30 November 2015
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About VilNews

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VilNews is back!

Our publication VilNews has been inactive over the past two years. But here we are again, ready with a fresh new issue. We wish old and new readers worldwide warmly welcome!

“New” VilNews consists of 18 sections that you can immerse yourself into by clicking on the link buttons at the top of each page.

If “old” VilNews had been printed on paper, it would become a book of more than 7,000 pages of totally unique reading material about historical and contemporary Lithuania. This huge material is still available. All old and new articles are sorted by topics, in our 18 sections.

The VilNews concept is a unique combination of informative articles, social media (blogs and commentaries) and background articles about Lithuanian people, history, culture, politics, tourism, economy and much more. We do very much appreciate feedback and comments from our readers. Good debate is always healthy!

I wish you some good reading, and please do not hesitate to contact us!

Say what you mean – mean what you say – don`t be mean

Aage Myhre

Category : About VilNews / Front page

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The term Fourth Estate refers to the press,
both in its explicit capacity of advocacy
and in its ability to frame political issues.

VilNews was several years ago established as a newsletter for Vilnius International Club (founded 2001). Over the years, the newsletter got attention and readers from a worldwide audience far beyond the spheres of the club, and grew over the last couple of years from having a few hundred readers to an estimated readership of more than 10 000 at the end of 2010.

Against this background, it was in September 2010 decided that VilNews should be separated from the club and established as a separate corporation and publisher, with the aim to turn the newsletter into an online e-magazine with a broad scope of issues and coverage.

Today's vision for VilNews is to develop and maintain an e-publication that should  be viewed as a good, strong, independent, democratic and outspoken Fourth Estate media in and for Lithuania, founded on professional journalism and reflected comment articles.

VilNews as e-magazine shall continue the line of the newsletter, to be critical of the negative that is still going on in this country, while increasingly trying to find positive stories and interesting angles on events and characteristics from both past and present. Another goal is that VilNews shall builds bridges between Lithuania and its many extraordinary fine diasporas around the world. The global nation called Lithuania represents so much more than the country itself, and VilNews will always do its utmost to connect people with some sort of interest in Lithuanian affairs around the globe.

VilNews has got amazingly great support and response from readers around the world. This fact makes us confident that we will continue to develop VilNews' position as

a leading English-language e-publication from and about Lithuania!

Category : About VilNews

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VilNews code of ethics

Each of our editors and editorial staff members are required to be familiar with these ethical standards, and to base their practice on this code. The ethical practice comprehends the complete journalistic process from research to publication.

1. The Role of the Press in Society 

1.1. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Information and Freedom of the Press are basic elements of a democracy. A free, independent press is among the most important institutions in a democratic society.

1.2. The press has important functions in that it carries information, debates and critical comments on current affairs. The press is particularly responsible for allowing different views to be expressed.

1.3. The press shall protect the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press and the principle of access to official documents. It cannot yield to any pressure from anybody who might want to prevent open debates, the free flow of information and free access to sources. Agreements concerning exclusive event reporting shall not preclude independent news reporting.

1.4. It is the right of the press to carry information on what goes on in society and to uncover and disclose matters, which ought to be subjected to criticism. It is a press obligation to shed critical light on how media themselves exercise their role.

1.5. It is the task of the press to protect individuals and groups against injustices or neglect, committed by public authorities and institutions, private enterprises, or others.

2. Integrity and Responsibility 

2.1. The legally responsible editor carries personal and full responsibility for the material contained in the publication, no matter the form.

2.2. Each editorial desk and each employee must guard their own integrity and credibility in order to be free to act independently of any persons or groups who - for ideological, economic or other reasons - might want to exercise an influence over editorial matters.

2.3. Members of the editorial staff must not accept commissions or offices, financial support or dual roles creating conflicts of interest in relation to their editorial tasks. Be open on matters that could influence the credibility of editorial staff members.

