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Monday 01.05.2017 | Name days: Ziedonis
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BNN summary of the week: «bright eyes», Meroni about values and Latvia’s anti-bubble state

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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; Business; Decline; Truth; Future and Growth.

Change: Kucinskis wants to see Citskovskis in charge of State Chancellery because he has «bright eyes»

One of the strongest characteristics of Interior Affairs Ministry’s deputy state secretary Janis Citskovskis, who is a candidate for the post of director of State Chancellery, is the ability to form a strong and capable team, Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis said in an interview to 900 seconds programme in LNT.

When asked what makes Citkovskis better than Martins Krievins, Kucinskis said ‘one can come over and announce how things will be and the other will organize everything point by point’.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/kucinskis-wants-to-see-citskovskis-in-charge-of-state-chancellery-because-he-has-bright-eyes-163046

Business: Natural gas reserves to be created in Latvia for energy crisis situations

Latvian Cabinet of Ministers supports the plan to entrust the creation of natural gas reserves to Conexus Baltic Grid, as BNN was informed by Economy Ministry.

On Tuesday, 28 March, the government approved rules that will govern the process of creation and storage of natural gas reserves in Latvia for energy crisis situations. Latvia’s natural gas supplies come mostly from Incukalns underground gas storage facility. This is why the Cabinet of Ministers decided to entrust the creation of gas reserves to the transmission system’s operator Conexus Baltic Grid, Economy Ministry told BNN.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/natural-gas-reserves-to-be-created-in-latvia-for-energy-crisis-situations-162977

Decline: Economist: Latvia’s market is in «anti-bubble» stage

If Riga had built large business centres in time, Riga would not have lost to Vilnius in the field of outsourcing services, said DNB macroeconomic expert Peteris Strautins at a conference  ‘How to develop real estate market in Latvia?’ on Friday, 31 March.

He says that one factor affecting the market in Riga is export of services, which has grown explosively and more rapidly than exports of goods in recent years – those are business services, ICT and tourism.

«I can understand people who speak of the possible risks of attracting tenants and fear building new office centres. There is no reason for concern; office centres should be built – tenants will appear on their own. Industries in which large wages are paid experience export increase over EUR 300 million every year,» Strautins says.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/economist-latvia-s-market-is-in-anti-bubble-stage-163233

Truth: Strīķe: whenever contraband was associated with parties, SP put up all kinds of barriers

«I would never join any of the political parties that are currently in power,» said former official of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau and mayoral candidate from the New Conservative Party Juta Strīķe.

«Looking at so-called old Latvian parties that are in power and knowing more or less how they work, I get the feeling of disgust over how things are done there. I also particularly dislike those parties’ total indifference towards corruption and the lack of interest in combating it,» Strīķe comments.

She admits that she had never planned on becoming a politician. «I liked fighting crime – be it corruption, contraband, theft or kidnapping. I liked this job. But over time I started noticing a pattern – I was allowed to catch small criminals and perform routine checks, but as soon as contraband turned out to be associated with political parties, especially when I still worked at Security Police, the higher-ups would impede my work. There have been cases when the criminal case would be taken from me and all materials would be sent over to another department,» she said.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/strike-whenever-contraband-was-associated-with-parties-sp-put-up-all-kinds-of-barriers-162916

Growth: Rudolf Meroni: The more Ventspils flourishes, the happier I shall be!

Rudolf Meroni! Who are you? – Ostap Bender, international swindler, or the biggest employer and tax payer in Ventspils?

It depends on whom you ask. Aivars Lembergs has called me with different names and continues to do so, using “flashy” words and descriptors, but time will surely put everything in its proper place and the people of Ventspils will find out, who is who, sooner or later.  It’s virtually impossible to hide the truth in the long term. At the same time, facts are facts, and even Aivars Lembergs will find it hard to deny – Together, the companies I lead are the biggest employers and tax payers in Ventspils. Ventbunkers even got a certificate of merit for that from the City Council of Ventspils.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/rudolf-meroni-the-more-ventspils-flourishes-the-happier-i-shall-be-163219

Future: Use of wild animals in circus performances to be prohibited in Latvia

On Thursday, 30 March, Saeima conceptually supported amendments to the Animal Protection Law to prohibit the use of wild animals in circus performances. Previously, however, deputies decided against this.

Following the European Commission’s request, it is also planned to clarify regulations in relation to test animals, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

The proposed legislative draft provides for supplementing the law with a new section, stating that it will no longer be allowed to use train wild animals and captive-bred animals to be used in performances. New regulations will mainly apply to travelling circuses from the European Union and foreign countries.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/use-of-wild-animals-in-circus-performances-to-be-prohibited-in-latvia-163171

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Week in Lithuania. Vilnius to turn to court against French firm over EUR 200 million

The Vilnius City Council decided to turn to the Stockholm arbitration for compensation of damages caused by the French concern Veolia and its company Vilniaus Energija during lengthy lease of the city's heating sector after they disagreed with the claim of about 200 million euros filed by the city.

BNN summary of the week: the dark side of construction and the level of state control over gas

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

Antane: we have to act fast to prevent our transit industry from falling behind other countries

Europe has major plans in relation to port development – it is planned to increase cargo volumes by one and a half times and create 160,000 new jobs by 2030. We have to act fast to make sure our transit industry does not fall into second speed countries group, says president of Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics Inga Antane.

