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Wednesday 18.07.2018 | Name days: Rozālija, Roze
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Week in Lithuania. Education Ministry wants more classes in Lithuanian in ethnic minority schools

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULithuania’s Education and Science Ministry is considering changes in the country’s ethnic minority school curricula.

Education and Science Minister Audronė Pitrėnienė says that one of the options under consideration was providing an opportunity for school students to take more classes in the Lithuanian language.

According to her, the ministry suggests shifting to a new teaching model when the teaching process is organized in an ethnic minority language and classes are instructed in that ethnic minority language and also providing an opportunity for children and their parents to take more subjects in Lithuanian.

Lithuanian president: Russia’s economic embargo backfired

The economic embargo imposed by Russia has ill impacted Russians themselves by way of a sharp decrease in the selection of food products and surge in food prices, says Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė.

«It was Russia that decided to put an embargo on imports of food products from the West and harm its people. This led to a price hike, decrease in the amount and selection of products. Consequently, even the action when Russia takes sanctions against itself, which definitely was not the proposal from the West, shows that the Russian response is inadequate and a result of its aggressive policies,» Grybauskaitė said in an interview to the national radio LRT on Friday.

Vilnius mayor considers trading Green Bridge statues

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius says there will be more clarity in autumn on the removed Green Bridge statues. He says he has already received six official requests to take the statues. According to the mayor, there should be a political pause made amid the controversy surrounding the removal.

Šimašius says that, as a lawyer himself, he would like to trade the removed statues for the original copy of the sixteenth-century Lithuanian Statute, the Metrica of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, or the historical sceptre of University of Vilnius.

All these historic objects are currently held in Russia. The mayor of Vilnius admitted that he had received requests from the mayor of Sovetsk (Kaliningrad, Russia) Nikolai Voishchev and Russian Ambassador Alexander Udaltsov to give the Green Bridge statues to Russia.

Vilnius court ruling on letter «w» in marriage certificate

Vilnius City District Court has ordered Thursday, July 30, Vilnius Registry Office to change the marriage certificate of a Lithuanian woman married to a Belgian and spell her name with a non-Lithuanian character «w».

According to European Foundation of Human Rights, Vilnius Registry Office issued a marriage certificate to the Lithuanian woman and her Belgian husband last March and her name was spelled with a «v»(Pauvels), whereas her husband’s name was spelled in its original form (Pauwels).

The couple turned to court and appealed against such a decision. Vilnius City District Court revoked the decision and ordered the spelling of the woman’s name to be changed on the marriage certificate to Pauwels. The ruling can still be appealed.

Lithuanian PM supports new shale gas tender

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius believes that a new tender for shale gas exploration should be announced in the country. «New shale gas exploration tender is necessary and I believe that every modern state wants to know what is underneath its land and what mineral deposits it owns. To my mind, it is an elementary necessity in terms of politics and economy and we will definitely reach this goal,» the PM said.

Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas, meanwhile, is sceptical about announcing a new tender for shale gas exploration. In his opinion, prices of oil and gas are currently very low so Lithuania simply could receive no bidders for gas exploration. It is thought that Lithuania could have around 100-120 billion cubic metres of shale gas.

NATO jets scrambled to accompany Russian planes over Baltic

NATO fighter jets, stationed in the Zokniai Air Base in Lithuania as part of NATO’s Baltic air policing mission, were scrambled three times on Wednesday, July 29, to identify and accompany Russian planes flying over the Baltic Sea. The Latvian army said on Wednesday, July 29, that besides the mentioned planes, NATO Baltic air policing mission jets were also scrambled to identify and accompany four MiG-31 and four Su-34 fighter jets. NATO’s Baltic air policing mission is being carried out by Norway and Italy in Lithuania, Belgium in Poland and the UK in Estonia.

Kazakh citizen wanted by Interpol handcuffed in Lithuania

Kazakh citizen Syrym Shalabayev was detained in Vilnius on Tuesday, July 28, after more than two years of being wanted by the Interpol. About two years ago, a UK court sentenced Shalabayev to 18 months in prison. However, he went into hiding. Shalabayev is suspected of squandering or pocketing a few billion US dollars’ worth of property in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russia and other countries together with his former brother-in-law, BTA Bank board chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov. Ukraine consequently called an international search for Shalabayev via Interpol channels.

Visions for re-development of important properties presented

The Lithuanian Architects Union hosted last Monday, July 27, a public discussion on one of the major development sites in central Vilnius, the Sports Palace and Žalgiris Stadium. During the workshop hosted by the Architects Union, five teams presented their visions for redeveloping the sites. The teams of architects were tasked with coming up with a new concept for the site of the stadium which adjoins the Sports Palace. While the disused stadium will be demolished, the Sports Palace building, listed as protected property, will be converted into a congress venue.

Active and passive Lithuanian MEPs identified

Lithuanian MEPs Vilija Blinkevičiūtė and Zigmantas Balčytis of the Social Democrats and Liberal Antanas Guoga were the country’s most active members in the European Parliament over the 1st year of their term, according to daily the Lietuvos Žinios.

Citing the statistics website mepranking.eu, the daily said Blinkevičiūtė spoke 330 times during plenaries, proposed 80 resolutions together with her colleagues, made 60 parliamentary inquiries to the European Commission and has been an opinion rapporteur and a shadow rapporteur.

Meanwhile, Balčytis spoke 298 times in plenaries, was on seven occasions appointed by his group as the shadow rapporteur in a draft resolution, once as an opinion rapporteur and three more times as a shadow opinion rapporteur. Balčytis also contributed to 58 draft resolutions, 40 parliamentary inquiries.

Guoga spoke 237 times in plenaries, made 61 proposals on resolutions and 13 parliamentary inquiries. Another Lithuanian MEP Gabrielius Landsbergis, the leader of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (Conservatives), spoke 64 times and, notably, prepared the highest number of reports among all Lithuanian MEPs- 4.

The most passive Lithuanian MEP was Valdemar Tomaševski, the leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, over the first year of the term. He spoke 11 times in plenaries, submitted 24 draft resolutions with other EP members and made merely three inquiries. He ranked 728th among all 750 MEPs in terms of activity indicators.

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