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THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

21 October 2017
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Archive for July, 2012

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http://plbe.org/

The Lithuanian World Community (Lithuanian: Pasaulio lietuvių bendruomenė or PLB) is a non-governmental and non-profit organization established in 1949 that unifies Lithuanian communities abroad. The Constitution of the Lithuanian World Community declares that it consists of all Lithuanians living abroad. The Community is active in 36 countries, including representation in Lithuania.

On February 7, 1932 a fund to support Lithuanians in foreign countries was established in Lithuania, making one of the first attempts to maintain closer ties between the Lithuanian diaspora and Lithuania. Three years later the first Lithuanian World Congress was held in Kaunas, which established the Lithuanian World Union. The mission of the Lithuanian World Union, also drafted during the Congress, called for a cultural and economic union of Lithuanians in different countries. However World War II and Lithuania's occupation interrupted the work. Many educated Lithuanians fled to western countries, hoping to avoid approaching Soviet repressions. In 1946 the Lithuanian community in Germany established the Lithuanian Deportees Community, which aimed at consolidating and helping Lithuanians in Germany. In 1949 Lithuania's Supreme Liberation Committee (Lithuanian: Vyriausiasis Lietuvos išlaisvinimo komitetas or VLIKas), established in 1943, delivered the Lithuanian Charter and the Constitutions of the Lithuanian World Community, which solemnly pledged to support and unite all Lithuanians outside Lithuania's borders and promote Lithuanian culture and language abroad. The Lithuanian Charter also proclaimed:

  • a nation is a natural community of people;
  • a human has birthright to freely profess and promote his nationality;
  • a Lithuanian remains a Lithuanian everywhere and always;
  • his parents maintained the Lithuanian national consciousness; a Lithuanian relays it to the generations yet unborn, to remain alive;
  • a language is the strongest tie to the national community;
  • the Lithuanian language is the most precious national honour for a Lithuanian;
  • national solidarity is the highest national virtue.

In the 1950s many Lithuanians from Germany moved to the United States, Canada,  Australia, South America and other countries, where they established new branches of the Lithuanian Community. 1955 saw elections to the first Lithuanian Community Council in the U.S., which allowed better coordination among the different Lithuanian groups. In 1960 Lithuanians in the U.S., among them future President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus, collected about 40,000 signatures and petitioned the United States Government to intervene in the ongoing deportations of Lithuanians to Siberia conducted by the Soviets.

In August 2006, President Valdas Adamkus attended the opening ceremony of the World Lithuanian Community's 12th Seimas. Adamkus proposed new goals for the Community as it was facing new challenges which had to be accepted and dealt with because a new wave of Lithuanians had left their homeland since the declaration of independence in 1990.

Structure
The Lithuanian World Community consists of local Lithuanian Communities around the world, currently numbering 36. The highest body is the Seimas of the Lithuanian World Community. Its main goal is to periodically adopt and review the Community's strategy and program. Each country sends at least one representative to the Seimas, which gathers every three years (1958-1997 it gathered every five years). The Seimas also elects the Community Council to deal with day-to-day issues. As of 2009, thirteen Community Councils had been elected:

  • 1958 in New York City. Elected Chairmen Jonas Matulionis and Dr. Juozas Sungaila
  • 1963 in Toronto (Canada). Elected Chairman Bachunas-Bačiūnas
  • 1968 in New York (USA). Chairman Juozas J. Bachunas-Bačiūnas, after his death Stasys Barzdukas
  • 1973 in Washington D.C. (USA). Chairman Bronius Nainys
  • 1978 in Toronto (Canada). Chairman Vytautas Kamantas
  • 1983 in Chicago (USA). Chairman Vytautas Kamantas
  • 1988 in Toronto (Canada). Chairman Dr. Vytautas Bieliauskas
  • 1992 in Lemont, Illinois (USA). Chairman Bronius Nainys
  • 1997 in Vilnius. Chairman Vytautas Kamantas
  • 2000 in Vilnius. Chairman Vytautas Kamantas
  • 2003 in Vilnius. Chairman Gabrielius Žemkalnis
  • 2006 in Vilnius. Chairwoman Regina Narušienė
  • 2009 in Vilnius. Chairwoman Regina Narušienė
  • 2012 in Vilnius. New chairperson to be elected.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithuanian_World_Community

Category : Lithuania in the world

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Chinese tourists have discovered Lithuania!

