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Monday 22.07.2019 | Name days: Marija, Marika, Marina
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Week in Lithuania: Prison in central Vilnius closed, lives lost in the Baltic Sea and Curonian Lagoon

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Last week, in Lithuania, a key Vilnius prison was handed to property bank, sunken ship captain and ferry passengers went missing in separate incidents and a court awarded a woman 31,000 euro for sterilization without her knowledge.

Lithuania asks Belarus’ assistance to restore Neris water level

Lithuania asked this week Belarus for assistance in restoring the water level in the Neris River flowing through the two countries after it dropped considerably due to the ongoing drought, Lithuania’s Ministry of Environment said on Wednesday, July 3. Minister Kęstutis Mažeika warned that the rapidly decreasing water level poses threat to the Neris ecosystem, flora and fauna, as well as to ship traffic in both Lithuania and Belarus. Lithuania’s Hydrometeorological Service declared a national hydrological drought on Tuesday, July 2.

Lukiškės prison in Vilnius closed

Lukiškės Remand Prison in central Vilnius was officially closed on Tuesday, July 2, with the last inmates moved on the previous day. The prison was handed over to state enterprise Turto Bankas (Property Bank) soon and it will be decided then if the property will be sold. All in all, the prison complex includes six buildings near the country’s parliament, Supreme Court, the national library and the Foreign Ministry. Around 700 arrestees and convicts were kept in this prison early this year but they have been gradually moved to other correctional facilities.

Search for missing ship captain continues in Lithuania’s Curonian Lagoon

The search for the missing captain of a ship which sank in the Curonian Lagoon in Lithuania earlier this week continued throughout the week. Romaldas Adomavičius, the captain, went missing after a sailing exhibit of the Lithuanian Sea Museum, a replica of a traditional fishermen boat – kurėnas, sank on Tuesday, July 2. A dark object was spotted in the water on Thursday, July 4, but rescuers were unable to find him due to high waves. The ship was caught in a storm while sailing in the lagoon amid winds of up to 20 m/s in gusts.

Two passengers missing after falling from ferry

Two Lithuanians fell overboard from a ferry going to Lithuania from Sweden on Tuesday night, Vaidas Klumbys, DFDS Seaways’ spokesman for the Baltic states, told BNS Lithuania on Wednesday, July 3. The company representative said the two Lithuanian were middle-aged people travelling together. The ferry arrived in Klaipeda at 1 p.m. after a delay of four hours.

EU court backs Lithuania in Russian TV restriction case

Lithuania did not breach EU law when it introduced restrictions on a Russian TV channel for incitement to hatred, the European Union Court of Justice ruled on Thursday, July 4. The case dates back to 2016 when the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania, Lithuania’s media watchdog, concluded that the Russian TV channel had spread false information on Lithuanians and Latvians’ alleged collaboration during the Holocaust, as well as implying that the authorities in the Baltic states pose threat to the local Russian-speaking minorities.

LFGU leader to undergo party confidence test

Ramūnas Karbauskis, leader of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, said on Thursday, July 4, he will test his party’s confidence in him on July 15, following three elections earlier this year and the recent coalition talks. The LFGU, the Social Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania, the Order and Justice party and the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance were to sign a coalition agreement on Friday, July 5.

Seimas opposition will not take part in speaker removal vote

The opposition political groups in the Lithuanian Seimas will not take part in a vote on the removal of Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis, the leaders of three opposition groups said on Thursday, July 4. Following the sitting of the Social Democratic Labour Party of Lithuania’s presidium, the party’s leader Gediminas Kirkilas and Ramūnas Karbauskis, leader of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, said a vote of no-confidence in Pranckietis would be held next Tuesday if he fails to resign by then. The politicians also said the coalition agreement cannot be signed if Pranckietis is not removed.

Outgoing president appoints her two advisors as ambassadors

Outgoing President Dalia Grybauskaite on Wednesday, July 3, appointed her two advisors as ambassadors after signing relevant decrees. Grybauskaite’s chief foreign policy advisor Nerijus Aleksiejūnas will be appointed Lithuania’s ambassador to France as of August 2, and her chief economic and social policy advisor Lina Antanavičienė will become the country’s ambassador to Israel as of August 8.

Woman awarded 31,000 euro for sterilization without her knowledge

A court in Lithuania on Wednesday, July 3, awarded 31,000 euros to a woman and her husband in non-pecuniary damages from a hospital in Lithuania’s southern city of Lazdijai where the woman was sterilized without her knowledge. The woman, bound to wheelchair due to cerebral paralysis, welcomed a son with her husband in 2004 at the hospital after a c-section. Medics later confirmed that it was then that her tubes were cut as she did not have any more surgery after giving birth. The couple suspects their relatives might have colluded with the doctor as they disapproved of their wish to have children.

Lithuania declares state of emergency over drought

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday, July 3, declared a state-level emergency over the ongoing drought’s impact on agriculture. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, a state-wide emergency is declared when the limits of its consequences go beyond three municipalities. Such a situation is declared in the areas of four municipalities, including Varėna, Prienai, Trakai and Rokiškis, but the consequences are felt in the majority of Lithuania’s territory.

Government approves plan to bolster cyber security

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday, July 3, approved a plan to step up cyber security in the country. An array of measures includes planned funding for the establishment of a regional cyber security center in Lithuania’s second-largest city of Kaunas, as well as the introduction of advanced warning systems at critical infrastructure facilities. The plan also stipulates the allocation of almost 1.3 million euros in 2019 to the center being established in cooperation with the United States.

CERN incubators to be established in Lithuania

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced this week it will establish two incubators in the Lithuanian cities of Vilnius in Kaunas, the only ones in Central and Eastern Europe, under an agreement by Lithuanian Minister of Economy and Innovation Virginijus Sinkevičius and CERN representatives on Thursday, July 4.


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