Thursday, March 31, 2011

Interesting facts about labour and wages in Lithuania

Today I will give you some interesting facts about labour in Lithuania:
  • Labour productivity in Lithuania is one of the lowest in EU (European Union).
  • The executives in Lithuania earn more than their colleagues in other Baltic States. But the wages of workers in Lithuania are lower than in other Baltic States.
  • Minimal wage lower than in Lithuania is only in Bulgaria and Romania in EU.
  • Lithuanians have more days off than most of other nations. Some sources state that Lithuanians and Brazilians are leading in the world by the number of days off! Workers in Lithuania have 28 days’ holiday a year. Lithuanians get another 13 days off because of various festivals and occasions.

Monday, March 28, 2011

About Lithuanians' health and Lithuanian health care system

In this blog post I will give you some information about Lithuanians’ health and Lithuanian health care system. Sadly these facts are not very optimistic…  Lithuania has the lowest rate of residents living healthy way of life in European Union (EU). The results of our unhealthy way of life are reflected in following statistics:
  • Lithuania has the highest mortality rate in EU – 1034 mortalities for 100000 residents. The average of EU is 696 mortalities for 100000 residents.
  • Average life duration of men in EU is the lowest in Lithuania - 65,1 years. The average of EU is 74,3. And the average life duration of Lithuanian women is 77,2 years. It is 4th worst rate in EU. The average women life duration in EU is 80,8 years.
  • Lithuania is in 1st place in Europe by deaths caused by heart diseases and among the leaders by deaths caused by cancer.
  • Lithuanians have more harmful habits than other European nations. 26,5% residents of Lithuania smoke, in Europe this rate is 24,2%.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lithuanian women power!

Lithuanian women have what to be proud of:
  • In Lithuania women gained equal political rights in 1919 (in France – 1945, in international law - 1948).
  • Lithuanian women are more educated than in any other EU (European Union) country. 92,3% of Lithuanian women (25-64 years old) have secondary or higher than secondary education. It is the highest rate in EU!
  • 59% of Lithuanian students in universities and colleges are women.
  • In 2010 21,800 or 65% of all graduates who finished higher education institutions in Lithuania were women.
  • In 2009 69% of all master’s degree graduates in Lithuania were women.
  • President of Lithuania is a woman - Dalia Grybauskaite.
  • Lithuania is among the leaders in the world by the number of working women.
  • But… in private sector wages of men were 20,5% higher than wages of women, in public sector men’s wages were 13,1% higher than women’s wages in 2009.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Statistics about sad reality in Lithuania

In my last blog post I gave you some facts and numbers about Lithuania being a leader. Readers thanked me for being so optimistic and for posting something positive about Lithuania. But truth is that when I did my research I found more negative than positive statistics. So today I will give 10 facts illustrating the sad reality in Lithuania.

  1. Lithuania is the first in EU (European Union) by the numbers of emigration.
  2. In the beginning of 2010 Lithuania was last among 52 countries by The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index (the index is calculated considering residents thinking about job and personal finance perspectives in 12 upcoming months, also residents opinion if now is a good time to buy). At the end of 2010 Lithuania rose to 47th place.
  3. During the economic crisis in Lithuania wages and loan portfolio decreased more than in any other EU country.
  4. Forbes announced that Lithuania is 8th country in the world which suffered from economic crisis most. In 2009 GDP in Lithuania decreased 4 times more than the average decrease rate of new EU members.
  5. Lithuanians are first in the world by worrying about rising prices of utilities (electricity, gas, heating). This concerns 20% of Lithuanians. The average of the world is 7%.
  6. Average Lithuanian spends 51% of his expenses for necessities and food. It is 285 euros a month. The average of EU resident’s expenses for food and necessities is 327 euros a month. So Lithuanians have one of the lowest wages in Europe, but expenses are almost as high as average European’s. Some sources say that even British, Dutchmen and Germans spend less on necessities!
  7. Lithuania is the most corrupt country in EU. In 2010 34% of Lithuanians said they had bribed someone during the lats year. 2/3 of Lithuanians think the level of corruption rose during the last 3 years. 78% of Lithuanians believe that government’s efforts to fight corruption are not effective.
  8. Lithuanians donate to charity less in the world. Only 4% of Lithuanians have donated money to charity. Even poorest African countries have higher rate.
  9. By the number of divorces Lithuania is 1st in EU: 3,2 divorces for 1000 residents. The average in EU is 2,1 divorces for 1000 residents.
  10. Lithuania is in 51st place in the survey about taxes for business. In Lithuania business has to pay 12 taxes in a year, it takes 166 hours (21 days). Burden of taxation is 42,7% (I couldn’t decide if this is positive or negative).

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lithuania is leading!

In this blog post I will give you some interesting facts about Lithuania leading in the world or in Europe! Lithuania is the best!
  1. Lithuania is among the leaders in European Union (EU) by the growth of export. It is predicted that Lithuania will have the highest GDP growth in EU in the nearest future.
  2. The percentage of residents owning their home (not renting or having loans) in Lithuania is the highest in EU.
  3. Lithuania is the leader in EU by using money of EU structural funds. Lithuania got 7,9% of all EU structural funds’ money for 2007-2013.
  4. Lithuania is the leader in world’s laser industry.
  5. Waters in Lithuanian lakes, rivers and the seaside 100% comply with safety requirements and are suitable for swimming. Waters in Lithuania are one of the clearest in Europe.
  6. Air in Lithuanian capital Vilnius is clearest among all European capitals.
  7. The strongest man on the planet is Lithuanian Zydrunas Savickas.
  8. Lithuania is among countries having the fastest Internet connection in the world. Lithuania is 1st by speed of uploading and 4th by speed of downloading in the world.
  9. Lithuania develops next-generation Internet access technologies at the fastest rate in Europe and is the 5th in the world. Fiber-optic Internet access is used by approximately 21% households in the country. Lithuania is about two times ahead of Sweden, Norway and Slovenia.
  10. Lithuania is the 1st in the world by the number of cellphones for 100 residents. The number of mobile connection subscribers for 100 residents in Lithuania is 138,1.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

