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Archive for June, 2011

Clinton in Vilnius for “Women enhancing democracy” gathering

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U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Vilnius, on a two-day visit from 30 June to 1 July, to participate in the Community of Democracies 6th Ministerial. The Ministerial will bring together senior government officials, parliamentarians, NGOs, women and youth leaders, and the private sector to advance the shared goals of strengthening civil society and supporting emerging democracies. During her visit, the Secretary will participate in the "Women Enhancing Democracy" gathering of world leaders, held under the auspices of the Community of Democracies’ working group on women’s empowerment. She will also host a session of the Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society focused on challenges to the freedoms of speech and association. While in Vilnius, the Secretary will hold bilateral meetings with President Grybauskaite, Prime Minister Kubilius, and other Lithuanian officials.

Category : News

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Vilnius Lithuania – My walk through this photogenic town

By Steve Huff
So here I am today..another day of serious photo opportunities! I am in Vilnius Lithuania for the next stop on the Seal European summer tour and yesterday I walked around quite a bit snapping shots of this lovely charming town. Had my Fuji X100 (new firmware rumored to be coming within the week) and Leica M9 with me and both gave me wonderful results, can’t complain about either of these lovely cameras.

I started the day early morning as the weather was brisk, cool, and sunny. In other words, PERFECT! Back home in Phoenix it is 110 and sunny so I am really enjoying this weather while I can get it! As I looked out of my hotel window I thought “Perfect Photo Weather”!

BTW, I am also staying at a beautiful hotel here in town and had to snap a couple as I left my room. Love the old world charm of this place.

You’ll find the complete story and see the rest of Steve Huff’s photos at:

Category : Travel Lithuania!

Choice Hotels to Lithuania

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A hotel that has been started to rise near Vilnius old town in June has found an operator. Selvaag, the developer of the new economy-class hotel, signed a long-term contract on the management of the hotel with Nordic Choice Hotels. 

The hotel will have 200 economy-class rooms. The total value of the project is estimated to be about 30 million litas (8.7 million euros), 25% of the amount being covered by EU structural funds. 

The hotel expects to greet its first client by the end of 2012. NordicChoice Hotels currently runs 170 hotels in Scandinavia and the Baltic states under a franchising agreement with Choice Hotels International

In the global hotel group rankings by MKG Hospitality, Choice Hotels International is ranked sixth among ten largest hotel groups worldwide, including Intercontinental Hotels Group, Hilton Worldwilde, Marriott International and Accor

Category : News

Eastern Europe support for democracy slips in crisis, poll shows

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Eastern European support for democracy has been eroded by the global financial crisis, which cut living standards, a survey by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank showed.

Backing for democracy as a preferable political system fell last year in 18 of the 29 former communist countries where the EBRD invests, compared with a previous survey in 2006, the London-based lender said in a report today. In 11 nations, less than 50 percent of the respondents "clearly" prefer democracy, the survey showed.

"Of these, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania experienced particularly sharp economic contractions during the crisis," the report said. "This could explain their lower support levels for a market economy, but it scarcely provides a reason for the declining preference for democracy."

All of the Eastern European economies are growing for the first time since 2008 after being the worst hit among emerging markets by the global credit crunch with inflows of investments and credit drying up.

Read more at:

Category : News

The same people who were used to the Soviet style of thinking and work ethic kept their jobs, even if they were doing nothing or even doing harm

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Former president and prime minister of Lithuania, Algirdas Brazauskas. who died last year

The idea is excellent, but the problem is that the majority of the people in the positions where the change could be initiated were from the Soviet times. The fact that Brazauskas was really good at public relations and was able to retain his power for so long meant that the same people who were used to the Soviet style of thinking and work ethic kept their jobs, even if they were doing nothing or even doing harm. To them, changing the way how things are done meant undermining their own position, so of course they did nothing.

My hope is that with time the things will clean up, and these changes will occur. It will take time, though.

