Lietuva in brief - 2005-04-20

  • 2005-04-20
The Israeli Embassy to the Baltic states strongly condemned recent statements by National Democrat Mindaugas Murza, and said that those sharing such anti-Semitic beliefs should not be allowed to hold public office. "A zero-tolerance policy should be adopted toward expressions of hate that otherwise can lead to acts of violence, as has already happened in European history. Fighting such expressions vigorously can only reinforce Lithuania as a democratic country guided by high moral standards," an embassy press release stated. The embassy welcomed authorities' prompt and firm reaction and trusts that the incident will be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted. Murza, who is a council member in Siauliai, said there were plans to establish a National Laborers Party, which, in his words, "would fight against the world's Jewry." Murza said Jews were the most cruel and sly enemy of the European race and instigators of war. He added, "The world's Jewry will be pushed to the garbage dump of history."

The U.S. Embassy declared its condemnation of Murza's anti-Semitic comments and "his efforts to organize Lithuanians in opposition to their fellow citizens and neighbors who have contributed so much to Lithuanian culture over the centuries." "We applaud the government of Lithuania's vigorous response to Mr. Murza's inflammatory comments. History has tragically shown how damaging intolerance is to society, and we hope that such hate-filled minority views will find no traction in the Europe of the 21st Century," the embassy stated.

Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas awarded magicians Diana and Arvydas Gaiciunai, who encased themselves in ice for almost three days, with 5,000 litas (1,400 euros) each from the reserve fund. The record-setting project was organized and broadcast by the commercial LNK TV. Skeptics doubt whether the magicians' performance was a test of human endurance, arguing it could have been a tricky illusion. Brazauskas, however, called the two heroes.

The Vilnius District Court has decided to extradite Costa Rican citizen Mauricio Brenes Loaiza, suspect in a case of international trafficking of adopted children. The decision was made after the Prosecutor General's Office scrutinized the application. Loaiza, a lawyer, will return to his home country of Costa Rica.

Lithuanians are increasingly snacking to relieve stress, an opinion poll showed. The first survey of local snacking habits revealed that 73.7 percent of Lithuanians not only have three meals per day, but also have at least one between-meals snack. A majority 's 51.6 percent 's polled said they did this several times per day.