Lietuva in brief - 2008-06-11

  • 2008-06-11
Bronislavas Lubys has been named the richest man in Lithuania with a personal worth of three billion litas (870 million euros). He moved up to the top spot from last year according to the newest rankings by Veidas magazine. Last year's number one, Nerijus Numavicius fell to second with a value of 2.8 billion litas (810 million euros). In third place was MG Baltic's owner Darius Mockus with 2.3 billion litas (666 million euros.) Lubys is the president of Achemos Grupe. According to data from the Institute for Social Research, Lithuania's wealthiest people account for 0.3 percent of the country's population.

An attempt to have a referendum on the life span of the Ignalina nuclear power plant has failed after receiving only 50,000 signatures supporting it 's the required amount was 300,000. The plant, which is due to be shut down in 2009 in accordance with EU regulations is required for longer as the replacement plant will not be finished until earliest 2015. Representatives of trade unions of education system employees, border guards, energy sector employees, old age pensioners  as well as members of the Social Democrat Union and Liberal Movement, which has representation in the parliament, collected  the signatures. Member of the Liberal and Center Union party Arunas Staras said that poor organization of the campaign and lack of finances hindered their signature collection. The Seimas approved the proposal for a referendum made by Liberal and Center Union members for October 12 to coincide with the elections. President Valdas Adamkus has reiterated that Lithuania will adhere to EU policy and shut the plant by the end of 2009, but expects the European Union to understand their problems.

A Lithuanian businessman was arrested in Belarus on charges of mediating bribery. Secret Service agents 's still called KGB in Belarus 's arrested Gintas Zegeris who has lived and worked in Minsk for more than 10 years on June 3.  KGB agents also interrogated Zegeris' ex-wife's brother, Aleksejus Karpenka, over Zegeris' communication with a cameraman from Vilnius. The interrogation lasted three hours. Zegeris' business partner was also taken into custody. Zegeris' ex-wife Ilona Zegeriene who lives in Minsk said that no official charges had been brought against her former spouse so far. Under Belarusian laws, charges against foreign citizens are to be filed within ten days of arrest. There are 38 Lithuanians currently detained in Belarus.

Lithuania is in talks to bring Iraqi soldiers and students to Lithuania to train and study. The program is part of an attempt to fulfill requests by the Iraqi government to rebuild its education and state infrastructure. The Iraqis are asking for two things - to help the youth acquire education and to assist in the rebuilding of Iraq, its infrastructure and industry. "This is more of an initiative of our industry and businesspeople, and as to the training, we have experience: we teach officers and civilians from countries of the third world at the War Academy," Olekas said on June 9. Olekas said that similar experience of accepting people from non-members of NATO and the European Union has been adapted at the Lithuanian War Academy and the Kaunas University of Medicine. There are already been students from Lebanon studying at the university and the War Academy offers two courses to foreigners, Security Studies and English.