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THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

29 March 2017
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Section 3: LITHUANIA TODAY

Vilnius' main street, Gedimino Prospektas, with The Cathedral, Belfry and Cathedral Square at the street end.

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Is Lithuania’s national bird getting lazy?
Many storks no longer
bother flying to Africa


Lithuania has the highest density of white storks in the world,
considered the country’s national bird.

Photo: T. Marčiukaitis
www.lietuva.lt

A new project will try to identify why the stork has changed migratory pattern. This writes Science Daily. The investigation has been launched by the University of East Anglia. Since the mid-1980s, a steadily increasing number of storks dropped their annual migration from northern Europe to their winter quarters in Africa.

Instead, both Portugal and Spain are now the final winter destinations for many storks, which feed on large open garbage dumps instead of crossing Sahara as they previously did.

The project will follow 15 adult storks in a year using GPS transmitters. The goal is to examine why they have changed their migratory behavior. GPS transmitters will reveal where storks forage for food and what movements they make between feeding areas.

Before 1995 there were only about 1000 wintering storks in Portugal whereas in 2008 there were over 10,000 wintering storks and the number continues to grow.

It is believed that a combination of climate change and the many open dumps that exist both in Portugal and Spain are among the factors why storks have dropped the long winter trip to Africa.

25 March is Lithuanian Stork Day! See: http://vilnews.com/?p=12622

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Category : Front page / Lithuania today

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By Vin Karnila
See my slide show:
KAZIUKO MUGĖ 2013
from Vilnius, Lithuania

CLICK: http://youtu.be/pamXdIGDm2A

Every year in every town throughout Lithuania, March starts off with the Kaziukas Fair, a ritual that marks the coming of spring, dedicated to St. Casimir, the patron saint of Lithuania. The festival originated in the 17th century, and by the 19th century it had developed into the fair and festival that is now known internationally.

During more ancient times many pilgrims came to Vilnius from various places for the celebration of St. Casimir's Day on the 4th of March which was the day of his passing. After services in the cathedral, the people lingered for a while. And it was this that gave rise to the Kaziukas Fair. Thousands of sellers, buyers and visitors came to these fairs which were held outdoors as they still are today.

I hope you enjoy the slide show of this year’s Kaziuko Mugė I put together for VilNews.com E-Magazine

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Category : Front page / Lithuania today

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SAINT CASIMIR
1458 – 1484


The young prince, Casimir
died at the age of 25 on the 4th of March 1484.

St. Casimir, Lithuania's only Saint, is celebrated on the 4th of March (his death day). This celebration is the origin of the nation's annual Kaziukas Fair.

After his death, St. Casimir was so cherished by Lithuanians that stories of his life and miracles quickly went beyond the church walls and spread through the population and became tales and legends, hence no wonder that he has been so much remembered and celebrated, since the 17th Century primarily through the Kaziukas Fair.

St. Casimir was a true Lithuanian by birth, descending from the famous and respected Gediminaitis clan. The Lithuanian grand dukes Kestutis, Algirdas, Vytautas the Great and others belonged to this family. St. Casimir's father was Kazimieras Jogailaitis who ruled Lithuania (later along with Poland) from 1447.

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Category : Lithuania today

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Paul Krugman, New York Times:
Is there any country where austerity policies have been a success?

The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has little good to say about the world’s austerity policies that we’ve seen during and after the financial crisis, policies that also were strenuously advocated by Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius.

Photo: Fred R. Conrad/
The New York Times

In an opinion article in New York Times this week, Mr. Krugman writes:

Today I’d like to talk about the frantic effort to find some example, somewhere, of austerity policies that succeeded. For the advocates of fiscal austerity — the austerians — made promises as well as threats: austerity, they claimed, would both avert crisis and lead to prosperity.

For the advocates of fiscal austerity — the austerians — made promises as well as threats: austerity, they claimed, would both avert crisis and lead to prosperity.

