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Weekly News from Lithuania, January 24


January 24, 2020            


Credits @ Tomas Razmus

L. Linkevičius discusses situation in Sahel, ways to step up climate diplomacy in Brussels

On 20 January, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius attended the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, which focused on the situation in Sahel and climate diplomacy.

“It is necessary to ensure that third countries comply with the highest environmental and nuclear safety standards in the EU’s neighborhood, and that all products imported into the EU, especially from energy-intensive industries, comply with environmental requirements for  manufacturers in the EU,” said L. Linkevičius.


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The President: Lithuania has an ambition of becoming a green economy and digitization leader

During the visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Gitanas Nausėda attended a lunch for European leaders where he delivered a welcome address on stimulating economic growth in Central and Eastern Europe.

The President emphasized that the greatest potential for economic growth lies in adopting green technologies and promoting digitization in both private and public sectors. These processes must be geared towards promoting the well-being of people and based on innovation and efficient energy production.


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Skvernelis urges to refrain from attempts to reinterpret WWII consequences

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has urged to refrain from attempts to reinterpret the consequences of World War II, especially regarding the sufferings and losses of the Jewish nation.

"I call on everyone to refrain from any attempt to reinterpret the brutal consequences of World War II and the occupation regimes on the Lithuanian state and its citizens. It is particularly important to bear in mind as we speak about the suffering and the unbearable loss of the Jewish people," Skvernelis said in a statement



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Vice-Minister of the Economy and Innovation Elijus Čivilis talks Digital Innovation in Lithuania
at the Smart Country Convention
|              Credits @ Bitcom

Vilnius part of global initiative to improve digital innovation

Twenty-one European capital cities, including Vilnius, were selected to receive tutoring and funding to improve services for residents using digital innovation, according to a press release.

“European capital cities are already among the world’s leaders when it comes to digitising government services to deliver better results for residents,” said Andrea Coleman of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the founders and sponsors of the two-year programme.

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Lithuania’s Startup Ecosystem Leaders: We Have to Join Our Forces to Improve Conditions for Startups in Lithuania


To attract more successful startups, Lithuania has to attract specialists from abroad and strengthen its initiatives among different institutions. The Lithuanian startup ecosystem has many opportunities that are not always taken – an integrated strategy for the startup ecosystem is needed. Often startup support programs for Lithuania reach only bigger cities, but it is crucial to use the features of every region in the country. These thoughts were shared among experts during the event organized by “CIVITTA” and “Kaunas IN”, discussing how to improve conditions for startups in Lithuania.

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Vilnius bans plastic tableware in city festivities


Single-use plastic tableware will no longer be used during public festivities in Vilnius, the local council decided on Wednesday.

The decision will come into force in early March.

The amendment was initiated by Lukas Savickas, a representative of the opposition Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union on the Vilnius Council and an adviser to Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis. He says the rule change is “a great chance for businesses to take on leadership in protecting the environment”.


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Lithuanian scientists create new breakthrough technology

Panevėžys Mechatronics Center (PMC) announced about the creation of a new breakthrough technology – PANDRONE – air pollution measurement system with the mobile drone. The project is designed for Panevezys municipality.

The mobile air pollution measurement system measures the concentrations of PM10, NO2, SO2, CO and O3 in the air. The operator lifts the airplane to a height of 20 meters and orbits the trajectory according to the prepared map. An on-board sensor system measures concentrations of airborne pollutants.

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Revising History One Infographic at a Time

Every year on the 13th of January, Lithuania commemorates the events of 1991 when Soviet forces attempted to crush the country’s recently re-established independence. On that winter night, Soviet troops, still garrisoned in the capital city of Vilnius, attacked its radio and television centre, killing civilians who had congregated there to form a human shield. More than a dozen people lost their lives, and hundreds more were wounded.

And every January, as Lithuania marks its Freedom Defenders’ day, the pro-Kremlin disinformation machine springs into motion to distort the historical record of these events.



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Around thirty soldiers from eFP’s 1st Battle Company went to Kryziu Kalnas, or the Hill of Crosses, on the 2nd of January. Two weeks earlier some of the soldiers built their own wooden cross to add to the hundreds of  thousands of crosses already on the hill.
       |              Credits @ NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Lithuania

Lithuania: The 25 places you need to travel in 2020



The Baltics have long been the butt of cultural jokes. They’re gaining traction with road-trippers, rightfully, but some still picture cold, Soviet-era countries where NBA-almosts go to play out their basketball careers. The southernmost Baltic state, Lithuania isn’t always included on lists of beach destinations, despite having 150 miles of coast that could rival New England’s and claim to half of the 60-mile, UNESCO-listed Curonian Spit.

