VilNews

THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

26 April 2017
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Section 8: THE WORLD IN LITHUANIA
TODAY: THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FROM ALL THE WORLD ARE AGAIN LIVING IN LITHUANIA!

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I continued to make aggressive,
unflinching eye contact with her
while she described her mother's
passion for cooking the traditional Lithuanian dishes
“kugelis”and “balandeliai”
By Paul Cataldo
American Songwriter in Lithuania
 
It was the biggest musical tour of my life. Over 42 thousand kilometers and 175 performances ranging from Boston, MA ,South to North Carolina, West to L.A. California and straight North to Alaska. I towed along with me my (13ft) fiberglass camper which I have named Maybelle. The layout of the camper is very efficient and comes equipped with a two burner gas stove, sink, toilet, shower, and bed. On April 1st, 2015 the tour began. I recall feeling bright eyed, sprightly and vigorous...light even, ready for the wind.…

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Category : Front page / The world in Lithuania

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The Kaunas mosque has become
an important contact point for old
and new Muslim communities
 

By Daiva Repečkaitė
http://www.daivarepeckaite.com/en

The community of Kaunas mosque provided an opportunity for anyone interested to go inside the unique Tatar mosque of Kaunas, to see a Muslim prayer, look around and enjoy food from various countries and cultures. The mosque has become an important contact point for old and new Muslim communities, the latter consisting of foreign students, workers, spouses of Lithuanians, expats and local converts. The 3000-strong Tatar community has been around for centuries and is can help their sisters and brothers in faith with accessing Lithuanian institutions, networking and, most importantly, feeling at home in this relatively homogeneous European society. Other functioning mosques are in distant small towns. Vilnius doesn′t have a mosque, and the current mayor, Remigijus Šimašius (liberal) made it clear that he will not do anything in his power to help establish one, even though, when Syrian and Iraqi refugees are resettled according to the EU scheme next year, the Muslim community in Vilnius will grow. There is not a single Shia mosque (most Shia Muslims are apparently from Azerbaijan), but Shia believers can attend Sunni services.

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Category : Front page / The world in Lithuania

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Lithuanian pajamas business

By Aage Myhre

When thinking about fashion centers, one generally thinks about Milan, Paris, London or New York and not about Vilnius or Lithuania.  However Vilnius is home to many innovative designers. It is also the manufacturing hub for several European brands. For many, Vilnius is attractive due to the combination of European quality and lower costs compared to many other European countries.  To find out more, I had a chat with American Gene Emmer, living in Vilnius since 2008, owner of the company that makes the Kajamaz adult footed pajamas.

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Category : Front page / The world in Lithuania

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African living in Vilnius:

Lithuanians should learn tolerance

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In an effort to build a closer relationship with the locals, Lithuania’s African community appealed recently to the Vilnius municipality, delfi.lt writes. They asked them to provide forums where they could introduce young people with their culture and to advise mixed-families facing difficulties. According to the community’s manager Chijioke Nkemka, the municipality already promised such places in Vilnius. 

“We are planning outreach centers where young people could play pool, socialize and do many other activities together which would not cost a lot of money. Also, we would have a place to invite students because currently we ourselves are visiting Lithuanian schools – we do not have the locations where to develop these positive activities” ,said Nkemka, who has been living with his family in his wife’s native Lithuania for the past 5 years. 

READ FULL ARTICLE IN “THE LITHUANIA TRIBUNE”

http://www.lithuaniatribune.com/27947/african-living-in-vilnius-lithuanians-should-forget-occupation-and-learn-tolerance-201327947/

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Category : The world in Lithuania

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Lifestyle of an American-

Finnish-Lithuanian family

image009 (8)

LITHUANIAN-AMERICAN ATTORNEY MARIUS JAKULIS JASON
WITH HIS WIFE LIISA LEITZINGER FROM FINLAND

By Liisa Leitzinger

Our family has lives in Finland, US and Lithuania. All these countries are different, Finland organized and safe, USA multicultural and full of opportunities and Lithuania full of charm and change. The best quality for the money in life is in Lithuania, but also in mental level, Lithuania is still the country where individuals can make a change, individual matters and has a voice. Benefits of a small country.

I came to Lithuania from Finland 20 years ago. Raising three boys, freelance work as a Vilnius city guide for Finnish tourists and keeping an eye on little guest house Mano Liza kept me busy at the beginning, later I got Bachelor’s Degree in history from Vilnius University and was a co-founder of Vilnius International School. Little shop Dancemakers for dance clothing and shoes together with my brother was another niche I found in Lithuanian market. As kids got older and businesses established, I got a bit homesick of Finland and started spending time more there studying for Master’s Degree in Helsinki University. I never get tired of comparing my efficient Scandinavian home to my often bohemian adopted country.

