Though the number of newborns increased over the first 11 months of 2003, the country's population shrank by 13,000. According to the state statistics department, 3.45 million people were living in Lithuania at the beginning of November 2003. And although 25,941 babies were born over the first 10 months of the year, an increase of 444 newborns year-on-year, the number of deaths grew by 325 in the same period.
Though he is at the center of an impeachment process, Presi-dent Rolandas Paksas found himself named Man of the Year in 2003, according to a national poll conducted by a joint Lithuanian-British market and public opinion research company. The Lietuvos Rytas daily, which announced the results on Dec. 31, stated that 20.2 percent of respondents named Paksas as Man of the Year while 15.2 percent of those polled awarded former President Valdas Adamkus with the title. Adamkus was picked Man of the Year in 2002.
Doctors in Klaipeda continued their efforts to save the life of a woman seriously injured by a firecracker in the first few minutes of 2004. Egidijus Guogis, head of the local hospital's intensive care unit, said that the 54-year-old patient remained in very serious condition, with vital functions supported by medical equipment. Several minutes after midnight on Jan. 1 a firecracker launched by an unidentified person near the Meridianas ship - the symbol of Klaipeda - burned into the woman's chest and exploded, causing injury to her heart and lung, breaking several ribs and tearing her left arm.