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Vilna Gaon: the central figure who made Vilnius the ‘Jerusalem of the North’

Vilna Gaon, the 18-century sage from 'Jerusalem of the North', has left a significant legacy of Jewish scholarship as well as many legends about his erudition and idiosyncratic devotion to study of religious texts.

Lithuania has designated 2020 the year of the History of Jews of Lithuania, which is also the 300th anniversary of the Vilna Gaon. Lara Lempertienė, a historian and the head of the Judaic Department at the Lithuanian National Library, spoke with LRT.lt about the 18-century sage from Vilnius.


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Vilnius to celebrate its birthday with the Second Annual Festival of Lights


Vilnius’ second annual Festival of Lights will be celebrating the city’s 697th birthday with 30 light installations from 24 to 26 January. The international festival will concentrate on the courtyards of Vilnius Old Town, bringing a bit of warmth to the cold mid-winter, drawing attention to the city’s architecture, and inviting people to explore some of its most stunning hidden corners.


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Kaunas invites to celebrate Day of the Republic of India


On January 25, Kaunas Picture Gallery (K. Donelaičio g. 16) invites everyone to celebrate the Day of the Republic of India, which is linked with the adoption of the country’s constitution on 26 January 1950.

At creative workshops, public will get a chance to draw traditional Indian ornaments on your hands and faces applying natural paint and many more activities.



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January 24-26
Hacker Games.Open data

For the first time in Vilnius, Hacker Games. Open data hackathon will invite participants to dive into 48 hours of creative work and create innovative products based on open data, with a chance to be rewarded for the best inventions.


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January 28 - 29
Tamsta Jazz Weekend


First of it's kind, Tamsta Jazz Weekend, will invite to hear what sounds in the most desired jazz pubs in London and what global jazz tendencies rise from the stage of this city

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January 31 - March 1
Su-Menėk: Vilnius Contemporary Art by Bus

Get on, get off, look around and feel. If you are feeling a bit strange but lifted, congratulations - you just got yourself art'ed. Explore 25 Vilnius art galleries and museums - get on a bus with SU-MENĖK logo and absorb the modern art across the city.

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Lithuanian culture centre to open in Poland's Suwalki

A Lithuanian culture centre in the northeastern Polish town of Suwalki, which is home to a large ethnic Lithuanian community, may open in March, the Lithuanian government says.

The culture centre and a kindergarten will be located in leased premises that are currently under renovation.

“The local authorities are helping us with the arrangements. These premises have already been leased and are currently being renovated,” Lithuanian Government Vice Chancellor Deividas Matulionis told BNS.


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Baltic Holidays will participate in the 2020 New York Times Travel show

The show is scheduled to take place on Friday, January 24, through Sunday, January 26, 2020. This year's event will showcase over 750 exhibitors, including Baltic Holidays which "specializes in creating tailor-made trips for their discerning clientele to destinations throughout the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Scandinavia, Russia, and Eastern Europe."

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Lithuanian stories


As a part of the project "Laptevičiai", inspired by a journal of Dalia Grinkevičiūtė, follows steps of Lithuanian history and tells the stories from the darkest times.


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Highlight of the Week
Moment from Foreign Ministers' Council in Brussels, Belgium

Photo credits @ Tomas Razmus

Jan 25 2020

Weekly News from Lithuania, January 17


January 17, 2020            

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Today ambassador @AudraPlepyte was elected as Vice President of @UNICEF_Board for the upcoming year! Congratulati… https://t.co/2TkO2TtfPw

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Seimas awarded the Freedom Prize 2019


Albinas Kentra, a chronicler of the Lithuanian history, member of the Lithuanian resistance and prisoner of the Soviet Gulag, was awarded the Freedom Prize 2019 in a solemn ceremony held in the Hall of the Act of 11 March.

At the award ceremony, the winner was presented with the Statuette of Liberty by Viktoras Pranckietis, Speaker of the Seimas, and with a Diploma of the Freedom Prize presented by Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė, Member of the Seimas and Chair of the Freedom Prize Commission.

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L. Linkevičius: European Union can and must play important role in de-escalating tensions in Iraq


On 10 January, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius attended the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. The Council was briefed on the latest developments in Iraq, including through an exchange with the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg, and discussed the role of the EU in de-escalating heightened tensions in the Middle East region.

