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Archive for March, 2012

Preventing suicide

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If you or someone you know is living with depression or bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression), you understand all too well that the symptoms may include feelings of sadness and hopelessness. These feelings can also include thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Whether we have suicidal thoughts ourselves, or know a severely depressed person who does, there are ways that we can respond with strength and courage.

Understanding Suicidal Thinking

The most important thing to remember about suicidal thoughts is that they are symptoms of a treatable illness associated with fluctuations in the body’s and brain’s chemistry. They are not character flaws or signs of personal weakness, nor are they conditions that will just "go away" on their own. Depression and the depressive phase of bipolar disorder may cause symptoms such as the following: 

  • intense sadness
  • hopelessness
  • lethargy
  • loss of appetite
  • disruption of sleep
  • decreased ability to perform usual tasks
  • loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities

Taken together, these symptoms may lead someone to consider suicide. However, with proper treatment the majority of people do feel better and regain hope. Recovery is possible.

An article by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
The mission of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is to provide hope, help, and support to improve the lives of people living with mood disorders. DBSA pursues and accomplishes this mission through peer-based, recovery-oriented, empowering services and resources when people want them, where they want them, and how they want to receive them.
http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=home

Read more...

Category : Front page

Preventing suicide

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An article by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
The mission of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is to provide hope, help, and support to improve the lives of people living with mood disorders. DBSA pursues and accomplishes this mission through peer-based, recovery-oriented, empowering services and resources when people want them, where they want them, and how they want to receive them.
http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=home

If you or someone you know is living with depression or bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression), you understand all too well that the symptoms may include feelings of sadness and hopelessness. These feelings can also include thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Whether we have suicidal thoughts ourselves, or know a severely depressed person who does, there are ways that we can respond with strength and courage.

Understanding Suicidal Thinking

The most important thing to remember about suicidal thoughts is that they are symptoms of a treatable illness associated with fluctuations in the body’s and brain’s chemistry. They are not character flaws or signs of personal weakness, nor are they conditions that will just "go away" on their own. Depression and the depressive phase of bipolar disorder may cause symptoms such as the following: 

  • intense sadness
  • hopelessness
  • lethargy
  • loss of appetite
  • disruption of sleep
  • decreased ability to perform usual tasks
  • loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities

Taken together, these symptoms may lead someone to consider suicide. However, with proper treatment the majority of people do feel better and regain hope. Recovery is possible.

During severe depression, the systems that regulate emotion become disturbed. People in the middle of a severe depression often think only of things that are dark and sad. Physicians refer to this as “selective memory”—only remembering the "bad times" or the disappointments in life. This type of thinking is a symptom of the illness; it does not define who the person is. And with proper treatment, the individual will start to remember the good times and develop a more positive outlook. (top)

If You Are Feeling Suicidal

If you have begun to think of suicide, it’s important to recognize these thoughts for what they are: expressions of a treatable, medical illness. Don't let embarrassment stand in the way of vital communication with your physician, family or friends. Take immediate action and talk to somebody today. Remember, suicide is a permanent solution to a problem that is temporary.

When people don't understand the facts about suicide and depressive illnesses, they may respond in ways that can cut off communication and worsen their feelings. That's why it’s important to find someone you trust and can talk with honestly and openly. It's also why your mental health professional is an important resource in helping you—and your family. (top)

What You Can Do to Fight Suicidal Thoughts

  • Keep a journal to write down your thoughts. Each day, write about your hopes for the future and the people you value in your life. Read what you've written when you need to remind yourself why your own life is important.
  • Go out with friends and family. When we are well, we enjoy spending time with friends and family. When we’re depressed, it becomes more difficult, but it is still very important. It may help you feel better to visit, or allow visits from, family and friends who are caring and can understand. 
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. Most deaths by suicide result from sudden, uncontrolled impulses. Since drugs and alcohol contribute to such impulses, it’s essential to avoid them. Drugs and alcohol also interfere with the effectiveness of medications prescribed for depression.
  • Learn to recognize your earliest warning signs of a suicidal episode. There are often subtle warning signs your body will give you when an episode is developing. As you learn to manage your illness, you’ll learn how to be sensitive to them. They are signals to treat yourself with the utmost care, instead of becoming ashamed or angry with yourself. (top)

Create a “Plan for Life”

Many depression-related suicides occur during someone’s first three depressive episodes—before he or she learns that an episode of suicidal thinking is temporary. As people learn from experience that any given episode will eventually pass, the likelihood that they’ll actually act on suicidal impulses drops sharply. It’s important to have a course of action ready before thoughts of suicide occur. Some people find it helpful to develop a “Plan for Life.” This plan lists warning signs you should watch for, and actions to take, if you feel that you’re slipping into suicidal thoughts. Your “Plan for Life” may include:

  • Contact information for your doctor, including back-up phone numbers (emergency services, pager and mobile phone).
  • Contact information for friends and family.
  • A description of your medical diagnosis (or diagnoses, if more than one)—not just depression but any medical problems you may have. Also include information about any medications you are taking.
  • Health insurance information.
  • Contact information for a local suicide hotline.
  • Contact information for your local DBSA support group.

