Lietuva in brief - 2006-03-15

  • 2006-03-15
Speaking on the 16th anniversary of Lithuanian independence, President Valdas Adamkus said that the statehood should not be damaged from within. He stressed that although the country is no longer threatened by enemies from the outside, threats to its statehood arise from within. "Interior threats, our reconciliation with lies, elimination of ethics from the political life 's all this definitely threatens the state," the president told Parliament on March 12. "History shows that the collapse of powerful countries started from a decline in morals," he added. Adamkus stated that the public spirit of the Lithuanian people helped resist a dangerous enemy. "The deadly threat, political pressure and economic blockade were resisted with a dignified and civil stance, and the spiritual weapon proved more powerful than tanks."

Adamkus received Ukraine's international Man of the Year prize for merits in public life and politics. In a solemn ceremony in Kiev, famous Ukrainian physicist Vladimir Seminozhenko and MP Sergey Bychkov awarded the president with a the Prometheus sculpture. Established in 2001, the Ukrainian Man of the Year international awards are conferred upon those whose professional and public activities are recognized by European and world communities for their direct contribution to the creation and development of Ukraine as an independent state. Pope John Paul II was the first recipient of the prize in 2001, Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi received the award in 2002 and 2003, respectively, and in 2004 the award went to Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili.

Povilas Milasauskas, director general of the State Property Fund, who has been under fire for working with classified information, has opted to resign. The board of the fund has accepted Milasauskas' resignation, effective March 23. In line with the legislation in effect, Antanas Malikenas, the director of privatization, will act as SPF director general from March. 24.

A 25-year-old resident of Klaipeda and a mother of three might be listed in the Lithuanian book of records for having been detained 81 times for attempted shoplifting. The woman often escapes with mild punishments. She reportedly works on police officers and judges with stories of being a caring mother, although her three sons are supported by the state. It is believed that the repeated offender knows provisions of the Penal Code, as on 71 occasions out of 81 the stolen goods cost less than 125 litas (36 euros). In such case, the Penal Code stipulates administrative punishment only. The woman has stood trial on seven occasions.

Prosecutor General Algimantas Valantinas has refrained from predicting how long it would take to consider a possible appeal by Gintaras Petrikas, former head of the bankrupt EBSW concern, against an extradition ruling. In radio interview on March 15, Valantinas said Petrikas had a right to appeal against the decision of a US court to extradite him to Lithuania.