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Monday 22.01.2018 | Name days: Austris
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Week in Lithuania. Unexpected decision: Lithuania’s Bank Snoras property put on sale on eBay

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Bankruptcy administrator of bank Snoras has decided, unexpectedly to many, to start selling movable property of the bankrupt bank on eBay. Selling the property as effectively as possible is administrator’s striving, it says.

Used electronic devices and computer equipment will be sold on the globally popular website. Already on the first day, banknote counter Glory GFB-800 was sold for nearly 350 euro.

Lithuanian President: UK’s proposal is discriminatory

This week, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has met with British Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of the European Council in Brussels. According to the president, Lithuania is ready to seek solutions in order to strengthen the European Union (EU). «We support Britain’s proposals to enhance the competitiveness of the entire Union and reduce regulatory burdens on business,» the president said. «However, the free movement of people and non-discrimination against EU citizens – the founding principles of the EU – cannot be questioned».

Lithuania will accept additional refugee quotas

Attending the European Council on Thursday, December 17, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said that Lithuania would not participate in the newly suggested refugee resettlement from Turkey scheme until the earlier quota of 1,105 asylum seekers for Lithuania is completed. According to the president, the 1,105 refugee quota also includes 70 people from third countries, including Turkey. The European Commission presented a recommendation to resettle refugees from Turkey directly on December 15.

President: Nord Stream 2 should not go ahead

The planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea should not be built, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė says. «Lithuania and six other countries addressed the European Commission, asking to look into whether this pipeline does not contradict the Energy Union … and the EU’s interests in areas of transparency and solidarity, whether it meets the Third Energy Package requirements. So I believe there are many questions to ask and before they are answered, this project should not move forward,» Grybauskaitė told.

Financial investigators raid Lithuanian Football Federation offices

Lithuania’s Financial Crime Investigation Service (FCIS) carried out searches of the headquarters of the Lithuanian Football Federation (LFF) and of the home of the LFF’s president, Julius Kvedaras, on Thursday, December 17. The FCIS indicated that searches were also carried out at related private companies, but did not reveal what companies were being investigated. FCIS director Kęstutis Jucevičius told that the pre-trial investigation for embezzlement at the Lithuanian Football Federation had been going on for a month and that the case supposedly involved millions of euros. No one has been charged in the investigation yet. Kvedaras denies any wrongful activities.

Parliament nods to military conscription extension

Lithuanian parliament has endorsed a proposal on reinstating military conscription beyond 2020, although prime minister and defence minister remain unsure about the necessity. One bill, put forward by the Labour Party’s Artūras Paulauskas, called for military draft in 2020-2021 and was supported by 74 MPs, while three voted against and 15 abstained. National Defence Minister Juozas Olekas was among the three detractors. A second bill on drafting men between 19-26 in 2021 was endorsed by 62 MPs, with one vote against and 30 abstentions, including by the defence minister.

A discussion behind closed doors

In a closed sitting with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius, members of the Seimas Committee on Foreign Affairs discussed the current situation and outlook in the European Union’s relations with Russia and Lithuania’s stance on those relations. It was agreed that Lithuania’s position would remain clear and consistent: any positive changes in EU-Russian relations will have to start with Russian domestic and foreign policy changes, the country’s efforts to strengthen democracy and respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, and support for the principles of international law both in Russia and in its relationships with other countries.

Vilnius wants to be data storage leader

As Lithuania attracts more and more international service centres, its capital city, Vilnius, may also take a regional leadership role in the storage of European companies’ data.

According to Slušnys,the CEO of Rackray UAB, what makes Vilnius unique is its combination of a favourable geographical location, excellent communication networks and highly qualified specialists.

The quantity of digital information in the world is forecast to grow to 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020, from 4.4 trillion in 2013. Experts say the market for data centres in Central and Eastern Europe will grow by about 70 percent in coming years.

Five Lithuanian ballers win dubious acclamation

A Russian sports website has given five Lithuanian basketball players the questionable honor of playing on that website’s modern-day USSR fantasy dream team. The imaginary modern USSR national team would have featured Jonas Mačiulis, Jonas Valančiūnas, Mantas Kalnietis, Donatas Motiejūnas and Mindaugas Kuzminskas.