Click here to view a sample “Plan for Life.”

Educate those you trust about your condition before it becomes a crisis, so that they can be prepared if they’re called on to help. Provide key support people with your “Plan for Life” so they can act quickly, if needed. Carry a copy of your Plan for Life with you at all times so you can refer to it or pass it along to someone else who might be helping you in a time of crisis. With all your important phone numbers in one place, it will be easier for someone to help. (top)

How DBSA Support Groups Can Help

With a grassroots network of more than 1,000 support groups across the country, no one with depression has to feel alone. While DBSA groups do not provide suicide crisis programs, they do provide a caring environment for people to come together and discuss the challenges and successes of living with depression. They don’t offer group therapy, though many groups have a professional advisor (for example, a therapist, a psychiatrist or a psychologist) and all groups have appointed peer facilitators.
DBSA groups provide a forum for mutual understanding and self-discovery, help people stick with their treatment plans and gain support from others who have ”been there.” For information on DBSA support groups in your area, contact us at            (800) 826-3632       or see our support group locator.

Facts About Treatment

There are many different medications and therapies available for the successful treatment of depression. Not all medications work the same for all people, so it may take some time for you and your doctor to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you. Stick with it, and recognize that your doctor is your partner in this search. (top)

Recognizing Warning Signs in Others

Sometimes, even health care professionals have difficulty determining how close a person may be to attempting suicide. As a friend or family member, you can't know for certain either. If you sense there is a problem, ask your friend or loved one direct questions and point out behavior patterns that concern you. Remind them that you care about them and are concerned. Talking about suicide with someone will not plant the idea in his or her head. If necessary, suggest that they make appointment to see their doctor and offer to go with them if you sense they would have difficulty doing it on their own. If you believe that immediate self-harm is possible, take them to a doctor or hospital emergency room immediately.
Warning signs may include the following:

  • Feelings of despair and hopelessness
    Often times, individuals with depression talk with those closest to them about extreme feelings of hopelessness, despair and self-doubt. The more extreme these feelings become, and the more often they’re described as "unbearable," the more likely it is that the idea of suicide may enter the person's mind.
  • Taking care of personal affairs
    When a person is "winding up his or her affairs" and making preparations for the family's welfare after he or she is gone, there is a good chance the individual is considering self-harm or suicide.
  • Rehearsing suicide
    Rehearsing suicide, or seriously discussing specific suicide methods, are also indications of a commitment to follow through. Even if the person's suicidal intention seems to come and go, such preparation makes it that much easier for the individual to give way to a momentary impulse.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
    Someone with worsening depression may abuse drugs or alcohol. These substances can worsen symptoms of depression or mania, decrease the effectiveness of medication, enhance impulsive behavior and severely cloud judgment.
  • Beginning to feel better
    It might sound strange, but someone dealing with depression may be most likely to attempt suicide just when he or she seems to have passed an episode's low point and be on the way to recovery.

    Experts believe there’s an association between early recovery and increased likelihood of suicide. As depression begins to lift, a person's energy and planning capabilities may return before the suicidal thoughts disappear, increasing the chances of an attempt. Studies show that the period six to 12 months after hospitalization is when patients are most likely to consider, or reconsider, suicide. (top)

Responding to an Emergency Situation

If someone is threatening to commit suicide, if someone has let you know they are close to acting on a suicidal impulse or if you strongly believe someone is close to a suicidal act, these steps can help you manage the crisis:

  • Take the person seriously. Stay calm, but don't underact.
  • Involve other people. Don't try to handle the crisis alone or jeopardize your own health or safety. Call 911 if necessary. Contact the individual's doctor, the police, a crisis intervention team or others who are trained to help.
  • Express concern. Give concrete examples of what leads you to believe the person is close to suicide.
  • Listen attentively. Maintain eye contact. Use body language such as moving close to the person or holding his or her hand, if appropriate.
  • Ask direct questions. Find out if the person has a specific plan for suicide. Determine, if you can, what method of suicide he or she is considering.
  • Acknowledge the person's feelings. Be understanding — not judgmental or argumentative. Do not relieve the person of responsibility for his or her actions.
  • Offer reassurance. Stress that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Remind the person that there is help and things will get better.
  • Don't promise confidentiality. You may need to speak to the person's doctor in order to protect the person from himself or herself.
  • Make sure guns, old medications and other potentially harmful items are not available.
  • If possible, don't leave the person alone until you're sure he or she is in the hands of competent professionals. If you have to leave, make sure another friend or family member can stay with the person until professional help is available.