And let nobody accuse the austerians of lacking a sense of romance; in fact, they’ve spent years looking for Mr. Goodpain.

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Category : Front page / Lithuania today

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The 2012 Parliament

Political groups

     Social Democratic (38)
     Homeland Union (33)
     Labour (29)
     Order and Justice(11)
     Liberal Movement (10)
     Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania(8)
     The Way of Courage (7)
     Others (4)

The Seimas of the Lithuanian Republic (Lithuanian: Lietuvos Respublikos Seimas), or simply the Seimas is the unicameral Lithuanian parliament. It has 141 members that are elected for a four-year term. About half of the members of this legislative body are elected in individual constituencies (71), and the other half (70) are elected by nationwide vote according to proportional representation. A party must receive at least 5%, and a multi-party union at least 7%, of the national vote to be represented in the Seimas.

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Category : Front page / Lithuania today

Russia fumes as U.S. Senate passes Magnitsky law aimed at human rights

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A tombstone on the grave of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in jail, at a cemetery in Moscow. A new law blacklists Russians connected to the death of Magnitsky in police custody.

The Washington Post

MOSCOW — The U.S. Senate on Thursday repealed a trade sanction imposed 38 years ago to force the Soviet Union to allow Jews and other religious minorities to emigrate, replacing it with a modern-day punishment for human rights abuse that has enraged Russian officials.

The old law, one of the last vestiges of the Cold War, was called the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, named after a U.S. senator and a representative. The new law, passed 92 to 4, grants Russia and Moldova permanent normal trade relations, but it is coupled with the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, which honors a dead Russian. The law blacklists Russians connected to the death of Magnitsky in police custody and to other gross human rights violations, prohibiting entrance to the United States and use of its banking system.

“Today, we close a chapter in U.S. history,” Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), one of the prime movers of the Magnitsky bill, said during the debate on Jackson-Vanik. “It served its purpose. Today, we open a new chapter in U.S. leadership for human rights.”

How the United States can best promote democracy and human rights in Russia — and elsewhere — became a matter of agonizing and often bitter debate as pressure grew to repeal Jackson-Vanik. Not only was it widely considered a relic with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and freedom to emigrate from Russia, but, under the regulations of the World Trade Organization, which Russia joined this year, it also penalized American exporters.

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Category : Lithuania today


OPINIONS

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


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.

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* * *
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.

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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.

In such an environment, Europe's security architecture, which had been built and maintained for decades – and which the Baltic States are a part of – was seriously undermined by Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, followed by the destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine. Our relations became a hostage to the situation in Ukraine.

Rather than coming closer and nurturing the same values, a divide gradually developed between us.


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* * *

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.

In tacit recognition of that immutable fact, the word combination "the Russian world," which Putin had brought into political existence ever so triumphantly back in the Spring of 2014, in the immediate wake of the Crimea annexation, has been taken out of circulation completely quite months ago, along with any mentions of the mythological "Novorossiya" (the eight large administrative areas of South-Central and South-Eastern Ukraine which -- again, according to the glowing, fever-minded postCrimean Putin -- supposedly, as per some unverifiable historical sources, used to belong to pre-historic, pre-Russian Russia thousands of years ago).

Putin finds himself at this point in a terrible bind of his own making. The simple truth of the matter is this: Russia's economy is in a shambles, and in a free-fall. Its decline started at least three years ago, prior to Putin's escapades on the international arena, and subsequently was further exacerbated to a great degree by the drastic slump in oil prices and, of course, the imposition of the Western sanctions against Russia (and, in a remarkable development of breathtaking inanity, along the lines of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face, Russia's reflexive imposition of "food" sanctions against... itself). Simply put, Putin just cannot afford any more largescale military ventures abroad, if only on purely fiscal grounds. Additionally, he knows now he wouldn't be able to get away with anything minimally extracurricular there anymore

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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.

Russia supplies oil to the refinery via Druzhba pipeline since 1980. Stops delivery in 2006.

