Lietuva in brief - 2007-08-15

  • 2007-08-15
Lithuania's bad reputation for out-of-control drivers has spread to other European countries. In 2006 the number of road violations made by foreign drivers in London were mostly from Lithuanians and Poles. Of the 500 Lithuanian drivers' licenses confiscated, 90 percent of the cases involved driving under the influence of alcohol, according to the Lietuvos Rytas newspaper. When Lithuanian drivers return home, foreign authorities return their licenses and documents.

Lithuania has received the largest number of requests from asylum seekers of the three Baltic states. Data from the Lithuanian Migration Depart-ment showed Russian citizens topped the list of asylum seekers, with 246 applications. Afghans, Georgians, Armenians, Belarussians, and a small number of African and Asian people also applied for asylum. Refugee status and permanent residency has been granted to only eight applicants - four Uzbeks, three Eritreans and one Belarussian. Another 264 people have been issued a temporary permit to reside in Lithuania.

Two military experts traveled to Georgia on Aug. 11 to investigate a location where a Russian missile was allegedly dropped. On Aug. 6, Georgia declared that its air space had been violated when a Russian airplane dropped a missile near a village of Citelubani, close to the border with South Ossetia. The Kremlin denied Georgia's accusations that Russian air force had staged a raid near the disputed territory. Specialists from the U.S., Sweden and Latvia are working with Georgian military authorities to determine what occurred. The Defense Ministry did not disclose details due to the sensitive nature of the incident.

A Lithuanian has been sentenced to 21 months in a British jail for taking part in a credit card scam that netted over 150,000 pounds. Jucius Marcinkevieius, 22, was arrested alongside a Ukranian national at a London rail station as he attempted to use a fake credit card to buy a weekly travel pass. According to police, the two were members of a gang who used fake cards to purchase thousands of travel passes, which were then passed on to be sold on the black market. Marcinkevieius said he had been paid a British pound for every travel card he handed to his gang boss, earning him 2,000 pounds at the time of his arrest. The total cost to banks and the public transport system was estimated at 150,000 pounds. In sentencing, the court recommended the Lithuanian be deported upon completing his sentence.

Mayor of Vilnius Juozas Imbrasas traveled to Tallinn on Aug. 15 to meet with the mayors of Riga and Tallinn for talks about cooperation between the three Baltic capitals. The three-way meeting comes ahead of the General Assembly of the Union of Capitals of the European Union, which will meet in Tallinn on Sept. 27-29. Imbrasas held discussions with Tallinn's Edgar Savisaar and Riga's Janis Birks about how the three cities could work together.