What You Can Do to Help Someone

Among the many things you can do to help someone who is depressed and may be considering suicide, simply talking and listening are the most important. Do not take on the role of therapist. Often, people just need someone to listen. Although this might be difficult, the following are some approaches that have worked for others:

  • Express empathy and concern.
    Severe depression is usually accompanied by a self-absorbed, uncommunicative, withdrawn state of mind. When you try to help, you may be met by your loved one’s reluctance to discuss what he or she is feeling. At such times, it’s important to acknowledge the reality of the pain and hopelessness he or she is experiencing. Resist the urge to function as a therapist. This can ultimately create more feelings of rejection for the person, who doesn't want to be "told what to do." Remain a supportive friend and encourage continued treatment.
  • Talk about suicide. 
    Talking about suicide does not plant the idea in someone’s head. Your ability to explore the feelings, thoughts and reactions associated with depression can provide valuable perspective and reassurance to your friend or loved one who may be depressed. Not everyone who thinks of suicide attempts it. For many, it's a passing thought that lessens over time. For a significant number of people, however, the hopelessness and exaggerated anxiety brought on by untreated or under-treated depression may create suicidal thoughts that they can’t easily manage on their own. For this reason, take any mention of suicide seriously.

    If someone you know is very close to suicide, direct questions about how, when and where he or she intends to commit suicide can provide valuable information that might help prevent the attempt. Don’t promise confidentiality in these circumstances. It’s important for you to share this information with the individual’s doctor.
  • Describe specific behaviors and events that trouble you.
    If you can explain to your loved one the particular ways his or her behavior has changed, this might help to get communication started. Compounding the lack of interest in communication may be guilt or shame for having suicidal thoughts. Try to help him or her overcome feelings of guilt. If there has already been a suicide attempt, guilt over both the attempt and its failure can make the problem worse. It’s important to reassure the individual that there’s nothing shameful about what they are thinking and feeling. Keep stressing that thoughts of hopelessness, guilt and even suicide are all symptoms of a treatable, medical condition. Reinforce the good work they’ve done in keeping with their treatment plan.
  • Work with professionals.
    Never promise confidentiality if you believe someone is very close to suicide. Keep the person’s doctor or therapist informed of any thoughts of suicide. If possible,  encourage them to discuss it with their doctor(s) themselves, but be ready to confirm that those discussions have taken place. This may involve making an appointment to visit the doctor together or calling the doctor on your own. Be aware that a doctor will not be able to discuss the person’s condition with you. You should only call to inform the doctor of your concern.

    Whenever possible, you should get permission from your loved one to call his or her doctor if you feel there’s a problem. Otherwise, it could be seen as "butting in" and may worsen the symptoms or cause added stress. Of course, if you believe there is a serious risk of immediate self-harm, call his or her doctor. You can work out any feelings of anger the person has towards you later.
  • Stress that the person's life is important to you and to others.
    Many people find it awkward to put into words how another person's life is important for their own well-being. Emphasize in specific terms to your friend or loved one how his or her suicide would devastate you and others. Share personal stories or pictures to help remind your loved one of the important events in life you’ve shared together.
  • Be prepared for anger.
    The individual may express anger and feel betrayed by your attempt to prevent their suicide or help them get treatment. Be strong. Realize that these reactions are caused by the illness and should pass once the person receives proper treatment.
  • Always be supportive.
    People who have thought about, or attempted, suicide will most likely have feelings of guilt and shame. Be supportive and assure them that their actions were caused by an illness that can be treated. Offer your continued support to help them recover.
  • Take care of yourself.
    It’s not uncommon for friends and family members to experience stress or symptoms of depression when trying to help someone who is suicidal. You can only help by encouraging and supporting people through their own treatment. You cannot get better for them. Don’t focus all of your energy on the one person. Ask friends and family to join you in providing support and keep to your normal routine as much as possible. Pay attention to your own feelings and seek help if you need it.
Category : Health & wellbeing

Drunk politician causes traffic accident, waives responsibility – so typical, so annoying…

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This week, the Lithuanian parliamentarian Vincas Babilius of the Liberal and Centre Union LiCS party caused a traffic accident while drunk, according to eyewitnesses.

The young man whose car was damaged in the accident, said that the member of the parliament seemed drunk and had offered him 25 thousand litas if he did not call the police.
After this, Mr. Babilius left the scene of the accident and went to hospital the next day.