Category : Opinions

The truth is that the Soviet communist nomenklatura has hijacked Lithuania’s development in the last two decades

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Unfortunately, the “inconvenient truth” is that the Soviet communist nomenklatura has hijacked Lithuania’s development in the last almost two decades and, consequently, our country has largely horribly wasted a truly impressive and immense political and economic capital of global good will, so excruciatingly hard earned by the Victims of the January 13th, 1991 brutal Soviet aggression and by the blood and brains of the legendary Lithuanian freedom fighters, world renowned anti-communist dissident movements, and political refugees in the West in the post-WW II years.

Valdas Samonis, PhD, CPC (Canadian – Lithuanian)
The Web Professor of Global Management (SM)

Category : Opinions

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A new book, laconically called "President" by political scientist Lauras Bielinis will reach the Lithuanian bookstores this weekend. The book's controversial cover alone raises no doubts that the man figure of the monograph is incumbent head of state Dalia Grybauskaite.

However, Bielinis' book is not a political biography dedicated to mark the upcoming two years anniversary since Grybauskaite assumed president's seat, informs LETA/ ELTA,referring to Lietuvos zinios.

The book is rather a subjective analysis of the president's key policies, principles of governing and the representation of them to the society. Bielinis said he did not know Grybauskaite personally:

"In fact, I have not even met her in a corridor, however, this does not interest me at all: I have distanced myself from all personal, individual characteristics and biographical things which do not have any influence on her policies. As the author says, "the aim of the book is to show how a political leader acts and takes part in the national politics, therefore th e main source was the actions of the president herself, her speeches, actions, decisions, society and political arena's reaction to what she is doing".


Category : News

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Mervyn Bedford at one of the many Oxford landmarks of higher education.

How soon will human beings be wired to the super computers?

Because I know Aage Myhre and his wife and very much respect what he is trying to do for Lithuania, I offered to write of educational values for the new version of VilNews. The Baltic nations have a perfect opportunity to change the map of educational provision in ways that better fit the rapidly changing world of the 21st. century. Education is not about buildings. It is not about systems and organisations. It is not about tests and inspections. It is about people and the relationships between those who want to learn, or need to learn, and those who already know it. For almost 150 years State school systems have imposed a model of teaching and learning that has hardly changed while society has fundamentally changed and, recently, very rapidly. Those changes are racing unseen towards our youngest children.
At a conference in Norway in 2009, reported in the respected UK magazine “New Scientist,” experts discussed how soon human beings will need to be wired to the super computers rapidly arriving in the work place. Earliest suggested date was 2045. At MIT in the US by 2029 they will have computers able to replicate human thought and decision by copying the chemical and electrical patterns in the human brain. Two Oxford University teachers have argued in print about whether it is right to allow students drugs to enhance their brain performance. Drugs to provide specific hours of sleep and brain implants that help deaf children to hear and paralysed limbs to move already exist. Job requirements in a very few years time and the character of society will change dramatically. We do not have long to get a school system right

Read more…

Category : Opinions

Hillary Clinton to Lithuania this week

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will this week visit Hungary and Lithuania as part of a tour focused on promoting human rights and democracy.

Clinton will be in Budapest for the opening of the Lantos Institute, named after Tom Lantos, the Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor and outspoken global human rights advocate who died in 2008.

The event "is an opportunity to reinforce our commitment to pluralism," said Tomicah Tillemann, a senior advisor for civil society and emerging democracies.

The top US diplomat will also meet with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi as Hungary's right-wing government comes under fire over the direction it has been taking the country.

On the 30th of June 30 Clinton will travel to Vilnius for the Community of Democracies ministerial meeting that will bring together senior government officials, parliamentarians, non-government organizations, women and youth leaders and the private sector.

Their aim will be "to advance the shared goals of strengthening civil society and support emerging democracies," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

She will also meet President Dalia Grybauskaite, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius and other Lithuanian officials, Nuland said.

