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Latest Update - 31 August 2014  

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Lithuania v Mexico Mens basketball Jonas Valanciunas
Lithuania v Angola
(31 August 2014)
Australia v Korea 2014 World Basketball Championships Joe Ingles
Australia v Korea
(31 August 2014)
Lithuania v Mexico Mens basketball Jonas Maciulis
Lithuania v Mexico
(31 August 2014)

Latest Stories

Lithuania Euro Ready 14 August 2014

At its second attempt, Lithuania has finally been allowed to officially adopt the euro as of 1 January 2015.

And just as well, as Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius either threatened or promised to resign, depending on your political leaning, if Lithuania failed to become the 19th country to join the single European currency.

Lithuanian euro coins

After contentiously missing out in 2007 when Lithuania’s inflation rate was 2.63% and not under the required threshold of 2.6%, Lithuania again met all other criteria quite easily.

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Lithuanian anti-LGBT laws blocked 27 March 2014

Text: Paul Penny

Amidst the admonitions and international condemnation following the recent introduction of draconian anti-gay laws in Nigeria and Uganda, news from Lithuania (13 March), where a bill proposing Russian-style “gay propaganda” laws was blocked by MPs, came as a relief to LGBT rights activists.

A majority of members of the Lithuanian Parliament voted to bring the proposal to a vote (39 in favour, 34 opposed, with 20 abstentions). However, the anti-gay legislation was defeated because of parliamentary rules that require a threshold of votes to be reached as well as a majority.

graziulis LT MP
• Petras Gražulis (centre)
Lithuania's most vehement anti-gay campaigner.

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Ukraine Struggle Captured 20 March 2014

As Ukraine’s struggle for independence turns more towards diplomacy and trade wars, we were recently reminded of the sacrifices that were born in Maidan Square.

Peter Olar has compiled an exhibition named: Maidan - Images of Freedom. The photographs are taken in Maidan Square during the winter struggle, which started in late November 2013 after former president Viktor Yanukovich renegged on a deal of establishing closer ties with the West.

Maidan Poster

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Real Estate in Lithuania and Baltic region slowly rising 20 November 2013

According to Ober-Haus Lithuanian Apartment Price Index, Vilnius apartment prices grew for the ninth month in a row in October 2013, up 0.3% to €1,208/sqm.

During the current year apartment prices in Vilnius increased by 1.6%, and since the lowest price level in May 2010, have increased 4.7% (+€54/sqm).

real estate prices Lithuania and Baltics

In October this year 864 apartments were sold in Vilnius, up 38% over the same period last year, and represents the highest volume of apartment sales in October for the last 10 years.

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President Grybauskaitė meets with Ban Ki-moon 18 November 2013

President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Ban Ki-moon, who is visiting Lithuania for the first time. The meeting focused on Lithuania's preparations to work in one of the principal organs of the United Nations - the Security Council. The topics discussed also included today's biggest challenges to global security and other urgent issues on the UN agenda.

Pres Grybauskaite and Ban Ki-Moon

Photo: Dž. G. Barysaitė.

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We’re playing for medals 20 September 2013

Lithuania were never going to take this game easy, and just as well, because we needed every ounce of grit and determination to put away the Italian threat.

Lithuanian Basketball Team Kalnietis and Seibutis

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It was Lithuania’s defence that held the Italians scoreless for half of the last period that allowed us to drag out the four point victory, but even then the last few minutes were far from relaxed as the Italians always managed to stay close enough to threaten.

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Belgium Cast Aside 14 September 2013

Belgium might be the de facto capital of the European Union, but Lithuania showed that we are very much the current President.

Donatas Motiejunas at work

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Belgium started well and even led late in the first half at 12 – 11, but from then on all traffic went the way of Lithuania.

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Whew 10 September 2013

Riding a roller coaster would be a more sedate way to spend this last week, but here we are, as expected, about to play in the next round of Eurobasket 2013.

Linas Kleiza at work

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Sure, we did it on the back of a loss which is most unsatisfying, but in the end it was enough – just.

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Big Brothers to the Rescue 9 September 2013

Ksistof and Darjus Lavrinovic hit five of six three pointers between them, and ultimately that proved the difference between Lithuania and Montenegro and a nerve-wracking overtime win.