Yet again a politician goes unpunished, writes www.diena.lt:

“Theoretically he could have waited for the police, paid the fine and – if he had been driving under the influence of alcohol – resigned his post as member of parliament. In practice, however, things have once again taken the usual course.

… If the victim of the accident is to be believed, the politician appeared to be drunk and offered him a large amount of money, which he refused. Then the parliamentarian dismantled his license plates and took a taxi home.

When the story came out the next day, Vincas Babilius was suddenly in hospital – for heart problems. So typical, so annoying,” writes the newspaper.


Vincas Babilius

Category : News

Adomas Varnas – artist and banknote designer

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Adomas Varnas (1879-1979).
“Artist and beggar”, 1906-1908, oil on canvas, 115x80.
Čiurlionis National Art Museum

By Frank Passic, Albion, Michigan, USA

A few weeks ago in Vilnews there was an article about Lithuanian artist Adomas Varnas (1879-1979), which included an illustration of his 1953 masterpiece entitled “The Coronation of King Mindaugas.” Varnas’ lifespan far surpassed those of his counterparts, and his biography is extensive. Varnas was co-founder and the first president (1920) of the Association of Creative Artists, and helped organize Lithuanian art schools and galleries. He became well known for his collection of ethnographic material, particularly the wayside crosses. He also designed various Lithuanian stamps and banknotes.

Varnas escaped to the West during the summer of 1944, and in 1949 settled in Chicago, Illinois. Despite his old age, he remained active until the time of his death. He celebrated his upcoming 100th birthday on December 8, 1978 and was able to speak briefly at a banquet held in his honor in Chicago at the time.

In a bit of irony, the Lithuanian numismatist Dr. Aleksandras Rackus (1893-1965) wrote in 1949:

“Adomas Varnas, the famous Lithuanian artist…is coming to the U.S. He fled from the Bolsheviks in his old age and lived as a refugee in a D.P. camp in Germany. He is more than 70 years old and malnutrition made him physically weak. Stamp collectors undoubtedly will want his autograph and other favors, but they should remember that he won’t live very long, so try to reciprocate. At least buy from him a painting.”

Not only did Varnas live a long life of 100 years, he lived for more than thirty years after Rackus’ statement! Rackus died in 1965.

Read more...

Category : Front page

Adomas Varnas – artist and banknote designer

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Description: http://test.svs.lt/images/daile/daile2007_1_109-1.jpg
Adomas Varnas (1879-1979).
Artist and beggar”,  1906-1908, oil on canvas, 115x80. 
Čiurlionis National Art Museum

By Frank Passic, Albion, Michigan, USA

A few weeks ago in Vilnews there was an article about Lithuanian artist Adomas Varnas (1879-1979), which included an illustration of his 1953 masterpiece entitled “The Coronation of King Mindaugas.” Varnas’ lifespan far surpassed those of his counterparts, and his biography is extensive. Varnas was co-founder and the first president (1920) of the Association of Creative Artists, and helped organize Lithuanian art schools and galleries. He became well known for his collection of ethnographic material, particularly the wayside crosses. He also designed various Lithuanian stamps and banknotes.

Varnas escaped to the West during the summer of 1944, and in 1949 settled in Chicago, Illinois. Despite his old age, he remained active until the time of his death. He celebrated his upcoming 100th birthday on December 8, 1978 and was able to speak briefly at a banquet held in his honor in Chicago at the time.

In a bit of irony, the Lithuanian numismatist Dr. Aleksandras Rackus (1893-1965) wrote in 1949:

 “Adomas Varnas, the famous Lithuanian artist…is coming to the U.S. He fled from the Bolsheviks in his old age and lived as a refugee in a D.P. camp in Germany. He is more than 70 years old and malnutrition made him physically weak. Stamp collectors undoubtedly will want his autograph and other favors, but they should remember that he won’t live very long, so try to reciprocate. At least buy from him a painting.”

Not only did Varnas live a long life of 100 years, he lived for more than thirty years after Rackus’ statement! Rackus died in 1965.

The focus of this article concerns Varnas’ role in designing the so-called permanent banknotes of the Bank of Lithuania, dated November 16, 1922.  These replaced the so-called temporary notes that were dated September 10, 1922 and printed in Berlin. The Bank of Lithuania was still in the process of being organized in September, 1922, and was located on the first floor of the Finance Ministry building. The building was located at the corner of Donelaitis and Maironis Sts. in Kaunas.

Description: C:\Users\Aage\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\XLMWM123\BankofLithuania1922 001.jpg
The Bank of Lithuania was first headquartered in the Lithuanian Finance
Ministry building, located at the corner of Donelaitis and
Maironis Sts. in Kaunas, in the fall of 1922. 

