Archive for April, 2009
The BNS reports a candidate for Lithuania’s president Dalia Grybauskaite has maintained her lead in popularity ratings.
Should the presidential elections take place in Lithuania as early as Sunday, Grybauskaite would get the vote of 65.5 percent of respondents, revealed a public opinion poll commissioned by BNS and conducted during the month of April by RAIT pollster.
The BNS writes that other candidates placed far behind the European Commissioner. Former Prime Minister Kazimira Prunskiene (the first Prime Minister of Lithuanian Republic) would get 4.2 percent, Social Democrat Party Chairman Algirdas Butkevicius 3.1 percent, Labour Party candidate Loreta Grauziniene 2.5 percent and Order and Justice Party member Valentinas Mazuronis 1.8 percent of the respondent vote.
Some 3 percent of respondents said they would vote for Lithuanian Poles’ Electoral Action Chairman Valdemar Tomasevski, with the same amount ready to vote for Reserve Brigadier General Ceslovas Jezerskas.
The final list of presidential candidates was still unknown at the time the poll was conducted, thus it including candidates who didn’t sign in for the race. These candidates, however, got under 2 percent of the respondent vote.
The BNS reminds that some 8.7 percent of polled inhabitants said they wouldn’t vote in the elections, with 11.1 percent unwilling to come forward with their choice.
Counting the results of just those, who plan to vote in the elections, Grybauskaite’s lead would be even more evident with 71.8 percent of the respondent vote. Prunskiene would get the vote of 4.6 percent, Butkevicius 3.4 percent and Grauziniene 2.8 percent of respondents.
A private Lithuanian news radio Ziniu radijas and the Delfi.lt portal announcing that a Lithuanian male is treated in a Vilnius AIDS centre against an A type influenza virus. He checked into the clinics today, on the 28th of April.
It is announced that this male felt ill after retuning from Mexico on the 23rd of April. His samples were sent to London for further investigation. According to the announcement the doctors advised the petitioned to remain under surveillance in the hospital.
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As the Lietuvos Rytas daily writes stocks of anti-viral drugs costing more than 100 litas (EUR 29) have been swept out of Vilnius pharmacies, although the medication is only sold on prescription. Pharmaceutical companies believe this is due to the threat of swine influenza pandemic.
Staff of pharmacies said that the need for anti-viral drugs went up following reports about the new-structure flu virus discovered in Mexico.
According to the daily, among buyers of the anti-viral medication were persons whose families live in the United States, with plans to mail them by post or hand over in some other way.
GlaxoSmithKline Lietuva CEO Kestutis Cereska said the stock of Relenza medication was formed this year in accordance to the 2008 need, adding that it would suffice for 2,000 patients.
Rasa Jonusiene, CEO of the company Roche that manufactures Tamiflu, said that no applications had been received from state institutions for additional purchase of the medication. The current stock would be sufficient for treating just over 2,500 patients in Lithuania.
Meanwhile, the Extreme Situations Management Centre is now monitoring the global situation and issued a list of precautionary measures against the swine influenza.
Later this week, persons coming to Lithuania will be offered to fill out health declarations. Travellers running a fever or feeling bad will be directed to medical services at international airports.
The Kaunas Zoo will close up Vietnamese pigs and peccaries that belong to the same type of animals.
Staff of the zoo will be provided with special clothing and footwear to be worn in the premises of these animals. The outfits will be disinfected after every visit.
Souirce BNS and Lietuvos Rytas
As the BNS reported the defence ministers of the three Baltic States upon assembling in Estonia’s capital city Tallinn jointly expressed political will to better coordinate strategic military purchases, which may take on a future form of agreements on joint tripartite purchases of especially pricey high-tech military equipment, Lithuanian Defence Minister Rasa Jukneviciene said.
Jukneviciene, on the 24th of April attending a meeting of the defence ministers of the three Baltic States, didn’t go on to forecast as to the future outcome of the endeavour in question.