Lavrinovic

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In the crucial penultimate game in the first round of Eurobasket 2013 the brothers sent a grim message to opposition benches saying we have a variety and depth that is the envy of many teams.

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Back on track, but still a steep climb ahead 7 September 2013

Lithuania is back on track with a win over our Latvian brothers. You’ll notice I never said easy, in fact the correct adjective would more accurately be tough, and a lot harder than the 8 point margin suggests.

Lithuanian flag

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Latvia had nothing to lose. A team always known for its physical play, this year they have some extra talent to throw into the mix, so it was no great surprise to see them above Lithuania in the Group B standings before the start of this third round match.

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Ouch - Lithuania loses to Serbia in Eurobasket opener 5 September 2013

Lithuania opened its campaign in Slovenia with a notch in the loss column after a more defensive and disciplined Serbia controlled a physical game.

Lithuania v Serbia

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First of all Serbia out-hustled Lithuania. Knowing that Lithuania are short of quality point guards the Serbs kept constant pressure on the ball-carriers and never let them control the game as they had against weaker teams in the warm-ups.

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Jonas Valančiūnas on the eve of his NBA debut 31 October 2012
Text: Ray Vysniauskas

Jonas Valančiūnas is on the eve of his NBA debut, something that the basketball public has seen as inevitable for quite a few years, and especially since he was the drafted at five in 2011.

Jonas valanciunas

He faces a tough initiation into the big league with nine of the Raptor’s first eleven games against last year’s playoff teams, and 15 of their first 22 games on the road. Then in his first game he faces Indiana Pacers’ All Star centre Roy Hibbert.

The Toronto public has taken a shine to the young man from Utena who continues to present an easy public persona and impresses on court with his athleticism and work ethic.

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A crucial step towards Lithuania‘s energy independence? 22 August 2012

Response from the Japanese Embassy regarding the article: A crucial step towards Lithuania‘s energy independence?

Mr. Ray Vyšniauskas
LiTnews
Gedimino 1, Vilnius, Lithuania
August 16, 2012

Dear Mr. Vyšniauskas,

As I have read your article “Crucial steps towards energy independence?” in the July/August 2012 edition of LiTnews, I am writing to draw your attention to the following factual inaccuracies:

1.“the Japanese are building the same type of power plant in our area of the world.”

The type of power plant to be built in Visaginas is not the same type as Fukushima nuclear power plant. The reactor type proposed for the Visaginas project is the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR), which is the only Generation III+ reactor with a proven operational record. It is different from the reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was designed 30-40 years ago. ABWR licensed in Japan and the United States, excels in terms of safety, operational efficiency and cost performance, which were achieved through the years of research and development conducted by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, power utilities and manufacturing companies of Japan. Also, in February this year Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told visiting Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius that Japan would share the experience and lessons learned from the accident at Fukushima and contribute to enhancing nuclear safety in Lithuania

2. “they (the Japanese) are closing all of their own (nuclear power plants).”

We are not closing all of the nuclear power plants. The operation of power plants had been stopped for regular safety inspections, however if proven to be safe through the inspections, the Japanese Government can give permission for power plants to restart the operation, taking the opinions of the local governments and residents into consideration. Through the formal procedures, in June and July, the Japanese power utility Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. received permission for resuming operation of two reactors at the Ohi nuclear power plant and the two reactors are now in operation.

I hope this letter could help you understand better and correctly on the matter.

Sincerely yours,
Kazuko Shiraishi
Ambassador of Japan to Lithuania


The article in question was originally published on the LiTnews website on 10 May, but was updated for publicaton 22 July. The updated article is reproduced here:

A crucial step towards Lithuania‘s energy independence?

Text: Ray Vysniauskas

The Lithuanian government has been busily trying to sign off on the Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant before elections in October.

With polls giving the Kubilius government little chance of holding onto power after October, there has been a great sense of urgency in pushing Visaginas as far as possible, and in making the road to building a new nuclear power plant irreversible.

Seimas
Photo: BFL/Tomas Lukšys

Both the government and President Grybauskaitė have been pushing the importance of energy independence, wanting to move both the nuclear power station and the proposed LNG terminal forward despite the benign political climate.