In the runup to the ministerial meeting, Tillemann said, there will be a meeting to help 85 civil society activists from Belarus and other countries in the region to learn how to use technology better to advance their aims.

Earlier this month US President Barack Obama extended sanctions on Belarus over its violent suppression of protests and arrest of opposition figures in the wake of December's disputed elections.

Category : News

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Viktorija Čmilytė from Šiauliai wins European Women Championship


Lithuanian Viktorija Čmilytė (born 6 August 1983 in Šiauliai) has won the European Women Championship in Tbilisi, Georgia. The grandmaster finished clear first with a score of 9 out of 11. Former World Champion GM Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria took the silver medal with 8.5/11 while GM Elina Danielian of Armenia edged out IM Svetlana Matveeva (Russia) on tie-break to win bronze.

The 12th European Individual Women’s Championships took place 6-18 May 2011 in Tbilisi. It was organized by the Georgian Chess Federation, under the auspices of the Tbilisi City Hall and the European Chess Union. The tournament hall was in the Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel of the Georgian capital.

The tournament was open all female players representing the federations which comprise the European Chess Union (FIDE zones 1.1 to 1.10) regardless of their title or rating. There was also no limit of participants per federation.

The championship was an 11-round Swiss. The rate of play was 90 minutes for 40 moves plus 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one.

Viktorija Cmilyte had an excellent start and won her first five games. By then she was leading by a full point, but in the next round she lost to Antoaneta Stefanova. Eventually this would be her only loss.
After an easy win against Russian IM Marina Romanko and a draw with Black against IM Bela Khotenashvili, some crucial games followed. Cmilyte beat two experienced grandmasters in a row: Pia Cramling with White and Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan with Black. Two quick draws on the top boards in the final round meant that, the Lithuanian lady kept her sole lead in the final standings.

Category : News


Have your say. Send to:

By Dr. Boris Vytautas Bakunas,
Ph. D., Chicago

A wave of unity sweeps the international Lithuanian community on March 11th every year as Lithuanians celebrated the anniversary of the Lithuanian Parliament's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. However, the sense of national unity engendered by the celebration could be short-lived.

Human beings have a strong tendency to overgeneralize and succumb to stereotypical us-them distinctions that can shatter even the strongest bonds. We need only search the internet to find examples of divisive thinking at work:

- "50 years of Soviet rule has ruined an entire generation of Lithuanian.

- "Those who fled Lithuania during World II were cowards -- and now they come back, flaunt their wealth, and tell us 'true Lithuanians' how to live."

- "Lithuanians who work abroad have abandoned their homeland and should be deprived of their Lithuanian citizenship."

Could such stereotypical, emotionally-charged accusations be one of the main reasons why relations between Lithuania's diaspora groups and their countrymen back home have become strained?

* * *

Text: Saulene Valskyte

In Lithuania Christmas Eve is a family event and the New Year's Eve a great party with friends!
Lithuanian say "Kaip sutiksi naujus metus, taip juos ir praleisi" (the way you'll meet the new year is the way you will spend it). So everyone is trying to spend New Year's Eve with friend and have as much fun as possible.

Lithuanian New Year's traditions are very similar to those in other countries, and actually were similar since many years ago. Also, the traditional Lithuanian New Years Eve party was very similar to other big celebrations throughout the year.

The New Year's Eve table is quite similar to the Christmas Eve table, but without straws under the tablecloth, and now including meat dishes. A tradition that definitely hasn't changes is that everybody is trying not to fell asleep before midnight. It was said that if you oversleep the midnight point you will be lazy all the upcoming year. People were also trying to get up early on the first day of the new year, because waking up late also meant a very lazy and unfortunate year.

During the New Year celebration people were dancing, singing, playing games and doing magic to guess the future. People didn't drink much of alcohol, especially was that the case for women.

Here are some advices from elders:
- During the New Year, be very nice and listen to relatives - what you are during New Year Eve, you will be throughout the year.

- During to the New Year Eve, try not to fall, because if this happens, next year you will be unhappy.