2.4. Members of the editorial staff should not use their position to achieve personal gains.

2.5. A member of the editorial staff cannot be ordered to write or do anything, which is contrary to his or her convictions.

2.6. Reject any attempt to break down the clear distinction between advertisements and editorial copy. Advertisements intended to imitate or exploit an editorial product, should be turned down, as should advertisements undermining trust in the editorial integrity and the independence of the press.

2.7. Never promise editorial favours in return for advertisements. The material is published as a result of editorial considerations. See to it that the vital distinction between journalism and commercial communication is being maintained upon employment of web links and other connective means.

2.8. It is a breach of good press conduct to let sponsorship affect editorial activity, contents and presentation.

2.9. Members of the editorial staff may not accept assignments from anyone but the heads of the editorial staff.

3. Journalistic Conduct and Relations with the Sources 

3.1. The source of information must, as a rule, be identified, unless this conflicts with source protection or consideration for a third party.

3.2. Be critical in the choice of sources, and make sure that the information provided is correct. It is good press practice to aim for diversity and relevance in the choice of sources. If anonymous sources are used, or the publication is offered exclusivity, especially stringent requirements must be imposed on the critical evaluation of the sources. Particular caution should be exercised when dealing with information from anonymous sources, information from sources offering exclusivity, and information provided from sources in return for payment.

3.3. Good press conduct requires clarification of the terms on which an interview is being carried out. This also pertains to adjacent research.

3.4. Protect the sources of the press. The protection of sources is a basic principle in a free society and is a prerequisite for the ability of the press to fulfil its duties towards society and ensure the access to essential information.

3.5. Do not divulge the name of a person who has provided information on a confidential basis, unless consent has been explicitly given by the person concerned.

3.6. In consideration of the sources and the independence of the press, unpublished material as a main rule should not be divulged to third parties.

3.7. It is the duty of the press to report the intended meaning in quotes from an interview. Direct quotes must be accurate.

3.8. Changes of a given statement should be limited to corrections of factual errors. No one without editorial authority may intervene in the editing or presentation of editorial material

3.9. Proceed tactfully in journalistic research. In particular show consideration for people who cannot be expected to be aware of the effect that their statements may have. Never abuse the emotions or feeling of other people, their ignorance or their lack of judgment. Remember that people in shock or grief are more vulnerable than others.

3.10. Hidden cameras/microphones or false identity may only be used under special circumstances. The condition must be that such a method is the only possible way to uncover cases of essential importance to society.

3.11. The press shall as a rule not pay sources or interviewees for information. Exercise moderation when paying a consideration for news tips. It is incompatible with good press practice to employ payment schemes designed to tempt people, without due cause, to invade the privacy of others or to disclose sensitive personal information.

4. Publication Rules 

4.1.Make a point of fairness and thoughtfulness in contents and presentation.

4.2. Make plain what is factual information and what is comment.

4.3. Always respect a person's character and identity, privacy, race, nationality and belief. Never draw attention to personal or private aspects if they are irrelevant.

4.4. Make sure that headlines, introductions and leads do not go beyond what is being related in the text. It is considered good press conduct to reveal your source when the information is quoted from other media.

4.5. In particular avoid presumption of guilt in crime and court reporting. Make it evident that the question of guilt, whether relating to somebody under suspicion, reported, accused or charged, has not been decided until the sentence has legal efficacy. It is a part of good press conduct to report the final result of court proceedings, which have been reported earlier.

4.6. Always consider how reports on accidents and crime may affect the victims and next-of-kin. Do not identify victims or missing persons unless next-of-kin have been informed. Show consideration towards people in grief or at times of shock.

4.7. Be cautious in the use of names and photographs and other clear identifiers of persons in referring to contentious or punishable matters. Special caution should be exercised when reporting cases at the early stage of investigation, cases concerning young offenders and cases in which an identifying report may place an unreasonable burden on a third party. Identification must be founded on a legitimate need for information. It may, for instance, be legitimate to identify someone where there is imminent danger of assault on defenceless individuals, in the case of serious and repeated crimes, if the identity or social position of the subject is patently relevant to the case being reported on, or where identification protects the innocent from exposure to unjustified suspicion.