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Rūta Meilutytė - A Deserving Champion 10 August 2012

Lithuanian Olympic champion Rūta Meilutytė was welcomed home by a large crowd gathered at Vilnius Rotuse recently.

Rūta Meilutytė - A Deserving Champion  10 August 2012  Lithuanian Olympic champion Rūta Meilutytė was welcomed home by a large crowd gathered at Vilnius Rotuse recently.    See full pictures   Rūta Meilutytė won Lithuania’s first gold medal in swimming since independence and astounded not only Lithuania, but the whole world, with her fairy-tale performance.  The 15 year old Rūta has been steadily climbing the junior ranks in her sport, and said that she entered the Olympics only wanting to improve on her personal best performances, and left the rest to fate.  Well fate astounded us all as the youngest swimmer in the 100 metre breast-stroke final surprised her opponents in the heats, bamboozled them in the semis with the fastest qualifying time, and then blew them away in the final where she managed to hold off a fast finishing Rebecca Soni and find that little extra in the last couple of strokes to touch the wall first in an impressive 1:05.47.    Meilutytė swam faster in the heats, but as always, the final is about racing your opponents, and on this occasion she also had to overcome nerves as a technical hitch held up the start as all swimmers waited impatiently for the final to begin.  Pessimism overcome most commentators as they speculated that the young Rūta would be most disadvantaged by the hold-up, but as soon as the race began it was obvious her sole focus was the task at hand, and she went out in her customary fast start.  In earlier races Rūta had established a strong lead in the first 50 and built on it in the home 50, taking her races in reasonable ease.  This time the cream of the world’s 100 metre breaststrokers were all clamouring for the same prize – an Olympic Gold Medal. This was serious.  Again Rūta was fast out in the final, but her margin at the first 50 was not as great as in earlier races. She came off the wall well, and continued powering forward, but 20 metres in it was obvious that Soni was not going to let her get away.  Soni kept at the heels of the Lithuanian teenager and was soon closing the margin and in the last 15 metres was clearly coming over the top of Meilutytė. Indeed most commentators agreed that within a few more metres Soni would have been clearly ahead.  Rūta Meilutytė however said she was aware of the fast-finishing Soni, and dug deep in the last 15 metres to find the extra effort that helped her hold off Soni and touch the wall first.  Even at the end she was not really sure of the win and had to wait an agonising few seconds, that must have seemed an eternity, until her gold medal was confirmed.   The rest is history. The quiet, demure and softly spoken teenager claimed Lithuania’s first gold medal of the London Olympics and the first in swimming for contemporary Lithuania.  Her surprise and delight was obvious and she dealt with the media attention with an endearing mix of shyness and self-assuredness that belied her 15 short years.  The appeal of the girl and wonder of her exploits can be written about at will, but you need no better indication than the sheer number of people who gathered to greet her on return to Vilnius on the evening of Wednesday 8 August, as thousands of Lithuanians cheered her and she was welcomed by President Grybauskaitė during a live television coverage of the event.  The welcome was hosted by Jonas Radzevičius, and included performers Berta Timinskaitė, Neda Malunavičiūtė, Rūta Ščiogolevaitė, Julija, Erica Jennings and Jurgis Didžiulis and Marijonos Mikutavičius before culminating in a fireworks display.   As well as the performances she was surprised by her classmates who met with her onstage as well as family members who were with her throughout the night.  Rūta then held a press conference before heading home to Kaunas with friends and family, where she said she will holiday for three to four weeks before returning to school and training in the UK where she has a swimming scholarship.  Back to Home Page

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Rūta Meilutytė won Lithuania’s first gold medal in swimming since independence and astounded not only Lithuania, but the whole world, with her fairy-tale performance.

Ruta Mel

The 15 year old Rūta has been steadily climbing the junior ranks in her sport, and said that she entered the Olympics only wanting to improve on her personal best performances, and left the rest to fate.

Well fate astounded us all as the youngest swimmer in the 100 metre breast-stroke final surprised her opponents in the heats, bamboozled them in the semis with the fastest qualifying time, and then blew them away in the final where she managed to hold off a fast finishing Rebecca Soni and find that little extra in the last couple of strokes to touch the wall first in an impressive 1:05.47.

