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Monday 26.06.2017 | Name days: Inguna, Inguns, Ausma, Ausmis
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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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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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