“This is certainly a long-term affair, what with the ample psychological, cultural and legal obstacles. But the declaration of political will was of key importance. Perhaps we should look to the example set by the Nordic countries, which have made it down this long and difficult path. This is no simple matter, it is difficult to coordinate certain domestic priorities, let alone a tripartite deal. But there is no alternative route, we must try to harmonize the planning and synchronize budget allotments,” the Defence Minister spoke.
Defence Ministry armaments directors of the three Baltic States – who assemble on a regular basis – will be authorized to carry out talks in view of implementing the joint endeavour, said the Lithuanian official.
“We’ve vested (respective bodies – BNS) to review our legal base so as to determine whether it is compatible, with no apparent contradictions among that of the different states. This is the starting point and the signal has been sent out,” said Jukneviciene.
The Lithuanian defence minister also expressed hope of this political will reaping results in the future, in the form of military purchases. Joint purchases, according to Jukneviciene, could take on that which is “connected with the air space and especially expensive purchases”.
“I would like to believe that this can be done. There are fields that we’ll keep separate. I’m referring there to the expert level – army chiefs should present their point of view and then the political level can overview the priorities. But this is a question of future prospects, as today neither of the involved states can say when to expect the end of (economic – BNS) difficulties. Though, of course, much can be put into motion already at this time, after all, purchase planning takes a few years,” the minister spoke.
The three ministers after the meeting signed a joint communiqué, which, in Jukneviciene words, reflects the agreement to pursue maintenance of current tripartite military projects amid the economic slump.
“Discussions took place in the atmosphere of understanding. Keeping existing priorities in place amid the economic downturn and defence budget clampdowns was one of the crucial points made in the communiqué. All three countries, as written in the communiqué, declare their dedication to stick to the commitment to earmark 2 percent of the GDP to the defence budget as soon as the crisis is behind us. But we also addressed the fact that we’re approaching a certain red signal line, which indicates a potential need to look over our functions, as the clampdown has to have its limits,” Jukneviciene spoke to the BNS.
It was of utmost importance to Lithuania to hear of the dedication by neighbouring Latvians and Estonians to keep the upcoming Baltic Battalion duty on the NATO Response Force in the first half of 2010 a top priority, Jukneviciene underscored to BNS.
As the BNS informed The prime ministers of the three Baltic countries agreed in Vilnius on 27th of April that an undersea power cable Swedlink would be built between Sweden and Lithuania.
Lithuanian, Latvian and Swedish energy companies should have equal shares in the project.
This is envisaged in a joint declaration signed by the three prime ministers.
According to the declaration, the decision was made in view of the progress achieved and of technological, financial and economic aspects.
“The Baltic countries have proved once more that they are capable of finding the solutions acceptable to all parties in pursuit of a common objective,” Lithuania’s PM Andrius Kubilius said to the BNS.
According to him, the route of the cable was not that important with the common Baltic market in place. The most important was to implement the project as soon as possible, he said. “This is a common interest of all three Baltic countries. Today’s agreement will benefit all countries involved in the project.”
European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs welcomed the agreement.
“I welcome this agreement. The new link will provide a framework for the Baltic and Nordic countries to trade in electricity. This is the first specific result of work undertaken by a high-level group on the connection of energy networks of the Baltic Sea countries formed by Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso last October,” he said.
Matthias Ruete, the Director General for Energy and Transport of the European Commission, told BNS on Monday that the integration of the Baltic markets was the most important thing, more important than the route of the cable.
“The most important thing is the market integration. The security of energy supply is relevant for all countries, hence this issue cannot be solved for the benefit of one country at the expense of the others,” he said.
The Prime Ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia also agreed to establish an open and transparent common Baltic electricity market based on Nordpool – the Nordic electricity market – model by 2013 at the latest.
