- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 6, 2004

LITHUANIA

Adamkus leads presidential field

VILNIUS — Ex-President Valdas Adamkus has a 12 percentage point lead over his closest rival in the first round of the June 13 presidential election, a poll by Spinter Tyrimai showed last week.

It showed that 26.5 percent of the 1,005 persons questioned between May 27 and 30 would vote for Mr. Adamkus, 77, a returnee from the United States. He served as president from 1998 to early 2003, when he was ousted by Rolandas Paksas, who was in turn impeached last month over a corruption scandal, prompting the election.

If the result of the voter survey is borne out on Election Day, a second round will be needed, as 50 percent of the vote is required to win in the first round. Presidential elections will be held concurrently with elections to the European Parliament, which Lithuania is taking part in for the first time after joining the European Union on May 1.

PORTUGAL

Majority favors pullout from Iraq

LISBON — Nearly 74 percent of people questioned in a poll published last week said they want Portugal’s deployment of some 120 policemen to return from Iraq. The poll, published in the daily Diario de Noticias, asked: “Should the police stay in Iraq, even amid a worsening military and political situation?”

The paper said 73.8 percent of those questioned replied no and 18.1 percent responded yes. Others either did not know or didn’t reply. The conservative government has said it will review the deployment June 30.

BULGARIA

EU bank notes are ‘perfect’ forgeries

SOFIA — Europol, the European Union’s law-enforcement agency, said here last week it had seized fake euro bank notes in Bulgaria of such high quality they cannot be detected by EU banks.

The fake 200-euro notes seized are “a very good counterfeit,” Europol Director Juergen Storbeck said at a press conference on a major Europol-led anticounterfeiting operation in Bulgaria. “If you take this and put it in a bank [automated teller machine] somewhere in the EU, it will be normally not detected.”

Weekly notes

Despite progress Croatia has made in its minority-rights record, Gypsies complain government promises to improve their lot remain a dead letter. Roma face similar difficulties as in the rest of Europe — lack of education, unemployment, poverty and unhealthy living conditions. According to the last census, there are 9,500 Gypsies in Croatia’s population of 4.4 million, but official estimates put the number at between 30,000 and 40,000, while Roma associations say it is over 60,000. … Mexico’s President Vicente Fox says his country hopes to expand military cooperation with Russia, assembling some Russian helicopters in Mexico and importing a mixed civilian-military factory. In a public speech Wednesday, Mr. Fox said arms assembly and maintenance would be “a principal topic” in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who arrives tomorrow.

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