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Lithuanian report Lithuanian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-09-05 07:36:03
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Ethnic Poles protest at new law

Protesting at the presidential palace, Lithuania’s ethnic Poles are outraged at a new language law they say will leave them bottom of the class. It means ethnic minority schools will have to teach more subjects in Lithuanian. Currently, most learning in Lithuania’s Polish schools is in Polish.

The fear is that switching languages will put the ethnic Polish community at a disadvantage. “We have gathered here to show that Lithuanian authorities have made a mistake, that we now have more difficult conditions for our study,” said protester Dariusz Staczkevicz, a student in Vilnius.

Authorities argue the changes will help minorities integrate. Concessions have been made, they say, but school boycotts or strikes will not be tolerated.  Lithuanian Education Minister Gintaras Steponavicius said: “That protests are being expressed publicly is normal for democratic society, but, on the other hand, we will not tolerate that schools would be involved by inviting parents and kids not to attend classes.” Ethnic Poles are the largest minority in Lithuania. Warsaw has long complained about their treatment and says it will raise the schools matter with Vilnius.


Lithuanian GDP growth to slow down in Q3

The Lithuanian branch of a bank Swedbank, based on July 2011 data, suggested that the gross domestic product (GDP) growth might slow in the third quarter because annual growth in retail trade contracted rapidly, and there were signs of contraction in industry.

However, retail trade, excluding motor vehicles, continued its rapid increase and in July was 7.3% higher than a year ago. Despite the very negative global environment, consumer expectations declined by only two percentage points in August. Expectations and consumption may be boosted by the European Basketball Championship, which is being held this month in Lithuania, informs LETA/ELTA.
Second-quarter unemployment, in line with our expectations, was at 15.6%, a sharp decline from 17.2% in the first quarter. This trend is likely to continue in the second half of this year, and we expect unemployment to be at 14.3% by year's end. The rapidly increasing labour force activity rate suggests that the increase in emigration has not had a significant impact on the labour force. Annual GDP growth in the second quarter of this year slowed to 6.3% (6.5% in the first quarter), mainly due to completion of the restocking process.


‘Kidnap and murder’ arrest in missing Vitalija case

Authorities in Lithuania have arrested a man on suspicion of the kidnap and murder of missing Peterborough mum Vitalija Baliutaviciene. Cambridgeshire Police revealed yesterday that a 46-year-old man was in custody in Lithuania and is awaiting extradition to the UK following his arrest on Wednesday afternoon in the town of Taurage. Police suspect that the 29-year-old was snatched after leaving her home in Burmer Road, New England, three weeks ago today but they are holding out hope that she may still be alive.

The hunt for the Lithuanian mother-of-one has now seen police centre their search on woodland outside the village of Holme, near Yaxley. But Detective Inspector Martin Brunning, who is leading the investigation, said that what they know of Vitalija’s lifestyle had led them to ask the Lithuanian authorities to make the arrest on suspicion of kidnap and murder. He said: “The whereabouts of Vitalija are still unknown and her disappearance is still the subject of ongoing interest to us. “But the factors surrounding her disappearance led me to conclude to the appropriate course of conduct in arresting that man for the offences stated.

“From what we know of Vitalija’s lifestyle, she has not made contact with her 10-year-old son since the day of her disappearance, and for these reasons we have asked the Lithuanian authorities to make this arrest. “But I would like to stress that we are keeping an open mind as to whether Vitalija is still alive.” Vitalija was last seen on Friday, August 12 leaving her home at 5.10am as she headed off to work at One Call Recruitment, in Lincoln Road. She was due to walk down Thistlemoor Road and Lincoln Road, before being picked up in Geneva Street, but never arrived. She was reported missing when she failed to return home that evening. At this stage police is not revealing any information about the identity of the man, who is a Lithuanian national or whether he has any connection to Vitalija. DI Brunning did say that the man was in custody in his home country but he would not be questioned by police there. He will instead wait until extradition procedures have been completed so Cambridgeshire Police can question him.

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