Lithuania builds remote terminal in the Baltic sea in 1999 at Butinge to export/import oil.

Upon joining EU in 2004, Lithuania is seeking independence from Russia energy sources. Up to 2014, Lithuania imports all gas and most oil and electricity needs from Russia.

In 2014, Lithuania completes construction of LNG terminal at Klaipeda and begins LNG import In 2018/9, Lithuania and Poland plan to complete pipeline connection for LNG transmission.

By end of 2015, a 700 MW electric powerline (Nord Balt) will connect Lithuania with Sweeden.

In late 2016, a 1000 MW electric powerline (LITPOL-Link) will connect Lithuania with Poland.

LNG and electricity interconnections with EU assures energy independence from Russia.

LNG and electricity imports allow energy sharing with Latvia and Estonia
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.

Lithuania took advantage of it very successfully because we soon realized that the assistance and support of the Nordic Countries could help us to play more a significant role in the European and transatlantic space as well as help us solve problems that were urgent for us and the entire region. Nordics, especially – Sweden, became the largest investors in Lithuania, not to mention their financial support for our states’ civil societies, democracy and other important processes which were particularly important to us as developing states that had restored their independence and statehood. And this is quite natural: Nordic and Baltic are united by common values, interests and clear goals. We cherish our freedom but we also care a great deal about everyone’s right to be free.

Several public opinion polls pointed out that Lithuanians believe Lithuania should be associated with the region of Northern Europe, and not with Eastern Europe. Northern orientation dominated in the cases of Estonia and Latvia as well. Orientation towards the North was even proposed by a foreign company that consulted the Government of Lithuania some years ago on image creation issues: in terms of economy Lithuania had rather be associated with the stable, advanced, socially responsible Nordic Countries than the post-soviet space.

Read more…
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    • “Zuokas Airline” - AIR LITUANICA - to take off in June:
      Is this sensible use of taxpayers' money in a time of crisis?

      Follow the debate in our VilNews Forum


      Ulf Hallan Richard Branson: "If you want to become a millionaire, start with one billion dollars and open an airline company."


      Aage Myhre My personal comment is that this smells like failure. We have over many years seen state owned airlines in the Baltic and Nordic countries, all bankrupt or on the brink of bankruptcy ... The funny thing is that the people of Vilnius seem to accept this without protests... I can only imagine what the reactions would have been in a western capital ... 

      I fully understand that Lithuania needs an airline, and I think the name is very good! But I think, with due respect, that a mayor should be active with totally different things and leave it to experienced business people from the aviation industry to take care of establishing a new airline ...


      Matilda Allen I am sorry, they're idiots! Well, maybe we have to look deeper? Paksas , Zuokas....? Money laundry?


      Aage Myhre to Matilda Allen: We see something similar with regards to how the Lithuanian government has handled the crisis over the last 5 years ... People in Southern Europe, where wages and living conditions are much better than here, take to the streets for massive protests against their governments austerity measures, while here in Lithuania people only bow their heads or leave ...


      Irene Simanavicius to Aage Myhre: You are 100% correct about the Mayor reaching out to the experts. Canadians almost paid billions for an aircraft carrier for our Military Defense, and because one aviation mechanic that lived in Houston who used to be part of our Air force and flew to the Arctic on a regular basis before he retired recognized the plane as NOT HAVING a twin engine. He mentioned it to someone and it got on the news and our politicians were RED FACED for being so stupid and falling for the marketing hype without thinking or asking the experts. It was just a shiny new brand new toy to them. The mechanic said when he flew in the severe cold one engine would completely seize up and if he didn't have the reserve, well...he wouldn't be here nor anyone he transported.(so many examples are out there from cocky politicians trying to make their mark):)


      Sergey Kanovich Well, owning 83% of the stake while also owning 1 billion LT debt is something worth of Nobel in finance and economy. I bet that this will be a flying tram... On the other hand it is an excellent PR stunt at someone else expense (guess who's:)) again. And if it fails like other projects failed - who cares...