“The creation of electricity market shall be launched with no delay, we shall bring the dominance of energy monopolies to a halt. Here, in Lithuania, we shall initiate actual, and not “paper” actions for the creation of electricity market immediately. We are already behind Latvia, which has advanced well in this regard. Free electricity market means functioning competition, a possibility for all users to choose an electricity supplier instead of buying electricity from one supplier, as it is now. The experience of Nordic countries shows that it will be advantageous for electricity users since competition will bring the prices of electricity down,” Kubilius said.
After the approval of economic recovery action plan by the European Parliament and the Council, the EU would be ready to allocate significant financial support of 175 million euros (LTL 604 mln) for this project, Piebalgs said. As outlined in the declaration, alongside the construction of the power link those funds would also be used for the improvement of transmission grids in the western part of Latvia.
The declaration also highlights the need to support preparatory works for the building of a power link between Lithuania and Poland and continue cooperation on the implementation of new Lithuania’s nuclear power plant.
As agreed by the Baltic Prime Ministers, a joint application for the EU funds would be submitted by May 15 and a study of the seabed would be conducted in summer. As projected, the power link with Sweden could be built in four or five years.
The participants of Vilnius conference also discussed other relevant regional energy issues.
The BNS quoted the Lithuania president saying that NATO’s newly elected secretary general, incumbent Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen understands what problems Lithuania is faced with.
NATO’s 60th anniversary summit in Strasbourg Kiel was successful from all points of view, the Lithuanian president told the press after the event came to a close on Saturday. “By electing a new secretary general NATO yet again demonstrated its unity. He (Rasmussen – BNS) is Lithuania’s very close and good friend, who well perceives our problems,” Adamkus said to BNS.
The BNS reminds that Adamkus had worked hand-in-hand with Rasmussen dealing with issues on regulating transit of Russian citizens through Lithuania, Adamkus said.
“We were on the phone practically every day, he was a mediator in attempting to tackle this issue and establishing some ground rules. So we’ve got a long-standing relationship, he has demonstrated his prudence and firm stance. I am certain he will make a good NATO secretary general,” Adamkus spoke to BNS.
Rasmussen should take the NATO wheel in the end of the summer, therein replacing Dutch Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
As the BNS writes the Lithuanian President Adamkus was critical of US President Obama’s speech delivered in Prague for its lack of novelty. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Usackas, on the other hand, said the speech was substantial, even if Obama didn’t specifically address the security of Lithuania and the Baltic States.
According to the BNS speaking to members of the press following the European Union (EU) – US summit the Lithuanian president said he’d heard various feedback on the speech, but felt openly critical himself.
“I expected more from the president’s speech as it was advertised and presented as one of America’s prime foreign policy speeches in Europe. I heard nothing in that speech of any new benchmarks or a complete makeover in America’s policy. (…) So in that sense, I feel differently than those who were blindly in awe, almost dizzy with the novelty of the information. I can appreciate the president’s speech, points were made, but personally, as one who follows foreign policy, I heard nothing new,” Adamkus spoke.
Obama did state the necessary, i.e. that the Americans will not succumb to principles, that it is necessary to hold talks with Russia and continue dialogue – one that is reciprocal, said Adamkus, however noting that the US president’s other statements had already been voiced.
Meanwhile, BNS continues Usackas found Obama’s speech consequential, even if it contained no specific provisions on the security of Lithuania and the Baltic countries. The US Head of State in his Prague’s speech reiterated Europe as being US’ closest partner, noted Usackas.
“Obama’s speech was general in nature, it contained key provisions on disarming and EU and NATO solidarity. I believe this speech to be an important step towards disarming and maintaining the EU-US partnership,” said the Lithuanian foreign minister.
Usackas was elated by thoughts in the US president’s speech, such as that all NATO states must have defense plans for new challenges ahead and that NATO’s security is undivided.
“What was very important, both in Obama’s speech in Prague and the NATO summit, was the notion that all members of the Alliance should share the same level of security,” said Usackas.
Usackas noted to the BNS that the United States in the EU-US summit in Prague voiced support to the EU Eastern Partnership Initiative – a new stage in relations binding the EU and six Eastern European countries from Belarus to Georgia.