Lithuania in brief

  • 2004-01-29
The parliamentary commission that will decide President Rolandas Paksas' fate concluded its questionings of witnesses on Jan. 23. The panel, which includes judges and parliamentarians, began closed-door deliberations Jan. 26 and plans to issue its conclusions by Feb. 13.

Paksas marked the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Ignalina nuclear power plant on Jan. 23, saying that safe nuclear energy must continue to be the country's primary source of electricity. The plant, which is scheduled to close operations by 2009, supplies over 80 percent of Lithuania's electricity.

MPs Rolandas Pavilionis and Egidijus Klumbys were expelled from the ruling New Union faction in the Seimas (Lithuania's parliament) due to their outspokenness against the party's positions. As a result of the expulsion, Pavilionis, who opposes Lithu-ania's EU membership, will lose chairmanship of the Seimas committee on education, science and culture.
U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe will issue its final broadcast in Lithuanian on Jan. 30 as a result of budget cutbacks by the U.S. Congress. Officials, including former President Valdas Adamkus and several members of the Seimas, had previously requested that the broadcasts continue, arguing that they had been influential in the formation of a liberal democratic society in the country.

Ukrainian troops rescued Lithuanian Ambassador Viktoras Baublys after the diplomat's car became trapped in a severe snowstorm near the Moldavian border. Troops using an armored vehicle with special snow-clearing equipment took six hours to reach the car, which was stranded only 10 kilometers from the military base where the soldiers were stationed.

Hijackers seized two Latvian trucks filled with coffee near Kedainiai, north of Kaunas. The thieves, who disguised themselves as police officers, instructed the drivers of the trucks to exit their vehicles and drove away with the cargo, stranding the Latvians in an empty field.