The permanent notes were printed at the firm of Andreas Haase in Prague, Czechoslovakia.  The designs on the smaller denominations in various centas values were produced mechanically by the printing firm. Those notes beginning with the denomination of 1 litas and higher were specifically designed by Varnas. Research by collector John Glynn and published in The Knight in 1984 3 reveals some intriguing details concerning Varnas’ role in the banknote process.

When Varnas was informed by Lithuanian Finance Minister Vytautas Petrulis in 1922 that he was assigned to supervise the printing of the new banknotes, he was given only twenty-four hours to pack his luggage and board the train to Prague. At the train station, Petrulis gave Varnas his ticket and a sealed envelope in which the artist thought were the instructions about the printing of the notes.

During the train journey, Varnas opened the envelope to become familiar with the instructions the government had outlined for the job. Neither the government nor Varnas had any say on the type of paper, ink, lettering, or printing which was to be used. Varnas became so angry with the arrangement that he almost turned back to Kaunas where he had caught the train. He changed his mind about resigning however as he felt many people would be angered by such a move.

When Varnas arrived at the printing plant, the production of the minor centas denominations was already in progress. There were three shifts working around the clock, and to Varnas’ surprise, the centas designs had already been formulated and engraved by the printers. This left only the various litas denominations for Varnas to work on.

The work shifts were broken into three groups. Two shifts were supervised by two Lithuanian Finance Ministry officials, with Varnas working the third shift. He would sometimes work double shifts in order to work on the designs. All the drawing and assembly work was done at night between 10 pm and 2 am, and the printing firm was on a strict timetable. Once a design was prepared by Varnas, he was unable to change it, even if he was not satisfied with it. This happened once as Varnas tried to hold up a printing project in order to improve the Vytis emblem, but because of the tight schedule he had to keep the original design.

Each note design consisted of two parts: 1) a screen background with two interlacing security designs created mechanically, and 2) the top artistic theme design drawn by hand. Varnas inserted a secret mark in his designs so that counterfeit notes could be detected. He included a triangle in one design, an elongated slot in another, and so forth.

The Bank of Lithuania was very pleased with the work of the printing firm. Bank of Lithuania governor Vladas Jurgutis showed his appreciation by awarding the workforce a week’s salary as a Christmas bonus. Varnas remained in Prague for a total of fourteen months. Twelve months were spent on the printing and engraving assignment, while the other two were for a vacation before returning to Kaunas. Varnas was paid 15,000 litai (U.S. $1,500) for the assignment.

Description: C:\Users\Aage\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\XLMWM123\P-19B50Lt1922A348638.jpg

The text on the face of the permanent banknote series translates, “Bank of Lithuania, Kaunas, November 16, 1922, Bank of Lithuania. XX Litas. One Litas contains 0.150462 grams of pure gold.” Based on the gold standard, the litas at the time was worth U.S. 10¢. Also contained on the face are the signatures of the officials of the Bank of Lithuania for the denominations 2 litas and higher: “V. Jurgutis, A. Prusas, P. Grajauskas, J. Paknys, and Julius Kaupas.” The various centas denominations and the 1 litas note were ordered by the Finance Ministry before the Bank of Lithuania was organized, and so contain Finance Ministry signatures. In addition to the denomination designations, the backs of the 1922 series carry the warning which translates “Counterfeiting Banknotes is Punishable by Law.”

Each denomination has its own designs and historical images associated with it, and these will be discussed in future articles. Our specific focus for this article however, is the 50 litas note (Pick-19) designed by Adomas Varnas. It is illustrated here. The note measures 150 x 78 mm. with the watermark in the paper consisting of ovals. This is one of the most colorful and beautiful notes of the 1922 permanent series. Major colors include green, aqua, and yellowish-brown. The note is decorated throughout with various Lithuanian folk motifs. At the time it was placed into circulation in March, 1923, it had a face value of U.S. $5.00. It is known only with a prefix serial letter of A. The serial numbers are printed in red ink.  This note was withdrawn from circulation when a new 50 litas note was issued in November 1928.

The face of the note features the coats-of-arms of Lithuania’s three major cities: Kaunas, Vilnius, and Klaipeda. As an assertion of territorial and national integrity, Lithuania made several references to Polish-occupied Vilnius on its banknotes. In addition, the port city of Klaipeda was still in the hands of the Allied Powers  when this note was dated (1922), until the insurrection of January, 1923 brought the city and environs into Lithuanian hands. On the left the arms of Kaunas depicts a wild ox with a cross between its horns. The arms of Vilnius depicts St. Christopher carrying the baby Jesus. The arms of Klaipeda, known as Memel in German, depicts a fortified castle with a small boat resting in the water below.