4.8. Reporting on children, it is considered good press conduct to assess the implications that media focusing could cause in each case. This also pertains when the person in charge or parent, has agreed to exposure. As a general rule the identity of children should not be disclosed in reports on family disputes or cases under consideration by the childcare authorities or by the courts.

4.9. Be cautious when reporting on suicide and attempted suicide. Avoid reporting that is not necessary for meeting a general need for information. Avoid description of methods or other matters that may contribute to provoking further suicidal actions.

4.10. Exercise caution when using photos in any other context than the original.

4.11. Protect the credibility of the journalistic photograph. Photos used as documentation must not be altered in a way that creates a false impression. Manipulated photos can only be accepted as illustrations if it is evident that it in actual fact is a picture collage.

4.12. The use of pictures must comply with the same requirements of caution as for a written or oral presentation.

4.13. Incorrect information must be corrected and, when called for, an apology given, as soon as possible.

4.14. Those who have been subjected to strong accusations shall, if possible, have the opportunity to simultaneous reply as regards factual information. Debates, criticism and dissemination of news must not be hampered by parties being unwilling to make comments or take part in the debate.

4.15. Those who have been the subject of an attack shall have the chance to reply at the earliest opportunity, unless the attack and criticism are part of a running exchange of views. Any reply should be of reasonable length, be pertinent to the matter and seemly in its form. The reply can be refused if the party in question has rejected, without an objective reason, an offer of presenting a contemporaneous rejoinder on the same issue. Replies and contributions to the debate should not be accompanied by polemic editorial comment.

4.16. Beware that digital publication pointers and links could bring you to other electronic media that do not comply with the Ethical Code. See to it that links to other media or publications are clearly marked. It is considered good press conduct to inform the users of interactive services on how the publication registers you, and possibly exploits your use of the services.

4.17. Should the editorial staff choose not to pre-edit digital chatting, this has to be announced in a clear manner for those accessing the pages. The editorial staff has a particular responsibility, instantly to remove inserts that are not in compliance with the Ethical Code.

The VilNews Code of Ethics are identical with the:


Ethical Code of Practice for the Press (printed press, radio, television and net publications). Adopted by the Norwegian Press Association November 23th, 2007.

Category : About VilNews

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As long as VilNews exists,


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       Professor Irena Veisaite, Chairwoman of our Honorary Council, has 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.


Category : About VilNews

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Welcome to readers in
20 new countries!

VilNews keeps getting new readers in ever more countries. Since October, twenty new countries have ‘signed up’. It's incredibly exciting to see that Lithuania and ‘the Lithuanian’ is becoming increasingly better known in all corners of the world. We wish all our new readers welcome!

You are all invited to send us news and other matters that are related to Lithuania in the country or region where you live!























Category : About VilNews / Front page


Have your say. Send to:

Doing business in Lithuania

By Grant Arthur Gochin
California - USA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *
Read Cassandra's article HERE

Read Rugile's article HERE

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

Greetings from Toronto
By Antanas Sileika,
Toronto, Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Vygaudas Ušackas
EU Ambassador to the Russian Federation

Dear readers of VilNews,

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

* * *

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

Lithuania's Energy Timeline - from total dependence to independence

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

* * *

Love and suicide in Lithuania
By Dr. Boris Vytautas Bakunas,
Ph. D., Chicago, USA

A young Lithuanian policeman is found slumped in the seat of his car shot dead, his weapon clutched in one hand - in his other hand his mobile phone containing a text message he had received: "I love another" (report by psychologist Andrius Kaluginas).

According to the World Health Organization, Lithuania now has the highest suicide rate in the world. Psychiatrists, sociologists, and journalists often link Lithuania's skyrocketing suicide rate to social instability, poverty, high unemployment, and alcoholism.