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Category : Front page / The world in Lithuania

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More and more young people

are now moving to Vilnius

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It has in recent years been focused a lot on young people who emigrate from Lithuania. But the fact is that now there are many young people who travel here to study and work. A dynamic, vibrant environment of young people from many countries is already in full swing, and increasing numbers of youngsters are finding that Lithuania again is about to become the exciting melting pot this country was for centuries. 

Foreign youngsters in Vilnius now also have their own Facebook page:

See: https://www.facebook.com/groups/209733365824002/

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Category : Front page / The world in Lithuania

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PENNSYLVANIA-LITHUANIA
It is said about Pennsylvania that it was like a Western Lithuania about a 100 years ago, after hordes of people had left their home country to work in the Pennsylvanian coal mines. Carol Luschas is one among thousands of their descendants now committed to restore the close contact between this U.S. state and Lithuania.

Read below her story about Kaunas.

Hordes of Lithuanians came to Pennsylvania to work in coal mines in the late 1800s
The Pennsylvanian “Knights of Lithuania” keep on fighting 
Movie Star Charles Bronson (1921-2003)
Son of a Lithuanian coal miner from Pennsylvania
 

Kaunas seen through
Pennsylvanian glasses

By: Carol A. Luschas, Kutztown, Pennsylvania

Lithuania is a remarkable country with a fascinating history! It is located in the geographical center of Europe. One can discover buildings from the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, and Art Nouveau periods. There are unique museums, enchanting castles, specialty shops, quality restaurants, and affordable accommodations. The Lithuanian landscape is dotted with picturesque lakes, small rolling hills, and thick lush forests.

I decided to embark on a trip to Lithuania to visit my boyfriend, Mindaugas, and his mother, Irena. I spent the majority of my time in Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania…

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Category : The world in Lithuania

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VilNews has earlier written about the extraordinary Italian – Lithuanian relationship since 1323, mentioning that Vilnius over centuries  was known as ‘The world’s most Italian city outside Italy’ and ‘Europe’s most Baroque city north of the Alps’. Today we tell a contemporary Italian-Lithuanian story, penned by Erica (30) from Bologna in northern Italy. You can also find her story in Italian, at her blog https://mybaltics.wordpress.com/

http://mccltd.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/ironwolf1.JPG

Amazing Italian influence
on Lithuania since 1323

http://vilnews.com/?p=8389

Searching for the Holy Grail? Come to Vilnius!

http://vilnews.com/?p=8381

Santa Claus and Lithuania’s Grand Duchess buried in same South-Italian basilica

http://vilnews.com/?p=8127

Erica’s Lithuanian story:

In 2009 I spent the spring time in Lithuania. I fell in love with this country, and here is why.

My name is Erica, I am 30 and I write from Italy. Three years ago I got the chance to be selected within the European program “Marco Polo” [1] for an internship as translator at Via Hansa Vilnius UAB [2], a major tour operator.

For my first real European experience I was confronted with a world which I honestly barely knew. So I left with two huge suitcases and a very superficial knowledge of Lithuanian language and culture with 15 fellows flying to Vilnius, which that year happened to be the “European Capital of Culture” [3], a lucky and appreciated coincidence.


Vilnius through an Italian camera lens
Photo: Erica from Bologna, northern Italy

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Category : The world in Lithuania

Lithuania has a proud 700-year history as home to numerous nationalities

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Text: Aage Myhre

International Lithuania got its “flying start” already in 1323, when Grand Duke Gediminas founded Vilnius as Lithuania’s capital city, and immediately decided to invite merchants, craftsmen, bankers, farmers, and soldiers from all Europe to come to the new capital, guaranteeing all freedom of beliefs and good working conditions. Vilnius became international, though with less of German or Scandinavian influence, as one could expect, rather influenced by Rome – greatly different from the other two Baltic capitals.

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Category : Front page / The world in Lithuania

I found my family!

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My first meeting with my family in Lithuania
- we had been searching for 90 years

By KR Slade

It's Saturday, 28 May 2005, 6pm, in Lithuania. I've just returned to my room in the capital city, Vilnius, from my nine-hour day-trip to Kaunas, Lithuania's second-largest city. Kaunas had been the capital of the first Republic of Lithuania, during the inter-world-wars period, and is 90+ percent ethnic-Lithuanian -- compared to 60 percent in Vilnius. Lithuania is, now and since 1990, in its ‘third’ republic, again free, after its second -- and fake --‘Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic’, when it was occupied and annexed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Kaunas is called ‘the heart of Lithuania’, especially by the people of Kaunas. Today is a very special day for my family in Lithuania: the fifth anniversary of the death of our family’s Cardinal Vincentas Sladkevicius.

