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Week in Lithuania. Grybauskaite attends Nuclear Security Summit

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Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė

President Dalia Grybauskaitė attended last week a working dinner hosted by President Barack Obama of the United States of America in Washington.

It was part of the Nuclear Security Summit, which was attended by the leaders of 52 countries and the heads of key international organizations – the United Nations, the EU and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The working dinner placed special emphasis on the threat of nuclear terrorism, the possibility of which has increased after the terror attacks in Brussels.

«No state is protected against this threat. If radioactive materials fall into the hands of terrorists, this can have disastrous consequences for all. A very small amount of plutonium is enough to produce a nuclear weapon. Therefore, today the international community stands ready to take the strongest preventive measures,» Grybauskaitė said.

She also underlined that unsafe nuclear power plants and their inappropriate operation posed a threat to human security.According to the President, the Astravyets nuclear power plant, which is being built in Belarus, only 50 km away from Vilnius, does not comply with international security standards.

Lithuania was the only Baltic State to have participated in the summit.

Good news from U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors

On Thursday, March 30, in Washington, D.C., the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevičius, met with the CEOs and Director of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, who briefed him about their decision to extend the U.S. funding for radio broadcasts from Lithuania to the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood and Russia.

These programs have been broadcast by Sitkūnai Radio Station since 2000.The United States of America has also decided to give the Government of Lithuania a 200 kW transmitter as a present. The new modern transmitter will allow to intensify Western countries’ efforts to inform and to fight against Russia’s propaganda in the region, as well as to step up communication in Russia, Ukraine and other countries in the region.

In Washington, D.C., Lithuania’s Foreign Minister also participated in a round table discussion at the Center for New American Security (CNAS) with the U.S. security experts, discussed hybrid threats facing our region and the upcoming NATO Summit.

EC mulls extra support for Lithuania’s dairy farmers

The European Commission might provide additional financial support to milk producers in Lithuania and other European Union’s (EU) countries as well as distributing advance payments, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan have said. Lithuanian dairy producers have long complained of very low milk buy prices.

National security report released

A new national security report published by Lithuania’s state security institutions points out that Russia is still looking for Lithuania’s weak points and is gathering information, manipulating public opinion through the media, and recruiting businessmen, public figures and employees at judicial institutions. According to the report, Russia and Belarus are likely to target infiltrating Lithuania’s Armed Forces via new recruits and conscripts.

Counter-terrorism efforts and the migration crisis will reduce the international community’s attention on the security situation in Eastern Europe and will have a negative effect upon Lithuania, according to Lithuanian intelligence assessments.

President awards Commander of US European Command

President Dalia Grybauskaitė has presented a state decoration to Philip M. Breedlove, Commander of U.S. European Command. The Cross of Commander of the Order for Merits to Lithuania was conferred on the General for his special personal contribution and efforts in strengthening the security of our country.

According to the President, the General played a special role in contributing to the security of Lithuania and the Baltic countries. General Philip M. Breedlove was among the first in the Alliance thanks to whom concerns have been raised about the security of NATO’s Eastern members and the Baltic countries, according to the Lithuanian head-of-state.

Sweden’s H&M to open first store in Kaunas

The Swedish clothing retailer H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) has announced of opening its first store in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city, this year. H&M store already operates in Vilnius.

Lithuania’s retail sales up nearly 7 percent

Retail sales in Lithuania, excluding the automobile sector and food and beverages, rose 6.8 percent year to 1.315 billion euro in February. Motor industry and food and beverage industries have experienced especially strong growth.

Condolences over the terror attack in Pakistan

On behalf of the Lithuanian people and on her own behalf, President Dalia Grybauskaitė extended deep condolences to President Mamnoon Hussain of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan over the terror attack in Lahore that killed dozens of victims and left many more injured.

In this hour of immense grief, the President wished fortitude to the families and loved ones of the victims, as well as consolidation and solidarity to the people of Pakistan.

Lithuanians’ part of wages on rentis highest

A new survey shows that the average Lithuanian needs to spend nearly 80 percent of the average wage to rent a one-room apartment in the centre of Vilnius, a lot more than Latvians need for that in Riga or Estonians in Tallinn.

Health service price will go up

Lithuania’s new Healthcare Minister Juras Požėla says that while patients should not be made to pay for services at the country’s public healthcare institutions, global trends point to health services growing more expensive in the future.

Prosecutors ask EP to strip Lithuanian MEP of immunity

Lithuanian prosecutors have asked the European Parliament to lift the legal immunity of Lithuanian MEP and leader of the Order and Justice Party Rolandas Paksas. Paksas was interrogated as a special witness in a trade in influence investigation by Lithuania’s Special Investigation Service.

Corruption costs Lithuania 8 billion euro a year

Corruption may cost the Lithuanian economy up to 8 billion euro a year, according to a new study of studies published by the European Union. Lithuania has however inched forward in the fight against corruption.

Lithuanian-Turkish political consultation

The Lithuanian-Turkish political consultation was held last Thursday, March 30, in Ankara. The consultation focused on the intensifying political and economic relationship between Lithuania and Turkey, regional security, the fight against international terrorism, the cooperation between the European Union and Turkey, and the preparation for the forthcoming NATO Summit.

The political consultation was led by the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Neris Germanas and the Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Murat Salim Esenli.The two sides underlined the importance of solidarity between the partner countries and their close cooperation in the face of global challenges.

MP Povilas Gylys proposed for minister of interior affairs

Lithuanian PM Algirdas Butkevičius has met with MP Povilas Gylys who had been proposed for the post of minister of interior affairs.

EC to discuss Russia food export resumption

The European Commission hopes to soon reopen discussions with Russia on the resumption of exports of certain food products, including milk, to Russia, Vytenis Andriukaitis, the Commission’s member in charge of health and food safety, has said.

Lithuania to tap EU funds for informal education

The Lithuanian government has agreed to allow using money from European Union structural funds to finance informal learning programmes in Lithuanian schools.

Lithuania expands cooperation with Southeast Asian Nations

The Ambassador of Lithuania to Japan Egidijus Meilūnas presented last  Tuesday, March 29, his letters of credence to the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Le Luong Minh.

The ceremony was held at the ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia. The Secretary-General of ASEAN welcomed the first Lithuanian Ambassador to the organisation and called on Lithuania to cooperate actively with Southeast Asian countries both on a bilateral basis and within the framework of the European Union-ASEAN dialogue. Le Loung Minh particularly highlighted the importance of economic relations, trade, and investment.

Privacy and security must be balanced

President Dalia Grybauskaitė told during her Washington DC visit that, in the fight against terrorism, countries must find a balance between privacy, human rights and security. In an interview with CNN, she also underscored the importance of NATO in the fight against terrorism.

Social welfare body’s public procurement contract probed

Lithuania’s Special Investigation Service (STT) has brought suspicions against businessman Tomas Milaknis, CEO of Alna, as part of an investigation into alleged violations during public procurement at the State Social Insurance Fund (SODRA).

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