Baltics in Brief

  • 2000-04-06
ANYTHING YOU CAN DO: A sixteen-year old schoolgirl, Viktorija Cmilyte, from Siauliai in central Lithuania, won the Lithuanian men's chess championship in Vilnius on April 2, having scored 6.5 points of the total nine. This is the first time that a girl wins the Lithuanian men's chess tournament. The silver medal winner, Darius Ruzele, and the bronze medal winner, Viktor Gavrikov, had scored the same amount of points. They are both international grand masters from Vilnius.

POLISH PRIMARY SCHOOL WILL BE REBUILT: The Polish primary school in the eastern Latvian town Kraslava has announced a tender on reconstruction of the school's building, said the school's director Regina Muraskina.The reconstruction will be performed for the funds of the Polish goverment and is expected to "equip the school in line with today's needs." The applicants may apply for the tender at the school or Kraslava town council through April 26. Presently 80 children from across Kraslava district are attending the school but it is planned to increase the number of students later as it is planned to build also a boarding facility.

BEING BORING ISN'T SO BAD AFTER ALL: United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan said on April 3 that Estonia is an efficient country. Annan said the remarks while Estonia's new ambassador to the UN, Merle Pajula, was submitting credentials. Pajula and Annan exchanged ideas on the development of Estonia and found that during UN membership Estonia has become a country that offers aid, rather than a country that accepts aid. Pajula stressed that the Estonian government has turned attention to better using IT opportunities in the society and is ready to exchange its experience in that field.

LATVIANS SEDUCED BY 'AMERICAN BEAUTY': 'American Beauty,' which captured five Oscars in March including best picture and best actor, has become a box office success in Latvia. In four weeks the income from sale of tickets to 'American Beauty' reached 52,600 lats ($89,000) and 28,200 people watched the movie during this period, according to Baltic Cinema. Nevertheless, 'American Beauty' still falls behind the current box office leader in Latvia, 'Stuart Little', which totalled 82,220 lats.

NO MONEY, NO CORPSE: The corpse of the Estonian sailor Sergei Grigorenko, who died in an accident while fishing in Moroccan waters, has been lying for five months in a morgue in Las Palmas on the Canary Islands, because his relatives have no money to bring it home. Grigorenko's widow and son have been unable to bring the corpse home, because an agent firm asked $7,000, and one of the shipowners as much as $25,000 for the service. The other shipowner offered to bring the corpse home for $5,000 but that sum is also much too high for the woman. Sergei Grigorenko caught fish on board the ship Meriski which belongs to Nils Vigard of Sweden and two Russian-speaking residents of Tallinn, Alexander Lomeiko and Alexander Chistyakov. Grigorenko was killed due to a fall on board the ship when there was no electricity.

WORKERS TAKE ON FARMERS: The workers of the Kursenai unit of the northern Panevezio Cukrus sugar factory threatened to start a blockade of the railway section Vilnius-Klaipeda and Radviliskis-Mazeikiai on March 31 in reaction to a new ministerial decree which allowed the farmers to freely choose which factory to deliver their sugar beet. The government bowed to the demands of sugar beet growers of southern Marijampole region who had been blocking major highways for a few recent weeks. Lately, the workers of Kursenai unit under Panevezio Cukrus Co. have tendered a protest letter to the nation's president, parliamentary speaker and premier demanding that problems of Marijampole sugar factory be settled without harming Pavenciai sugar factory.

PLAGARISM CHARGE TORPEDOES NEW CAREER: On April 3, the Latvian Copyright Agency (AKKA/LLA) notified its U.S. counterpart of a case of plagiarism of a Kelly Carpenter song, but expects the young Latvian artist will receive lenient treatment. AKKA/LLA sent a letter to the U.S. Copyright Protection Association informing its counterpart of the incident involving Latvian musician Madara Celma, said AKKA/LLA spokesman Aivars Eipurs. Celma submitted to the jury responsible for selecting Latvia's representative to perform in the Eurovision song festival, a song entitled "Close To You" that she claimed she had written herself. It turned out, however, that both the music and lyrics had been copied from "Draw Me Close", a song by American musician Kelly Carpenter. "We pointed out Celma's young age and the fact that we cut the infringement off at the very beginning," Eipurs said.