PM given more power to amend SD electoral list

The Council of the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania has granted party leader Algirdas Butkevičius more powers in compiling the party list for the 2016 general elections. Butkevičius, who is the prime minister of Lithuania, will have the possibility to modify the candidates’ ranking in the electoral list or include up to 10 new candidates. Butkevičius will be able to modify the ranking within «100 ranking spots», which means that he can either move 100 candidates up or down one spot each or, for example, move five candidates up or down 20 spots.

Prices are falling in December

Lithuania’s average monthly inflation, calculated based on the harmonised index of consumer prices (HICP), is projected to be negative and stand at minus 0.2%, compared with prices recorded in November. According to Statistics Lithuania, annual inflation is also expected to be negative in December and stand at minus 0.1%. The average annual inflation will be minus 0.7% in December.

Lithuania’s improved economic growth outlook

Lithuania’s economy should grow 2.9% next year, almost double this year’s rate of 1.7%, according to the director of Economics and Financial Stability Service of the central Bank of Lithuania. The main engines of growth next year will be expanding domestic consumption and economic recovery of Lithuania’s trading partners. Another factor favourable to Lithuania’s economic growth is the expected recovery in the eurozone, presenting more opportunities for export to Western Europe.

Lithuanian President to sign 2016 budget

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė says that she is going to sign the 2016 budget into law, although it has been criticised by the European Commission and the National Audit Office. Although the budgetary plan for 2016 contains risks that Lithuania might fail to live up to its deficit commitments, the president said she would sign the law because it provides for bigger funding for national defence and welfare. Presidential advisor Mindaugas Lingė has said the budget was drafted amateurishly and compared it to a work of over-eager and over-optimistic students.

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Latvenergo: Latvia is the largest energy exporter in Baltic States

Latvia continues exporting electrical energy produced in the country – as of Monday, 22 January, it was 832 MW. Especially intensive energy production is recorded for Daugava’s hydro-electric power plants and Riga’s CHP plants. The largest import volume is registered for Lithuania, to which the amount of exported energy equals the amount consumed in Latvia, Latvenergo explains.

LALRG secretary general: we have to reduce gap in quality of life for EU citizens

Ever since Latvia joined the European Union, its population has declined 14%. The most significant decline was caused by the departure of residents of working age to other EU member states. Because of that, the population in eastern regions of Latvia has declined 23%.

Czechs up for close race in this week's presidential run-off

As the Czech Republic nears the second round of its presidential election this weekend, sociologists estimate that the pro-Western academic Jiří Drahoš enjoys a somewhat larger support than the incumbent Miloš Zeman, who easily won the first round.

Producer price level in Latvia’s industry up 3.1%

Compared to December 2016, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry rose by 3.1 % in December 2017. Prices of products sold on the domestic market rose by 3.0 %, while prices of exported products went up by 3.3 %. Prices of products exported to euro area countries grew by 3.8 %, whereas prices of products exported to non-euro area countries rose by 2.9 %.

MEP: an even greater UGF dominance would slow down Latvia’s development

If the Union of Greens and Farmers (UGF) gains an even greater presence in the upcoming Saeima elections, Latvia’s continued development would suffer, said member of the European Parliament Artis Pabriks in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.

Tax reform challenge in January: labour tax recalculation

2018 commenced for Latvia with a historical tax reform and conceptual changes, significantly affecting everyday work performed by businessmen, employers and accountants. One of the changes financial specialists have to remember when calculating wages for January is the one for personal income tax, which also includes changes for state social insurance fees and solidarity tax, BNN was told by accounting experts.

Total tax debts in Latvia reach 1.217 billion euros at beginning of 2018

At the beginning of the year, total tax debts in Latvia, including existing debts, halted debts and debts with extended repayment debts, reached EUR 1.217 billion, which is 3% less when compared with the previous month, as reported by the State Revenue Service.

Estonia emphasises animal welfare as demand for animal food products grows

Although the demand for food products from animals is increasing, attention should be paid both animal welfare and sustainability in agriculture, Estonia's Minister for Rural Affairs Tarmo Tamm has stated.

Latvia hopes to recover its status as a country free of swine fever

There is hope that Latvia may yet recover its status of a country free of swine fever, says Food and Veterinary Service’s (FVS) Animal Infections Monitoring Department lead expert Mārtiņš Seržants.

