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Monday 26.06.2017 | Name days: Inguna, Inguns, Ausma, Ausmis
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BNN summary of the week: attack on Syria and oil longevity in Latvia

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUBNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Change; Fight; Decline; Truth and Future.

Change: Putin allows all Latvian and Estonian non-citizens to travel to Russia without a visa

On Wednesday, 5 April, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that provides the right for Latvian and Estonian non-citizens born after 6 February 1992, when Soviet citizenship ceased to exist, to travel to the country without a visa.

The decree, which provides amendments to the 17 June 2008 decree, comes into force at the moment of signing, according to the document available on the Russian federal legislative acts portal.

The 2008 decree stated that people without certain nationality to travel to Russia without a visa if those people previously had USSR citizenship. Visa-free regime was secured by this decree for people born before 6 February 1992.

The new decree cancels this restriction, allowing all Latvian and Estonian non-citizens to travel to Russia with only their non-citizen passport issued in Latvia or foreigner passport issued in Estonia.

Amendments were prepared by Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry following an order from Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/putin-allows-all-latvian-and-estonian-non-citizens-to-travel-to-russia-without-a-visa-163463

Fight: U.S. attacks Assad regime for first time, reacting to suspected chemical attack

U.S. army has for the first time during the Syrian Civil War attacked Syrian government forces, insisting it is a response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on an town controlled by Syrian rebels, where dozens of civilians have been killed.

BBC cited the U.S. defence ministry as stating that 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired at 04:40 Syrian time from destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean targeting aircraft, aircraft shelters, storage areas, ammunition supply bunkers, air defence systems, and radars at Shayrat airfield in western Homs province, Syria.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/u-s-attacks-assad-regime-for-first-time-reacting-to-suspected-chemical-attack-163509

Decline: Pulks: Riga City Council gives away 17 million euros without tendering procedure

Over the course of the past five years, more than EUR 17 million was spend with no tendering procedure on Riga City Council’s single information system’s maintenance. Politician Olafs Pulks from Unity suspects certain municipal officials of having selfish interests.

Pulks has sent a letter to prosecutor general Eriks Kalnmeiers, Competition Council Chairman Skaidrite Abrama and State Auditor Elita Krumina, asking them to assess the actions of Riga City Council officials in picking a service provider without first performing a tendering procedure. Over the course of the past five years, more than EUR 17 million has been spent on maintenance of Riga City Council’s Single Information System.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/pulks-riga-city-council-gives-away-17-million-euros-without-tendering-procedure-163319

Truth: Investigators determine the identity of St Petersburg metro bomber

Russian investigators have determined the identity of the man who detonated an explosive in St Petersburg metro. In the interest of the investigation, the name of this man is not revealed, as reported by Investigation Committee representative Svetlana Petrenko on Tuesday, 4 April.

«Investigation conducted by the Investigation Committee, Interior Affairs Ministry and Federal Security Service has helped determine that the explosive in the metro may have had been detonated by a man whose remains were found in the third cart of the metro train. His identity has been determined as well, but in the interest of the investigation, information about him cannot be revealed at this time,» Petrenko said.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/investigators-determine-the-identity-of-st-petersburg-metro-bomber-163368

Future: Kirkup: if Transneft ceases oil exports through Baltics, LatRosTrans will not be sustainable

If LatRosTrans co-owner Transneft decides to cease oil product exports through Baltic ports, LatRosTrans will no longer be sustainable, says the company’s council chairman Robert Kirkup.

He says LatRosTrans had experienced a major transport volume decline in 2016 – from 4.7 million tonnes of oil products in 2015 to only 3.6 million tonnes last year. The company worked with a degree of profits, which was largely thanks to reduced costs.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/kirkup-if-transneft-ceases-oil-exports-through-baltics-latrostrans-will-not-be-sustainable-163527

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Opinion: Latvia is behind other countries both politically and economically

«Unfortunately, often the desire of our politicians to defend national interests is on par with that of the American president in relation to activities of Russian hackers. When two transit companies asked the government to compensate income of EUR 8.3 million lost because of the government’s stance on Ventspils Freeport’s involvement in Nord Stream 2 project, those businessmen were immediately called shameless,» Dienas Biznes journalist Egons Mudulis comments the situation with Nord Stream 2 project in Latvia.

Trial against Yanukovych suspended in Ukraine

A court in Kyiv has suspended the trial against the former President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, over state treason charges. Kyiv Obolonskiy district court, Yanukovych's lawyers opposed the petition of state prosecutor Ruslan Kravchenko on the application of special judicial proceedings in the case in the absence of Yanukovych from court.

First share trading platform opens in Baltics

The first share trading platform in Baltic States – Shareswall portal – has officially opened.

Harmony comes to power in Daugavpils

With a majority of votes, Harmony’s candidate Andrejs Elksnins was elected as chairman of Daugavpils City Council on Monday, 26 June. This means this party is now in charge of two of Latvia’s largest cities.

Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian satellite launched to space

Lituanica SAT-2, a satellite developed by scientists of the Vilnius University and NanoAvionics company, was launched to space on a rocket from India on Friday, June 23.

Employers: to increase wages, tax rise must not be allowed

«Social and cooperation partners have taken active part in the development of tax reform guidelines. Nevertheless, the ruling coalition is taking its time with making this important decision. On top of that, the ruling coalition is ignoring opinions from employers and employees,» say Latvian Employers' Confederation.

Residents of fire unsafe London blocks asked to move out

Following the tragic London fire, local authorities are asking residents of fire unsafe tower blocks to move out, despite resistance from some residents.

LOS: chopping down trees while bird eggs are still in nests is intentional murder

Estimates presented by Latvian Ornithological Society show that every year more than 50,000 bird nests are destroyed by logging every year.

37.34 million euros – costs for inter-institutional information exchange

The costs of information exchange among state institutions are estimated around EUR 37.34 million, as stated by the State Chancellery.

Entire week expected to be rainy in Latvia

This week’s weather is expected to be volatile in Latvia. Air temperature this week will not exceed +25° C, according to the forecast from the State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Italian government bails out two banks for billions of euros

The government of Italy has intervened in the country’s commercial banking system to bail out two vulnerable banks for a total of 5.2 billion euros.

BNN summary of the week: Latvia’s tax reform progress and gas pipeline project fights

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Change; Decline; Future; Truth and Growth.

Real estate purchase «pain threshold» in Latvia – EUR 100,000

In relation to the possibility of purchasing a new home, Latvian residents view EUR 100,000 as the «pain threshold». The critical border for new project apartments is 1,300 EUR/m2. For standard apartments it is 1,000 EUR/m2. For private homes it is 1,600 EUR/m2, according to results of a study by PrivatBank.

Lembergs & Co. gathered to discuss «problems» of the high and mighty

Political businessman Ainars Slesers held a friendly discussion with his associates – Aivars Lembergs, Andris Ameriks, Janis Urbanovics, Janis Duklavs and Valerijs Kargins – at Ridzene Hotel. The group discussed toppling Valdis Dombrovskis’ government, replacement of multiple high-ranking officials and the possible sale of pieces of land within Riga Freeport’s territory, according to transcripts from the conversation published by Ir magazine and provided by anonymous sources.

Lithuania set to limit cash payments to 3,000 euros

The Farmers and Peasants-led Lithuanian Cabinet has approved a draft bill envisioning restrictions on use of cash, limiting the kind of settlements up to 3,000 euro.

Saeima establishes indexation increase for pensioners with high seniority

On Thursday, 22 June, Latvia’s Saeima approved Social and Employment Matters Committee’s prepared amendments to the Pension Law in two readings, ensuring greater pension indexation for multiple pensioner groups next year.

Romanian Parliament ousts Grindeanu government

The Romanian government of Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu has not survived a no-confidence vote and has fallen after less than six months in power.

Rail Baltica agreement will allow trains to travel at 240 km/h

Saeima of the Republic of Latvia will soon ratify Rail Baltica agreement, which is expected to allow passenger trains to travel at a speed of 240 km/h instead of 120 km/h. Higher travel speed will also ensure cargoes from Tallinn reach Poland within two days.

Mamikins: Latvia is becoming a landfill for rich European countries

A very large fire took place at an illegal landfill in Jurmala this week. According to information from the State Environmental Protection service, the fire had engulfed 23 tonnes of waste, mainly plastic waste, says Latvian MEP Andrejs Mamikins.

Latvian businessmen use e-commerce opportunities for business development

With e-commerce volumes growing around the world, Latvian businessmen use it more and more often for business development, including exports of goods and services. As noted by DPD, the number of packages sent to foreign countries grew 22% last year.

Latvia wishes to change its state president’s election process

Reviewing proposals to change the state president’s election process, Saeima’s Legal Affairs Committee decided to submit proposals developed by the work group to different Saeima factions for review, as BNN was informed by Saeima’s press-service.

Coalition parties close to making final decision with tax reform; no more obstacles

Coalition parties no longer have any more differences of opinions in regards to tax reform principles. Parties are close to making the final decision, said Economy Minister Arvils Aseradens after the meeting with Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola.

Saeima plans to introduce personalized voter cards

For next year’s Saeima elections, voters who only have an ID card and no valid passport are planned to be provided with personalized voter cards.

Producer price level in industry up 0.4% in Latvia

Compared to April, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry grew by 0.4 % in May 2017. The prices of products sold on the domestic market increased by 0.3 %, whereas the prices of exported products grew by 0.5 %. The prices of products exported to euro area countries grew by 0.8 % and of products exported to non-euro area countries – by 0.4 %.

Opinion: local media in Daugavpils are corrupt

«Now that we constantly face new and more elaborate security risks, concerns tend to increase about the fight for people’s minds in the information space. This is why the bar for professional journalists should be held high. Baltic Centre for Media Excellence plays an important role in all this,» said chairman of Saeima’s Foreign Affairs Committee Ojars Eriks Kalnins after the meeting.

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