Lietuva in brief - 2004-03-04

  • 2004-03-04
Vilnius district prosecutors transferred a slander case against presidential adviser Gintaras Surkus to the Vilnius District Court.

If the court agrees to hear the criminal case, Surkus will stand trial for stating in a December radio interview that Parliamentary Chairman Arturas Paulauskas was part of a media conspiracy against President Rolandas Paksas.

State Security Department Chief Mecys Laurinkus said in a March 1 interview with the state radio that international organized crime had taken advantage of the president's office to attack his department and expand its smuggling activities. According to Laurinkus, cigarette smuggling rings had netted over 4 million euros in the past 18 months, with some of the money funding international terrorism.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned Lithuanian Ambassador Alfonsas Eidintas, to express indignation over anti-Semitic articles published in the Lithuanian daily Respublika. A Feb. 20 article that ran in the daily entitled "Who Runs the World?" featured a caricature of a Jewish person.

U.S. Ambassador to Lithuanian Stephen Mull and Kaunas Mayor Arvydas Garbaravicius revealed a memorial marking the site of America's interwar embassy to Lithuania on March 1. The plaque, located at Putvinskio 68 in the country's former capital, is part of a group of markers that will be unveiled around the city.

Members of the air force and border guards rescued over 200 fishermen who had become stranded on the Curonian Lagoon on Feb. 29 when the piece of ice they were standing on broke free from the mainland. The fishermen were removed from the ice by military helicopters and border patrol ships.