Lietuva in brief - 2009-06-10

  • 2009-06-10
Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus, 82, felt ill and was taken to a hospital after the European Parliament elections on June 7. His doctor said that the president had been experiencing discomfort in his chest. Adamkus had a heart stimulator implanted in his chest in 2008. After the examination it became clear that the stimulator is working perfectly and there was no need for medical treatment, the doctors and Adamkus claimed. The president was released on June 8, after which he assured the nation that he will perform his duties until July 12, when the newly elected president Dalia Grybauskaite will be inaugurated.

A Lithuanian appeals court has awarded Dalia Budreviciene, a former employee of "Krekenavos agrofirma" and a whistle-blower on illegally paid salaries in the firm, with 85,000 litas (24,617 euros) in compensation. The court rejected Budreviciene's appeal, by which she asked to adjudicate 500,000 litas from the company. Budreviciene had complained about the problem of envelope-salaries in a public discussion with Lithuanian politician Viktor Uspaskich, who is the owner of the company. After that, the woman had to put up with pressure from her employers. She was also accused of slander, but the courts have found her innocent.

On June 8 the Vilnius district court upheld the prohibition on Viktor Uspaskich leaving the country. The Labor party received one place in the European Parliament elections and the head of the party, Uspaskich, is the prospective delegate to the EP. However, he is currently prohibited from leaving the country due to criminal proceedings regarding financial machinations, in which he is a suspect. On the same date the Constitutional Court stated that criminal proceedings might also be initiated against the Labor Party itself in this case. The prosecutors believe that in 2004-2006 the Labor Party failed to account for about 25 million litas (7 million euros) of income and expenses, and to pay about 3.8 million litas to the state budget.

State Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviciene and former Defense Minister Gediminas Kirkilas denied on June 8 that Lithuania has sold any arms to Sri Lanka. Lithuania was mentioned among the EU countries that supplied the south Asian country with arms that were used to kill over 6,500 civilians this year. Even though the EU officially condemned the outbursts of violence, the EU's report on arms export licenses published in December revealed that nine governments, including Lithuania, have authorized arms sales to Sri Lanka since 2005.

The Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra on June 5 performed a piece called "Catcerto" by Mindaugas Piecaitis, written for the cat soloist Nora and the orchestra. Nora is a cat from the U.S. state of California famous for her piano skills, which have made her a Youtube sensation and a U.S. media star. A four minute piece of the well recognized Lithuanian composer and conductor Piecaitis, together with a video by the six-year-old feline soloist in the background, was aired by BBC on June 8. Notably, this video was more popular among the viewers than information on the results of the EP elections.