Estonia prepares to inform population of actions in case of emergency or war

Estonia is preparing a brochure on how its population should act in case of major crisis or war.

De Facto: international lawsuit against Latvia is associated with infamous Winergy case

Norvik Bank’s lawsuit against Latvian state in the international court of arbitration in Washington is associated with Winergy wind park business, as reported by De Facto programme of LTV. The bank has yet to announce the amount of money it wishes to enforce from the state

German Social Democrats vote to U-turn on coalition talks with Merkel's conservatives

In Germany, where four months after its federal parliamentary elections there is still no government, the Social Democrats have voted to enter coalition talks with the conservatives led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Weather in Latvia to become warmer this week; thaw to settle in

Weather in Latvia will be dictated by an anticyclone at the beginning of the week. Precipitation is only expected in some areas, mostly in the north. The sky will be cloudy for the most part. Still some sun is expected every now and then, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Turkey crosses into Syria to attack Kurdish militia

Turkey's ground forces have entered the territory of neighbouring Syria strengthening Ankara's offensive to push Kurdish militia, considered to be terrorists by Turkey, away from the border.

Week in Lithuania. Fake news on Lithuanian Defence Minister planted on news portal

The Tv3. lt news website was hacked on Thursday, January 18 - a fake news story about Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis was posted claiming that Karoblis allegedly harassed Ridas Jasiulionis, a journalist at the Žinių Radijas radio station, and admitted being gay.

BNN summary of the week: final report on Oligarchs case and ordered attacks on e-health

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Change; Fight; Attack; Growth; Decline; Opinion; and Study.

Economist: the most important reform has to happen in people’s heads

«Of all the clever things taught to us in school about psychology, one thing that has stuck with me over the years is the idea of internal/external control point. There are people who believe they make their own fate. There are also people who believe our fate depends on external powers. I suspect people in Latvia explain successes and failures with external factors much more than people in Switzerland or any other country that has enjoyed its freedom longer than Latvia,» comments Luminor Bank’s economist Pēteris Strautiņš.

Minister promises bigger wages for working people and support for country’s industry

«Latvian Economy Ministry’s priorities for 2018 include increasing wages for working people and providing support to the country’s industry. For Latvia’s centenary year, every resident should have the right to experience the increase of the personal and state welfare,» promises Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens.

Latvenergo: electricity price has declined 30% in the past three years

Average electricity price in Latvia has declined in recent years. The average price of electricity has declined by 30% at Nord Pool exchange between 2014 and 2017, allowing end user costs to decline, says Latvenergo.

Alcohol sellers in Estonia to be checked by little «police»

To find shop assistants illegally selling alcohol or tobacco to minors, Estonian police introduces the method of sending minors as police aides to retail shops to try to purchase the products banned to them.

EY study: cyber security has become a priority to banks this year

Over the course of the year, priorities of banks around the world have switched from reputation and risk management to data security matters, as concluded in the latest EY Global Banking Outlook 2018.

Political association: UGF and Harmony are covering up state capture

«Parliamentary investigation of Oligarchs case has shown what is what in the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia. Green farmers are in full harmony, covering up Aivars Lembergs and the fact of state capture. They and Inguna Sudraba have made the parliamentary investigation into a farce. Unfortunately, the power in those people’s hands is no farce – rather misfortune for all of Latvia. I hope citizens will take all that into account when they go voting,» says leader of Kustība Par! Daniels Pavļuts.

Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel plan lacks ambition, says «Angry Birds» game maker

While Finland and Estonia work on plans of an under-sea tunnel from Tallinn to Helsinki, the construction of which could start in the 2030s, a Finnish businessman, previously involved in development of Angy Birds video game, has presented plans to finish the massive construction project in 2024 already.

Experts: healthcare financing law will deny healthcare to the least protected

In a discussion regarding healthcare, experts said that Latvian President Raimonds Vējoņis’ proposed Healthcare Financing Law is economically unjustified and ineffective. The document lacks principles of a socially responsible state, because healthcare is becoming less accessible, which will likely worsen public health indexes, says Kustība Par! political party.

Branded «aggressor state», Russia says Ukraine buries Minsk peace agreements

As the Donbas War continues, the parliament of Ukraine has passed the so-called Donbas reintegration bill after three days of debates defining territories controlled by pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country as temporarily occupied by Russia.

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