      It also says that the MD of Air Lituanica without the wings is being paid 30,000 LT monthly salary. Municipality last year has allocated 0,5mio, then this year almost 3mio LT. It is not intended to be low cost airline. it is intended to suck monies out of already existing 1 billion LT whole... Unbelievable


      Eugene Rangayah  I have come across the a slide highlighting the proposal for the airline and noticed a Brian Joffe in the midst. Mr Joffe has been CEO of the Bidvest group in South Africa, which has a huge investment portfolio spanning the continent. With the support of people like him, with a good entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen, the airline could turn out to be a success. However, I do think that it is very ambitious growth that had been forecast over the next 5 years. It does not seem apparent that any consideration had been taken on the competition from low cost carriers which have positioned themselves at VNO!


      Arvi Vaalivonis This is more about the LT pride than business…

    • KLAIPĖDA OPINIONS
      17 – 24 July was our week with 'Focus on Klaipeda’. Below we bring a selection of comments and perceptions we were presented to from people who responded to us during the week.

      Aage Myhre
      Editor-in-Chief
      aage.myhre@VilNews.com

    • KLAIPĖDA MAYOR

      Mayor of Klaipeda,
      Vytautas Grubliauskas

      A few days ago I interviewed the new Mayor of Klaipeda, Vytautas Grubliauskas. and I am in the following repeating three of the questions and his answers.

      - Aage Myhre, Editor-in-Chief

    • 1) Klaipėda, and I personally, welcomes gay prides and gay communities


      QUESTION:
      Lawmakers in Lithuania's Committee on Legal Affairs, under the leadership of MP Petras Gražulis, voted recently to make even more stringent censorship legislation against homosexuals in this country, saying that they should be able to fine people for the "propagation of homosexual relations" in public. This has earned condemnation from EU groups who say this is just another step in furthering an ultra conservative agenda in Lithuania. How gay hostile can Lithuania become before someone starts appealing to normal common sense?

      THE MAYOR'S ANSWER:
      Opposite to any former mayors of Vilnius and Petras Gražulis himself, Klaipėda, and I personally, welcomes gay prides and gay communities. The whole idea of censorship is based on ridiculous logics, as psychologist O. Tapinas said once correctly "if you observe birds for a while you will become bird yourself". I think we are talking about so called "10% society" and the rest 90% can't be "persuaded" into homosexuality. Denial will only increase frustration in society.

    • 2) More transparent municipal services

      Klaipeda Coat of Arms

      MY QUESTION:
      I have heard said that if Lithuania's politicians and bureaucrats were half as interested in the country they are supposed to serve as in their own pockets, this would already have been a fine, prosperous country. Fraud, corruption, briberies, lack of teamwork and transparency have all too often become terms used while describing the way Lithuania is managed. Do you have any clean-up plans ready?

      THE MAYOR'S ANSWER:
      Clear bureaucratic rules, short deadlines, e-government, well managed outsourced functions and motivated workforce is a key to more transparent municipal services. I see lots of space for improvement in Klaipėda. Biggest expectations I have towards introduction of electronic tender system and HR department.

    • 3) Now it is time for pure living and jazzy souls
      The Mayor has background as a professional jazz trumpet player and singer.

      MY QUESTION:
      Finally, please let our huge, international VilNews readership know what are your visions and plans for Klaipeda and the Baltic Sea region over the years to come?

      THE MAYOR'S ANSWER:
      I will strive for Klaipėda to become an Eastern European avant-garde city in life quality and culture. For many years we had wrong priorities. Now it is time for pure living and jazzy souls.

    • An Irish success story in Klaipeda

      James A. Clarke, Managing Director of BNTP (Baltic Real-Estate Developments).

      James was only 21 years old when he came to Klaipeda and Lithuania for the first time. The building engineer who had grown up at an Irish family farm had come here to buy horses on behalf of his uncle, Ireland's largest horse-farmer.

