The head of Parliament's national security and defense committee, Algimantas Matulevicius, requested that the Special Investigation Service determine whether there was any corruption in the choice of who would make European-standard Lithuanian passports. A consortium composed of Lithuania's Garsu Pasaulis, a private firm, and Poland's PWPW was chosen the winner of a tender. Production of the rose-cover European-standard passports was interrupted in early January, and after an almost two month investigation, the Interior Ministry announced that output had been ceased due to the consortium's failure to supply a sufficient number of blanks. Failure to meet contractual obligations could inflict over a 1 million litas fine.
Prosecutors launched a pretrial investigation over a listening device found in the Health Ministry. A probe will attempt to determine whether the device could be used for gathering information and whether it had been used legally. Health Minister Rimvydas Turciskas deemed the discovery in a discussion room next to his office "unpleasant," but joked that those listening in could have heard only "how many good deeds were being done for the patients' sake," the Baltic News Service reported.
The Kaunas district court ruled to drop a case of children of a former deportee against Russia. The applicants had asked for 500,000 euros compensation after their mother spent years in Gulag prison-camps. The case was dropped in consideration of Russia's objection, which was based on the country's immunity to the jurisdiction of foreign courts. The Justice Ministry received Russia's note on the decision to exercise its state immunity, court spokeswoman Jurate Dabasinskiene said.
Avant-garde cinematographer Jonas Mekas will receive a prestigious Austrian award for his contribution to Austrian culture. The country's committee for arts decided to award Mekas Austria's most prestigious award of distinction, the Decoration of Honor, which classifies internationally as a Commander's Cross. Austrian President Heinz Fisher will present the artist with the award during a ceremony in the Presidential Palace on April 1.