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Belarus Accuses Lithuania of Spying 10 August 2012

The Belarus KGB recently announced the arrest of a Lithuanian spy ring allegedly operating out of the Lithuanian Embassy in Minsk.

Minsk Sign

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Lithuania and the Euro 10 August 2012
Text: Ray Vysniauskas

Lithuania has done quite well at handing the economic downturn, albeit largely on the back of cutting wages and pensions and the poorest in our society shouldering the majority of the burden.

Vilnius Cathedral Tower, Bokstas

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Mayor Zuokas on Vilnius 10 August 2011
Text: Ray Vysniauskas

Artūras Zuokas is in his second candidacy as Vilnius Mayor. His first term from 2000 – 2007 was at once heralded as visionary and wasteful, and his second term continues to polarise the community.

The media savvy Zuokas enjoys a high public profile, often seen zipping around Vilnius on his Segway and a recent video of him running over an illegally parked car in a tank went viral on the internet, giving him worldwide exposure.

It is now just over a year since he started his second tenure as the boss of Vilnius and we thought it best for Mayor Zuokas himself to talk about his work and vision for Vilnius and Lithuania.

Mayor Artuas Zuokas

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Vinnie Jones and Smolyaninov to star in new Lithuanian movie 10 August 2012

Hollywood action star Vinnie Jones, whose credits include such international hits as “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”, “Gone in Sixty Seconds” and “X-Men: The Last Stand”, and who recently finished shooting in “The Tomb” opposite Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, joined the cast of an outrageous “The Hangover” meets “Snatch” action-comedy-thriller “Flight Redirected”, directed by Emilis Velyvis (Zero 2).

Vinnie Jones

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Lithuania conquers the Caribbean 10 August 2012

It’s old news now, but Lithuania conquered the Caribbean and took home the treasure of an Olympic berth for London 2012.

Lithuania celebrates during the defeat of Dominican Republic in Venezuela

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EC welcomes Lithuania’s fiscal discipline 10 August 2012

Brussels, 30 May. The European Commission adopted recommendations commending Lithuania’s efforts to correct the budget deficit. However the Commission encourages continuing adherence to disciplined spending policies, reform of the pension system, implementation of a number of measures to promote employment, especially for young people, and restructuring the energy sector.

ECB main building Brussells

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Wizz Air the largest Vilnius airline 10 August 2012

Wizz Air recently introduced a second Vilnius-based airplane to its Lithuanian schedule and became the largest airline operating from the Lithuanian capital.

Wizz Air logo

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SOE profits up 350% in 2011 9 August 2012

The results of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) keep improving and the net profit of SOEs (including special taxes to the State) was LTL246.6 million in 2011, which was 3.5 times more than the previous year (this sum excludes losses of LTL182 million due to the bankruptcy of the Bankas Snoras).

Lithuanian Railways SOE

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Lithuanian runners complete Sierra Leone marathon 9 August 2012

On 9 June, a team of six runners from Lithuania completed the first marathon ever to be held in Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone Marathon Running for Change

• The Running For Change team before the run.

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VAT laws ammended 29 July 2012

In June Seimas adopted amendments to the Law on the Value Added Tax which allows a reduced 9% VAT rate for press, public transport services, and technical assistance for the disabled.

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President's State of the Nation Address 7 June 2012

Dear Fellow People of Lithuania,
Distinguished Members of the Seimas,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

This time our meeting - provided for in the Constitution - is taking place at a very special moment.

President State of the Nation Address

The longest-serving Government reports on its work, elections are approaching, society has started to divide into camps and finds it more difficult to speak the same language. We stand on the threshold of decisions critical for our country and the future of our children.

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Crime and Law Enforcement in 2011 31 May 2012

The latest edition of "Crime and law enforcement activities in 2011" has been released. As the name suggests, this publication documents criminal activity and the work of law enforcement agencies over the preceding year, as well as provide statistical information on law enforcement activities.

