Lietuva in brief - 2007-07-18

  • 2007-07-18
Government officials said that Lithuania would try to follow Estonia's example and implement e-voting for the next round of parliamentary elections in 2008. "I hope that in this area we will catch up with Estonia, and by doing this we will surpass most European Union states," Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas told a news conference. The government announced that it had earmarked 580,000 euros for the goal. In March Estonia became the first country in the world to give voters the option of voting via the Internet in a national parliamentary election.

Latvian President Valdis Zatlers, who visited Lithuania on July 13, has thoroughly stumped linguists and editors, who have proposed three different methods for spelling the newly elected head-of-state's name: Zatlers, Zatleris and Zatleras. Alvydas Butkus, head of the Lettonica Center of Vytautas Magnus University, said the Lithuanian version should be Zatleris. Similar Lithuanianized surnames exist for Latvian basketball player Valdis Valters, lexicographer Janis Riters, and poet and translator Hermanis Margers, he argued. The State Commission of the Lithuanian Language believes that, based on declension of the name, the Latvian president should be Zatleras.

During German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier's visit, Lithuania proposed holding a four-sided meeting of foreign ministers 's Germany, Poland, Russia and Lithuania 's to discuss economic and social development issues of the Kaliningrad enclave. According to reports, Kirkilas pointed out Russian intransigence on the issue of oil supplies via the Druzhba pipeline and also expressed disapproval of the German-Russian Nord Stream pipeline.

The number of contraband cigarettes seized by the State Border Guard Service during the first half of this year grew by 33 percent. Border guards detained a total of 2.1 million illegally shipped packages of cigarettes. As has been the trend, most of the contraband, or 886,000 packages, was discovered on the Kaliningrad border. The SBGS has detained 379 people suspected in smuggling so far this year.

UEFA, soccer's governing body in Europe, came down hard on Poland's Legia Warsaw after their fans went on a rampage during the recent match against FK Vetra in Vilnius. Legia was expelled from the 2007 UEFA Intertoto Cup and banned from UEFA competition. The club was ordered to contact Vetra within 10 days to work out compensation for the damage caused. Vetra have previously estimated the total cost of damage at some 21,000 euros. The July 8 match, cut short at half time, was awarded as a 3-0 win to Vetra. The Lithuanian club will progress automatically to the third round, where they will take on English side Blackburn Rovers FC in a potentially lucrative tie that should go some way to paying for stadium repairs. With the half-time score at 2-0 in the home team's favor, Legia fans hurled what a UEFA disciplinary panel called "a considerable number" of missiles onto the pitch, as well as causing damage to the stadium infrastructure.