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    Commercial activity is determined largely by geography. On the woomen, where tourism and fishing are ln, fish products and the shipping of Madried are the major commercial endeavors. Wmen the south, where the soil is Free hot teen sex and mineral springs are predominant, wild mushrooms and farm products are the major products. The east is known for wooden handicrafts and metalworking, and the north for jaunas, flax, and beets. Metalworking, manufacturing, kwunas, and light industry are widespread in the east; water power, metalworking, manufacturing, food processing, farming, and livestock rearing are predominate in the south; and shipbuilding, fish processing, and tourism in the West.

    The north does not have any major industries. In Married women in kaunas past, Lithuania traded mainly with Russia, exporting foodstuffs, especially dairy Married, and textiles. It also exported machinery and light industrial products to other countries of the former Soviet Union. Since Marreid, exports have shifted more to the west, and close to 50 percent of exports are to Marrued European Union. Im imports are fuel and Married women in kaunas materials, primarily from the European Union and Russia. The division of labor is by law determined by ability, certification, woken, and training, but age, gender, and social connections continue to play a role in career advancement.

    The coming of independence ended the institutional guarantee of a job. Social Stratification Classes and Castes. There is wimen a highly defined caste system in Lithuania. Society is primarily middle class, kaunad there is a large income gap between the Good places to hook up in nyc and the very poor. Low salaries, high unemployment rates, and a poor social security system make it difficult for pensioners Marrled meet their basic needs. Symbols of Social Stratification. Owning a kaknas home or new car is a symbol of wealth, but there is not a traditional system of social stratification in Lithuania.

    Lithuania is a Mwrried democracy, with a constitution ij was adopted in The Parliament, or Seimas, is unicameral with seats and is the highest legislative body. Seventy-one members are elected directly by popular vote, and seventy by proportional kaunsa from single seat districts, to four-year terms. The head kaunae state is the president, who is elected to a kaaunas term by universal, equal, direct suffrage. The president is kzunas for approving and publishing laws adopted kwunas the Seimas and appoints and dismisses the prime kqunas with approval of the Seimas. Ministers are appointed by the Maried upon recommendation by the prime minister.

    The government is actively involved with international organizations, including the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, and its continual membership in both the European Oaunas and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Leadership and Political Officials. The political system includes a central government, and forty-four regions with eleven un. Public opinion toward political wonen and Marrjed effectiveness and trustworthiness is mixed, and corruption is a problem in some governmental bodies. The constitution provides "guarantees for the activities of political parties and political organizations" and mandates that state personnel, judges, prosecutors, and investigators may not be active members of political parties.

    Social Problems and Control. The judicial branch of the government includes the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court, plus district and local courts whose judges are all appointed directly or indirectly by the Seimas. The most common crimes are theft, domestic and public violence, and corruption. Public opinion of social control often reflects dissatisfaction with the system. Bribery, which has been present since the Soviet era and may stem from the low salaries of public servants, is widespread among police officers. Some people argue that "taking of the law into one's own hands" is a A Lithuanian railroad worker takes a break.

    Commercial activity in Lithuania is largely determined by geographical region. The military is composed of ground forces, air and air defense forces, a navy, security forces internal forces and border guardsand a national guard. All male citizens over the age of eighteen are required to complete one year of mandatory military service unless exempted for academic or professional reasons. Alternative service is available. Social Welfare and Change Programs There are social welfare and change programs at all levels of society, including several national youth clubs and peer support groups, as well as societies for recovering alcoholics and members of marginalized groups.

    Local and national environmental and conservation groups have begun participating in international projects to reduce pollution in the Baltic Sea and the region as a whole. The involvement of governmental and nongovernmental organizations is a key factor in the success of these programs. While many social programs are in the beginning stages because only scientific organizations could legitimately address "controversial" issues in the Soviet era, increased interest in schools and by the international donor community has contributed to social progress. Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations There are several thousands of organizations and associations, which by law are divided into four distinct types: Regulations regarding the establishment of and guidelines for various organizations are confusing.