- If in the start of the New Year, the first news are good - then the year will be successful. If not - the year will be problematic.

New year predictions
* If during New Year eve it's snowing - then it will be bad weather all year round. If the day is fine - one can expect good harvest.
* If New Year's night is cold and starry - look forward to a good summer!
* If the during New Year Eve trees are covered with frost - then it will be a good year. If it is wet weather on New Year's Eve, one can expect a year where many will die and dangerous epidemics occur.
* If the first day of the new year is snowy - the upcoming year will see many young people die. If the night is snowy - mostly old people will die.
* If the New Year time is cold - then Easter will be warm.
* If during New Year there are a lot of birds in your homestead - then all year around there will be many guests and the year will be fun.

* * *

* * *
Christmas greetings
from Vilnius

* * *
Ukraine won the historic
and epic battle for the
By Leonidas Donskis
Philosopher, political theorist, historian of
ideas, social analyst, and political

Immediately after Russia stepped in Syria, we understood that it is time to sum up the convoluted and long story about Ukraine and the EU - a story of pride and prejudice which has a chance to become a story of a new vision regained after self-inflicted blindness.

Ukraine was and continues to be perceived by the EU political class as a sort of grey zone with its immense potential and possibilities for the future, yet deeply embedded and trapped in No Man's Land with all of its troubled past, post-Soviet traumas, ambiguities, insecurities, corruption, social divisions, and despair. Why worry for what has yet to emerge as a new actor of world history in terms of nation-building, European identity, and deeper commitments to transparency and free market economy?

Right? Wrong. No matter how troubled Ukraine's economic and political reality could be, the country has already passed the point of no return. Even if Vladimir Putin retains his leverage of power to blackmail Ukraine and the West in terms of Ukraine's zero chances to accede to NATO due to the problems of territorial integrity, occupation and annexation of Crimea, and mayhem or a frozen conflict in the Donbas region, Ukraine will never return to Russia's zone of influence. It could be deprived of the chances to join NATO or the EU in the coming years or decades, yet there are no forces on earth to make present Ukraine part of the Eurasia project fostered by Putin.

* * *
Watch this video if you
want to learn about the
new, scary propaganda
war between Russia,
The West and the
Baltic States!

* * *
90% of all Lithuanians
believe their government
is corrupt
Lithuania is perceived to be the country with the most widespread government corruption, according to an international survey involving almost 40 countries.

* * *
Lithuanian medical
students say no to
bribes for doctors

On International Anticorruption Day, the Special Investigation Service shifted their attention to medical institutions, where citizens encounter bribery most often. Doctors blame citizens for giving bribes while patients complain that, without bribes, they won't receive proper medical attention. Campaigners against corruption say that bribery would disappear if medical institutions themselves were to take resolute actions against corruption and made an effort to take care of their patients.

* * *
Doing business in Lithuania

By Grant Arthur Gochin
California - USA

Lithuania emerged from the yoke of the Soviet Union a mere 25 years ago. Since then, Lithuania has attempted to model upon other European nations, joining NATO, Schengen, and the EU. But, has the Soviet Union left Lithuania?

During Soviet times, government was administered for the people in control, not for the local population, court decisions were decreed, they were not the administration of justice, and academia was the domain of ideologues. 25 years of freedom and openness should have put those bad experiences behind Lithuania, but that is not so.

Today, it is a matter of expectation that court pronouncements will be governed by ideological dictates. Few, if any Lithuanians expect real justice to be effected. For foreign companies, doing business in Lithuania is almost impossible in a situation where business people do not expect rule of law, so, surely Government would be a refuge of competence?

Lithuanian Government has not emerged from Soviet styles. In an attempt to devolve power, Lithuania has created a myriad of fiefdoms of power, each speaking in the name of the Government, each its own centralized power base of ideology.

* * *
Greetings from Wales!
By Anita Šovaitė-Woronycz
Chepstow, Wales

Think of a nation in northern Europe whose population is around the 3 million mark a land of song, of rivers, lakes, forests, rolling green hills, beautiful coastline a land where mushrooms grow ready for the picking, a land with a passion for preserving its ancient language and culture.

