Lietuva in brief - 2007-03-14

  • 2007-03-14
Lithuanian border guards have been ordered to seize any official vehicles, aircraft or property leaving the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, while banks have been placed on notice to seize money leaving the province. The order comes as debt recovery company Duke Investments attempts to force the administration of Kaliningrad to repay a loan of 70 million litas (20.3 million euro). The same company previously sold off a residential building in Vilnius owned by Kaliningrad in order to recover a debt. The money is being sought to repay a $10 million loan the administration borrowed from German bank Dresdner seven years
The Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee said it did not recognize the recent general elections held in Georgia's rebellious region Abkhazia. The committee expressed "undisputed support for the territorial integrity and wholeness of Georgia" and stressed that Abkhazia is an integral part of the nation according to the principles of international law. The committee also said that legitimate municipal elections in the region may only be held on the condition of unrestricted, full and safe return of all the refugees. The region, which has a majority Russian population, declared independence from Georgia in 1992, and continues to be a source of tension between Georgia and the Russian federation. Lithuania recently has been very supportive of Georgia's aim to integrate into the EU and NATO.

Order and Justice Party, a liberal democratic party headed by the impeached president Rolandas Paksas, saw a major boost in its popularity following the unexpected success in Feb 25 municipal elections. According to a RAIT poll released on March 10, 16.5 percent of voters said they would now support Paksas' party in a national election, compared to 9.4 percent a month ago. The party now sits ahead of the Conservatives, which polled at 16.3 percent, and the Social Democrats, which polled at 12.6 percent.

The Lithuanian Sea Museum in Klaipeda has celebrated the birth of four penguins and two seal pups in recent weeks. The museum is now home to nine Baltic gray seals, a rare and endangered species, and three sea calves. The new arrival of penguins, which were hatched in an incubator, is one of the largest at the museum in recent years.

The number of serious crimes committed in Lithuania decreased during 2006, according to statistics from the prosecutor general's office. Over 80,000 cases of criminal activity were registered in 2006, a fall of 8.5 percent from the previous year. The number of serious crimes decreased by 17 percent, while first degree murders dropped by 24 percent. Prosecutors said the number of successful investigations remained unchanged at 41 percent for both years.