On Thursday Belarussian parliamentarians began to discuss the main financial document, the 2002 budget, reports the RIA Novosti correspondent. Under the draft, expenditure of the consolidated budget will come up to over 5 billion dollars. Budgetary deficit is planned to constitute 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product. The draft budget for the next year intends a 4- to 5-percent growth in the gross domestic product at the expense of increase in industrial output at 5-6 percent of the 2001 level. Inflation in 2002 is expected to constitute 1.5-2 percent a month. Over 40 percent of allocations will go into the development of the social sphere. The priority development of the next year's budget-financial policy will be financing of programmes related to minimising effects of the catastrophe at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, housing construction, health protection, education and science. Approximately 10 percent of the consolidated budget will be allocated for financing agriculture and the related industries of Belarus.
Military expert Vladimir Orlov expressed the opinion that the Pentagon is preparing to strike at least four Russian regions.