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Belarus KGB Gets New Powers Amid Growing Anger

MINSK, Belarus -- Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko is trying to tighten his grip on the ex-Soviet nation with new legislation that boosts the secret police's already sweeping powers.

As well as giving the secret police, which is still known as the KGB, more powers, such as lifting restrictions on the use of weapons, the legislation will also bar opposition groups from receiving foreign funds.

Rights activists and opposition politicians said Friday the move reflected Lukashenko's fear of rising public anger over the nation's economic woes.

Belarus is mired in its worst financial crisis since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union. The national currency, the ruble, has collapsed and inflation is running at a staggering 60 percent.