Lietuva in brief - 2004-12-01

  • 2004-12-01
The first unit of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant will be shut down on Dec. 31, the government decided Nov. 24.This follows the country's commitment to the EU to close the plant, which uses unsafe RBMK-type reactors, the same ones used at the infamous Chernobyl plant in Ukraine, which exploded in April 1986. Lithuania pledged to shut the first unit down in 2005, and to close the second and third unit in 2009 during preaccession talks with Brussels. INPP generates over 70 percent of the country's electricity.

Half of the respondents in a recent poll approve of the coalition agreement between the left-wing and the populist Labor Party, shows a RAIT poll carried out on Nov. 4-7. Of those asked, 27.9 percent said they fully approved of the Social Democrats-Social Liberals' and the Labor Party's coalition plans, and 22.2 percent said they somewhat approved. Another 42.6 percent of respondents were skeptical of the ruling coalition, while 7.3 percent said they did not have an opinion on the matter.

Vilnius and Klaipeda counties continued to lead in terms of GDP per capita in 2003, the country's statistics department has reported. The latest data shows that per-capita GDP in the county of Vilnius grew by 11.4 percent to 23,400 litas (6,800 euros) last year. Klaipeda ranked second with per-capita GDP of 17,400 litas and Kaunas was third with 15,600 litas. Per-capita GDP growth accelerated to 9.4 percent and 12.2 percent in the respective counties, from the 2002 growth rates of 6 percent and 4.5 percent. According to the report, the strong GDP growth in Vilnius was driven by a 27 percent rise in the construction industry and a 21.2 percent growth in retail and catering.

Access to the Chechen pro-independence Web site ( has been opened once again. After the State Security Department blocked the site from its Lithuanian-based server in September, it moved to Sweden, but since Nov. 26 the Web site has been operating in Lithuania by "mirror" principle at the address. Rimantas Pasys, director of the Elneta company servicing the site, said the server provides more possibilities to access the Web site. "They currently operate in Sweden. There is a shadow in Lithuania already, and it will be opened in Finland in the near future. The load of the IP address is lightened in such a way," Pasys said.

Authorities over the weekend detained a U.S. citizen who was urinating on the flagpole outside the president's office in the capital. According to preliminary information, the 27-year-old man was under the influence of alcohol. He was taken to a nearby police station and released after interrogation, although he was also ordered to appear at the station the next day to explain himself. The violation carries a fine of 100 litas (30 euros) - 300 litas or 30 days in custody. Two British police officers were apprehended in front of the president's office for an analogous incident two years ago.