Lietuva in brief - 2005-10-05

  • 2005-10-05
Parliament rejected a bill that would ban Soviet and Nazi symbols for public display or in distributed materials. The ruling majority rejected the proposal to consider the amendments based on the Law Department's conclusion that it is inexpedient to link prohibited symbols with specific states. Representatives of the opposition Homeland Union (Conservatives) expressed surprise at Parliament's decision. "Lithuania had a possibility to be the third EU country to put a clear equal sign between Nazism and Communism. The other two countries are Latvia and Hungary," said Conservative MP Vilija Aleknaite-Abramikiene, the author of the bill. She had proposed imposing a fine of up to 2,000 litas (580 euros) for that.

A number of famous individuals, including royalty, were in Vilnius to discuss the prevention of drug addiction. The annual meeting of the Mentor Foundation's board of trustees was attended by the organization's president, Queen of Sweden Silvia, Prince of Saudi Arabia Turki bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, a board member, and chairman the OMX stock exchange, Olof Stenhammar.

President Valdas Adamkus said that the introduction of the euro, scheduled for 2007, would not result in any negative results for the economy. "I have spent much time clarifying the myth that the introduction of the euro would lead to an automatic rise in prices. However, there is no reason to believe that it would result in hardships for Lithuania's economic life," he said after meeting with Reinoldijus Sarkinas, chief of the Bank of Lithuania, this week. Preparations for euro introduction - both legislative and technical - have been under way for more than a year, the president noted.

The leaders of a trade union uniting police officers, frontier guards, firemen, customs officers, prison guards and other state service workers said that if the state fails to repay the outstanding portion of the officers' salaries, fails to increase wages and continues reducing pensions, members of the trade union will take radical measures and stage a Europe-wide protest. A week ago the trade unions adopted a resolution on negotiations with the government, providing for swift actions should talks break down. One trade union official told a press conference this week that the situation at the law enforcement institutions at this point was "terrible."

Some 50 people staged a picket in the Square of Europe against what they called possible gay parades in Lithuania and the spreading of homosexuality in the country. Several groups of people - including schoolchildren and the elderly - gathered in the square holding banners that read "Down with homosexuals," "Against abortions," "NO to gay marriages." When approached by journalists, participants voiced outrage over the "perversions" sweeping Lithuania and Europe. Among the protesters were several Catholic priests and Siauliai radical Mindaugas Murza and his comrades, who waved a flag with a symbol in the resemblance of the Swastika.