President Valdas Adamkus appointed Social Liberal leader Arturas Paulauskas as environment minister on Jan. 31.
The environment minister's post became vacant after the resignation of Social Democrat Arunas Kundrotas on Jan. 7. This was one of the posts offered to Social liberals for joining the ruling coalition with Social Democrats. The new partners signed a cooperation agreement on Jan 28.
The Environment Ministry announced that about 200-400 kilos of crude oil spilled into the Baltic Sea at the Butinge crude terminal of oil company Mazeikiu Nafta on Jan. 31. The oil spill occurred during the unloading of 100,000 tons of crude shipped by the tanker Antarctica sailing under the Cayman Islands flag, BNS reported. A slight oil pollution of about 2-3 kilograms has been registered in Latvia's Liepaja County after it was washed away into the sea during a storm.
Lithuanians celebrated Uzgavenes (Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day) on Feb. 5. As usual, the open-air museum of Lithuania in Rumsiskes had a grand carnival over the weekend. A group of people disguised as devils and witches marched around Vilnius streets and even visited municipality building. Cooks of Vilnius' Katpedele, a Lithuanian food restaurant, established the national record of biggest pile of pancakes. Pancake day is widely celebrated in Lithuania; the key events involve burning of More and a fight between Kanapinis and Lasininis.
Vilnius municipality filed suit against conservative Vilius Navickas for defamation, the press reported. The municipality said its lawyers found 15 false statements in local press, which are allegedly based on Navickas' statements on the price of national stadium construction. The "real" price could increase 300-700 million litas (some 203 mln euro). Vilnius municipality denied the information, insisting it will cost 370 million litas as planned. The national stadium construction was officially opened on Feb. 4, although the actual construction work started last summer.