Lietuva in brief - 2006-07-19

  • 2006-07-19
A turbogenerator in Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant's second unit mysteriously stopped running on July 12. "The turbogenerator switched off at 8:17 p.m. after the unit alarm was triggered. The commission is currently trying to make out whether it was the result of human error or equipment failure," said Viktoras Sevaldinas, INPP CEO. The incident did not cause the plant to shut down, and it continued operating at a 750 MW capacity on July 13. Kazimieras Zilys, deputy director of the State Nuclear Safety Inspectorate, said the incident was not related to nuclear energy, but rather a faulty electricity circuit. He assured that the incident posed no danger.

A serviceman of Lithuania's LITCON-7 contingent was injured during an attack on international forces in southern Iraq. The incident occurred when Lithuanian servicemen, escorting civilian-military cooperation specialists on the outskirts of Basra, came under fire from a group of unidentified persons. One serviceman sustained a slight shoulder injury. "The group stopped near a police post and heard several shots. Our serviceman was wounded in his shoulder," Armed Forces Commander Major General Valdas Tutkus said.

About 404,000 people have emigrated from Lithuania since regaining independence in 1991. The figure may be higher, as, according to a survey by the Statistics Department, only every second or third emigrant declares his or her departure. This year's survey showed that some 70,000 people left the country unofficially in 2001-2005. Together with those who declared their departure, the figure totaled some 126,000. After Lithuania became a member of the European Union, the unofficial number of people leaving doubled from 2003.

Six gravesites of Napoleonic soldiers were discovered in the city center of Kaliningrad, along with the remains of 200 skeletons, clothing remnants and ammunition. Lithuania's cultural attache in Kaliningrad, Arvydas Juozaitis, reported that the remains were currently being examined by Marseilles University archaeologists. So far it is known that the soldiers died of plague in 1812-1813. According to experts, this is the second most important Napoleonic gravesite to be discovered, the first being a mass grave found in a Vilnius military base five years ago. The remains of over 3,000 soldiers were buried there.

Twenty two Lithuanian citizens in Lebanon have asked to leave the country, which has been bombarded by Israeli attacks. Some of these citizens, however, cannot leave due to destroyed roads. The Foreign Ministry's consular department director, Vaidotas Verba, said that some Lithuanians, who had earlier expressed willingness to leave, seemed to be changing their mind. "Despite several citizens who are hoping to flee, others in northern Lebanon feel safe and want to stay. Those in southern Lebanon cannot leave because roads have been bombarded," the diplomat said. Acting Defense Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said that, if the situation becomes extreme, Lithuanians in Lebanon would be rescued by the Armed Forces.