THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA
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According to the Lithuanian Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Anti-fraud and Audit Algirdas Semeta (picture), banks are not paying enough taxes to the country's budget and financial transactions are exempt from value added tax (VAT). "When you buy water, you pay VAT, whereas [when you purchase] financial services you do not. Thus the tax burden on the financial sector is less than on the others," says the commissioner. The commissioner proposes to introduce at least 0.1 percent tax rate for trade in shares and bonds, informs LETA/ELTA, referring to Lietuvos rytas.
However, President of the Vilnius Stock Exchange Nasdaq OMXArminta Saladziene says that such decision would force Lithuanian business and operations to move to the other markets where such tax is not applicable. Meanwhile, Semeta says that such concerns are exaggerated. Experts at Vilnius Stock Exchange estimate that within a year Lithuania's budget would receive around LTL 4.5 million (EUR 1.3 million) out of this tax. Semeta claims that the revenue could reach tens of billions of litas if transactions outside the stock exchange were also included. How would this charge affect ordinary bank customers? So far the banks are reluctant to comment but they hint that the service may get more expensive.
The farm where my wife’s great-grandfather lived
before the deportation to Siberia.
By Aage Myhre, Editor-in-Chief
Egle, my wife, comes into my study here in Vilnius as I am preparing the articles about the deportations to Siberia. "You should tell the story of my great-grandfather," she says. Because she, like almost all other families in Lithuania had relatives who were sent to Siberia. Many never returned, as was the case with her great-grandfather.
"Before the war, he lived and worked in the U.S.," Egle explains, "there he was exposed to an accident where he lost one leg. He therefore came back to Lithuania during the interwar years. When the war came, he had unfortunately also lost his wife and son, so he lived on the family farm with his daughter in law and his grandchildren."
"Suddenly, one day, men from the NKVD, Stalin’s gruesome special unit, came to the farm. My great-grandfather’s daughter in law managed to escape, hiding in the woods by the house. She thought they would not send an old, one-legged man and small children to Siberia. But she was wrong... The agents threw the youngest daughter to the dog house, leaving her to what could have led to a merciless starvation and certain death, whereas the two other children and my great-grandfather were brought to the waiting truck. When she saw this, she also ran to the truck and thus became one of the many who were deported.
“On the train, already deep into Siberia, my great-grandfather died,” Egle tells with tears in her eyes. "Fortunately, the train made a short stop, long enough for the daughter in law and her two children to bury him there, next to the railroad track. The three were years later all able to return to Lithuania from their Siberia-stay, but could not forget my great-grandfather's sad fate, so some years later they returned to Siberia to try to find his grave. They succeeded, incredible enough, to find the place where they had put him, at the railway track. They dug up the remains, put the bones into plastic bags, then into a large suitcase and flew home to Lithuania - with my great-grandfather in the suitcase. Here in Lithuania his remains were buried in accordance with good Catholic customs.
“My great-grandfather had finally come home."
By Gene Emmer
Any parent living in Vilnius, particularly near the center understands one of the biggest problems living in the city. What to do with the kids in the winter?
Yes, there are a few children's gyms at the big shopping malls. But except for that, when the snow comes and the sun leaves, there is very little for kids to do in the center of the city. Why is Vilnius so children-unfriendly?
When our son was an infant, we struggled to find restaurants with baby high chairs. Very few bother to have them. Changing tables in the toilets? Forget it. This is standard in many parts of the world yet practically non-existent in Vilnius. I would have to take a towel with me and put him in the sink to change his diapers. As he grew up, we struggled to find places where we were comfortable if he cried. Now that he is a bit older, we struggle to find restaurants with kid friendly menus offering foods such as pizza, French fries, sausages, etc. The only central restaurant we are aware of that offers a kid playing area and changing tables is Kibininn http://pinavija.lt/
In other countries children friendly restaurants are big business. Chuck E Cheese (http://www.chuckecheese.com/) is a popular international Pizza and Entertainment chain, with over 500 locations. On their website they write “Chuck E. Cheese’s is the ultimate place Where A Kid Can Be A Kid®. And parents can enjoy every moment.” Chuck E Cheese has an amusement park-like atmosphere with food, drinks, games, singing robotic animals and fun, fun, fun.
VilNews e-magazine is published in Vilnius, Lithuania. Editor-in-Chief: Mr. Aage Myhre. Inquires to the editors: editor@VilNews.com.
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