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LESS DRUGS OUT ON STREETS: National crime police officers Dec. 12 arrested three men in Tallinn for possession of nearly three kilos of amphetamines, a police spokesman said. The drugs were discovered as police searched the vehicles and dwelling used by the suspects. The men have initially been detained for up to 10 days, and a criminal investigation has been started.
CHEAPER VISAS: The Lithuanian government has decided to reduce the price of entry visas within the framework of its efforts to encourage international tourism to the country. After the governmental decree enters into force, the price of a regular single-entry visa issued at any Lithuanian consular mission abroad will be cut in half, to 40 litas ($10) from the present 80 litas.
INVITES CASINOS: Although gambling is still illegal in Lithuania, Vilnius City Mayor Arturas Zuokas has already mailed letters to owners of the world's largest casinos, inviting them to come to Vilnius and choose locations for their future businesses in the Baltic state. The daily Lietuvos Rytas reported on Dec. 13 that recipients of the letters were owners of casinos in Las Vegas, Austria, France and England.
CLOSER TOGETHER: The Lithuanian committee on foreign affairs convened on Dec. 18 for a closed sitting to discuss the initiative of opposition left-wing MPs to maintain a friendly relationship with the Belarusian Parliament, which is not recognized by the international community. Chairman of the committee Alvydas Medalinskas said that Bronius Bradauskas, a Social Democratic Coalition MP, stated his position concerning the issue at the sitting.
CAUGHT IN SPITE OF TOSS: A strange round-up took place over the weekend on Lithuania's Curonian lagoon: Lithuanian border officials chased poachers who threw raccoon dogs into the water. The men saw the swift approach of the police cruiser and tried to escape. In their flight they threw two raccoon dogs overboard, possibly believing the border patrol would stop to pull them out of the water, but the patrol chose to catch the men first and later save the dogs.
TIME HEALS: Time is the best healer for our relations with Russia, Minister of Foreign Affairs Indulis Berzins said in an interview with a Latvian radio station Dec. 19. Latvian and Russian relations are to be viewed from the "Europeanization" point of view. We see improvements in relations with Russia during the process of Latvia's EU accession, the minister said.
DISTRIBUTION POSTPONED: The Latvian Cabinet of Ministers postponed the review of the European Union's PHARE funds distribution for the national economic and social equalization program Dec. 19. Two alternatives have been prepared on how to utilize the 9 million euros ($7.9 million) which are allocated for Latvia: 3 million euros to support institutions implementing sector programs, 2 million euros for business activities and 4 million euros to support business structures or, alternatively, 3 million euros to support institutions implementing sector programs and 6 million euros to support business structures.
NO FURTHER PUNISHMENT: The Latvian prosecutor general's office Dec. 19, found former prosecutor Olgerts Sabansks guilty of violating the Anti-Corruption Law, and sustained the State Revenue Service decision not to impose any administrative punishment for failing to declare his bank account in Germany.
KILLER CANINES: The body of a young Estonian woman, identified as Marje, was found in a field near the village of Tannassilma just outside of Tallinn Dec. 14, she died from blood loss after being mangled by dogs. Beata Perens, spokeswoman for the Harju county police, said there's a long list of wounds on the woman's body, but it's not fit to print. Local hunters later killed one dog thought to have been involved in the attack. The dog's carcass will be analyzed for more detailed information.