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Czech soldiers from the #NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup Lithuania exercising in Pabradė polygon      |      Credits @ NATO Joint Force Command Brunssum - JFCBS

Scientists: circular economy is not only about recycling

Lithuania, like other small open economies in Eastern Europe, is often characterized by linear production and consumption. Despite the European Union (EU) initiatives to prompt practical implementation of the principles of the circular economy, the problems of insufficient production from natural resources, relatively short  product consumption term and small product reuse, limited waste recycling and new value creation from waste are still relevant.






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Global Technology Leader Rocket Software Opens Technology Centre in Vilnius

Invest Lithuania, the official agency for foreign direct investment and business development in Lithuania, today announced that Rocket Software has opened a new development centre in Vilnius and plans to hire more than 200 engineers and programmers in the next 2-3 years. Rocket®, which was founded in 1990 in Boston, Massachusetts, employs 1500 Rocketeers around the world. The company specialises in Z Systems, Power Systems, and Database & Connectivity, and helps the world’s leading companies leverage open source, cloud, and artificial intelligence (AI) to support their ability to achieve legendary results.

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Investors are ready to invest in renewable energy in Lithuania without state support

Today the National Energy Regulatory Council (NERC) has confirmed the winner of renewable energy auctions. The price premium to the electricity exchange price offered by the successful investor is EUR 0 per MWh. This means that the project will be developed without state support.

“It is the breaking point in Lithuania’s renewable energy, since it is the first time that investments are made into wind farms without state support. Lithuania has evidently managed to create a particularly attractive environment for energy-related investments. It means lower dependency on electricity import, more jobs, and higher income for the state,” says Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas.


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Lithuania must balance the benefits of fintech

"To attract more visitors to Siauliai region and provide more information on local tourists attractions, the new app will allow tourists to use the provided routes interactively and get acquainted with information about attractions using a mobile decide," Ruta Stankuviene, head of the local tourism information center, said in a statement.

This is the first app about Siauliai region and it will provide photos and descriptions of tourist attractions in four languages, including Lithuanian, Latvian, English and Russian.

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Vilnius Festival of Lights to illuminate the secrets of historic courtyards


Vilnius Festival of Lights will light up the city at the end of next week, highlighting the city’s architecture and illuminating the most beautiful courtyards.

The festival on January 24-26 also coincides with the city's 697th anniversary, according to the municipality's press release.

“We have been celebrating the birthday of Vilnius [...] since the Festival of Lights came into existence," says Remigijus Šimašius, the Mayor of Vilnius.


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Kaunas Full of Culture: The Yearbook of 2019 is out


The 200-page book offers last year’s most exciting reads as well as a cultural event agenda for 2020.

Kaunas Full of Culture is a monthly magazine distributed free of charge. Now in its fifth year, the publication is  available in both Lithuanian and English. Together with the magazine’s first edition of 2020, the editorial office has just presented the yearbook of 2019.


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Ever had one of those priceless moments when after grey December days,
the sky finally glows with clear winter sun? The seaside of Lithuania's Curonian Spit
is the perfect place to catch one of these winter miracles
       |              Credits @ Lithuania. Real is beautiful

January 20
Ringing frames: performances and improvisations | MO

Two part programme will invite you to enjoy Fluxus inspired performance of Dieter Schnebel: Museumsstücke as well as impro music session at the Museum of Modern Art. The event is open to everyone.

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January 23 - February 9
15th French Film festival "Winter Screens"

The 15th anniversary celebrating festival will invite viewers to discoveries of present time and dive into charm of coincidences. More than 30 selected films will be screened across Lithuania.


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A piece of Lithuania in the heart of Chicago

A drab building complex in Chicago's West Lawn houses the offices of powerful Chicago Democrat Michael J. Madigan, aka the Velvet Hammer, speaker of the Illinois house. His office sits on the second floor of the somber edifice at 6500 S. Pulaski , its exteriors brown and gray and respectable.

This is, however, not the only thing at 6500 S. Pulaski. A Lithuanian flag at the door offers up a tantalizing hint to idle passersby. The Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, the largest Lithuanian museum outside of Lithuania, is an unlikely neighbor for Madigan's chambers.

"When you go to another country, you don't lose your background, you add to the background," says Stanley Balzekas Jr., a 95-year-old Lithuanian American who founded the museum 50 years ago.

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Highlight of the Week
Minister Linas Linkevičius met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Jacek Czaputowicz

Photo credits @ Jurijus Azanovas / MOD

Jan 18 2020

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