Lietuva in brief - 2006-08-23

  • 2006-08-23
Finance Minister Zigmantas Balcytis has no intention of resigning over suspicions against his son, Donatas Balcytis, who is accused of forgery and abuse of office, the Lietuvos Zinios daily reported. "Prime Minister [Gediminas Kirkilas] told me not to hurry, but to wait for a final conclusion from the Prosecutor's Office. I see no grounds for resignation," Balcytis was quoted as saying. Prosecutors suspect Donatas Balcytis, a former employee of the Lithuanian Business Support Agency, which distributes EU assistance funds, of falsifying the results of a project assessment by a Panevezys company in order to help the firm obtain over a million litas (290,000 euros) in EU funds.

President Valdas Adamkus has thanked Iceland for being the first nation to recognize Lithuania's restored independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. A delegation visiting the northern country for the Lithuania-Iceland 2006 campaign delivered the president's letter. "Lithuania has, and will always remember with exceptional gratitude that Iceland was the first to speak out before the world in defense of our nation and its ultimate goals," Adamkus wrote. "At the time it seemed that Lithuania, having survived an economic blockade and massacre, would stand alone before the crumbling yet still powerful empire. However, the political figures, diplomats and society of Iceland showed high morals to a world that kept silent."

Three-quarters of citizens polled believe that there are no or very few honest deputies in Parliament, a survey carried out by the Fonitel call center shows. Almost half of those polled are convinced that no more than 10 percent of MPs are honest. Twenty-three percent of those polled said 10-30 percent of parliamentarians were honest and almost one-fifth, 17.1 percent, said there was not a single honest person. Only 1.6 percent believes that all members of Parliament are honest.

The number of murders, thefts, plunders and public order violations has dropped this year. Some 169 murders were registered in the country in January-July, down by 51 murders as compared with the year-earlier figure. During the first seven months of 2006, murder suspicions were brought against 204 persons, including 16 females and 14 underage persons. More than half of all murders registered were committed in Lithuanian cities. As compared with 2005, the seven-month murder rate dropped by 17.5 percent in cities and 30 percent in rural areas.

Security officer Vytautas Pociunas, adviser at the Lithuanian consulate general in Grodno, was killed during a business trip to the city of Brest in early hours of Aug. 23. The diplomat's body was discovered next to a hotel building. Pociunas is suspected to have fallen out of the hotel window, the Foreign Ministry said. An investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding the incident. A security worker's task usually includes protecting a diplomatic mission's information and securing the mission's immunity.