President Valdas Adamkus ranks first on the list of most popular politicians and most favored public figure, according to a new Vilmorus poll. Adamkus is supported by 67.1 percent of respondents (66.1 percent in March), while Social Security and Labor Minister Vilija Blinkeviciute, of the New Union (Social Liberals), ranks second, supported by 62.7 percent of respondents (65.4 percent in March). Police Commissioner General Vytautas Grigaravicius ranks third, favored by 59.3 percent of respondents (63.4 percent).
Lithuanians have the most confidence in the Catholic Church and consider political parties to be least reliable, the Vilmorus poll showed. The Catholic Church is trusted by 70 percent of those polled (64.8 percent in March), state-run insurer Sodra by 66.7 percent (64.2 percent in March), and the education system by 60 percent. The population has the least confidence in the government and Parliament: The government is trusted by 16.2 percent (17.6 percent in March) and Parliament by 7.6 percent (9.1 percent in March) of those polled.
Kristina Brazauskiene, wife of Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas, will sell a 49 percent stake in Vilnius' Crowne Plaza Hotel since the business is hindering her husband's work. She will also transfer the hotel's management rights for a period of three years. Brazauskiene has already resigned as director of the Crowne Plaza, which is now headed by German citizen Uwe Geiser. But Brazauskiene does not intend to dispose of all her shares, as she held more than 50 percent at the end of 2004. The hotel's debts stand at approximately 30 million litas. However, its real estate value is over 50 million litas.
Lithuania's national troops received 1,400 sets of body armor and protective vests from the United States this week, the U.S. Embassy said. The shipment was part of a special purchase order requested by the Ministry of National Defense and funded by a U.S. Foreign Military Sales Grant, which is provided annually to assist Lithuania's Armed Forces in training and equipping.
Vilnius police caught a drunk Spanish citizen urinating on the President's Office last week. The 23-year-old was detained at around 3 a.m. in a state of light intoxication. The Spaniard was imposed a fine of 150 litas (43 euros) for minor hooliganism. Police chief Liucija Boruseviciene told the Baltic News Service that the man apologized immediately and dutifully paid the fine. Police have previously detained about 10 tourists from Italy, Denmark, Finland, the United States and other countries for the same offense. All of them were imposed fines or given warnings.
Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States Vygaudas Usackas denied rumors that he had received a proposal to take over as foreign minister, after the Social Liberals withdrew from the ruling coalition. "I have accepted a proposal to work in another country, and I am preparing for the job," Usackas told the Baltic News Service, referring to his upcoming position as Lithuania's Ambassador to Great Britain. Among other things, the diplomat stressed the government's necessity to maintain stability, emphasizing that Antanas Valionis of the Social Liberals should stay on.