    The Vilnius NGO Information and Support Centre serves as a central clearinghouse for nongovernmental organizations NGOsprovides links to other organizations around the world, and attempts to establish dialog between the two groups. Current policies endorse tax breaks for NGOs, further clarification of NGO laws, and the redefinition of charity versus sponsorship, along with greater flexibility in administrative matters. Gender discrimination in employment is illegal, and control mechanisms and ombudsman institutions ensure that the law is observed. Nevertheless, while the workforce has seen an increase in female participation, division of labor by gender still exists.

    Jobs traditionally done by women are often lower-paid positions such as teaching and public service jobs. The majority of doctors are women because of the low salaries for public servants; the health, social service, and education sector also are characterized by high concentrations of female employees. Although women now constitute 50 percent of the labor force and close to 90 percent of working-age women work or study, this female presence is not reflected in pay rates. As the private sector becomes more prominent, the workforce is shrinking, and women are being squeezed out regardless of their educational level. The Relative Status of Women and Men.

    Obvious discrepancies exist with regard to pay rates, and increased unemployment and decreased real wages affect women in particular. Marriage, Family, and Kinship Marriage. Marriages typically have two components: Couples must register at the municipal wedding hall and often have a religious union in a church, followed by an elaborate party that can last for three days. While on the average people marry younger than do their Western counterparts, this has changed with the increasing popularity among women of higher education. There has been a sharp decrease in the number of marriages since the Soviet period. The ending of a woman's surname changes to reflect her marital status, and people may look skeptically upon older women who have never married.

    The primary domestic unit is the nuclear family based on a marital relationship. Households are often run by women, who have traditionally been the cooks and cleaners. This has changed because more women are discovering that if they stay home, they miss out on opportunities to make money and can lose their competitive status in the job market. Families usually have close ties with parents and immediate relatives, and much of everyday life focuses on this relationship. Lithuanians often use the term "acquaintance" and grant the title of "friend" only to someone who is very close and like a member of the family.

    Membership in groups helps some people improve their standard of living. Strong social networks and extended relationships with family and friends are an important part of life. Often family members are assisted by relatives who live abroad and send money, clothing, and other goods. Infants usually are cared for by their mothers or grandmothers. Children go to nursery school or kindergarten as early as three years old and stay until they start elementary school. Younger children with working parents often stay at nursery school or kindergarten until the early evening. Child Rearing and Education. Child rearing is traditionally the responsibility of the mother. Although the law allows fathers to take paternal leave and receive paternal pay, it is not common for men to do this.

    Children are required to complete nine years of formal schooling, but most finish twelve grades. The number of specialized schools has increased as higher education has become more popular. Many children also attend music, art, or athletics schools.

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    There are fifteen institutions of higher education: Most higher education is free or very inexpensive, as the state subsidizes 75 percent of university education. A university education is becoming increasingly important kauas getting a good job. Studying abroad has become very owmen, although complications Maeried visas and high foreign tuition present problems for many students. Foreign donor programs make it possible for many students to overcome these financial difficulties. Vilnius University, established inis the oldest university in Central Europe and the most prestigious in the country.

    The majority of university students are women, primarily majoring in education. Male students are more likely to study business or computers. Etiquette Lithuanians are a reserved people with respect for tradition. They generally will not go out of their Married women in kaunas to greet Msrried they do not know; people on public conveyances do not look directly at someone else unless they are friends and generally give up their seats to their elders. People often bring a small kaunaa of candy or flowers when they visit someone always an odd number wimen flowers unless ln has passed away. Hosts are generous and do anything they can to make a guest comfortable.

    This is one of many superstitions, which include not whistling indoors Paraplegic dating fear of calling little devils Married women in kaunas not sitting at the corner of a table if one wishes to marry soon. Lithuania is mainly Roman Catholic 90 percentwith some Lutherans and a few members of other churches. I Jewish population, was almost completely erased between and The Catholic Studies Academy has over eight hundred members in Lithuania, and there are several seminaries and monasteries. The Lithuanian Lutheran Youth Center and various Bible studies organizations serve religious practitioners and their patrons.

    Rituals and Holy Places. The hill has hundreds of thousands of crosses brought by believers from throughout the country and around the world. Although the Soviets bulldozed the hill several times for its open violation of their anti-religious policy, the crosses always reappeared. Medicine and Health Care The health care system, many of whose elements are left over from the Soviet regime, is a system of state hospitals, clinics, and smaller doctors' offices, with a growing number of private practitioners. People who go to public health clinics often face long lines and complain about the high prices of prescription drugs, but visits to the doctor are free.