Doesn't that sound suspiciously like Lithuania? Ah, but I didn't mention the mountains of Snowdonia, which would give the game away.

I'm talking about Wales, that part of the UK which Lithuanians used to call "Valija", but later named "Velsas" (why?). Wales, the nation which has welcomed two Lithuanian heads of state to its shores - firstly Professor Vytautas Landsbergis, who has paid several visits and, more recently, President Dalia Grybauskaitė who attended the 2014 NATO summit which was held in Newport, South Wales.

* * *
Read Cassandra's article HERE

Read Rugile's article HERE

Did you know there is a comment field right after every article we publish? If you read the two above posts, you will see that they both have received many comments. Also YOU are welcome with your comments. To all our articles!
* * *

Greetings from Toronto
By Antanas Sileika,
Toronto, Canada

Toronto was a major postwar settlement centre for Lithuanian Displaced Persons, and to this day there are two Catholic parishes and one Lutheran one, as well as a Lithuanian House, retirement home, and nursing home. A new wave of immigrants has showed interest in sports.

Although Lithuanian activities have thinned over the decades as that postwar generation died out, the Lithuanian Martyrs' parish hall is crowded with many, many hundreds of visitors who come to the Lithuanian cemetery for All Souls' Day. Similarly, the Franciscan parish has standing room only for Christmas Eve mass.

Although I am firmly embedded in the literary culture of Canada, my themes are usually Lithuanian, and I'll be in Kaunas and Vilnius in mid-November 2015 to give talks about the Lithuanian translations of my novels and short stories, which I write in English.

If you have the Lithuanian language, come by to one of the talks listed in the links below. And if you don't, you can read more about my work at
* * *

As long as VilNews exists,
there is hope for the future
Professor Irena Veisaite, Chairwoman of our Honorary Council, asked us to convey her heartfelt greetings to the other Council Members and to all readers of VilNews.

"My love and best wishes to all. As long as VilNews exists, there is hope for the future,"" she writes.

Irena Veisaite means very much for our publication, and we do hereby thank her for the support and wise commitment she always shows.

You can read our interview with her
* * *
Facing a new reality

By Vygaudas Ušackas
EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation

Dear readers of VilNews,

It's great to see this online resource for people interested in Baltic affairs. I congratulate the editors. From my position as EU Ambassador to Russia, allow me to share some observations.

For a number of years, the EU and Russia had assumed the existence of a strategic partnership, based on the convergence of values, economic integration and increasingly open markets and a modernisation agenda for society.

Our agenda was positive and ambitious. We looked at Russia as a country ready to converge with "European values", a country likely to embrace both the basic principles of democratic government and a liberal concept of the world order. It was believed this would bring our relations to a new level, covering the whole spectrum of the EU's strategic relationship with Russia.

* * *

The likelihood of Putin
invading Lithuania
By Mikhail Iossel
Professor of English at Concordia University, Canada
Founding Director at Summer Literary Seminars

The likelihood of Putin's invading Lithuania or fomenting a Donbass-style counterfeit pro-Russian uprising there, at this point, in my strong opinion, is no higher than that of his attacking Portugal, say, or Ecuador. Regardless of whether he might or might not, in principle, be interested in the insane idea of expanding Russia's geographic boundaries to those of the former USSR (and I for one do not believe that has ever been his goal), he knows this would be entirely unfeasible, both in near- and long-term historical perspective, for a variety of reasons. It is not going to happen. There will be no restoration of the Soviet Union as a geopolitical entity.

* * *

Are all Lithuanian energy
problems now resolved?
By Dr. Stasys Backaitis,
P.E., CSMP, SAE Fellow Member of Central and Eastern European Coalition, Washington, D.C., USA

Lithuania's Energy Timeline - from total dependence to independence

Lithuania as a country does not have significant energy resources. Energy consuming infrastructure after WWII was small and totally supported by energy imports from Russia.