Lithuanian Police Car with flag

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Seimas wastes our time and money again 31 May 2012

Text: Ray Vysniauskas

The Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuanian on 16 May approved a progress strategy - Lietuva 2030 (Lithuania 2030) – which was drafted by the government.

Seimas protest

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Decline in Lithuania's Average Wage 29 May 2012

Average Gross Monthly Wage LTL2138.1

The average gross monthly earnings in Lithuania, excluding individual enterprises, in I quarter 2012 was LTL2138.1. Compared to IV quarter 2011, this is a drop of 1.7%. In the public sector the decrease in gross monthly wages was larger than in the private sector (falls of 2.5 and 1.0%, respectively) and was LTL2267.5, in the private sector the average gross wage was LTL 2057.8.

Darbo Birzas

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National Men’s Basketball Squad Called to Arms 24 May 2012

In a press conference on Tuesday 22 May, Kestutis Kemzura announced his 19-man shortlist for the Lithuanian national team. The names include Sarunas Jasikevicius, who decided to have one last crack at the National Team and notching up another Olympic Games.

Kestutis Kemzura

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Lithuanian Unemployment rate 14.5% 22 May 2012

Statistics Lithuania informs that, according to the Labour Force Survey data, the unemployment rate in Lithuania for I quarter 2012 was 14.5%, which is by 0.6% more than in IV quarter 2011. In I quarter 2012, there were 230,900 unemployed persons in the country, which is by 8,800 (4%) more than in IV quarter 2011. 

Unemployment Chart

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Decision Time for Ukraine 15 May 2012

President Dalia Grybauskaitė had a bilateral meeting in Kiev with the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych recently. In Kharkov, the President met with Mikhail Dobkin, the Governor of Kharkov Region, and visited former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in hospital.

President Grybauskaite with Yulia Tymoshenko

The President met with Yulia Tymoshenko at the hospital in Kharkiv

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Žalgiris Has All the Answers 14 May 2012

In the long awaited season showdown it turned out Rytas was the no-show and Žalgiris walks away with all the season’s honours.

Zalgiris Celebrations

After their sixth loss to Žalgiris for the year, and ninth in a row, the team of green is now caring for all three domestic trophies as well as the regional BBL silverware.

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A crucial step towards energy independence? 10 May 2012
Text: Ray Vysniauskas

The Lithuanian government issued a press release on the signing of an energy agreement recently. This can best be seen as an attempt to quell any doubts among potential partners that may arise in the medium term future with general elections due in October, and polls showing that the current government has little chance of being re-elected.

Seimas
Photo: BFL/Tomas Lukšys

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Lithuanian Politicians Finally Agree on Something 9 May 2012

With Lithuania’s next general election due in October, the parliament has shown rare solidarity in signing a defence policy agreement ahead of the NATO summit to be held in Chicago from 20 – 21 May 2012.

NATO warships

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TeliaSonera launch takeover of TEO LT 8 May 2012

TeliaSonera has agreed to acquire 7.87% of the shares in TEO LT from East Capital for €0.637 (LTL2.20) per share and will thereby increase its ownership to 76.16% (from the current 68.29%).

TEO LT logo

 

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CIA Prisons Still an Issue 30 April 2012

Lithuania has done its best over the last five or six years to ignore the issue of secret CIA Prisons in Lithuania, but the Soviet-era tactic of ignoring it until it goes away is just not working.

Electric Car Lithuania Post

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Belarus Backs Down on Border Security Citing Blackmail 26 April 2012

Belarus will reduce the number of border guard troops on its borders with the EU.

The change is in response to increased EU sanctions against Belarus, in a tit-for-tat game of politics.

minsk

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Swiss Wish to Limit Lithuanians 25 April 2012

The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its dismay about the decision by the Swiss Government to re-establish limitations for certain categories of residential permits for specific EU citizens, including Lithuanians.

Swiss Flag

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It's good news, and really bad news for Lietuvos Rytas 24 April 2012

First the good news - Lietuvos Rytas played their best game of the season recently to defeat much more highly fancied Khimki in securing a 2 - 1 series win and a spot in the Final Four of the VTB United League.

Arturas Jomantas

An added bonus is that Rytas will also host the Final Four weekend in Vilnius, having a home court advantage in its race for the title against Moscow CSKA, UNICS and Lokomotiv-Kuban.

