Lietuva in brief - 2007-08-22

  • 2007-08-22
Vidmantas Urbonas, theLithuanian triathlete who hadbeen attempting to make arecord-breaking, 209 kilometerswim across the BalticSea, finally finished his journeyon Aug. 21. The 49-year-old originallyset out from Kalmar on thecoast of Sweden July 22 headingfor the island of Gotland, fromwhere he was to continue on tothe Latvian resort town ofPavilosta. On July 27, however,he had to halt the effort due tostorms. Urbonas undertook thechallenge to highlight environmentalproblems affecting theBaltic Sea.

Jonas Paulikas, a member ofthe elite VIP Protection Service,was dismissed on Aug. 21 for anincident in which he drew hisgun and shot at the chef in aVilnius restaurant. On Aug. 15,Paulikas pulled out his SigSauer gun and fired up to sevenrounds at the chef ofAmatininku Uzeiga, who wasreported to be running aroundthe kitchen trying to dodge thebullets. No one was injured. Thechef had apparently refused tocook for him. The officer wasarrested and discovered to beseverely intoxicated.

Lithuania has the fastestgrowing cinema attendance inthe EU, the EuropeanAudiovisual Observatory hasannounced. Last year, the countrylogged 2.41 million cinemavisits, which is 98.3 percentmore that in 2005. The overallincrease across the EU duringthe same period was 3.6 percent.Attendance is also increasing inother countries such as Slovakia(54.3 percent), Estonia (40.2 percent)and Poland (35.8 percent).The number of cinema-goersdecreased in Great Britain,Spain and Hungary.

The Bank of Lithuania hasproposed taking 1 and 2 centcoins out of circulation, BNSreports. Kestutis Vanagas, aspokesman for the bank, toldThe Baltic Times that the ideahas public support. He'sreceived phone calls from peoplein the countryside where someshopkeepers refuse to acceptsmall denomination coinsbecause it takes too long tocount them all. The minting ofsmall denomination coins coststhe state 5 cents on average.Vangas said that no concretedecision has been made and thatthe matter is still under discussion.Coins of 1, 2 and 5 centdenomination account for twothirds(about 65 percent) of allcoins in circulation in the country.

Prime Minister GediminasKirkilas has formed a specialwork group to investigate thedeath of Vytautas Pociunas,the State Security Departmentofficer who died under suspiciouscircumstances in Belaruslast year. Pociunas, 48, whoworked at Lithuania's consulatein Grodno, died mysteriously onAug. 23, 2006. The diplomat'sbody was discovered outside hishotel in Brest, where he wasstaying on business. It isbelieved that Pociunas fell fromhis ninth story window,although many believe he wasmurdered. A previous investigationon part of the ProsecutorGeneral's office determined thatPociunas' death was an accidentand further pre-trial investigationwas closed.