In tiny Lithuania (which is not exactly Europe’s #1 tourist destination), there are droves of Chinese tourists running around the city.

Read more...

Category : News

Record-breaking first half of the year at Vilnius Airport: June – the best in history

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The passenger traffic at Vilnius International Airport (VIA) has shown a steady upward trend since the previous year, and the result of June this year was the best throughout all years of the airport’s operation.

In June 2012, the airport handled 228.6 thousand passengers, which surpassed the result of June 2011 by 23%. Until now, the best monthly result was achieved in August 2008, when the number of passengers soared to 224.6 thousand. 2,775 flights were operated in the first summer month, showing a 7% growth.

The growth in regular flights accounted for 25%, while charter flights witnessed a 15% increase. The most popular June destinations were London, Frankfurt, Riga, Antalya, Copenhagen and Moscow.

971 thousand passengers were handled in six months this year, showing a 36% growth in passenger numbers compared to the same period in 2011.

“The successful results of the first half of the year reached the peak on 15 June, when Vilnius Airport beat the record of the passengers handled in one day: 4,498 passengers departed from Vilnius Airport and 4,530 passengers arrived at Vilnius Airport, totalling 9,028 passengers handled by the airport,” Tomas Vaišvila, VIA Managing Director, commented the results. “Most passengers arrived from Riga – 371, while the number of departing passengers was the highest on London route – 490. A large part of passengers – 1834 – travelled to holiday destinations – Sicily, Cyprus, Turkey, and Greece.”

Until now, the highest number of passengers handled in one day was 8,682 passengers on 17 August 2008.
In 2007 Vilnius Airport handled 1,717 million passengers, 2,048 million in 2008, 1,308 million in 2009, 1,373 million in 2010, and 1,715 million in 2011. It is expected to reach a 25% growth in passenger traffic in 2012. 20 airlines operate regular flights from Vilnius Airport on as many as 39 direct routes.

Category : News

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This September a new permanent exhibition for business – EXPO Center of Lithuanian Enterprises – will open its doors to passengers at Vilnius International Airport (VIA), which will be available to every departing passenger after completing aviation security screening procedures.

Situated next to the Business Lounge of Vilnius Airport, EXPO Center will provide Lithuanian enterprises with an opportunity to present their activities, thus enhancing their recognition in Lithuania and presenting themselves to foreign guests.¨

Having thoroughly acquainted with a good or service on display, professional consultants working at EXPO Center will seek potential partners and useful contacts for the enterprises showcasing themselves in the exhibition. It is the first service to business of this type in the country.

“To find foreign partners, Lithuanian entrepreneurs often choose a traditional way – to attend exhibitions abroad. Our idea is to open an exhibition at home, at Vilnius Airport, witnessing a great number of departing and arriving Lithuanian and foreign entrepreneurs. What is more, the foreigners who have already visited Lithuania and got familiar with the country and culture are more prone to develop their business relations with local business representatives. The EXPO Center will contribute to a more active entrance of Lithuanian enterprises to new export markets and ensure the spread of contacts in the best interest of businesses,” says Martynas Čepelis, Director of EXPO Center.

The passenger traffic shows a steady upward trend at Vilnius Airport. It is expected to handle 2.15 million passengers this year and 2.5 million passengers in 2013. According to the data available at the airport, as many as 46 percent of passengers travel on business purposes.

“We believe that the EXPO Center will not only be of great use and interest to entrepreneurs but also to every airport passenger. The exhibition will present Lithuania as a country providing top-quality products and high added-value services and will give an opportunity to foreign entrepreneurs to discover new business ideas and to establish useful contacts,” says Simonas Bartkus, Director of Commerce Department at Vilnius International Airport.

