Lietuva in brief - 2007-11-07

  • 2007-11-07
Lithuanians will be slightly less rested in coming days as Saturday, Nov. 10, will be a working day throughout the country. The government last year decided to move the day off from Nov. 10 to Nov. 2 to give Lithuanians a four-day weekend encompassing All Saints' Day (Nov. 1), and All Souls' Day (Nov. 2). During these days Catholics traditionally honor saints and bring flowers and candles to the graves of relatives.

Conservative Party leader Andrius Kubilius delivered an address to the ministries of interior and defense, complaining that they both have more employees who graduated from Russian and other post-Soviet universities than from Western ones. Kubilius said there are illegal foreign universities or their branches operating in Lithuania that fail to provide quality education and that Lithuanian special services should assess possible threats to national security due to the high number of graduates of Eastern universities. According to data from the two ministries, the Police Department employs 133 graduates of Eastern universities, the State Border Guard Service 34, and the Fire and Rescue Department 30.

In an attempt to slow down Lithuanian drivers, at least 150 automated speed monitors will be installed on state roads in 2008. The speed monitors are part of a government program to improve traffic safety over the 2007 - 2018 period. Transport Minister Algirdas Butkevicius told the media Oct. 31 that more monitors are expected to be added within the coming years. Lithuania, along with the other Baltic countries, holds the record for having the deadliest roads in the EU. Over the past 16 years, 13,400 people were killed and 109,230 were injured in road accidents in the country.

The Lithuanian Navy ship Kursis has been sweeping Poland's territorial waters for mines and other explosives as part of the Polish Passex 07 international minesweeping mission. The Kursis is currently part of the joint Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian anti-mine squadron BALTRON. The mission will be carried out Nov. 2 - 10 by BALTRON vessels, along with Polish navy and coastguard ships. In addition to minesweeping, the vessels will perform firing, rescue, navigation and communication exercises.

A 102-year-old Kaunas resident, Stanislovas Grigas, was married in Kaunas City Hall on Nov. 3, making him Lithuania's oldest groom, and possibly the oldest groom in Europe. His 76-year-old bride, Brone Mikutiene, said Grigas has a dexterous, rational mind and a good memory. Grigas attributed his longevity to hard work and avoidance of drinking and smoking.