On the right portion of the face is the image of Grand Duke Gediminas, founder of the capital city of Vilnius. A Caduceus emblem (snakes) representing commerce appears in the center. The back of the note displays an intricate ornate design which forms a huge Columns of Gediminas emblem. In the center can be seen the Hill of Gediminas,  the Cathedral of Vilnius, and the nearby Bell Tower.

While studying the details of this 50 litas note, this writer became intrigued by the image of Gediminas found on the face. “Where have I seen this image before?,” I thought to myself. I looked through the 1921 “Lietuvos Albumas” book 4 which contained the photographs of prominent Lithuanians during that period, and discovered something quite incredible. Based upon the photo of Adomas Varnas in that book, I surmise that Adomas Varnas used his own facial image to portray Grand Duke Gediminas on the 50 litas note!

Pictured here for our readers is a flipped-image of Varnas facing left, and next to it the image of Grand Duke Gediminas on the 1922 50 litas note. Compare the two images carefully. I conclude this article by asking our readers:  Did he, or didn’t he? You decide.

Description: C:\Users\Aage\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\XLMWM123\P-19F50Lt1922A348638.jpg

Description: C:\Users\Aage\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\XLMWM123\VarnasAdomasFLIPPED IMAGE.jpg

 Pictured here for our readers is a flipped-image of Varnas facing left, and next to it the image of Grand Duke Gediminas
on the 1922 50 litas note. Compare the two images carefully. I conclude this article by asking our readers: 
Did he, or didn’t he? You decide.

FOOTNOTES

Dr. Aleksandras M. Rackus. “Adomas Varnas.” American-Lithuanian Philatelic Specialist, June, 1949, pg. 18.

Karys, Jonas. Nepriklausomos Lietuvos Pinigai, (New York, Aukeslis, 1953), pg. 139.

John Glynn. “Adomas Varnas: Artist, Banknote Designer.” The Knight, August-September 1984, pp. 1, 2, 4.

Lietuvos Albumas. Berlin: Otto Elsner, 1921.

Category : Culture & events

Greeks won, Lithuanians lost!

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By Val Samonis

Before they realized what is going on and who was robbing them, the Lithuanian people got clubbered by PM Kubilius’ ambitious austerity policy and the younger ones started emigrating in catastrophic numbers, seeing no future in the country whose GDP was reduced (from a low post-Soviet level) by some 20% by the combination of the old nomenklatura rent-seeking policies and the global Great Recession. Lithuania is hollowing out, unfortunately.

Read more…

Category : Business, economy, investments sidebar / Opinions

A far too bright picture of the present reality

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By Aage Myhre, Editor-in-Chief

The above post from Val Samonis, where he compares “crisis-hit” Greece and a Lithuania supposed to be quickly recovering from the 2008 crisis, internationally praised for its austerity measures, calls for reflection.

The difference is that while the people of Greece protest and angrily demonstrate in the streets of Athens, people here only become more and more bitter, emigrate, begets crime in other countries, etc. 

Lithuania's elderly and disadvantaged people who have seen their minimum pensions drastically cut, and mothers seeing that the child benefits are completely removed as concept, they bow their necks and become even more active in growing potatoes on their garden spots outside the city instead of standing up against the government’s unfair measures against them... 

This country's politicians claim they have been the smartest in Europe by cutting in time, and not needing much of foreign loans or support  from IMF or others. But who are the ones suffering from this?

The answer is relatively clear. Baltic Times recently wrote that the parliamentarians in Lithuania enjoy EU’s second highest salaries/benefits, with only French politicians ahead. See http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/30094/

It is unquestionably true that things now are improving. But this happens very slowly, and one must remember that the Baltic countries were far behind the free countries of Europe in 1990 and that to bring them up the same level and standard required a much steeper growth curve here, which has not been the case despite colossal EU funding. To reach the average GDP and standards for the EU27 countries is very far away, probably 20-40 years from now.

Unemployment has begun to decline somewhat, but we are talking only about a reduction from around 18% three years ago, against 14% today. When one also knows that about 20% of the country's able-bodied labour force has emigrated during this period, there is in other words no significant improvement to be proud of. Also, many of those having a job, work in state enterprises or administration where effectiveness perhaps is about 50% of what one finds in Western countries, hence the statistics are not showing much of the real situation.

My conclusion are therefore the following:
• There are in fact no more real jobs now than it was four years ago.
• The number of productive jobs has probably gone more down than up.
• The most skilled workers have left the country and the quality of work is therefore on a downturn, hence the statistics presents a far too bright picture of today’s reality in Lithuania.

