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Weekly News from Lithuania, April 10


April 10, 2020            

NATO Foreign Ministers discuss Alliance’s response to coronavirus pandemic

On 2 April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius took part in a meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers by secure videoconference for the first time in the Alliance’s history. The meeting discussed the Alliance’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, NATO’s role in the Middle East and North Africa region. NATO Ministers also exchanged their views on Russia, arms control, and relations with partners.


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Lithuania participates in the virtual informal conversation with the High Commissioner for Human Rights on response to COVID-19


On 9 April 2020, at the informal discussion with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in Geneva Lithuania together with other member states expressed support for human rights-based approach in addressing COVID-19 pandemic and called on all states to safeguard free and independent media and ensure unhindered access to information.


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Iconic sites in Vilnius illuminated in the colours of Italian flag in solidarity with Italian people

Lithuania offers €100,000 in medical aid to Italy and Spain

Lithuania plans to send 100,000 euros-worth of aid to Italy and Spain, the worst-hit EU nations by the coronavirus, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on April 7.

“I believe that Lithuania’s people will understand and support this decision. When fighting to prevent loss of human life, solidarity with our partners in Europe and elsewhere is vital,” Skvernelis said in a Facebook post.


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Iconic sites in Vilnius illuminated in show of solidarity with Italian people


The Hill of Three Crosses monument, the Presidential Palace and the Cathedral in Vilnius were all lit up in green, white and red this evening. In this way, Lithuania’s capital has expressed its solidarity with Italy, which is mourning the loss of thousands of coronavirus victims.


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FabLab workshops at schools of the capital produce protective equipment for medical specialists


Even though schools of the capital are empty while in quarantine and remote learning, some serious work has started in some of them – teachers of the innovative FabLab workshop started to produce various protective equipment for medical specialists, complying with hygiene and safety requirements, with remote assistance of their students.

“Such a challenging period in which we now live is a perfect time for manifestation of the most original and creative solutions”, said Vytautas Mitalas, Deputy Mayor of Vilnius.


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Useful and meaningful self-isolation with a mobile app Quarantine


Seeking to facilitate the daily lives of people in self-isolation due to the coronavirus, a mobile app Quarantine has been developed and launched. The app will benefit not only those who are obliged to stay in quarantine and isolate themselves at home, but also everyone who cares about their own health and the health of those around them.

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An Avalanche of Ideas Developed in Hack the Crisis Hackathon


One of the most important tasks for hackathon organizers was to identify the most pressing issues, and their list was expanding day by day. 

One of the most important tasks for hackathon organizers was to identify the most pressing issues, and their list was expanding day by day: from formal and non-formal education challenges to business relief, help for the people in quarantine and the medical system. Therefore, the solutions presented by teams after the intensive two-day work were very diverse, covering a wide range of public and private life.


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Solidarity and problem-solving skills at the heart of Lithuania’s response to COVID-19


As one of the first countries in Europe to declare a State of Emergency Lithuania has responded rapidly to the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement of such a sudden and dramatic change could have caused panic, but instead has sparked creativity and a strong community feeling, with tech gurus raising funds for doctors and thousands taking the initiative to develop new solutions for unprecedented problems.


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The other side of Covid-19: stagnant civil society in the Baltic State rose up to a challenge

At the outset of 2020, the world was struck by a global pandemic of Covid-19. Needless to say, Lithuania was one of the countries strongly affected, and adopted the same strict measures of quarantine and self-isolation as the rest of the world. However, something else happened at this stage. According to Eurostat, in 2015 only about 16.3% of population in Lithuania was involved in formal and informal voluntary activities in the society. It is no secret that before Covid-19, it was a real challenge to find someone involved in voluntary activities outside their household or work environment. Today, we cannot give numbers yet, but we can share some of the numerous examples, which show that the stagnant civil society in Lithuania rose to a challenge as one.



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Lithuania to take part in WHO’s “solidarity” clinical trial for COVID-19 treatments

Lithuania is joining an international clinical trial launched by the World Health Oranization (WHO) and partners to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19, Vilnius' Santaros hospital, one of the largest hospitals in Lithuania, has said on Tuesday.

“Lithuania’s patients will have a unique opportunity to take part in an international trial, which aims to study both the existing treatments used for other diseases and the entirely innovative drugs, and to find out, by scientific methods, which of the treatments or their combination is effective against the COVID-19 agent,” said Laimonas Griskevicius, who is in charge of COVID-19 processes at Vilnius’ Santaros hospital and coordinates the Solidarity trial in Lithuania.