First nuclear reactor begins power generation at Ignalina in 1983, the second reactor in 1987. Iganlina generates enough electricity to cover Lithuania's needs and about 50%.for export. As, prerequisite for membership in EU, Ignalina ceases all nuclear power generation in 2009

The Klaipėda Sea terminal begins Russia's oil export operations in 1959 and imports in 1994.

Mazeikiu Nafta (current ORLEAN Lietuva) begins operation of oil refinery in 1980.

* * *

Have Lithuanian ties across
the Baltic Sea become
stronger in recent years?
By Eitvydas Bajarunas
Ambassador to Sweden

My answer to affirmative "yes". Yes, Lithuanian ties across the Baltic Sea become as never before solid in recent years. For me the biggest achievement of Lithuania in the Baltic Sea region during recent years is boosting Baltic and Nordic ties. And not because of mere accident - Nordic direction was Lithuania's strategic choice.

The two decades that have passed since regaining Lithuania's independence can be described as a "building boom". From the wreckage of a captive Soviet republic, a generation of Lithuanians have built a modern European state, and are now helping construct a Nordic-Baltic community replete with institutions intended to promote political coordination and foster a trans-Baltic regional identity. Indeed, a "Nordic-Baltic community" - I will explain later in my text the meaning of this catch-phrase.

Since the restoration of Lithuania's independence 25 years ago, we have continuously felt a strong support from Nordic countries. Nordics in particular were among the countries supporting Lithuania's and Baltic States' striving towards independence. Take example of Iceland, country which recognized Lithuania in February of 1991, well in advance of other countries. Yet another example - Swedish Ambassador was the first ambassador accredited to Lithuania in 1991. The other countries followed suit. When we restored our statehood, Nordic Countries became champions in promoting Baltic integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. To large degree thanks Nordic Countries, massive transformations occurred in Lithuania since then, Lithuania became fully-fledged member of the EU and NATO, and we joined the Eurozone on 1 January 2015.

* * *

It's the economy, stupid *
By Valdas (Val) Samonis,

n his article, Val Samonis takes a comparative policy look at the Lithuanian economy during the period 2000-2015. He argues that the LT policy response (a radical and classical austerity) was wrong and unenlightened because it coincided with strong and continuing deflationary forces in the EU and the global economy which forces were predictable, given the right policy guidance. Also, he makes a point that LT austerity, and the resulting sharp drop in GDP and employment in LT, stimulated emigration of young people (and the related worsening of other demographics) which processes took huge dimensions thereby undercutting even the future enlightened efforts to get out of the middle-income growth trap by LT. Consequently, the country is now on the trajectory (development path) similar to that of a dog that chases its own tail. A strong effort by new generation of policymakers is badly needed to jolt the country out of that wrong trajectory and to offer the chance of escaping the middle-income growth trap via innovations.

* * *

Have you heard about the
South African "Pencil Test"?
By Karina Simonson

If you are not South African, then, probably, you haven't. It is a test performed in South Africa during the apartheid regime and was used, together with the other ways, to determine racial identity, distinguishing whites from coloureds and blacks. That repressive test was very close to Nazi implemented ways to separate Jews from Aryans. Could you now imagine a Lithuanian mother, performing it on her own child?

But that is exactly what happened to me when I came back from South Africa. I will tell you how.

* * *
Click HERE to read previous opinion letters >

VilNews e-magazine is published in Vilnius, Lithuania. Editor-in-Chief: Mr. Aage Myhre. Inquires to the
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All content is copyrighted © 2011. UAB ‘VilNews’.

مبلمان اداری صندلی مدیریتی صندلی اداری میز اداری وبلاگدهی فروشگاه اینترنتی گن لاغری شکم بند لاغری تبلیغات کلیکی آموزش زبان انگلیسی پاراگلایدر ساخت وبلاگ بوی دهان بوی بد دهان