Lietuva in brief - 2008-08-06

  • 2008-08-06
Lithuanian farmers staged rallies outside the country's largest dairy companies on Tuesday in protest of the recent decrease in milk purchasing prices. Milk producers protested outside five milk processing companies, namely Rokiskio Suris, Pieno Zvaigzdes, Zemaitijos Pienas, Vilkyskiu Pienine and Marijampoles Pieno Konservai. Bronius Markauskas, president of the Chamber of Agriculture, said about 100 tractors were parked outside each company, with no plans to interfere with their operations. Representatives of the dairy companies say that the farmers' protest rallies would not change the milk purchasing prices in the country because the companies did not have the reserves for raising the prices. Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said that the argument between the milk producers and processors should be solved through a goodwill agreement between parties rather than protests and rallies. Considering the discontent of farmers, the government plans to carry out an independent audit of pricing of producers, dairies and trade companies.

Lithuania has allocated 15 electric generators and 150 tents to Romania and Ukraine following disastrous flooding in the two countries. Severe storms caused the flooding in Romania where the government has said over 26,000 hectares of land has been inundated. The deluge has disrupted electricity supplies to homes in rural areas. In Ukraine, flood damage costs have been estimated at almost one billion euros. A charity drive for cash donations for the two countries has also started in Lithuania.

The fourth deployment of soldiers started their mission in Afghanistan in the Aitvaras squadron under the Special Operations Unit (SOU) of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Lithuanian Aitvaras troops have been partaking in the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province since the summer of 2007. Together with NATO allies, Lithuanian troops contribute to reconnaissance, terrorist identification, detainment and neutralization as well as other high-intensity combat tasks. Previously, Lithuanian SOU squadrons participated in the U.S.-led anti-terrorist mission 'Enduring Freedom' in Afghanistan between 2002-2004. Besides the SOU, Lithuania leads a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Afghanistan's Ghor province, the main goals of which is to increase the influence of the local government and ensure security and form suitable conditions for reconstruction of the province. There are 150 soldiers currently serving in the PRT, while the number of SOU soldiers serving in Afghanistan hasn't been disclosed.

Fraudsters in Lithuania have struck three times in the last week. An 83-year-old resident of Grigiskes, a town 17 kilometers west of Vilnius, gave about 39,000 litas (11,300 euros) to an unidentified female. The victim said he had given all the cash he had at home to a strange female who came to his home and explained that the national currency, litas, would be exchanged to euros, local authorities said. The criminal said she needed to write down the identity numbers of all bills. The second case in Klaipeda saw a resident lose a similar amount of cash recently. The victims daughter gave nearly 30,000 litas to the thieves who convinced her that her mother had committed a crime and was now in need of money. Another similar crime was reported in Lithuania's central city of Kedainiai when an intimidated teenager gave almost 39,000 litas to a stranger.