Lietuva in brief - 2006-09-20

  • 2006-09-20
The EU student exchange program Socrates has launched a project called Learn on the Way, which aims at teaching public transport passengers various foreign languages, in Vilnius. "The main purpose of the project, which will last one year, is to present English and Polish languages to trolleybus passengers as playfully as possible," said Daiva Malinauskiene, director of Soros International House, which coordinates the project. As of Sept. 18, the organization will distribute basic Lithuanian, English and Polish language pamphlets to trolleybus passengers. English was deemed necessary because it is the EU's main language, and Polish was chosen as Poles make up the biggest ethnic minority in Lithuania.

President Valdas Adamkus signed a decree appointing Social Democrat Juozas Bernatonis as ambassador to Estonia. Bernatonis will take office on Oct. 2, replacing Antanas Vinkus, who was appointed as ambassador to Latvia in early July. Adamkus received the government's proposal to appoint Bernatonis as ambassador at the end of May, but took his time to sign the decree. Bernatonis is one of Lithuania's most influential Social Democrats, who currently works as chief adviser for Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas.

A delegation led by Dennis Hastert, U.S. House of Representatives speaker, arrived in Lithuania on Sept. 17. The U.S. officials met with Lithuanian Parliamentary Speaker Viktoras Muntianas. MPs Justinas Karosas, Andrius Kubilius, Birute Vesaite, Emanuelis Zingeris were also present at the meeting. The delegation also met with President Valdas Adamkus and Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas. Hastert, a Republican, is known for being a vocal ally of Lithuania. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1986 and represents the state of Illinois, which has a large community of Lithuanian emigrants.

A monument in memory of Lithuanian and Latvian partisans who fought the Communist regime was unveiled at Subate, on the Latvian-Lithuanian border. The five-meter white cross was erected on the site where the partisans were killed by Soviet invaders. A memorial service took place at the Subate church as part of the ceremony. On the cross is a dedication "to the Latvian and Lithuanian partisans of the Seliai region who fought against the Communist occupational regime in 1944-1953. They were united and sacrificed themselves to freedom."

Fewer crimes were committed in Lithuania last year than in 2004, but the number of serious crimes went up, according to a report by the Prosecutor General's Office. Prosecutor General Algimantas Valantinas submitted the information to Parliament on Sept. 19. According to the data, 89,815 criminal deeds were registered in 2005, down by 3,600 criminal deeds compared with 2004. The number of criminal deeds related to thefts decreased last year, along with the number of juvenile crimes.