Holocaust in Jerusalem and winter without snow

HOW TO REMEMBER THE HOLOCAUST

Holocaust Remembrance Day has turned into a diplomatic fuss that sucked in the Lithuanian  president, too. He was to take part in a 75th anniversary of Auschwitz-Birkenau liberation event in Jerusalem, but  cancelled   the trip at the last minute.

Still, the Lithuanian president said he would pay tribute to the victims and survivors in Auschwitz, Poland, next week.

 KIDNAPPING THAT (PROBABLY) DIDN’T HAPPEN

The police in Vilnius were leaving no stone unturned looking for a girl that several child witnesses said was forced into a car and  abducted. Two days of intense search later, the police  concluded   that there was no kidnapping.

 POLISH OR NOT

Prime Minister Skvernelis this week poured some gas on the fire that is the ongoing stand-off between the president and the transport minister. Could it be, Skvernelis  mused  , that hostility towards the transport minister has something to do with his Polish background?

The comments caused a bit of a storm, with the president’s adviser – himself a Polish-Lithuanian –  assuring   it was about the minister’s poor performance, not his ethnic background.

Overall, it was not a good week for the transport minister. A  report   by the Special Investigation Service listed party-linked people he installed in ministry-controlled enterprises, while ethics watchdogs  ruled   that he had a clash of interest when accepting lunch in Minsk and Abu Dhabi.

 DOWN WITH CORRUPTION

A recent survey  has found   that Lithuanians encounter less corruption in their country. Transparency International, too, pushed Lithuania up a little in its latest Corruption Perception Index  .

Coincidentally, prosecutors  busted   the mayor of Panevėžys and the president of a local basketball club for exchanging favours.

 SOMETHING ROTTEN IN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

It keeps coming. Weeks after an industrial  pollution   scandal in Klaipėda shook the country, another company is suspected of  polluting   the river Neris in Vilnius with plastic.

In an extraordinary session, the Seimas began hearings on a package of  regulations   aimed at fixing the “rotten” environmental protection system.

 EDITORS’ PICKS

– The Iranian ambassador in Warsaw  has told that Lithuania should nudge its friends in Washington to return to the nuclear deal. Little chance, Vilnius officials say.

– Who was the mysterious eighteenth-century  Vilna Gaon  ? A learned man who took cold baths and wouldn’t let his wife keep the family shop open a minute longer than was necessary.

– Dolphin and leech therapies are now legal in Lithuania. Well, they weren’t illegal before, but now they’re included into a new set of  regulations   as “alternative medicine”.

– When will Lithuanians be as rich as Western Europeans? By around 2042,  according   to the Bank of Lithuania.

– While some of us are enjoying – or enduring – unusually warm weather, snowless winter is a bit of a stress for some  business.

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