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The Lithuanian robotics company is designing a globally unique disinfection robot


The Lithuanian robotics company Rubedo systems based in Kaunas is designing a globally unique disinfection robot that can help fight the COVID-19 coronavirus.

‘The disinfection process poses a serious threat to people of getting infected with viruses. Thus the autonomous robot we are developing could effectively address the issue and ensure that our employees are fully protected’, said Paulius Rakauskas, Business development manager at UAB Rubedo systems.


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Huge Resources of Digitized Cultural Heritage and Pieces of Art Open to the Public


Due to the nationwide emergency situation, the Ministry of Culture, as well as museums, libraries, archives and other cultural institutions are temporarily unable to receive visitors. Therefore, the public is invited to continue the exploration of cultural heritage objects and the pieces of art in virtual space.


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Vilnius-based photographer shortlisted in ZEISS Photography Award


Launched in 2016 by the World Photography Organisation and ZEISS, the ZEISS Photography Award rewards the world’s most distinctive image-makers creating outstanding series showing their individual way of seeing the world. Photographers are challenged every year to submit bodies of work responding to a particular theme. The year’s theme, Seeing Beyond: Discoveries encouraged photographers to explore discoveries that transform our everyday lives.


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Emotional First Aid: this designer is recreating the experience of a hug


For many of us since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the comfort of physical contact has suddenly been replaced by faltering familiar faces on a screen. Yet even before the lockdowns and self-isolation imposed by governments to fight the coronavirus outbreak, human social interactions had slowly been reduced by information technologies. But can a hug ever be replaced?

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Self-Proclaimed Republic in Capital of Lithuania Celebrates its Independence on April Fool’s Day


The bohemian Užupis district in Vilnius is marking the 22nd anniversary of its self-proclaimed republic. The friendship-themed celebration continues the history of the artists’ district. The Užupis Republic is well-known for its freedom-soaked constitution, translated into more than 50 languages.


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Portraits of quarantine: photographer shows how Lithuanians deal with lockdown

Photographer Adas Vasiliauskas would normally be working at weddings, events and product photoshoots, but the coronavirus quarantine has forced him to look for subjects elsewhere. 

With many people confined to self-isolation at home, he has invited them to pose for photos from their windows and balconies. The result is a series of inventive and whimsical scenes of the coronavirus quarantine in Vilnius.

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Culture at Home : Kaunas 2020


Kaunas 2020 events, interviews with artists and conversations available online, including recommendations of best podcasts, shows and virtual libraries.

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State Drama Theatre of Šiauliai broadcasting plays live

To fight the stagnation of cultural life during quarantine the State Drama Theatre of Šiauliai started broadcasting their most popular plays live on Youtube.

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Separated by distance, united in celebrations: story of Lithuania and India

What is common between the most populous democracy, the 7th largest country in the world with a population of 1,35 billion people and the small Baltic state? Not only Sanskrit unites us, argues Dr Runa Chakraborty Paunksnis, Head of India Cooperation Development (known as India Centre) at KTU, but also our way of celebrating our festivals.

Dr Runa Chakraborty Paunksnis, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities started working at Kaunas University of Technology in 2018. Although she joined the academic community only a couple of years ago, the scholar already feels as a part of the university community: “My position as the Head of India Centre has given me the opportunity to see beyond academic activities of my Faculty and engage with other members of the university.”

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Highlight of the Week
Quarantine time in Lithuania

Photo credits @ E. Blaževič / LRT

Apr 11 2020

Weekly News from Lithuania, February 28


February 28, 2020            

L. Linkevičius meets with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova


Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova Aureliu Ciocoi in Geneva. The meeting focused on the implementation of the Association Agreement between Moldova and the European Union, Moldova's progress in
implementing reforms, cooperation within the United Nations system, and the latest developments in bilateral relations.


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Lithuania to join European Plastics Pact


Lithuania is set to join the European Plastics Pact in an effort to tackle plastic pollution and reduce the use of disposable plastics.

"The Environment Ministry welcomes this initiative and proposes joining it at the governmental level, because the implementation of the objectiveswill help Lithuania achieve the goals set in other EU circular economy legislation," Environment Minister Kęstutis Mažeika told the Cabinet.



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The President and the First Lady met with a Japanese delegation and the son of Chiune Sugihara


President Gitanas Nausėda and First Lady Diana Nausėdienė welcomed a Japanese delegation that came to Lithuania on the occasion of the year of Chiune Sugihara. Nobuki Sugihara, son of humanist Chiune Sugihara, also attended the meeting.