Some 70 companies from varying Lithuanian businesses and industrial sectors will have a chance to display their goods and services in the EXPO Center exposition at a time. It is estimated that 10-15 thousand people could visit it in a month.

Category : News

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Here are some other hot topics that are discussed in VilNews Forum right now…

***

TOPIC 1:
Dear VilNews readers, we need your help.
We will be soon be presenting some stories about the victims that were executed in the NKGB–MGB internal prison here in Vilnius between 28 September 1944 and 16 April 1947, buried in secret mass graves in the territory of the Tuskulėnai Manor (picture).
____________________________

TOPIC 2:
HEALING WOUNDS BETWEEN LT-AMERICANS AND HOMELAND LITHUANIA
____________________________

TOPIC 3:
The controversial case of Juozas Ambrazevius Brazaitis' (1903-1974) remains being returned to Lithuania.
____________________________

TOPIC 4:
OUR GOVERNMENT HAS FAILED
says the new President of Lithuanian Industrialists' Confederation, Robertas Dargis, about the government’s handling of the financial crisis in Lithuania.

____________________________

TOPIC 5:

OPINION: The Polish-Lithuanian tension will continue, until Poland will treat Lithuania again as a sovereign and independent country.
____________________________

TOPIC 6:
I LOVE LITHUANIAN GIRLS!
____________________________

 TOPIC 7:
Message to all U.S.-Lithuanians:
COME HOME, YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU
Category : Opinions

- Posted by - (1) Comment

Absolutely awesome little campaign bringing friendliness to Vilnius


Mark SPLINTER 

 
LGBT friendly Vilnius
Vilnius' spots that aren't afraid to declare they're LGBT friendly
By: LGBT friendly Vilnius 


Grant Gochin Is it safe for people to be out there? 

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/565130_657271185_1878126519_q.jpg
Mark SPLINTER it's safe in the tourist areas, the sticker is about celebrating and advertising the friendliness that already exists. But even in the tourist areas a gay kiss causes a scandal and if some knucklehead sees it then you might get into some trouble. also there are some horrible violent comments on the internet, but that's inevitable.  


Rimas Pileika What is? Store, bar?  


Hannah Shipman Something positive for tolerance.  

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/565130_657271185_1878126519_q.jpg
Mark SPLINTER so far, restaurants and bars are participating. Latest news - the council have invoked a law - You have to put the sticker on the inside of the door not the outside. This law doesn't seem to be enforced very strictly against other door stickers. Anyway they will just change the stickers to inside and that's all. 

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/161099_543149041_978625920_q.jpg
Hannah Shipman Cafes and restaurants are displaying stickers to indicate that they are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) friendly. It is refreshing to hear something positive on this subject rather than the tirades of Petras Gražulis.  

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/565130_657271185_1878126519_q.jpg
Mark SPLINTER 
https://www.facebook.com/lgbtfriendlyvilnius

LGBT friendly Vilnius

LGBT FRIENDLY VILNIUS - spontaneous social cause aimed to make Vilnius a better place. ; ] 


Kenny Kaunas Sweet! DJs and a beer garden, perhaps?  

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/275055_1009973024_1554790557_q.jpg
Grant Gochin It's a pity that people have to put up signs saying they are NOT homophobes.

Category : Speakers corner!

- Posted by - (0) Comment

Absolutely awesome little campaign bringing friendliness to Vilnius


Mark SPLINTER 

 
LGBT friendly Vilnius
Vilnius' spots that aren't afraid to declare they're LGBT friendly
By: LGBT friendly Vilnius 


Grant Gochin Is it safe for people to be out there? 

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/565130_657271185_1878126519_q.jpg
Mark SPLINTER it's safe in the tourist areas, the sticker is about celebrating and advertising the friendliness that already exists. But even in the tourist areas a gay kiss causes a scandal and if some knucklehead sees it then you might get into some trouble. also there are some horrible violent comments on the internet, but that's inevitable.  


Rimas Pileika What is? Store, bar?  


Hannah Shipman Something positive for tolerance.  