What has gone largely unnoticed is that one of the leading causes of suicide among people under the age of thirty is unrequited love.


* * *
"Of all that is written, I love only
what a person hath written with
his blood. Write with blood, and
thou wilt find that blood is spirit."

- Friedrich Nietzsche

I edited, wrote a book ...
and felt it had to be called

I am Mindaugas Peleckis, a Lithuanian writer, journalist, music and mythology researcher, and I believe it's fair to say that this book was really written in blood.

This metaphor came to me while listening to MK9 in Vilnius, 2014, when Michael Contreras let the blood go down his wrists and marked his manifesto with it. This made a big impression on me, investigating music and philosophy at the time.

At that moment, everything became clear to me: all the people who talked to me, all the music I listened to, all the mythologies - everything comes from blood, or it's nothing at all.

The main aim of the book is therefore to show modern mythologies from different backgrounds, and highlight that we are all blood's creatures.

I chose to present interviews and other material about people from around the world - including the post-Soviet bloc (Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Poland), Europe (Ireland, Sami lands, Finland, UK, Austria, Sweden, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Greece), the USA, and Asia (Malaysia). Not all people who talk here and give us their "blood" are musicians: some are philosophers, writers, artists and other interesting people with a unique view of our world.

A special introduction to Written in Blood is provided by Thomas Bey William Bailey, and the book also includes a special epilogue by world famous philosopher and photographer Alphonso Lingis.

Mindaugas Peleckis (born 1975 in Lithuania) has written and published more than a dozen books: first the encyclopedia of Lithuanian rock music (2011), a mythological study, a book on new religious movements,
Poetry, and novels. Educated as a professional journalist and philosopher, he especially tries to investigate modern music which he loves very much. Written in Blood is his first book in the English language. M. Peleckis' independent cultural journal (started in 2012) is also part of his mission to spread a different kind of information available in cultural discourse.

* * *
Greetings from Venezuela!
By Vytenis Folkmanas,
Architect, Cracas, Venezuela

With great joy and enthusiasm I have just received the news that Vilnews will be restarted - now in its second stage. I've been for many years an avid reader of all items on the web page and on the VilNews Facebook pages.

I am constantly sharing the articles with the Lithuanian Community of Venezuela, from where I'm writing and from where I send Aage and his team my best wishes and success in this new release of VilNews

* * *
Greetings from Australia!
By Jura Reilly
Victoria, Australia

Approximately 10,000 Lithuanians arrived in Australia after World War 2 from refugee camps in Germany. Previously, a small number arrived in the 1800s and then later after World War 1. Lithuanian communities were established in the capital cities of Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney. These cities host the bi-annual Lithuanian Days Festival on a rotating basis. Smaller communities were established in Albury, Brisbane, Canberra, Geelong, Hobart, Newcastle, Perth, and Wollongong.

* * *
Greetings from Texas!
By Bernard Terway,
Texas, USA

When one thinks of Texas, the least expected thing that would come to mind is that there are actually Lithuanians in Texas! It turns out that some of the earliest settlers from Lithuania came to Texas with their Prussian neighbors and established themselves here. Most thought they were German, probably because Texas was highly populated by Germans. Recently, within the past 25 years or so, it has been established that there were Lithuanians among the German population.

Here is a link to a video about them:

There is also a historical marker about the first Lithuanians in Texas:

There are also two large, active groups of Lithuanians, on in Houston, Lithuanian American Community of Houston and one in San Antonio.

* * *
Click HERE to read previous opinion letters >

VilNews e-magazine is published in Vilnius, Lithuania. Editor-in-Chief: Mr. Aage Myhre. Inquires to the
Code of Ethics: See Section 2 – about VilNewsVilNews  is not responsible for content on external links/web pages.
All content is copyrighted © 2011. UAB ‘VilNews’.