Lietuva in brief - 2004-12-09

  • 2004-12-09
Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas saw his approval rating drop 7 percent in November compared with October, a RAIT poll published on Dec. 5 showed. According to the survey, President Valdas Adamkus is the country's most trusted politician (72.5 percent), followed by Economy Minister-designate Viktor Uspaskich (63.7 percent) and the candidate for social security and labor minister, the Social Liberal Vilija Blinkeviciute (61.8 percent).

The winner of this year's Eurovision song contest, Ruslana (photo) , personally thanked Adamkus on Dec. 3 for his support in helping negotiate a solution to the political conflict in her home country. "I feel President Valdas Adamkus' support for the entire nation of Ukraine. This was more than just professional support, more than support from a person who wants truth and justice, it was support from the old state," Ruslana said. The singer has told reporters that though she was politically neutral, she eventually aligned herself with the opposition camp after the government failed to conduct an honest election.

Suspicions surrounding Parliamentary Deputy Chairman Alfredas Pekeliunas about his earlier cooperation with the KGB have proven unfounded. The State Security Department told Parliamentary Chairman Arturas Paulauskas that the information available "gives no reason to think that Pekeliunas was an agent of the Soviet Union's special services." The department drew its conclusion from archival information provided and its own investigation. Archival material suggested that Pekeliunas could have been listed among KGB reserve officers, whose task would have included special operations in the case of war.

Investigators examining the country's largest bank robbery said they could not complete their probe due to a lack of cooperation from France. Prosecutors asked the French Justice Ministry for legal assistance at the end of August - several weeks after the robbery - but have failed to receive a response until now, senior prosecutor Linas Karpusevicius said. About 2 million litas (600,000 euros) were robbed from the German Vereins-und-Westbank AG bank early on Aug. 10. Criminal police disclosed the crime within 30 hours, detained two suspects and recovered the missing money.

As part of a three-year project to support national land forces, two infantry battalions have been equipped with ammunition and supplies donated by Sweden, the Defense Ministry said. Under the 2001 project, Sweden gave the country - then a NATO aspirant - engineering, staff and support ammunition and equipment and taught troops how to use the gear. The equipment transfer was due to large-scale military restructuring in Sweden. The new equipment includes; light AK4 weapons, Carl Gustaff projectors, machine guns, anti-tank weaponry and mortars.