Lietuva in brief - 2009-06-03

  • 2009-06-03
A Lithuanian army volunteer has been sentenced for attacking a popular Lithuanian singer Berneen Cereska. Vilnius 3rd district court found the attack, which took place on May 28, was racially motivated. It was alleged Violeta Iljinych punched Cereska and called her insulting names, but did not touch a Lithuanian, who was with the singer at the time. Cereska was attacked last year in Vilnius Old Town. Iljinych was sentenced to serve 43 days. Her lawyer has announced that she will appeal the decision.

Lithuanian Parliament Speaker Arunas Valinskas asked Greenpeace to assess the environmental impact of the gas pipeline Nord stream, to be projected at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. "We are aware of the importance of gas supply and the aim of energy diversification, yet we are concerned about the possible impact on the ecosystem, flora and fauna of the Baltic Sea," wrote Valinskas in his letter to Lalita Ramdas, the head of the Greenpeace International Board. The Baltic States are supposed to submit their evaluations and decide whether to permit the construction of the pipeline this month.

Ramunas Acas, a candidate to European Parliament, sparked controversy on June 1 with comments that Adolf Hitler had both good and bad qualities. "There are some qualities that every leader can learn. Of course, as any human being, he has both bad features and good," said Acas. The head of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute, Henrikas Mickevicius said a person making such claims did not respect freedom or democracy. "Without a doubt, it is very reprehensible" Mickevicius said.

The Lithuanian Parliament has received some 258,000 signatures from citizens appealing against any changes to maternity leave and child support legislation. Symbolically, the petition was presented on June 1, the day of International Protection of Children. Signees claim paternity leave benefits solve not only the demographic but also the economic crisis. The Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said the Lithuanian government does not plan any savings in this field. Paternity leave benefits are paid until a child is 2-years-old in Lithuania.

Fines will now apply to negligent smokers in Vilnius. According to the new rules introduced by Vilnius municipality, fines for throwing a cigarette on the ground, range from 20 to 2000 litas (5.80-580 euros). The first administrative fine was recently issued to a man, who threw a cigarette butt on the crossing of Gedimino and Jaksto streets. As of June 3 the Vilnius municipality's Web site also began publicizing information on violators of the rules and fines applied to them. Meanwhile, in Palanga, a May 31 fire, believed to have been started by a careless smoker caused minor damage to the sea bridge.

Lithuanians and foreign citizens are set to vote in the European Parliament elections on June 7. Fifteen parties have registered for the elections, who will be represented by specific candidates (8-24 persons from each party). It is possible to check specific party programs and politicians at and European Union citizens living in Lithuania can also vote, provided they have registered for the European Parliamentary elections.