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Category : Front page / The world in Lithuania

Drunk as a skunk!

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By Barbara Isherwood

I thought I would share this with you all. What an exciting country Lithuania is!!

Yesterday evening, as I looked out of my dining room window, I noticed a lot of smoke. It was very close to a new house being built by one of the Iki brothers but behind a huge lilac tree so I could not properly see what the cause was.

I watched for a while and realised that the smoke was actually moving position. I knew I would not be happy until I had found out what was going on.

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Category : Front page / The world in Lithuania


OPINIONS

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


  • Comments to our article 'Look to Norway'

    http://vilnews.com/?p=5843



    "During my visit to Lithuania in January 1991, while the Soviet troops surrounded the Parliament and the TV tower in Vilnius, our Norwegian delegation brought with us a letter from Oslo's mayor confirming that Oslo was ready to be Vilnius' first sister city in the west. Later, many Lithuanian and Norwegian cities, municipalities and counties have established friendship agreements. But in most cases only with words, little action."
    Aage Myhre

  • And that was how things started during the collapse of the USSR and the dawn of Lithuanian freedom!



    I was invited to serve as the economic reform expert (actually to lead the effort) by The International Baltic Economic Survey Commission, a "blue ribbon" advisory formed by the Swedish PM Mats Karlsson; we worked out of the Swedish PM Office with very frequent travel for field work to the Baltics, esp. Estonia and Latvia in my case.
    However, the Lithuanian reforms were since 1992 effectively hijacked (using the brainwashed, Sovietized older voters, esp. vulnerable to propagation of the Soviet kolkhozes by Brazauskas, etc) by the Soviet nomenklatura for a reason: to create a Russian/Latin American style oligarchic, mafia-style system that would fully allow bolsheviks to continue rent-extracting policies (A. Kruger and M. Voslensky term) and to rule Lithuania for the nomenklatura benefit (beggaring the people of course) long after the USSR collapse as they obviously did with minor exceptions since, almost totally excluding younger (nationally and Western minded) generations from any governance roles in the society and brutally driving them to leave the country.
    Valdas Samonis

  • The same people who were used to the Soviet style of thinking and work ethic kept their jobs, even if they were doing nothing or even doing harm


    Former president and prime minister of Lithuania, Algirdas Brazauskas. who died last year

    The idea is excellent, but the problem is that the majority of the people in the positions where the change could be initiated were from the Soviet times. The fact that Brazauskas was really good at public relations and was able to retain his power for so long meant that the same people who were used to the Soviet style of thinking and work ethic kept their jobs, even if they were doing nothing or even doing harm. To them, changing the way how things are done meant undermining their own position, so of course they did nothing.

    My hope is that with time the things will clean up, and these changes will occur. It will take time, though.
    Tautietis

  • Greetings from Venezuela!

    Dear Mr. Aage Myhre:

    Kindest regards from Venezuela! First of all, let me introduce myself: my name is Vytenis Folkmanas and I'm writing you from Venezuela. As you might realize from my name, I'm son of a Lithuanian emigrant who arrived with his parents and sister to Venezuela in 1948. I'm very proud of my Lithuanian heritage and actually I'm the President of the Lithuanian Community of Venezuela, in an effort to rescue the traditions, customs, and language within our small community.

    I'm also very happy to be one of the worldwide privileged receiving VILNEWS. Right now, I've just finished reading your wonderful article "LOOK TO NORWAY" and it makes me sadder because I compare it to what is happening here in our country Venezuela and find a similar situation. Although our country could be one of the richest countries in the world just thanks to oil income, the internal situation doesn't reflect it AT ALL!!! I think that it couldn't be worse!! As you mention the situation with Lithuania and how Norway has tried to help them, here is the same. Our country is seeking help and support from countries as Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, Libya, and China in economic, social, energetic, tourism and industrial topics instead of from developed countries. Just with the tourism, Venezuela could gain the same or more income than with the oil production, as we have one of the most blessed countries, geographically speaking, in the world, but our governments have always been blind to this industry (tourism)...That is just a small example. How I wish that they could see the example of Norway, Finland, and other countries, especially if they offer their cooperation. Here we say that is a "false pride" not to receive support and advice from others!