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/565130_657271185_1878126519_q.jpg
Mark SPLINTER so far, restaurants and bars are participating. Latest news - the council have invoked a law - You have to put the sticker on the inside of the door not the outside. This law doesn't seem to be enforced very strictly against other door stickers. Anyway they will just change the stickers to inside and that's all. 

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/161099_543149041_978625920_q.jpg
Hannah Shipman Cafes and restaurants are displaying stickers to indicate that they are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) friendly. It is refreshing to hear something positive on this subject rather than the tirades of Petras Gražulis.  

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/565130_657271185_1878126519_q.jpg
Mark SPLINTER 
https://www.facebook.com/lgbtfriendlyvilnius

LGBT friendly Vilnius

LGBT FRIENDLY VILNIUS - spontaneous social cause aimed to make Vilnius a better place. ; ] 


Kenny Kaunas Sweet! DJs and a beer garden, perhaps?  

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/275055_1009973024_1554790557_q.jpg
Grant Gochin It's a pity that people have to put up signs saying they are NOT homophobes.

Category : Opinions

Video from the “Pilies Pedestrian River” in Vilnius Old Town

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All week we have been having scattered thunderstorms in Lithuania. Thursday 12 July we had a storm come through late afternoon that dropped “a little” rain on Old Town.

Rather than tell you about it I thought it would be better to show you what Pilies Gatve looked like after this “little shower”.

For a rough translation of the title and comment:
Das ist lietus in Vilnius / 2012 07 12 pilies gatves upe (This seems to be half German and Half Lithuanian) - This is rain in Vilnius 12 July 2012. Pilies Gatve river

2012 liepos 12 pilies gatve plauke kedes ir stalai. Katinu nebuvo. O pati liutis buvo idomi. Pasirodo tos kedes ir stalai buvo cili picos nuosavybe. Ha! – 12 July 2012 on Pilies Gatvė swam chairs and tables. Cats were not there. And (the) rain was interesting. It appears that (the) chairs and tables were (the) property of Čili Pizzeria. Ha!

Read more…

Category : Front page

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The alleged spies face
7 to 15 years in prison.

Authorities in Belarus say they have arrested an undisclosed number of people accused of spying on behalf of Lithuania.

The ex-Soviet nation's top security agency, which is still known as the KGB, said Thursday that the arrested individuals are Belarussian nationals who have already confessed to trying to obtain defense and security information about Belarus and Russia.

Lithuanian foreign ministry spokesman Mindaugas Lasas was quoted by the RIA Novosti agency as saying that the allegations were "not true."

Since 1994, Belarus has been ruled by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko. Over the years, his government has arrested and imprisoned dozens of opposition activists, government critics and journalists.

Belarus has often accused Lithuania, which is part of the European Union, of supporting Lukashenko's opponents.

“All those arrested are citizens of Belarus,” Artur Strekh, a deputy head of the KGB’s information and public relations department, said

Category : News

The first time I heard the name of Žagarė

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Žilvinas Beliauskas

By Žilvinas Beliauskas
Manager of Cultural Projects
Vilnius Jewish Public Library 

The first time I heard the name of Zhagare (Žagarė) it was probably like for many Lithuanian kids related to cherries – Zhagre cherrys. Big and juicy ones. There were some of such trees in my parents’ orchard. Zhagare liqeuer came later. Maybe even later than mom‘s notice about St. Barbara of Zhagare (Barbora Žagarietė) from 17th century, though not beatified yet but very revered in Samogitia (Žemaitija) as a real saint in charge of many miraculous healings. And that was it for many years until it turned out that the family of my wife comes from Zhagare. During the first walking tour with her I enjoyed marvelous streets of wooden houses along river Shvete, radiating strange and sadly atractive kind of romantic atmosphere of brick houses around the Central Square. The architecture prompted straightforwardly that they used to belong to Jews and association with the direction sign by the road at the entrance to Zhagre showing the way to the Graveyard of the Jewish Genocide Victims made this atmosphere still blurry ghostly, not quite tangibly yet but bringing a distant smell of its “echos and absences” to use Roger Cohen phrase in his letter to the forthcoming event this Friday.

Read more…

Category : Front page / Litvak forum

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...
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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...
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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...
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