Baltics plunge from top to bottom of European growth league

Latvia, RigaRiga- The medium-term prospects for the economies of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are the worst in the European Union, according to a European Commission report released Monday.

Formerly known as the "Baltic Tigers" for their dynamic rates of GDP growth and ability to attract investment, all three countries are now little more than mewling pussycats if the downbeat EC economic survey is to be believed.

Latvia looks in the worst shape of the 27 EU member states with GDP set to contract 6.9 per cent in 2009 and a further 2.4 per cent in 2010.

Lithuanian psychic called in to clean up credit crunch

Vilnius - There was nowhere to hide for anyone owing money in Lithuania Monday after one of the Baltic country's main debt collection agencies said it was using a renowned clairvoyant to track down debtors and identify secret business crooks.

Vilija Lobaciuviene is well known in Lithuania for her supernatural powers. The self-styled witch employs techniques including spells, herbal medicine and the reading of auras in her work, which has helped make her a television favourite.

Now the otherworldly psychic has signed a down-to-earth cooperation agreement with debt collection agency Skolu Isieskojimo Biuras (SIB), whose corporate website says: "There are are cases when unconventional means and methods must be applied."

Travellers face cancellations as Lithuanian airline grounded

Travellers face cancellations as Lithuanian airline grounded Vilnius - Lithuania's national carrier, FlyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines, had its operating certificate revoked Friday over fears that its financial troubles could affect flight safety.

As a result of the move, which was announced by the Lithuanian Civil Aviation Administration (LCAA), all FlyLAL-Lithuanian Airlines flights will be grounded indefinitely from Saturday.

"The certificate has been suspended due to the poor financial condition of FlyLAL," said Kestutis Auryla of the LCAA.

Police on alert in Lithuania to prevent more Baltic riots

Police on alert in Lithuania to prevent more Baltic riotsVilnius - The authorities in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, were in watchful mood Friday as crowds gathered outside the national parliament building and government offices to demonstrate against tax increases, job losses and public spending cuts.

The demonstration, organized by trade unions, was expected to draw several thousand participants from across the Baltic country.

Ukraine and Poland ask for Lithuanian support in gas row

Valdas AdamkusVilnius - Lithuania's President Valdas Adamkus took part in a teleconference Thursday morning with his Ukrainian and Polish counterparts, Viktor Yushchenko and Lech Kaczynski, to discuss the ongoing gas supply dispute between Russia and Ukraine, according to official sources.

"The leaders of Ukraine and Poland requested the Lithuanian president to actively support Ukraine's position in the conflict and to explain its standpoint to EU leaders," a statement from the presidential press service said.

Poland holds talks with Ukraine, Lithuania amid gas row

Poland holds talks with Ukraine, Lithuania amid gas row Warsaw - Polish leaders met with their Ukrainian and Lithuanian counterparts Wednesday for talks centred on the fallout from an ongoing trade dispute between Russia and Ukraine.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski met with his Ukrainian counterpart for an update on the row, which has effectively cut off gas supplies from Russia that would normally flow through Ukraine.