10 interesting facts about Lithuania

  1. In 14th century Lithuania was the biggest country in Europe: it included present territories of Belarus and Ukraine, part of Poland and part of Russia.
  2. Lithuania was the last country in Europe to become Christian in 1387.
  3. Lithuania organized a unique protest in 1989 August 23. Residents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia formed 600 km long row of people holding hands! This event showed the world that Baltic States want to be independent.
  4. Lithuania is the only country in the world having national perfume. “The Scent of Lithuania” is perfume for home. It holds the entire history of our nation…
  5. Lithuanian languages is the oldest living language of the Indo-European family.
  6. Lithuania is the oldest and the largest Baltic State.
  7. Lithuanians first in the world invented way to make vodka from corn.
  8. Lithuania is 1st in the world by the number of hot air balloons per resident.  And Vilnius is one of a few  European capital where you can fly with hot air balloons.
  9. Lithuania owns the world record of blondes. 1016 blond girls participated in the opening of night club in Lithuania.
  10. A Lithuanian company plans to set up a holiday island in the Maldives run entirely by blondes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shocking photos of the members of Parliament in Lithuania: naked, in cow’s costume etc.

Lithuania is a strange country… And Lithuanians are strange people… Why? Just look at these photos of members of Parliament in Lithuania. Yes, we voted for them and elected them…

How did it all start? How did these clowns become members of Parliament? A few years ago they founded a new political party. Its members were Lithuanian show business celebrities. For us, Lithuanians, it was just a joke. I believe for them at first it was just a joke too… But surprise! They were quite successful in the elections of Parliament.

Did Lithuanians truly believe that these celebrities can govern Lithuania? I don’t think so. I believe that voting for them was people’s protest against traditional political parties.

So here are some photos of members of Parliament in Lithuania:

Arunas Valinskas. He had a popular show on TV and was a presenter in occasional TV shows and awards. After he was elected to parliament, he looked surprised and he said he won’t try to become the Speaker, but… later he was the Speaker of Parliament in Lithuania for a while.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras (Uzgavenes) celebration in Lithuania

Today Lithuania celebrates Mardi Gras or Uzgavenes (in Lithuanian). It is a festival celebrated 7 weeks before Eastern and before the beginning of the Lent. Uzgavenes represents the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The festival has deep pagan roots. People make and put on scary masks and carnival costumes. The most popular characters are witches, devils, goats, beggars, horses, cranes, gypsies. The masks in Lithuania are very different from those in other countries.

Pictures are made in celebration of Uzgavenes in Vilnius, 2011.

People celebrate Uzgavenes dancing, singing, playing games and competing in various competitions. The celebration must be loud to scare off the winter. The defeat of winter is also represented by a theatrical battle between Lasininis (Porker) and Kanapinis (Hempen man). The fat Lasininis represent winter and his opposite Kanapinis represent spring. Of course Kanapinis always wins :) The celebration also includes the burning of the effigy of winter, named More.

Uzgavenes dancing


Lasininis and Kanapinis

Friday, March 4, 2011

Kaziukas Fair in Vilnius

This weekend in Lithuania is special, because traditional fair called Kaziukas Fair has started. Kaziukas Fair is a large annual folk arts and crafts fair held in the beginning of March. The tradition of this fair started in 17th century.

Kaziukas Fair is a big festival with music, dance, lots of great food and hot drinks. In Vilnius Kaziukas Fair is held in the old town and in the center of the city – the pavilions of salesmen are built in the streets. Other cities in Lithuania also celebrate Kaziukas Fair.

Traditional attribute of Kaziukas Fair are “palm” bouquets called verbos. They are made of dried flowers and herbs. People take those “palm” bouquets to churches on Palm Sunday.

I visited Kaziukas Fair today. It was so fun! I saw a lot of very beautiful arts and crafts, but I haven’t bought any of them because they are really expensive… Just look at these gorgeous hand-made arts and crafts:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Panevezys - city of EuroBasket 2011 group matches

Panevezys is one of the cities in Lithuania where matches of EuroBasket 2011 will take place. Panevezys is situated in the north of Lithuania on the river Nevezis. Its history started in 16th century.  

It is the 5th largest city of Lithuania with 110,000 residents.

Panevezys is definitely not the most interesting place in Lithuania. This city is not popular among tourists, because it is not very beautiful. In official website of Panevezys they present the city as the greenest city of Lithuania, but I see Panevezys mostly like industrial city. It is the most Lithuanian city in the country. 96% of residents are Lithuanian.

The Old River Bed (Senvage) is considered the symbol of Panevezys and is a famous place for leisure time and festivals. There are some museums and churches in Panevezys, but they are not very special.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Curonian Spit

If you are coming to Lithuania, you have to visit the Curonian Spit (Kursiu Nerija). It is one of the most beautiful places in Lithuania. What makes it so special? The dunes. They are an exclusive element of the landscape of the Curonian Spit. Some of the dunes are still drifting. The Curonian Spit is famous for its highest moving sand dunes in Europe. This place is in UNESCO World Heritage List.

Curonian Spit is a narrow strip (maximum width is 3,8 km) of sand stretching 97 kilometers along the Baltic Sea. The eastern shores of the Curonian Spit are washed by the Curonian Lagoon, while the Baltic Sea washes the western shores.