Lietuva in brief - 2008-07-16

  • 2008-07-16
The Seimas (Lithuanian parliament) has supported a presidential veto and dismissed the Citizenship Law that the parliament itself had passed a few weeks ago. The bill said children of Lithuanian emigrants born abroad and Lithuanian nationals who have citizenship of EU and NATO countries would be able to have two passports. Simultaneously, the parliament agreed to the amendments to the Citizenship Law suggested by the president, which restrict the conditions of granting dual citizenship greatly. From now on, dual citizenship can be given to children of Lithuanian citizens born abroad. The Citizenship Law as adopted by the parliament reportedly disregarded the constitutional requirement that a Lithuanian citizen can also be a citizen of another state only in exceptional cases.

An Australian woman and a Danish man who were wearing nothing but g-strings protested the killing of black bears for their fur for making the hats of the royal guards in front of the British Embassy on July 11. They were holding posters against their mostly bare bodies, which said it was better to be nude than wear bear fur. The pair said they were PETA members want this action to urge British Monarch Elizabeth II and the Defense Ministry of the United Kingdom to stop using bear-fur hats that the royal guards wear. The protest lasted for about 15 minutes before police confronted them. A similar protest action was staged on October 17, 2006 during the visit of Queen Elizabeth II in Vilnius, when PETA activists dressed in bear suits held a picket in front of the embassy.

The Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee voted down a draft resolution that specified the government's actions in chasing compensation for damages incurred during the Soviet occupation. The draft will be amended and resubmitted for a second vote. "The motives were stated - there are certain matters that repeat the previously-adopted resolutions, and the latest draft contains nothing new," chairman of the committee, Social Democrat Justinas Karosas, said. Karosas listed argumentation provided by the Russian official authorities, and by the new ambassador from Russia.

President Valdas Adamkus appointed Gediminas Cerniauskas as the country's new health minister on July 14. Currently the vice-minister, Cerniauskas will officially take up the duties after taking an oath in front of Parliament. The health minister's position became vacant after another member of the Social Democratic Party, Rimvydas Turcinskas, resigned in late June. Turcinskas is the fifth minister who has stepped down from the government under Social Democrat Gediminas Kirkilas. According to the constitution, in the event that seven ministers are replaced the government must receive a new mandate from the parliament.

The country's newest religion, the Seventh-Day Adventists, received official government recognition on July 16.  The new status will enable the protestant church to register state-recognized marriages, among other privileges. Seventh-Day Adventists follow a form of Christianity that hold celebrations on Saturdays instead of Sundays and supports a healthy lifestyle. There are over 900 members and 28 priests.