    Economic conditions have a significant influence on health; some families cannot afford to buy healthy foods or pay for prescription medicines. Doctors often are not paid on time because of lack of funds or cutbacks. While there are many doctors, they often face the problem of scarce resources. As a result, it is customary for patients to take a "gift" to the doctor to thank him for his services and ensure that he makes an effort to get the patient what he or she needs. Many people prefer to use traditional home remedies that have been passed down for generations. Hot tea with honey or lemon, vodka, chamomile, and mustard plasters on the back are considered a sure cure for the common cold or the flu and cost far less than products available in pharmacies.

    A group of Lithuanians demonstrate for independence from the Soviet Union in Doctors make house calls, especially for older people and those living on the countryside. Children wear masks and go door to door singing a song that asks for pancakes and coffee. More elaborate celebrations involve the burning of an effigy of winter to welcome the spring. Independence Day is celebrated on 16 February. Saint Kazimier's Day on 4 March, originally was a religious holiday but now provides a reason to hold annual fairs at which vendors sell handicrafts. Every five years a national folk music festival takes place in honor of Saint Kazimier's Day.

    Reestablishment of Independence Day is celebrated on 11 March. The tradition includes running into the forest at night to search for fern blossoms. Legend holds that Midsummer's Eve is a night for young people to find a mate, and finding a fern blossom is a sign of great luck. Women and girls make wreaths of flowers to be worn on their heads or floated down the river with candles. Celebrants dance around a campfire and jump over it to bid farewell to the cold season. Crowning of Mindaugas Day occurs on 6 July. Death and the Afterlife. Funeral practices in Lithuania take place in three phases. First, the deceased is formally dressed and laid out for a three-day, three-night viewing either at home or in a public venue.

    Family and friends keep watch and ensure that candles stay lit as people come to bring flowers—always in even numbers—and pay their respects.

    This is followed by a burial ceremony at a cemetery cremation is not commonand a sitdown luncheon for all funeral attendants. The luncheon is a time for friends and family aMrried share their memories of the deceased. It is common to visit the graves of loved ones at birthdays and kauunas 1 November All Married women in kaunas Daywhen most cemeteries overflow with flowers and burning candles. The Arts and Humanities Support for the Arts. Many artists are self-supporting, but limited Marrid is available from the government. Some apply for foreign grant money, Mxrried group of Lithuanian folk dancers and womeb perform in wo,en Vilnius public square.

    There are strict laws on exporting cultural properties, kauna anyone who wishes to purchase or move cultural properties more than aMrried years old must follow a detailed registration kauans. Chronicles of the Grand Duchy of Lithuaniaa historical treatise, marks the beginning of the national literature. Works in the Middle Ages were primarily religious, the first in Lithuanian being Katekizmas the catechism. From the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, literature increased in popularity; Konstantinas Sirvydas printed the first Lithuanian language dictionary, and the Bible was translated into Lithuanian during that period.

    Secular literature became more widespread in the eighteenth century. Literature in the early twentieth century was linked to the national independence movement. Writings were characterized by symbolism, romanticism, and existentialism. Official language is Lithuanian. Other languages are permitted broadly in minority institutions including as medium of instruction at schools and signage for tourists but not for official signs, e. Freedom of speech is generally respected, but voicing negative opinions on certain groups may lead to accusations of "promoting hatred" which is a crime.

    Communist and Nationalsocialist symbols and the denial of their 20th-century crimes are banned. Political rights Political system is democratic, but the Communist and Nationalsocialist parties are not permitted to be established. There are no gender, ethnic, religious, property or other requirements. Only citizens could vote in all elections save for municipality councils. Voting is not mandatory. Labor, business rights, and social benefits Private enterprise is legal as long as one pays taxes. Some forms of business require a license. Labor strikes are permitted. Discrimination sexual, racial, ethnic, religious, social, etc. A few forms of gender discrimination against men are sanctioned, however: Free taxpayer-funded healthcare is available to nearly every Lithuanian citizen for the more serious diseases and health checks.

    Furthermore, the members of Lithuanian diaspora are permitted to "restore [forefather's] citizenship" or gain citizenship on a simplified process. Dual citizenship nationality is not permitted save for a few special cases e.

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