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New Domestic Violence Laws Start to Bite 23 April 2012

Four months ago Lithuania adopted new laws in protection against domestic violence.

In that time police have received nearly 10,000 reports of domestic violence and have opened over 3,300 investigations, reported News Radio.

smurta domestic violence

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Seimas votes against early elections 18 April 2012

On 17 April the Lithuanian parliament - Seimas - failed to carry a motion bringing forward the next national elections.

Seimas

The bill was supported by 50 member, 24 voted against the proposal and there were 25 abstentions. A three fifth vote of members, or 85 votes were needed to carry the amendment.

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Lithuania Post Moves to Electric Cars 23 April 2012

Lithuania Post recently introduced an electric car for the provision of postal services. Based on estimations made by the company, the electric car will make savings of several thousand litas per year.

Electric Car Lithuania Post

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Over LTL1 Billion for Roads in 2012 12 April 2012

This year, the sum of LTL915.9 million will be allocated from the State Budget for the development of the Lithuanian road network and implementation of traffic safety measures.

roads

Together with EU support funding, which will make up LTL270 million, the total investment into the national road network will be almost LTL1.2 billion.

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New oil field discovered in Lithuania 12 April 2012

A new oil field discovered by Manifoldas UAB in the surroundings of Ližiai and Laigiai villages in Klaipėda district, Endriejavas region, has already been approved and entered in the Register of Mineral Reserves of the country.

oil well

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Employee Earnings Analysis - October 2011 12 April 2012

Last year, one fifth, or 20% of employees in Lithuania earned LTL800 or less per month, more than half of them worked part-time.

money

Statistics Lithuania announced that in October 2011, compared to October 2010, the number of employees who earned the minimum monthly wage (MMW) or received a wage of LTL800 or less, including individual enterprises, accounted for 20.8% (or 215,600) employees and decreased by 0.3%. More than half of these employees (114,200) worked part-time.

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Lithuania Closer to Nuclear Deal 10 April 2012
Text: Ray Vysniauskas

Lithuania is ever closer to constructing a new nuclear plant in Visaginas after signing a concession agreement with Hitachi Ltd recently.

kubilius Hitachi

Photo: BFL/Tomas Lukšas

The agreement, covering the right to design, construct, operate and then decommission the plant, is still subject to Finance Ministry examination and Parliamentary approval before a final sign-off is expected in late June.

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Lietuvos Rytas let the big one slip 6 April 2012

Lietuvos Rytas relinquished an 18 point lead to arch-rival Žalgiris and lost 86 - 81 in their regular season LKL encounter last night.

Zalgiris

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Daylight Savings starts this Sunday 23 March 2012

Lithuania will switch to daylight saving time on Sunday 25 March by setting clocks forward one hour at 3 am local time.

rainbow sunset

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Lietuvos Rytas downs Donetsk 21 March 2012

Lietuvos Rytas started its quest for Eurocup gold, and a Euroleague ticket, with a win over Donetsk in Vilnius last night.

Rice Lietuvos Rytas

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Exports up 2.2%in January 15 March 2012

Exports in January 2012 were worth LTL5.6 billion and imports LTL6.4 billion and the foreign trade deficit was LTL0.8 billion according to Statistics Lithuania, based on non-final data obtained from customs declarations and Intrastat reporting data.

Klaipeda

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A Tale of Two Marches 11 March 2012

Round up and photos of two contrasting March 11 marches.

Kovo 11_1

kovo 11_2

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Politics should not keep Seimas from strategic tasks 9 March 2012

Prior to the Seimas' spring session, President Dalia Grybauskaitė and members of the Board of the Seimas traditionally meet to discuss key legislative initiatives.

president and seimas
Photo courtesy Press Service of the President

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Older Posts

News:

Olympic Qualifying Tournament headed for Venezuela

Business:

GDP up 6.6%

Culture:

Complementary and alternative medicine for EU citizens

Politics:

Lithuanian-Russian Commission Signs Agreement

Sport:

Eurobasket 2011 - Round Two Update

Interview:

Lithuania News Review - Henrikas Mickevičius

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