      Something out here at the Lithuanian coast must have caught James' interest and curiosity even then, so after having travelled around and seen more of the world, he came back in 2003. And now the business got serious.

      That very same year, BNTP (Baltic Real-Estate Developments) was established in Klaipeda, where it successfully developed the first modern business park in Lithuania - Klaipeda Business Park. Since then BNTP has expanded its portfolio through developments and acquisitions to include commercial centres and land plots in Lithuania and Latvia.

      James has been very active and successful in his real estate endeavours since the start-up eight years ago.

    • Get rid of your taboos. We are all just human beings…

      Clifford Lont, Chairman of Klaipeda International Business Club, has moved the long way from Suriname in South America to a much colder climate here at the Lithuanian coast.

      At the end of my interview with Clifford Lont, I said to him:

      "Clifford, I have two remaining questions for you this Sunday afternoon here at the river edge in Klaipeda."

      Question number 1: "Do you have something to say to all the young people who are about to leave Lithuania in an emigration flow that seems to have no end?"

      Question number 2: "Have you experienced racism here in Lithuania, and what is in case your normal reaction?"

      It should be noted that Clifford does not seem to be much hampered by his dark skin colour, even here where so few stand just as much out as he does. He flirts lightly with the waitress in the outdoor restaurant where we sit. He smiles and nods to people passing by. He has obviously become a familiar face to many over the years he has lived here. Then he answers my questions:

      To question 1: "Do not run away. Because by doing that you contribute to emptying your home country for dynamic young people and good workers. Stay here. Those who dare to stay behind will be the winners in the end!"

      To question 2: "Well, let me first say that many do not know that there are black people also in South America. And to those with racist tendencies I would simply say: Get rid of your taboos. We are all just human beings..."

    • The biggest challenge is to find people willing to work at our shipyard

      Arnold Šileika, General Director of Klaipeda's Western Shipyard

      Arnold Šileika has been working in Klaipeda's Western Shipyard since 1989, first as foreman, then as the company's General Director for the last ten years.

      The company has now 2.000 employees, plus 1.000 more working on the territory for the shipyard on contract basis, totally 3.000 persons.

      "You have, in other words, seen the whole transition from having been Soviet-ruled to becoming a Western company," I state.

      And the director responds, still just as open and straight forward, that the biggest challenge has been to get workers to change their mentality from eastern to western ways of thinking.

      "But now, today, the biggest challenge is actually to find people who want to work here," he says. "This despite the fact that we pay almost twice as high wages as what the labour market in Lithuania in general offers. We actually have had to start to bring in workers from Bulgaria and Romania to fulfill our obligations," he says.

    • Sometimes I feel the authorities are more eager to create problems than to help out

      Gunnvald Laukhammer, General Director of Lido Marine

      Gunnvald Laukhammer is not exactly thrilled with the way the Lithuanian authorities often are acting.

      "Sometimes I feel they are more eager to create problems than to help out," he says. "Take as an example that our company Baltic Marine Furniture now for a long period of time has tried to get permission to extend the furniture workshop building in Kretinga. But instead of welcoming new jobs and investments with open arms, the local authorities seem to do what they can to thwart us, and we still have not received a building permit for a rather simple building extension, on our own land, after about two years of waiting. Now another winter may come before we can start building," he says.

      Gunnvald is not overexcited when he talks about the many bureaucrats and politicians he thinks Lithuania has too many of.

      "I simply no longer allow myself to get annoyed at how poorly the systems in this country often works," he says in his laconic, Western-Norwegian, manner.

      "It is, however, strange to see," he says, "that an investor and export company like ours is getting no support or help from the local Lithuanian authorities. I feel, on the contrary, that they sometimes are attempting to cheat and take unfair advantage of us and other foreign companies here."

