Parliament has passed the Constitutional amendments necessary for changing the national currency, the litas, to the euro. In the second ballot, the amendments were approved by 106 against six, with nine abstentions. The Seimas removed the stipulation that only the Bank of Lithuania would have the right of emission. The bank will now be able to issue euro coins, and the Central Bank of Europe will be allowed to issue all notes and a small amount of coins. The Constitution now stipulates that the Bank of Lithuania board chairman's legal status and grounds for dismissal are set out in a separate law.
More than 100 Lithuanian troops are preparing to serve in a provincial reconstruction team in Afghanistan's Ghor province. More foreign flags will fly at the Lithuanian PRT, in addition to Denmark and Iceland, which sent their mobile communications and observation groups last year. The third tour of the Lithuanian PRT, which is scheduled to leave for the six-month mission in early May, will be headed by the commander of the Grand Duke Algirdas Motorized Infantry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Vilmas Satas. He will be promoted to colonel for the duration of the task.
Reporters of Al-Jazeera, the Qatari TV channel popular in the Arabic world, visited Vilnius while filming a program about the widows of Chechen commanders. According to head reporter Sheozh Zaur Achmednam, the team was looking for the widow of Dzhokhar Dudayev, the Chechen president killed in 1996. She recently presented her book in Vilnius. "We took an opportunity to prepare a few reports about Lithuania, its history, culture and people. We will bring interesting materials from the KGB museum. Antanas Terleckas (a former dissident and political prisoner) was our guide here. He is a great person, whose activities date back to the very beginning of Lithuania's fight for independence," the reporter said.
MP Emanuelis Zingeris, chairman of the Vilnius-based international commission of historical justice, expressed indignation over the SS-style party held at a Kaunas restaurant to mark the birthday of Adolf Hitler. "Every free generation raised in Lithuania must know how to recognize the evil caused to its parents by the repressive regimes of the past. Half-drunk with glasses of beer in our hands, we should not chase around actors dressed in Nazi or Soviet prisoner clothing. This can only lead to ruined morals," said Zingeris, who is also chairman of the International Commission for Assessment of Nazi and Soviet Occupational Regimes. "The wounds of hundreds of thousands of victims still burn, it's a pity that the understanding of such loss is not deep enough in our country," he told the Baltic News Service.