The inflation was 34.8 percent in Belarus last year, although the Belarusian government earlier forecasted a 20-27 percent growth in prices. The inflation pace has remained the same this year, the Belarusian Statistics Ministry reported. In the first three weeks of 2003 prices grew by 2.6 percent, compared to 4.2 percent in the corresponding period of last year. According to the forecast of the social and economic development for 2003, inflation is to be from 18 to 24 percent, which is 1.4-1.8 per month.
According to the CIS Statistics Committee, prices advanced by 4 percent in Ukraine, 10 percent in Moldova and 15 percent in Russia.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.