Every third person in Lithuania has paid bribes according to a recent survey by Transparency International. Police officers and judges raked in the most bribes, with one in four people giving payouts to the officials. Lithuania's 29 percent bribe-giving rate puts the country in the same high corruption category as Ukraine, Serbia, Greece, Bolivia and Peru. The fewest cases of bribery were registered in Austria, Canada, France, Denmark and Japan.
A second sailor has been diagnosed with malaria in Klaipeda. The sailor had worked on the same ship as the 20-year-old crew member who died of malaria the first weekend of December. The two sailors had returned to Klaipeda port on Dec. 3 after six months working in the Ivory Coast. Specialists at the Klaipeda Center for Public Health told BNS they fear the dozens of other crew members who went on the trip could also be infected with the life-threatening disease and fall ill in coming weeks.
More than 10,000 teachers in the Zemaitija region began a three-day strike on Dec. 11. Eugenijus Jesinas, deputy head of an education trade union, told Respublika the teachers doubt the state authorities' commitment to higher pay next year. The government and the minister pledged to raise teachers' wages from the start of the current academic year, but the raise was canceled after a revision in the state budget. The government is now planning a 15 percent pay raise starting on Jan. 1, with another 5 percent starting Sept. 1, 2008.
Lithuanian Ex-President and PM Algirdas Brazauskas opened the second branch of the Center for European Integration Studies in Ukraine, in the city of Donetsk, on Dec. 11. The center was established in 1995 as a joint initiative of the Foreign Ministry and the Vilnius University's International Relations and Political Science department. EISC branches in Ukraine and Moldova are financed under Cooperation for Development and Support for Democracy programs.
Lithuanian Railways is calling for an international tender for the design of a section of the Rail Baltica near Marijampole. The state-owned railway is asking for territorial and technical design work on the 40-km stretch of track near the Lithuanian-Polish border.