The ruling Social Democratic Party is having behind-the-scenes discussions on a new leader, according to the Lietuvos Zinios daily. Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas, 73, was re-elected for a third term as the leader of the political force in May last year. Although the next elections are scheduled for 2007, some Social Democrats have already resolved to run for the post of party leader. MP Algirdas Butkevicius, former finance minister, voiced the possibility of running for the post during the party's congress, to be held in the spring of next year.
An international conference in Vilnius has urged EU institutions not to ignore human rights violations perpetrated by Russia in Chechnya. The conference on Chechen issues passed an address to leaders of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, saying that the situation in Chechnya should be addressed without delay. "The address suggests that international organizations should pay serious attention to the situation in Chechnya, where human rights are constantly violated. Russia's wiliness and cruelty in this colonial war should be given an assessment," said Rytas Kupcinskas, head of Parliament's group for relations with the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.
MEP Vytautas Landsbergis, the first president upon restoration of the country's independence, will be presented with the European Karl IV medal. The consultative council of Germany-based Association for Promoting European Relations has granted the medal to the MEP, Landsbergis' office reported. The award is granted every two years to people with European views and European political experience, who have a vision of the future and contribute to European history. In 1990-1992, Landsbergis headed the Lithuanian Supreme Council - the Reconstituent Seimas - that declared the country's independence.
German scientists used photographs of Lithuanian children in a computer program designed to fight juvenile pornography. An initial version of the program automatically and reliably selects children's images from a large number of pictures according to age, separating them from young people and adults, the Lietuvos Rytas daily reported. The program should distinguish illegal child pornography from similar content that is not punishable in Germany. The pictures and measurements of 600 German, Italian and Lithuanian children have been taken to create an anthropological example of a "juvenile." Scientists intend to photograph another thousand-some children and young people for the program's next stage.
Klaipeda leaders and residents are protesting the government's plans to build a new port in the district of Melnrage. The state expects to attract private investors for the new port, which is estimated to cost at least 2 billion litas (580 million euros). The project will include terminals on an artificial island about 350 meters offshore.