Lietuva in brief - 2007-03-21

  • 2007-03-21
The Supreme Administrative Court in its March 19 and March 20 decisions ruled that the results of the Feb. 25 municipal elections in Pagegiai and Svencionys municipalities, which had been canceled by the Central Electoral Committee, are valid and should be confirmed. The court said that the decision by the Central Electoral Committee to annul election results in the two municipalities was not based on any objective data, and the statements on severe violations of election laws were not supported by evidence. Elections in Pagegiai and Svencionys were won by the Order and Justice and Social Liberal parties respectively. Both municipalities saw an unusually large number of voters voting in advance, a phenomenon that the Central Electoral Committee found suspicious.
u u u
Lithuanian troops deployed in Afghanistan's Ghor province have conducted special training courses for officers of Afghanistan's national police force. Local policemen were trained to administer first aid and taught the composition of self-made explosive devices and mines, the Defense Ministry said. The trainees also learned how to check accident sites, vehicles and people, and how to detain suspected criminals. The course was attended by more than 50 local policemen, who will be deployed in Pasabadan, the southern region of the province of Ghor, one of the most dangerous areas in the province. Some 70 Lithuanian troops currently are deployed in Afghanistan.

A report presented to the U. S. Congress by the U.S. Government Accounting Office named Lithuania as a country that does not properly protect its radioactive materials, an article in the Lietuvos Rytas daily said. The report said that during a GAO inspection of a Lithuanian oncology clinic, a medical device containing radioactive cobalt-60 was found disconnected from its signal cable for more than one month. The cable was meant to ensure the safety of the device. The report stressed that radioactive material contained in the device could be used to produce a so-called dirty bomb. However, Albinas Mastauskas, director of Lithuania's Radiation Protection Center, said that the device in question had been under repair and that at the time of the inspection its cobalt had been removed and securely stored.

Vilnius residents were among those in 60 European cities to wake up on March 19 to find that statues in their city had been "silenced," their mouths tied with white ribbons and banners. The pan-European action was part of a protest against the lack of freedom of speech in Belarus. Five statues in Vilnius received the treatment, which was carried out by JEF Europe, an international organization of young federalists. The organizers said the action was meant to draw attention to the fact that since last year Belarusian authorities have banned activity of non-governmental organizations, imposed restrictions on the freedom of speech and are monitoring the use of the Internet.