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Week in Lithuania. Mandatory alcohol treatment program could go into effect in June

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Mandatory alcoholism treatment program in Lithuania might go into force as soon as June. The draft regulations paving way for such kind of treatment have been approved by the Ministry of Health and are expected to put for the Seimas’ deliberations in its spring session.

The drafting of these laws was prompted in part by tragic, alcohol -related events in Lithuania, including the tragedies in Kražiai and Kėdainiai. Last November, in Kražiai, a drunken man murdered four elderly women and, in the beginning of January, a father of four children threw two toddlers to their death in a well in the Kėdainiai region. Alcoholics would receive treatments similar to those provided to drug addicts.

Lithuanian PM: more measures are needed to fight alcohol consumption

The ban on selling alcohol in petrol stations, which came into effect on January 1, is just a «small step» in the effort against alcoholism, says Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius. He believes that the government will take more measures to cut the use of alcohol.

The PM expects that the Lithuanian Parliament will approve higher excise duties on alcohol, he said in an interview. A long-term program, under which excise duty on alcohol will be incrementally raised every year, has already been approved. Moreover, efforts against alcoholism must include educational programs on the harm of alcohol, the prime minister says.

Spaniards on NATO air policing mission in Lithuania

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Call for boycott of Belarus and Kaliningrad power plants

In a letter to ministers in Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Finland, Lithuanian Minister of Energy Rokas Masiulis has exhorted these countries to carefully consider whether or not they should purchase electricity from the nuclear power plants being constructed in Belarus and in Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave.

Russian oil to be again supplied to Orlen Lietuva oil refinery

Russian oil will be once again supplied to the Orlen Lietuva oil refinery in Mažeikiai as the new head of the company Wojciech Jasinski is increasing raw material imports from Russia. The former head of Orlen oil company, Jacek Krawiec, was buying oil from Saudi Arabia for the refinery.

Lithuanian President retracts call for new child welfare agency

After suggesting in the wake of the tragedy in the Kėdainiai region, where an intoxicated father threw to death into a well his two toddlers, to set up a new institution to deal with children in at-risk families, President Dalia Grybauskaitė retracted her words, insisting her proposal was rather to institute additional functions that could be carried out by existing bodies. «I have never said an additional institution as such. I said new functions of inspection. This function could be carried out by any institution already in existence,» Grybauskaitė said during her annual media conference on Thursday, January 7.

Candidacy for Finance Minister will not be negotiated

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius said there would be no negotiation with his coalition partners of a replacement for Social Democrat Finance Minister Rimantas Šadžius, who has been proposed as a candidate for the membership at the European Court of Auditors. Asked whether the Labour Party would get the Minister of Finance position if the current minister was elected to be a member of the European Court of Auditors, Butkevičius told in an interview that according to the ruling coalition agreement, the Finance Minister candidacy is nominated by the Prime Minister only.

Lithuania paid for its missiles more than Estonia

Explaining a higher price that Lithuania, compared to Estonia, paid the United States for the Javelin anti-tank rockets, Lithuanian officials said the price difference was due to more-modern equipment and additional undisclosed agreements. Reportedly, Lithuania paid $55 million US dollars for 220 Javelin rockets and 74 launchers, while Estonia received 350 rockets and 120 launchers for the same price. According to Minister of Defence Juozas Olekas, however, the difference might be in the make and model. Weapons expert ret. Maj. Darius Antanaitis claimed that comparing Lithuania and Estonia’s purchases would be difficult, because the information published about such purchases is often incomplete, and that such deals are often broader than they might seem.

President is critical about new social model

An ambitious Labour Code reform undertaken by the current government and which has yet to be adopted has drawn criticism of President Dalia Grybauskaitė. «I think there is nothing wrong in having discussions, since, as I’ve said before, the drafted model is a little too theoretical, the government has not done its homework of picking out just the key principles essential for our economy. It (the draft) is excessive, that is why it got stuck in the Seimas,» Grybauskaitė said during her annual media conference on Thursday, January 7.

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, nevertheless, hopes that the Lithuanian Parliament will adopt the new social model, a package of Labour Code and welfare system reforms, in its spring session which commences in March.

The so-called social model, drafted by the Government, is aimed at liberalizing labour relations and revising the pension system of the State Social Security Fund Board. It would amend approximately 40 laws.

President: mix of conscript and professional soldiers may suit best

The best approach to maintaining an army for a country the size of Lithuania is a mixed conscript and professional army, according to Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaitė. The President discussed state security in her annual speech last Thursday, January 7, and focused on a mixed approach to recruitment of soldiers as the most cost-efficient way of maintaining the armed forces.

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