Lietuva in brief - 2006-11-08

  • 2006-11-08
Poland will recall its ambassador to Lithuania, Janusz Skolimowski, whose reputation was damaged by relations with notorious Polish businessman Edward Mazur, the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza reported. Mazur was recently detained in the United States and is due to be extradited to Poland. He is charged with organizing the murder of a Polish police chief some 10 years ago. The Gazeta Wyborcza reported that the decision to dismiss Skolimowski was already made, although it is likely that the ambassador will remain on vacation until the end of his term.

Lithuania fails in the fight against corruption, shows a recent survey by the anti-corruption NGO Transparency International. Lithuania's Corruption Perception Index did not change in 2006, and remained at the 2005 level of 4.8. Lithuania's CPI this year was worse when compared with 2003-2004, when it stood at 4.7 and 4.6 respectively. Lithuania ranked 46-48 among the 163 countries surveyed, but it came just 23-24 among the EU members and Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. Only Latvia, Slovakia, Greece and Poland received a lower CPI score than Lithuania.

A survey conducted by RAIT pollster showed that only 8.3 percent of 1,104 respondents would support a hypothetical transition from a parliamentary republic to a constitutional monarchy. Some 33.7 percent of those questioned said they disapprove of the idea, while 26.4 percent said they're completely against it. Thirty-two percent were undecided. Fifty-eight percent of women polled would disapprove of a Lithuanian monarchy, while 62.4 percent of men opposed the idea.

The nation's first virtual cemetery has been opened. The Web site offers Lithuanians the possibility to honor a deceased person by leaving a free epitaph about him. One can also find an initial database on the deceased and order a tomb or send flowers. The Web site authors hope to establish a wider database, which would be especially helpful for those living abroad.

President Valdas Adamkus ordered an audit of the President's Office chancellery following media reports on excessive renovations of the building's bathroom before Queen Elizabeth II's visit last month. The reports said that some 250,000 litas (72,000 euros) were paid for a new water-closet, gilded sink and other bathroom equipment supplied by Versace. The president hopes that auditors will discover whether the renovation violated the law, and will also review the functions of the chancellery and staff responsibilities.

Adamkus turned 80 on Nov. 3, and spent the celebration in his Vilnius office. Parliamentary Speaker Viktoras Muntianas and parliamentarians congratulated the president on his anniversary. The following day, Adamkus reportedly held his birthday party at one of his favorite restaurants. Adamkus was born in Kaunas on Nov. 3, 1926, but emigrated from Lithuania to the United States after the start of World War II. He spent 50 years in America. Adamkus was first elected the president of Lithuania in 1998. After winning the presidential elections again in 2004, Adamkus was sworn in as president on July 12.