Lithuania’s central-government budget deficit narrowed to 3.3 percent of estimated gross domestic product through the first nine months this year, reports LETA. The shortfall, calculated on a cash basis, was 5.3 percent of GDP in the same period of 2010, the Vilnius-based Finance Ministry said. Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius’ government aims to narrow the fiscal deficit, which includes funds from the central government, local governments and social security, to 5.3 percent of GDP this year from 7 percent last year. Government debt was 33.7 percent of estimated GDP at the end of September, the ministry said.
OSCE participating state governments and other key actors must challenge intolerant public discourse against Muslims, while preserving freedom of expression, concluded participants at an OSCE high-level meeting held in Vienna on Oct. 28, reports ELTA. The conference, organized by Lithuania’s 2011 OSCE Chairmanship and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), gathered some 150 participants, including media professionals, civil society representatives and political representatives from across the OSCE area. “It is possible to overcome intolerance and discrimination only when all key actors engage and pool their efforts,” said Evaldas Ignatavicius, Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister in his opening address to the conference participants. “The promotion of hatred, hostility and bigotry against certain groups based on their ethnic, national, religious or other characteristics runs counter to the core values of the OSCE community,” said the OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, adding that this transnational phenomenon requires collective and cooperative international and regional responses. The event is the third and final in a series of high level meetings coorganized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Lithuanian OSCE Chairmanship. A conference in Prague held in March was devoted to anti-Semitism in public discourse, while the Rome Conference in September 2011 addressed hate crimes against Christians.