Lietuva in brief - 2006-08-16

  • 2006-08-16
Officers of the State Security Department, the prosecution and the anti-terrorist operations group Aras apprehended a group of arms smugglers in an extensive operation. During searches in various towns, 116 firearms were uncovered and six plotters and perpetrators of criminal activities detained, the department said. The operation was carried out in cooperation with foreign special services, keeping up its counter-terrorist functions and the investigation of state security threats. A total of 15 citizens of Lithuania and European Union member-states were arrested during the investigation, 65 guns and automatic weapons were seized along with 280,000 British pounds (414,600 euros). The State Security Department did not indicate the EU country or countries of destination for smuggling the weapons.

The Lithuanian World Community has chosen new leaders in completion of its 12th session in Vilnius last week. Algis Rugienius of the LWC presidium said that the community elected 10 new board members and picked Regina Narusiene, head of the Lithuanian community in the United States, as the board chairman. Gabrielius Zemkalnis, current head of the board, was not elected to the board during the last election. Comprised of Lithuanian communities representing countries and regions around the globe, the LWC parliament meets every three years.

President Valdas Adamkus met with Narusiene and discussed problems arising for citizens living abroad. The two also talked about ways of preserving the national spirit among emigrants. Narusiene told journalists after the meeting that Lithuanians living abroad would like to be more part of the Baltic state. "We want to be included into Lithuanian programs, Lithuanian festivals... we do not want to celebrate them separately," she stressed. Narusiene also said that closer ties with communities living in foreign countries should be maintained by the Department of National Minorities and Lithuanians Living Abroad. "The relations are not strong enough to date," she said. In her words, Lithuanian representatives living abroad should be involved in the drafting of plans and programs on emigration. Some 404,000 people have emigrated from Lithuania during the 16 years of the country's independence.

Lithuanian Airlines, the country's largest air carrier, put in place additional security measures in response to heightened aviation security levels after a foiled terrorist plot in Britain. "Passengers are advised not to take on board any hand luggage, especially if they are flying to Britain or major aviation hubs, such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Stockholm and Helsinki, and if their final destination is the United States," said Vidmantas Mazonas, the airline's flight safety chief. He added that this was a recommendation, rather than a strict requirement. Those passengers who want to take some luggage on board are advised not to carry any liquids onto the aircraft.