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Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian Jewish Community dissociates itself from allegations against partisan leader

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The Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC) has dissociated itself from publicly made allegations that Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, a Lithuanian anti-Soviet resistance commander, was possibly involved in Holocaust crimes.

«Lithuanian Jewish Community at this time has no reliable, historical documentary-based evidence confirming the allegations against Ramanauskas-Vanagas in connection with the Lithuanian Jewish Holocaust,» the LJC said in a statement.

Comments about Ramanauskas-Vanagas’ alleged role in the Holocaust have recently been made by Rūta Vanagaitė, a writer and public relations specialist, and her partner, Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Vanagaitė also said that, based on KGB documents, Ramanauskas-Vanagas «is no hero». According to her, the partisan commander was not tortured by the Soviets and he possibly collaborated with the KGB.

Alma Littera, the publisher of a number of books by Vanagaitė, described the writer’s allegations against Ramanauskas-Vanagas as unacceptable and ceased cooperation with her.

The LJC said in the statement that it respected the right of the privately-owned publishing house «to carry out and develop its business strategy at its will», but called its decision to withdraw her books «completely unnecessary, disproportionate, and promoting unnecessary confrontation». The European Jewish Congress (EJC), led by Russian businessman Moshe Kantor, earlier this week came to the defence of Vanagaitė, saying that «she should be praised instead of being attacked».

«It should be unthinkable that in 2017, books with views that some disagree with are prevented from publication on purely political grounds and is reminiscent of far darker times,» Kantor, the EJL president, said in a statement.

Lithuania provides aid to hurricane-hit Dominica

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry has allocated 10,000 euros in aid to the Hurricane Maria-hit Caribbean island of Dominica. The money will be transferred to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). According to the ministry, Lithuania responded to an appeal by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for around 27 million euros to be raised for Dominica by the end of the year.

Majority owner cancels sale of Lithuanian tour operator Novaturas

Enterprise Investors, one of the biggest private equity firms in Central and Eastern Europe, has cancelled the planned sale of the Lithuanian tour operator Novaturas to Poland’s largest tour operator Itaka Holding and is considering floating the Lithuanian company on the Vilnius and Warsaw stock exchanges. The fund said in a press release on Friday that it had terminated the agreement, signed with Itaka Holding four months ago, due to delays in obtaining clearance from the Lithuanian Competition Council. Novaturas CEO Linas Aldonis said he was confident that the company could launch a successful IPO.

Lithuania should ready for EU money cuts

Lithuania should prepare for a possibly drastic decline in European financial aid in the new European Union (EU) budget after 2020, says MP Stasys Jakeliūnas, chairman of the parliamentary Committee for Budget and Finance. Speaking at a conference at the parliament on Thursday, November 2, he warned that some sectors, such as construction and information technologies, were too dependent on EU money. In his opinion, aid to Lithuania could shrink by 10-15 percent after 2020.

New car market grows

A total of 24,200 new cars were registered in Lithuania in January through October, up 23 percent, from 19,700 a year earlier, Autotyrimai said on Thursday, based on data from the state car registration company Regitra. In October alone, the market of new automobiles expanded by 34per cent to 2,581 year-on-year. The new automobile market was prevailed by Fiat (696), followed by Volkswagen (298) and Toyota (268 ). Audi ranked first in the premium car segment with 46 units.

Lithuania’s president ranks 68th on Forbes’ list

Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė ranks 68th among the world’s 100 most powerful women published by the U.S. magazine Forbes. The magazine noted the Lithuanian leader‘s rigid stance on Russia and her efforts to undermine Moscow’s influence in the energy sector. The 2017 list is topped by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel for the 7th consecutive year, ahead of Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and businesswoman and philanthropist Melinda Gates. Poland’s Prime Minister Beata Szydlo ranked 31st, while Estonia’s President Kersti Kaljulaid was 78th. Forbes has been publishing the annual list of the most powerful females since 2004.

Lithuania plans to raise military salaries

The Lithuanian government plans a 30-percent increase in military salaries by the end of 2020 compared with 2016, with over 88 million euros in state budget funds to be provided for this purpose over the next three years, according to a draft budget approved by the Cabinet. Salaries for the military personnel were raised by 5 percent last month. A private currently earns 555 euros per month after taxes. A sergeant is paid 714 euros and a captain gets 1,022 euros. Each member of the military service receives 240 euros in monthly meal allowances, the Defence Ministry told BNS. Military salaries will be raised in two stages: by 15 percent in 2017-2018 and by another 15 percent in 2019-2020.

Lithuania climbs to 16th place on Doing Business index

Lithuania has climbed five places to the 16th spot among 190 rated countries on the World Bank’s Doing Business rating that assesses business environments. Lithuania’s Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says the country would work to become the most competitive market of the region that would create well-paid jobs, adding that the Tuesday’s rating means Lithuania is on the right path. Doing Business rating is an assessment of business environment by methods and scenarios defined by the World Bank. Lithuania has been rated on the index since 2004, reporting the highest ranking of 15th in 2005.

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