Lietuva in brief - 2008-02-13

  • 2008-02-13
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer presided over the informal meeting of defense ministers of the alliance member states. The meeting involved discussions on force commitments to Afghanistan, relations with Russia, and Ukraine's membership action plan. More than 50 delegations including about 1,000 participants and foreign journalists participated in the event.

Border guards in the Jubarkas and Taurage district near Kaliningrad carried out a major operation against cigarette smugglers. Twelve suspects were apprehended, and 10 cars that were modified specially for cigarette smuggling were seized. Some 17,490 packs of illegal Russian cigarettes were seized, according to reports. Almost all of the suspects, including two 17-year-olds, resisted arrest, the State Border Security Guard Service officers had to use force 's including tear gas. The number of suspects might increase.

The Tolerant Youth Association accused the country's largest chain of movie theatres, Forum Cinemas, of intolerance towards gay and lesbian individuals. TYA criticized an advertisement sent out by the movie theater chain via e-mail on occasion of St. Valentine's Day, which said the company is in favor of "traditional relations between a man and a woman, the traditional couple and family." A Forum Cinemas official remarked that they chose to advertise in this way since, according to historical data, St. Valentine secretly wedded traditional couples.

The Liberal Movement party elected a new leader 's MP Eligijus Masiulis, 33-year-old vice-chairman 's for the next two years. Masiulis was supported by 364 of 535 delegates, while the former leader of the party, Petras Austrevicius, collected 150 votes. Masiulis said he received support since party members are tired with Liberal Movement's "failure to find a clear place on the political arena" and promised changes in that regard. The party has nine mandates in Lithuania's 141-seat Parliament.

Construction work on the national stadium in Vilnius, which officially opened last week, temporarily stopped because of lack of timely state funding. Evaldas Lementauskas, Vilnius' deputy mayor, admitted that the construction has stopped because 200 million litas promised by the government had not been received on time.