• 2002-10-03
Hardware help

Lithuania received 8 million euros' worth of artillery and other military equipment from NATO member Denmark, the Defense Ministry reported.

"The shipment includes 70 pieces of artillery, 130 pieces of artillery transport, ammunition and other military equipment," said ministry spokeswoman Rita Grumadaite.

The artillery will go to a special brigade so that it can prepare to act under NATO standards, while the rest of the arms will be distributed among other military units, Grumadaite added.

Denmark's assistance program also provides for 70 Lithuanian officers to be trained under a special program in Denmark, one of the most active supporters of Baltic NATO membership.

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia hope to win an invitation to the alliance when it meets in Prague in November. (Agence France-Presse)

Border maintenance

Nearly 1 million kroons (64,000 euros) are needed each year to maintain Estonia's 343 kilometer border with Latvia, the Interior Ministry said in a draft decree.

According to the draft, one-off expenses to the tune of 600,000 kroons would have to be made to put up signs on roads leading to the border.

Kaido Jogeva from the Interior Ministry legal department said the decree is intended to enter into force on Jan. 1, 2004.

Building of the Estonian-Latvian state border started in 1992 and ended in 1999. (Baltic News Service)

Luzhkov still coming

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov may reschedule his much-publicized visit to Riga in early November, according to the Moscow city government.

Luzhkov was supposed to visit Riga Sept. 27-28 but pulled out at the last minute, citing a tense pre-election atmosphere.

Latvians go to the polls to elect a new Parliament Oct. 5.

Riga's Russian-language Telegraf daily quoted a Moscow official as saying Luzhkov may visit Nov. 1-2 or Nov. 7-8.

The Moscow mayor is expected to meet with municipal leaders, businesspeople and World War II veterans. (BNS)

Ulmanis on Repse

Former President Guntis Ulmanis said he expected the New Era party led by ex-central bank Governor Einars Repse to win parliamentary elections Oct. 5.

Ulmanis, who served from 1993 to 1999 as Latvia's first president after regaining independence from the Soviet Union, also said he expected Repse to be the next prime minister.

"He heads what I regard as the most popular party in Latvia at the moment. Also, Repse is well-educated and has other abilities required for a head of the government," he said.

In any case, Ulmanis said he expected Latvia to have another center-right government.

New Era tops most public opinion polls in the lead-up to the election. (BNS)

Lithuanian barbarians

The U.S. film company Gardners Films began shooting a new historical documentary series in Lithuania about the fall of the Roman Empire.

Titled "Barbarians," the film tells the story of the north European tribes that fought and eventually wore down the Romans.

Episodes will be filmed in Rumsiskes, Trakai, Lentvaris and Vilnius.

The film's director, Robert Gardner, has won three Golden Lions at the Venice Film Festival.

Agne Silickaite, co-ordinator of the series in Lithuania, said four episodes - Goths, Huns, Vikings and Mongolians - would be filmed in the country over the next 40 days. The documentary will eventually air on the United States' History Channel. (BNS)

Still behind bars

A French court ruled Sept. 26 to keep Edita Rumsiene, wife of Lithuanian Tour de France bronze medalist Raimondas Rumsas, in prison as she awaits trial on possession of doping substances.

The court in the city of Chamberry rejected an appeal by Rumsiene's lawyers to release her pending trial, saying they still wanted to question her husband, who has refused to return to France since the scandal broke.

Rusiene was arrested July 28, the last day of the Tour de France, when she was caught trying to cross the border with doping products, including testosterone.

Police suspected her of supplying the drugs to her husband, who surprised the world by finishing third in the cycling race, or member of his team.

She was charged with assistance in using, keeping, disseminating and trafficking doping and could faces a jail term of up to seven years.

The Rumsas couple says the drugs were meant for her mother, who suffers from cancer.

Rumsas has tested negative for doping in several tests and may still participate in international competition.