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Friday 28.04.2017 | Name days: Terēze, Gundega

BNN summary of the week: Grigule leaves, Lithunia no longer an outsider, gas get single bill

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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, including change, business, fight, truth, growth and future.

Change: Grigule submits resignation to leave LFU

MEP Iveta Grigule has decided to leave Latvian Farmers Union. In her interview to Panorāma, Grigule said she was shown social surveys that showed declines of ratings of the Union of Greens and Farmers and the government. «I don’t want to get in anyone’s way – if I am the reason for the decline in ratings, I hope this step will help recover lost positions,» Grigule said. When asked if she truly believes she is the reason for the rating decline, the politician asked to look at ratings in a couple of months.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/grigule-writes-request-to-leave-latvian-farmers-union-159972

Business: Government approves open gas market principles

From now on all activities in the gas trade process involving customer service will be secured by the trader. With that, clients will only have to sign one contract and receive one bill.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/government-approves-open-gas-market-principles-159876

Fight: NEPLP concerned about Latvijas Radio’s situation

«National Electronic Mass Media Council is very concerned over the situation at Latvijas Radio. Recent meetings and discussions have left the impression that LR does not function as a team. Such a situation is unacceptable. The council expects explanations, an action plan and specific solutions,» – says council member Ivars Abolins.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/abolins-neplp-concerned-about-latvijas-radio-s-situation-160144

Decline: Sudraba and Aboltina believe Kucinskis’ mistake was the approval of this year’s budget

Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis’ government is as though an empty boat without a captain or crew tossed around by waves. Such an assessment to Kucinskis’ government’s first year was given by Inguna Sudraba in her interview to Rīta panorama on 9 February. Solvita Aboltina told LNT on 9 February that trust for Kucinskis’ government is below the lowest point of Laimdota Straujuma’s government, which is rather unfortunate to say the least, she said. Aboltina believes the biggest accomplishment of Kucinskis’ government is the reform in education. Its biggest mistake, on the other hand, was the approval of this year’s budget.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/sudraba-and-aboltina-kucinskis-mistake-approval-of-this-year-s-budget-159986

Truth: Ombudsman reports many complaints are received in regards to work in SRS

The State Revenue Service does not comply with principles of the Administrative Process Law in its work. The service has had poor progress with introduction of good management lately, said ombudsman Juris Jansons. He said that even if a person is late with submitting some information, SRS responds very repressively. But if it is SRS who does not respond to residents’ applications, the service faces no penalties.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/ombudsman-many-complaints-are-received-in-regards-to-work-in-srs-159705

Growth: Masjulis: Lithuania has become a leader of Rail Baltica

From an initially outsider position in the Rail Baltica project, Lithuania has become its leader, Lithuania Transport Minister Roks Masjulis told BNS on 9 February.

«During this meeting, I emphasized that Lithuania, which up until now was viewed as the project’s outsider, has become the leader. We already have a railway line from Poland’s border all the way to Kaunas. In addition, we have begun establishing a route from Kaunas to Latvia’s border. No other country has done as much,» Masjulis said.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/masjulis-lithuania-has-become-a-leader-of-rail-baltica-160103

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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.

Baryshnikov to be given Latvian citizenship for contribution to Latvia’s culture

On Thursday, 27 April, Latvia’s Saeima supported the legislative draft regarding the provision of Latvian citizenship to world-famous artist Mikhail Baryshnikov for his contribution to Latvia’s culture, as BNN was informed by Saeima’s press-service.

Lithuania asks Klaipeda gas terminal to be added to EU’s list of projects of common interest

Lithuania has asked Klaipeda LNG terminal to be added to EU’s list of projects of common interest. If European Commission decides to approve this request, Lithuania can hope for financial support of at least EUR 100 million. This funding would help reduce gas prices for consumers in Lithuania and other Baltic States.