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Lithuania declares nationwide emergency due to coronavirus threat

The Lithuanian government declared on Wednesday, February 26, a nationwide emergency in an effort to minimize the threat of the novel coronavirus spreading into the country. The government also decided to set up a State Emergency Operations Center, headed by Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga, to coordinate efforts against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Deputy Health Minister Algirdas Seselgis said the step was taken in light of the growing number of coronavirus cases in the world and the spread of the infection in Europe.

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Lithuanian Transport Giants Launched “Sandbox” Platform


The transport innovation environment (sandbox) is officially launched in Lithuania. Startups will get exclusive access to Road Maintenance, Lithuanian Railways and Lithuanian Post infrastructure, data and experts’ advices.

Julius Norkūnas, the director of the center, says that this initiative aims to stimulate the creation and development of innovations applicable in the transport sector in Lithuania, as well as their implementation in state-owned companies.

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Revolut will relocate to Lithuania and Ireland due to Brexit


London-based fintech company Revolut will relocate to Lithuania and Ireland because of Brexit, the company said earlier in February.

“Brexit is the initial cause but it’s also a reflection of the great customer appetite we’ve seen across Europe,” Revolut’s banking chief executive Richard Davies told the Telegraph daily on February 3.


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Lithuanian company Trafi will bring Mobility-as-a-Service platform to Munich’s transportation system



Trafi, a Lithuanian mobility services startup, will help the main public transport agency in Munich, Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft (MVG), to create and release a city-owned Mobility-as-a-Service program that connects public, private, and shared transportation options.

“Sharing is part of our DNA as a public transport operator. The MVG’s current goal is to also cover the first and last mile by cooperating with new partners and offers. Our customers want to reach their destination from and to their front door, and not just from stop to
stop,” says Ingo Wortmann, chairman of the MVG management board.

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Lithuanian textile firm first Greenpeace-vetted producer in the world


Lithuania’s Utenos Trikotažas became the first producer in the world to fully comply with the Greenpeace environmental standards, according to the company’s press release.

“This [...] proves that truly clean, fair and completely transparent production is in fact possible. And not in boutique shops, but at an industrial level,” Viola Wohlgemuth from Greenpeace is quoted in the press release. Utenos Trikotažas is now producing tshirts for Greenpeace.



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Lithuanian author long-listed for prestigious UK literary award


Noir Press announced that Lithuanian author Grigory Kanovich has just been long-listed for the EBRD Literature Prize - a prestigious award celebrating literature in translation.

The Irish Times commented that Devilspel was ‘Powerful, demanding and at times transcendent, the novel asks the reader to not only engage with the concept and experience of suffering, but to embrace it, and the human spirit’s capacity to overcome it. ‘

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Interwar Architecture


Lithuanian Interwar Architecture project is an interactive educational platform that connects Lithuanian interwar architecture and the modern technologies. From an outsider‘s perspective interwar seems like a distant period of time that is not a current topic anymore. However, at the same time the architecture of the interwar period represents the beginning of modernism in Lithuania. The duality of what‘s old and new helps us tell the tale of the architecture of this period. Architectureis always close to the community and that helps us explore the contemporary lifestyle.


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Lithuanian model Ieva hits the London Fashion Week catwalk


A Lithuanian student from Kėdainiai swapped designing clothes for modelling them at one of the biggest fashion events in the world.

Ieva Dovidonytė, who is a second year Fashion student at the University of Northampton in the UK, strutted her stuff on the catwalk for three shows at February’s London Fashion Week.

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New catalogues presenting the latest works by Lithuanian filmmakers – online


Lithuanian film centre publishes new catalogues “Lithuanian Feature Films 2019–2020“, “Lithuanian Documentary Films 2019–2020“ and “Lithuanian Animation and VR Films 2016–2020“ presenting new and upcoming films of Lithuanian production companies. Here you will find all the information about 31 feature films, 39 documentaries, 29 animations and 9 interactive and virtual reality films.


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March 2
Digital Lithuania Academy Forum: Navigating the Data Space

Digital transformation is an integral part of both, private and public sectors today. Are we ready for the digital future? Let's discuss!

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The Month of La Francophonie in Kaunas’2020

Little Paris, the interwar nickname of Kaunas, isn’t the only thing in common between Lithuania and France. In fact, the friendship between the two countries is very close, and there are a lot of stories to tell, starting much, much earlier than 1930.

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Highlight of the Week
Moment from National Book Fair

Photo credits @ D.Umbrasas / LRT

Mar 06 2020

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