      "For a company like ours, maybe not so large but still engaged in important export-oriented industry, bringing value to the country in terms of wages, taxes, purchase of equipment /materials and trade with other local business, etc., etc., the authorities should exercise benevolence to give us best possible conditions to ensure that companies like ours can evolve as quickly as possible. They should not create unnecessary delays and obstacles. We all loose on that."

    • At first glance the planned LNG terminal shouldn’t represent a negative risk for the environment

      Rokas Masiulis, General Manager of Klaipedos Nafta

      "Klaipedos Nafta plans the new LNG terminal to have a capacity of 2-3 billion cubic meters of gas per year, and that it will cost some EUR 200-300 million to build. Can you elucidate more on these figures? Maybe also exemplify a bit on how many gas tankers (ships) that will represent per year, etc.? And what about the environmental risks, pollution etc. having the LNG terminal located so close to Klaipeda city?"

      "The main parameters are so far preliminary, so this is not the time to speculate. In 3-4 months, with Fluor advice, we will determine the main parameters and then we will have a vision of the business plan.

      Environmental impact assessment will determine any existing environmental risk, pollution and other risks. It is planned to have EIA report ready by the end of 2012. At the first glance it shouldn't be a negative risk. There are several examples in the world where terminals are located very close to a city, i.e. Barcelona (Enagas)."

    • I was astonished to see what a nice area this is, when I first came here

      General Manager Tobias Ammon at Radisson Blu Hotel in Klaipeda.

      The Radisson Blu Hotel in Klaipeda has just celebrated its first ten years as the only truly international luxury hotel at Lithuania's beautiful seacoast.

      Two months ago the hotel got a new General Manager, German Tobias Ammon (35), and I am sitting down with him in the hotel's breakfast room this early July morning to let him explain to you, dear readers, why you should visit Klaipeda and his hotel – this summer as well as when the autumn winds already make the endless Baltic Sea waves powerfully roll in towards the port city shores.

      "I must admit that I had to ask where Klaipeda is when I was offered this position, but I was astonished to see what a nice area this is, when I first came here," tells the young manager, who now has moved here with wife and little daughter. He and his little family are now in full swing "testing Klaipeda as travel destination", and they are using their bicycles to do exactly that!

      "This area is really ideal for bikes, and we are now using our weekends to bike to the fantastic beaches in the outskirts of the city, riding through beautiful coastal pine tree forests, villages and over the wavy, green landscapes that characterise this area," he tells.

    • Lithuania turns its back on us

      The trick is, what to do about it or, for those of us living outside, why should we be concerned? As life goes on, roots are deepened overseas and Lithuania turns its back on us or makes no effort to either woo back the Diaspora, attract tourists or foreign investment (are these all culturally linked?) an "ace up Lithuania's sleeve" will be lost forever.

      To be sure, internally generated progress over the last 20 years has been great and the cultural life, in Vilnius particularly, makes life here in Cleveland, or almost anywhere else I can afford to live, pretty dull.

      Lithuania, however, given its precarious geographic position and small population needs to be exceptional in how it organizes itself and how it takes advantage of every scrap of resource (particularly human) that it can.

      Rimas Aukstuolis,
      Cleveland (American-Lithuanian)
      Vice President Structured Trade Finance, Fifth Third Bank

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



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

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

    • You are again doing something that Lithuanian officials ought to do

      I got the address of VilNews from my American friend. Best congratulations. You are again doing something that Lithuanian officials ought to do.
      Vilius Kavaliauskas, advisor of former PM Algirdas Brazauskas

    • Far away from home, we need a publication different from the mainstream news

      Congratulations with VilNews! Far away from home, we need a publication different from the mainstream news portals, which are often permeated with negative attitude and serving narrow, short-term interests. Your interest to history and the international dimension of Lithuania has made your previous publications a very engaging reading. I trust VilNews will remain enthusiastic, honest and insightful. Please rest assured that you have a dedicated reader in Africa.
      Paulius Kulikauskas, Nairobi, Kenya