    And speaking of Lithuania, is also true , specially the comment of Mr Sliupas when he wrote:

    "One of my American colleagues, who was sincerely trying to help Lithuania, said "Sending e-mail to Lithuania is like sending it to the black hole of the universe. Everything goes one way and nothing comes back". That is so true. I myself wrote emails to Lithuania, to the ministries, etc offering to help them promote Lithuania as a tourist destination here in Venezuela, as here is almost as unknown country and never had no answer at all. Is very sad, and I love everything what Lithuania means.

    Once again, thank you very much for sending me your VILNEWS, many regards and I remain here at your disposition!

    Vytenis Folkmanas

  • Listen to Scandinavian advice, not arrogantly assuming that we the Lithuanians know best



    Hello Aage
    I have just read the latest edition of VilNews, thank you for another good job. I agree with your editorial comments. In particular: "Being a Norwegian, I believe Norway and the other Scandinavian countries would have been willing to stretch to great lengths to provide help and advice for the crisis–hit Lithuania and the two other Baltic States. But they had to be asked. Our Lithuanian leaders should refrain from arrogance and avoid ignorance by seeking advice where good help and advice is to be found, domestically and internationally. Can they do that, there is every reason to foresee a bright future for this nation."

    I have two comments to make on that. First, I believe that even now it's not too late to ask the Scandinavian countries for help. But you are exactly right: the Scandinavian countries would want in return a guarantee that whatever help they give will be used wisely, listen to Scandinavian advice, not arrogantly assuming that we the Lithuanians know best. Closely linked to this is the second thing: no one wants to give help if they think it's going to be wasted corruptly. Lithuanians need to be able to give the Scandinavian aid-givers a chance to supervise what is going on, the right to inspect and audit, to make sure that the aid is being used as agreed, and not to build the villas of mafiozai and corrupt politicians and public servants on land that they have misappropriated from public forests and lakefronts.

    Which brings me back to my key theme (sorry if I'm repetitious): Lithuania will not make much serious progress until bigger efforts are made to stamp out bribery and corruption.

    Gintautas Kaminskas
    Wollongong, Australia

Easier to obtain an audience with the pope, than with a minister for foreign affairs of Lithuania

You have lived long enough in Lithuania and must realize that many of the problems of the present day Lithuania are due to their reluctance to learn from the Western countries or accept advice from Lithuanians who lived and studied in the West. The relative success of Lithuania after World War I was largely due to the replacement of Russian educated officials by those who got their degrees in the West. My own father was the first Lithuanian with a degree in forestry from a Western university and introduced major reforms in the forest management, which survived even during the Communist occupation.

Alas, after 20 years of restoration of independence to paraphrase Kipling "The East is East, the West is West and the twain shall never (so far) meet". I spoke to a number of Lithuanians with degrees from top Western universities, who don't want to return to Lithuania - according to them, the "natives" know everything better.

I might add that for me it was easier to obtain an audience with the Pope, than with a Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lithuania.

Ambassador Algirdas Žemaitis, Vilnius – Rome



Event calendar
What's up in Lithuania's international community?

The event calendar will be constantly updated with event programmes etc from the different clubs, chambers and organisations dealing with the international community in Lithuania. Each organisation will be presented by logo, address, email, telephone – and of course the name/time of the event in question :)

Let us know about upcoming events in YOUR organisation!


IMPORTANT TELEPHONES AND ADDRESSES

Lithuania's single number for all kinds of emergencies is 112. You can call from mobile phones, fixed phones and public pay phones. Never forget this number:


BELOW:
The Foreign Ministry's list of embassies in Lithuania:


CLICK HERE:
http://www.urm.lt/index.php?-1069647731



CONSUL GREETINGS

TODAY: From Krister Castren, Honorary Consul of Finland in Klaipeda

VilNews will over the coming months invite a number of honorary consuls from different countries to write commentary articles. What we want to learn more about is what characterizes the cooperation between the countries the consuls represent and the towns/districts the consuls live in here in Lithuanis. We would also like to know more the consul's connections with Lithuania, and we are eager to listen to the his or her thoughts and opinions on current topics and news from Lithuania.

First to write, is the Honorary Consul of Finland to Klaipeda, Mr. Krister Castren.
Read his story here...



Short stories

Here you will find short stories from and about the expatriate society in Lithuania.

The stories might be short reminders about events going to take place, it might be stories with reference to some funny or sad experiences, or other information-in-brief that the editorial team for this section wants to make known to our local and worldwide readers.



VilNews e-magazine is published in Vilnius, Lithuania. Editor-in-Chief: Mr. Aage Myhre. Inquires to the editorseditor@VilNews.com.
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