Category : Business, economy, investments sidebar / Opinions

Greeks won, Lithuanians lost!

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Before they realized what is going on and who was robbing them, the Lithuanian people got clubbered by PM Kubilius’ ambitious austerity policy and the younger ones started emigrating in catastrophic numbers, seeing no future in the country whose GDP was reduced (from a low post-Soviet level) by some 20% by the combination of the old nomenklatura rent-seeking policies and the global Great Recession. Lithuania is hollowing out, unfortunately.

By Val Samonis

Palemonas Legend: A Tale of Two EU Nations

Since the annus mirabilis 1989 the theory was that Central and Eastern Europe, CEE, would use its abundant and relatively educated labor force to grow faster and on a more sustainable and consumer-oriented (prosperity) basis due to shift to markets and euro-integration.

What got in the way is the theory of (rational?) expectations?

True, CEE did receive a sort of a very modest version of Marshall Plan from the EU. True to four EU freedoms, Western Europe is opening to labor movements (emigration) from CEE. So when new CEE policymakers were implementing liberal market reforms, they should have anticipated some outflows of labor force to higher bidders in Western Europe due to simple demonstration effect.

What got in the way is the law of unintended consequences in complex processes?
When the British opened their labor markets to the East, they anticipated some 10-12 thousand immigrants from Poland, for example, what they got is some one million and rising. Who knows what the figure will be when Germany opens this May?
The tale of two EU nations: What got in the way is the paradigm of hard-to-calculate policy externalities?

The current Kubilius Government of Lithuania adopted a very ambitious (no IMF help even sought!) and rather harsh austerity modeled on the reigning EU thinking in order to clean the Augean stable of Lithuania's finance wrecked fo by former Soviet nomenklatura hijacked governments that largely used EU money to place their cronies in plum jobs (to the exclusion of younger generation of course!), "prikhvatize" real estate and keep it from any taxation, etc. Consequently, Lithuania did not attract much Western direct investment so the productivity remained at low post-communist levels at the time when emerging Asia provides stiff global competition.

Before they realized what is going on and who was robbing them, the Lithuanian people got clubbered by this new ambitious austerity policy and the younger ones started emigrating in catastrophic numbers, seeing no future in the country whose GDP was reduced (from a low post-Soviet level) by some 20% by the combination of the old nomenklatura rent-seeking policies and the global Great Recession. Lithuania is hollowing out, unfortunately.

While the Lithuanians sobered rather in time, the Greeks have been continuing the party until the last bottle:)

Greeks won, Lithuanians lost! This is the tale of two integrating nations: they are even related since ancient times according to a Greek Palemonas legend.
Wishing you all the best, I remain

Yours Sincerely
Valdas Samonis, PhD, CPC
The Web Professor of Global Management(SM)
Institute for New Economic Thinking, New York City, USA
and Royal Roads University, Canada
Knowledge Management Editor, Transnational Corporations Review (TNCR)

Val Samonis, PhD, CPC, (val@samonis.com) has worked with top business, technology, and policy leaders in many countries, e.g. Nobel Laureates in Economics and Finance (Tobin, Arrow, Solow, Leontieff, Klein) as part of The Stanford Economic Transition Group; Polish Deputy Prime Minister L. Balcerowicz, Czech Deputy Prime Minister P. Mertlik; other top experts globally; lectured internationally on trade, investment, corporate governance/finance and enterprise restructuring, competitiveness, and ICT & knowledge management (KM) in the global economy; and has been extensively published.

He has been contributing research to The Joint (Business, Government, Academia) Committee on Corporate Governance (Canada); on FDI and knowledge economy clusters to Columbia University's VCC Center on Sustainable Investment; publishing at The Knowledge Board, the European Union's main KM think tank. Also, Val Samonis has been serving as a knowledge management expert in global business and advisor to a number of governments, international organizations, business, and academia on four continents; individually and via his virtual network organization SEMI Online (www.samonis.com) established since the mid-1980s.

