Baltics in Brief

  • 2000-04-27
TRY TRANSPARENCY: Outgoing Latvian Prime Minister Andris Skele, who is fond of gardening, in an interview with the state radio on April 19 jokingly announced a tender for the best solution of how to drive moles away from gardens. "If any of those who are listening to the radio know how to fight moles, then please, I am even ready to announce a prize! If there is a solution, a stable, good solution how to fight the moles efficiently - please," the prime minister said. Asked what kind of prize the winner of the tender could get Skele said he had not decided yet but there would be no restrictions for the prize. "There could be some choice, either a special meeting with me or a special prize or a plaque for the best mole eliminator. I am ready to agree on a way how to promote this successful method," Skele said.

TELEGATE: The Communications Board has filed a complaint with police accusing Estonia's largest cable TV company AS Starman of presenting false data, the business daily Aripaev reported. The accusations concern data presented by Starman in its application for a temporary network operation permit, Communications Board general director Juri Joema said. Joema said the communications authority had on several occasions issued formal notices to Starman about illegal transmission of several TV programs in its network. "By May 13 it will be decided whether to start criminal proceedings based on the complaint of the Communications Board," police spokesperson Aet Truu said. Starman's board chairman Peeter Kern told the newspaper that the application for the start of criminal proceedings was filed against Starman representative Indrek Kuivallik. "As far as I know, we presented only correct information," Kern said, denying allegations that Starman distributed channels illegally.

FUEL DROPS: Lithuania's only oil refinery Mazeikiu Nafta has lowered petrol prices over the past 10 days, tracking trends on the global oil market. In the period between April 10 and 21, petrol prices were cut by 75 litas ($18.75) per ton, while diesel fuel prices rose by four litas. The downward trend continues in the world's oil market following the OPEC meeting in late March, Mazeikiu Nafta said in a statement. Retail fuel prices have also declined in Lithuania recently.

LATVIAN HOSPITALITY: Latvian people have expressed their willingness to issue individual invitations to refugees from the separatist Russian republic of Chechnya, and some 50 to 1,000 Chechen women and children may find shelter in Latvia as a result, said Juris Vidins, chairman of Latvian-Chechen support group established by several Latvian lawmakers. The Latvian government late March rejected the request by the support group to receive Chechen refugees. This decision was made in compliance with recommendations from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and European Union members. An agreement was reached to invite Chechens as individuals.

CONCORDE WOULD BE CHEAPER: Lithuanian citizen Vytautas Zalys is planning to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a rowing boat in 2002, the daily newspaper Respublika reported on April 25. Last summer, Zalys and his two friends made a 400-kilometer journey over the Baltic Sea from Lithuania's Palanga to a Swedish port of Kalmar by a rowing boat. The Respublika said that the exact time of the trip of 2002 has not been set. Zalys has failed to find a rowing boat suitable for the journey. The boat will cost about 250,000 litas ($62,500).

OUT OF THERE: Lithuanian Consul to the United Arab Emirates, Gvidas Kerusauskas, has been recalled from his office by an order of Lithuania's foreign minister, Vygaudas Usackas. The daily newspaper Lietuvos Rytas reported that the minister issued the order after Kerusauskas was declared persona non grata and Lithuania's Foreign Ministry received a note from the UAE. Inspector General Dainius Junevicius of the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry jetted to Dubai on April 24 to look into the circumstances of the recall.

PREPARING FOR GUESTS: Reval Hotelligrupp plans to spend 25 million kroons ($1.5 million) for the reconstruction and development of its flagship Hotel Olumpia in Tallinn during 2000. Reval HG Chairman of the Board Feliks Magus said at a news briefing on 20 that the biggest single project under work at Hotel Olumpia was the rebuilding of the restaurant Elysee and the conference center into a big conference and banquet center, to be ready in September.