Cup at Worcester, Mass. By sweeping Belarus in World Group II, the Americans head to a playoff in April in hopes of playing their way back into the top tier of the Fed Cup after being bounced last year. Venus Williams and Liezel Huber completed the shutout with a doubles victory, defeating Darya Kustova and Anastasiya Yakimova , 6-1, 6-2. This was Williams' first sanctioned match since the opening round of the U.S. Open.
April 12, 2011 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
A powerful blast rocked the Minsk metro during evening rush hour Monday, killing 11 passengers and injuring 126 others in a busy downtown subway station. Belarus law enforcement agencies said the explosion, on a platform at the Oktyabrskaya station as a train arrived, was an act of terrorism. The blast shattered windows, injuring people inside the train and on the platform of the station, located near the presidential headquarters in the center of the Belarusian capital. "I just entered the station to go pick up our daughter from my mother-in-law's when I felt a growing smell of burning and saw many people rushing out, some of them screaming," Ivan Kaplun, an engineer who lives close to the station, said in a phone interview.
February 6, 2011 | By Chris Jones
Most actors visiting Chicago end the brief biographies in theater programs with cute shout-outs to mentors or loved ones. Not the seven performers from the Belarus Free Theatre, who usually ply their trade in Minsk in the Republic of Belarus, the former Soviet republic famously called "the last remaining true dictatorship in the heart of Europe" by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Actor Aleh Sidorchyk's program note concludes with "He has been arrested for his professional activities.
January 22, 2011 | Sergei L. Loiko
Saying that Belarus has exhausted the limits of upheavals, authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko on Friday took the oath of office for the fourth time amid accusations of fraud in the December election and a crackdown on the opposition. The 56-year-old Lukashenko, who has run the country for 16 years and now begins a new five-year term, said his reelection was a legitimate outcome in a democratic state. His government will "safeguard security and stability against plots from within and outside the country," he said, and stop political movements such as the one in Georgia in 2003, known as the Rose Revolution, and another in Ukraine in 2005 known as the Orange Revolution.
December 20, 2010 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
After 16 years in office, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko appeared headed for another five-year term in a controversial election Sunday that was quickly followed by violent late-night street clashes and accusations of vote fraud from human rights groups. Final results announced by the state's central election commission indicated that the autocratic 56-year-old leader, who adheres to a bygone Soviet economic model, received 79.7% of the vote, after 100% was counted. Opposition leaders called on their supporters to launch a protest in downtown Minsk's Oktyabrskaya Square before firm results were announced.
September 3, 2010 | By Grahame L. Jones
Barely seven weeks after the end of the World Cup, Europe's major soccer powers returned to serious competition on Friday as qualifying for 2012 European Championship began. Based on one game alone, France already is in trouble. Les Bleus have a new coach in 1998 World Cup winner Laurent Blanc. They also had a large and supportive crowd of 76,000 behind them at the Stade de France in Paris. Neither came into play as France crashed to a 1-0 home defeat to Belarus, which is ranked 78th in the world compared to France's No. 21. "It is a pity," Florent Malouda, the team's captain, told the booing fans after the final whistle.
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