Dr. Samonis managed and/or worked in international research and advisory ("blue ribbon") teams sponsored by The Business at the Bottom of the Pyramid Initiative (Cornell University and the University of Michigan); The African Capacity Building Foundation (G-7 countries and global institutions); The Virtual Consultation Forum for the First Inter-American Meeting of Ministers and High-Level Authorities on Sustainable Development; The Hudson Institute; World Bank; The OECD-World Bank Private Sector Advisory Group on Corporate Governance; USAID; CASE Warsaw; EU (ACE, TEMPUS); Soros Foundations; The Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI Bonn); ACCC/AUCC/CIDA (Canada); and a number of governments, e.g. in Baltic States, Poland, Canada. Dr. Samonis served as an advisor to the Czech Government, the Lithuanian Parliament, international organizations (e.g. UNCTAD, WTO, ITC), and multinational corporations (e.g. CARE, Medley Global Advisors, Andersen Consulting). Prof. Samonis has been teaching online, onsite, and his DualModeInstruction(SM) comprehensive and specialized courses, modules, seminars, training sessions, briefing sessions, occasional lectures, as well as doing research and supervising graduate (EMBA, MBA, MA, PhD, DBA) students at the University of Toronto (Canada), Royal Roads University (Canada), Lansbridge University (Canada, Asia), University of Maryland UC (USA), Center for University Studies (USA & Mexico), National American University, (USA and globally), Touro University International (USA and globally), Warsaw School of Economics (Poland), The International Trade Research Institute (Poland), University of Tasmania (Australia), The Center for European Integration Studies (Germany), Vilnius University and Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania), The Baltic Management Institute (Baltic states), Kyiv University (Ukraine), and other institutions internationally. Last but not least, Dr. Samonis is one of the two founding editors of the globally acclaimed Journal of East-West Business (Routledge), and has been serving on review and advisory boards of many other international scholarly journals in business/finance/high tech.

Category : Blog archive

LATEST NEWS FROM:

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THE BALTIC TIMES is an independent weekly newspaper that covers latest political, economic, business, and cultural events in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Born of a merger between The Baltic Independent and The Baltic Observer in 1996, The Baltic Times brings comprehensive, and timely information to those with an interest in this rapidly developing area of the Baltic Sea region.

Category : News

Social Democrats to step into elections with clear-cut program

- Posted by - (0) Comment

 
Lithuanian opposition leader
Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis

Interview by Linas Jegelevicius

Sixty-year-old Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis is one of the most seasoned politicians in the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas), and one of the Lithuanian Social Democrat Party’s cornerstones. Born in Sacha, in the Far East of Russia, into a family of Lithuanian exiles, it was only in 1958, during the  political thaw under the rule of the USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev, that his mother ventured to return to Lithuania, while his father was allowed to come back a year later. At secondary school Andriukaitis appeared to be a talented and keen pupil and athlete. He then entered Kaunas Medicine Institute in 1969, a big achievement for a child of exiles. In the Institute and thereafter, he got involved in anti-Soviet system activities. Detained by the KGB as a doctor, he was “exiled” again – this time 200 kilometers east, to a remote district of Ignalina. With Sajudis, the national movement for change building up, he joined the renewed party of Social Democrats and was elected its chairman during 1999-2001. Andriukaitis is a signatory of Lithuania’s Independence Act, a multi-term Seimas member and a candidate in the 1997 and 2002 presidential elections, and a vocal member of the Seimas’ Social Democrat fraction. Andriukaitis agreed to answer The Baltic Times questions.

Read more…

Category : News

Moscow, we have a problem in Lithuania

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Zoya Radzivilova

By Donata Motuzaite

IT’S NOT YOUR BUSINESS: Zoya Radzivilova showed her displeasure when asked about financing for her non-profit.
Why are non-profits financed by the Russkiy Mir foundation refusing to disclose their donors?

“Absolutely not,” Zoya Radzivilova replied when Re:Baltica called to ask for the names of foundations that finance her non-profit. Radzivilova is the director of the Vilnius-based youth theater group called Green Lantern. She also ran in two recent elections as a candidate for the Lithuanian Russian Union party. Radzivilova spoke fluent Lithuanian and didn’t hide her irritation with the question. The assistance she received abroad was no longer “Lithuania’s business,” she snapped back.

Read more…

Category : News

OPINIONS

Have your say. Send to:
editor@VilNews.com


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?

Read more...
* * *


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.

Read more...
* * *

* * *
VilNews
Christmas greetings
from Vilnius


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

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.

Read more...
* * *
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.

Read more...
* * *
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.

Read more...
* * *
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.

Read more...
* * *
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.
MADE IN WALES -
ENGLISH VERSION OF THE
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
VYTAUTAS LANDSBERGIS.

Read more...
* * *
IS IT POSSIBLE TO
COMMENT ON OUR
ARTICLES? :-)
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
www.anatanassileika.com

http://www.vdu.lt/lt/rasytojas-antanas-sileika-pristatys-savo-kuryba/
https://leu.lt/lt/lf/lf_naujienos/kvieciame-i-rasytojo-59hc.html
* * *

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
HERE.
* * *
EU-Russia:
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.

Read more...
* * *

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.

Read more...
* * *

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.

Read more...
* * *

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.

Read more...
* * *

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

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.

Read more...
* * *

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.

Read more...
* * *
Click HERE to read previous opinion letters >



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