For the third year in a row, Lithuanian diplomats won the annual Baltic/Nordic basketball tournament held in Vilnius last week, said Vaidotas Verba, director of the Foreign Ministry's Consular Department. Lithuania won the title after beating Latvia in the finals. The annual diplomatic tournament is organized by participating countries' Foreign Affairs ministries. Helsinki plans to host the event next year.
A new state regulation requires that all personal watercraft used in Estonia must be registered and equipped with a license plate by March 1. The requirement applies to all private PWCs used in Estonia's territorial waters, with the exception of craft made for competition and training. No registration is necessary for jet-skis registered in another country. Each vehicle must be inspected by the national motor registration office ARK, or a dealership authorized by ARK, and then owners must pay a registration fee of 300 kroons (19.2 euros). Licenses issued before July 1, 2005 will expire on Dec. 31 of this year.
The Riga City Council finance committee has decided to sponsor Riga's participation in the hot-air balloon world championship, which will be held in Japan this fall. The council will allocate 3,960 lats (5,635 euros) from the city development fund for Gunars Dukste, who pilots the Riga balloon (photo), to fly in this year's competition. Members of the municipal finance committee believe that the Latvian balloon, which features pictures of church spires and Riga's coat of arms, will help promote the capital. The one-week championship will begin in Tochigi, Japan on Nov. 18.
The Polish Basketball Federation, which is set to organize the European Basketball Championships in 2009, is considering swapping dates with Lithuania, who will host the event in 2011. The daily newspaper Lietuvos Zinios said Poland doubts it will be ready to host the championship in 2009, as the Basketball Federation currently runs a debt of 3.5 million zlotys (1 million euros) and failed to pay FIBA-Europe the first installment of the championship's 3 million euro fee. Therefore, Poland suggested swapping the rights to host European championships with Lithuania. According to the daily, Lithuanians are hesitant about the deal, especially since 2009 marks the nation's 1,000-year anniversary as "being historically mentioned." The Baltic state would rather host the championships in 2011, as the winners could proceed to the 2013 Olympic Games.