• 2000-01-20
How about a happy, positive editorial? It can be done. Let's say
that a World of Good month declared by the Jewish community is not a
bad idea. A world of good is being achieved in the Baltics since they
reclaimed independence in the early 1990s. There is room for more
positive news, but for now, let's give thanks.

Estonia is spending millions to survey hospitals and actively
debating the funding of health care. New laws against theft of
intellectual products are being implemented.

An Estonian researcher is working with a team in Los Angeles on a
cure for the dread Parkinson's disease.

Estonian construction companies are trucking modular buildings into
the European market in a $19 million industry in 1998. The tourist
industry isn't doing so bad. A new, 90-minute ride for booze-cruising
is coming online between Helsinki and Tallinn.

In Lithuania, people again have the freedom toback publicly feuding
politicians Landsbergis and Vagnorius as they joust in the "robust
market place of ideas."

In Klaipeda, public safety has acquired, with Swedish help, a modern
and well-equipped life boat for sea rescues.

In Lithuania and the other two Baltics, religious freedom is
returning. People can attend church, synagogue and cathedral to
worship without fear. Precious Vilnius cathedral treasures, found by
workmen in 1985 and put away, have been hauled out of hiding from the
former Soviet government and put on display for the faithful until

In Latvia, a new shoe factory in Ventspils will provide 1,500 new
jobs. In Riga, a hotel derided for its Soviet-era facade is being
upgraded and given a new outlook.

In Latvia and in the world, Ula Semyonova, member of the Basketball
Hall of Fame, has transformed a highly inspirational sports career
into a robust contribution in public service. In Latvia, after the
Konrads Kalejs flap fed the Western press this month, the government
is taking steps to codify an extradition treaty with Kalejs'
homeland, Australia, paving the way back to Latvia for accused war

On the sports scene this month, Lithuanians did well in the Grand
Prix in Lyons, placing third and beating out the Russians and
Canadians. In Italy, Latvia's team took second in the Corel World
Bobsled Tour.

The Baltic banking sector saw fireworks Dec. 31, but Thomson
Financial BankWatch, a group of risk analysts, has pronounced no
bites apparent from the Y2K bug in Baltic banks under their

So you see, while these items are not as personally satisfying and
warming as a smile one-to one on the bus, or not having someone jump
ahead in a queue, or having a public servant offer friendly and
prompt service, good news is happening in the Baltics. Read about it
this week in the English language weekly,The Baltic Times.