    • We really needed something like this long ago

      Let me express my warmest greetings for such a wonderful job. I'm sure it will contribute a lot to creating a better image of Lithuania in the world. We really needed something like this long ago.
      Kristina Lukošiūtė, Lithuanian Business Confederation | ICC Lithuania
      Director of Corporate Affairs

    • Getting this undertaking off the ground is awe-inspiring

      Congratulations on the VilNews debut in this new, expanded format. It looks very good indeed, is highly informative, and I wish you much success with it. The sheer amount of effort and dedication that must have gone into getting this undertaking off the ground is quite awe-inspiring. You are doing an important, noble thing for the beautiful country you love. It is indeed an exceptionally interesting, genuinely fascinating country, with a turbulent past and difficult present -- a place that, despite (and in part, due to) the many still-unresolved issues of history, never is not-interesting, where "the past is not dead. It isn't even past," to quote Faulkner -- and as someone who also has been held under its thrall for many years, I share your desire to see as many people as possible the world over to discover it, come visit -- and fall in love with it, too, and keep coming back. My very best wishes to VilNews.
      Mikhail Iossel, Professor, Montreal, Canada

    • Informative and well-balanced news forum

      Your dedication to this e-magazine is remarkable. Thank you for providing such an informative and well-balanced news forum.
      Jurate Burns, Destin Library Director
      Destin, Florida, USA

    • On this very cold day I can feel the warmth of VilNews!

      Great! Congratulations! On this very cold day I can feel the warmth out of VilNews!
      Justas Dvarionas, Vilnius

    • Such a wonderful magazine

      Congrats on launching of such a wonderful online magazine. Wish you all the best.
      Sudhir Sajwan, India

    • I greatly appreciate you courage

      A hearty congratulations on launch of your new e-publication! I've already read parts of the first edition, and I look forward to future instalments. While I enjoy every bit of VilNews, I greatly appreciate your interest and courage in publishing articles on tough subjects. My connection with Lithuania? My grandfather emigrated to the US from a small village near Siauliai in 1912, and today I find myself as a member of the board of directors for the Auksuciai Foundation.
      Ted Shapas, Alamo, California

    • Aloha from Hawaii!

      Thanks for keeping me posted these last few months while I enjoy the winter in sunny and warm Hawaii. I want to congratulate you for your great new idea and wish you all the best with the project. You can count on me to be an avid reader.
      Aloha, Elena Bradunas Aglinskas

    • A fantastic achievement

      Very many congratulations on a fantastic achievement with producing such a very professional looking site and highly informative.
      Peter Swanson, (British-Lithuanian Society), UK

    • To achieve great results it takes fundamental, personal values, sharp vision continuous commitment, and hard work

      Some world leaders loud the phrases "yes we can" and "change you can trust (what change: good or bad?)"... However, what they fail to understand is that to achieve great results it takes fundamental, personal values, sharp vision, continuous commitment, and hard work. That is why they fail and You succeed!
      Romas Brickus, Cape Cod Island, USA

    • You did it!!

      This looks great and what amazing content! You did it!! I'm looking forward to contributing... Labai aciu for all you do for Lithuania,
      Marina Farrell, Denver Colorado, USA

    • We strongly oppose such "improvement" of business conditions from the government

      Rūta Vainienė

      The Government has given the go-ahead to the idea of the bankruptcy of natural persons, but it still needs to be endorsed by the Parliament. Therefore we warned the legislators once again that this move would be unsound since it would foster people's irresponsibility, provoke living above people's financial capacities and engender other negative results. The government is constantly speaking about improving the business climate; however, speeches remain speeches and, on top of that, authorities devise new regulations and sanctions for corporate executives. We strongly oppose such "improvement" of business conditions and propose other solutions.
      We reminded the policy makers about the inveterate flaws of the social security system (Sodra), also highlighting that sweeping changes need to be undertaken to amend the situation.
      More information on our activities can be found in our webpage www.freema.org.

      Rūta Vainienė
      President,
      Lithuanian Free market Institute



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