Retail trade turnover up 1.5% in Latvia

Compared to March 2016, total retail trade turnover in Latvia rose by 1.5 % in March 2017. Turnover of retail trade in food products declined by 0.8 %, whereas turnover of retail trade in non-food products grew by 3.3 %.

The biggest environmental threat in Riga is pollution caused by vehicles’ exhaust gases

Looking at the main factors that create the most pollution to Latvia’s environment, 53% of Riga residents mentioned pollution caused by vehicle exhaust gases, according to results of Baltic International Bank’s Latvian barometer data.

Murniece: Kremlin's aggressive behaviour is a threat to our region

The presence of US armed forces in Baltic States is a decisive element to oppose the region’s current security threat, says Saeima speaker Inara Murniece during her meeting with US Congress House of Representatives speaker Paul Ryan.

Lithuania plans to add asphalt surfacing to 815 km of gravel roads this year

This year, Lithuania plans to add asphalt surfacing to 815 km of gravel roads. 600 km of roads will receive soft asphalt surface, and 215 km of roads will receive surface restoration.

Study: number of Baltic tourists’ trips to USA increases

In the summer season, Baltic tourists prefer to travel by air to Asia and UAE. The most popular destinations reachable by land include Italy, Spain and Germany, according to information compiled by travel agency Estravel and car rent company Budget.

Lithuanian PM: Lithuania will hush Latvia in pursuit of Chinese investments

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis must have scratched Latvia‘s ego. «In the competition for Chinese investments, Lithuania should overcome Latvia,» the head of Lithuanian Government declared after meeting Zhang Dejiang, China‘s Parliament Speaker.

Estonia allows drivers to use studded tyres in part of May

As the northern-most Baltic nation experiences cold weather, unlike normally in late April, the Estonian roads’ authority has permitted drivers to leave their studded winter tyres on until May 7.

MEP: to prevent Baltics from dying out, we need much higher growth goals

«The growth goals of Baltic States are currently too low if we want to not only avoid dying out, but also recovering the people that have left because of economic reasons,» said Lithuanian MEP Antans Guoga.

Estonian TransferWise to open office in Singapore

Estonian-managed money transfer company TransferWise has announced its plans to open a regional head office for Asia in Singapore.

Rinkevics: we have to demonstrate unity of EU member states in Brexit talks

«We have to demonstrate the unity of 27 EU member states in Brexit talks,» says Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics.

American company shares traded the most; Apple shares popular the most in Baltics

Shares of Apple, Amazon and Facebook were traded the most in Q1 2017, as announced by international online trading and investment company Saxo Bank. Deals with Apple shares were the most popular among Saxo Bank’s Baltic investors.

Draghi: Economic recovery in eurozone becomes more solid

Increasingly solid is the economic recovery of the euro area as it faces less risks, evaluated head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi. The eurozone’s governing financial institution has maintained its main interest rate on hold at zero for another month.

Crowd of protesters break into Macedonian parliament

The Assembly of Macedonia has been stormed by a violent crowd, protesting against the election of an ethnic Albanian politician as the speaker.

April in Latvia to conclude with rain; beginning of May expected to be warm

April in Latvia will conclude with rainy and cold weather, whereas the first days of May are expected to be different, as reported by Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Number of POS terminals in Latvia increased 16% in 2016

According to data of Association of Latvian Commercial Banks, compared to 2015, the number of POS terminals in Latvia increased 16% in 2016, reaching 41,613 terminals in total. On average, 494 new POS terminals are released in the country.

Citadele and Visa to create a brand new credit card in Baltics

Citadele Bank has signed a contract for long-term cooperation with global payment technology company Visa. The contract provides for close cooperation in the development of new and innovative payment cards and other payment products in all three Baltic States in the next six years.

Finance Ministry promises tax burden decline will be felt by all residents

The tax policy reform will make Latvia more competitive in comparison with other Baltic States. In addition, reforms in the country will introduce the largest PIT benefits for dependents among other Baltic States, Finance Ministry promises.

Latvia signs contract on procurement of howitzers from Austria

A mutual contract on the purchase of M109A5Oe-type self-propelled howitzer system, fire support and training platform has been signed by Latvian Defence Ministry and Austrian Defence and Sport Ministry.

Committee to evaluate education quality in Riga and reduction of classes in gymnasiums

Riga City Council intends to hold a meeting of the Education, Culture and Sports Committee. The agenda of this meeting includes Unity faction deputy Baiba Brigmane’s request to include the matter regarding Education and Science Ministry’s study performed in Riga’s secondary schools. The meeting will take place at 11:00 on Thursday, 27 April.

NATO cyber defence drill in Estonia gets bigger

Tallinn’s NATO cyber defence centre is currently holding its annual training exercise, cooperating with NATO members, partner countries and tech firms.

Lithuania: EU tends to finance electronic transports and railway, not roads

Lithuanian Road Administration believes European Union’s tends not to finance road infrastructure development and instead focus more on use of electric transports and railway infrastructure development. This is why the administration works on research of other sources of funding, says the administration’s director Egidijus Skrodenis.

KNAB commences criminal process in relation to bribe request

Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has commenced a criminal process in relation to possible corruptive behaviour of a state official, requesting a bribe.