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Tuesday 20.02.2018 | Name days: Smuidra, Vitauts, Smuidris

BNN summary of the week: Lembergs loses; Latvian economy’s gets positive outlook

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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: LRA and LA to start in elections together

On 1 February, political parties Latvian Association of Regions and For Latvia’s Development signed a cooperation agreement on joint start in upcoming Riga City Council elections. The candidate for the post of chairman of Riga City Council will be announced once both sides reach an agreement in talks of the work group of the two parties.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/lra-and-la-to-start-in-municipal-elections-in-riga-together-159558

Business: agreement signed for the realization of Rail Baltica project

On Tuesday, 31 January, Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis, Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis signed an inter-governmental agreement on the realization of Rail Baltica project.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/baltics-sign-agreement-on-realization-of-rail-baltica-project-159392

Fight: Riga Regional Court decides to keep Lembergs’ restriction to take important posts in force

On Monday, 30 January, Riga Regional Court satisfied infamous Ventspils resident Aivars Lembergs’ request to lift security measures applied to him, namely remainder under police supervision. However, the court refused to lift the restriction for him to take posts.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/riga-regional-court-maintains-lembergs-restriction-to-take-certain-posts-in-power-159387

Truth: Delna spots signs of state take-over in review of Insolvency Law

In December 2015, Providus think tank and Delna association noticed signs of state take-over in Saeima’s review of amendments to Insolvency Law. Authors of the proposal to lift official status for insolvency administrators delegated the duty to justify their initiative to representatives of the private sector in spite of serious opposition from Justice Ministry.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/delna-signs-of-state-take-over-noted-in-review-of-insolvency-law-159441

Growth: outlook for Latvia economy puts hopes on EU funds

Multiple economists have provided their views on this year’s GDP outlook based on the flash GDP estimate published by the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia on 30 January. It is stated in the estimate that growth did become stronger last year when compared with Q4 2015, growing by 1.6%.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/predictions-about-latvia-s-economy-major-hopes-put-in-eu-funds-159352

Future: vision for Mukusala promenade after a couple of years

Riga City Council’s tender for Mukusala’s promenade with a view to Old Riga and Daugava islands was won by RUUME architects in cooperation with Olga Trebuhina, Marcis Kalnins and Baltex Group. They also offer a look at how it may look a couple of years.

Full article here: http://bnn-news.com/photo-vision-for-mukusala-s-view-promenade-in-a-couple-of-years-159403

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For Latvia’s Development: the prime minister is gone, but finance minister claims otherwise

«What we have observed in the past several days is that Latvia’s financial sector has received several heavy strikes as a result of the government’s uncoordinated and chaotic actions. Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis has evidently ‘disappeared’ and offers no clear plans to resolve the crisis, whereas Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola says different things in every interview. Such behaviour will not help resolve the crisis. It could instead pull the country’s financial sector in a much deeper crisis,» says chairman of For Latvia’s Development Juris Pūce.

Bank of Latvia provided ABLV Bank with a loan of 97.5 mln euros in exchange for securities pledge

The Bank of Latvia has provided ABLV Bank with a loan worth EUR 97.5 million in exchange for securities pledge, as confirmed by the financial institution.

Prime Minister: Bank of Latvia governor is not allowed to take official post

As a security measure, the governor of the Bank of Latvia Ilmārs Rimšēvičs has been applied with a prohibition to take post, said Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis after a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Poland's halt to logging in ancient forest came after irreparable damage

Although Poland has stated logging in the old-growth Bialowieza forest has been stopped, Warsaw has failed to reveal the amount of trees already cut down.

«A good friend» pays 100,000 euro bail for arrested governor of the Bank of Latvia

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (CPCB) has applied a bail of 100,000 euros for the arrested governor of the Bank of Latvia Ilmārs Rimšēvičs. The bail has already been paid to the State Treasury account, as confirmed by his lawyer Saulvedis Vārpiņš.

NP: ABLV blames Latvian officials for misleading foreign institutions

Last week, the reputation of Latvia’s second largest bank – ABLV – was seriously impacted. It is believed that money laundering was this bank’s main operation, and that it failed to comply with the prohibition on cooperation with North Korea. The bank is also accused of bribery. US Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network rarely speaks so directly of any credit institution, says Nekā personīga programme.

Changes to third-country student residence in Estonia to add more responsibilities to university staff

The Estonian government has backed planned amendments are to the Aliens Law implementing an EU directive into Estonian law, which change how third-country nationals on enter and reside in Estonia if they are study or performing research work.

Russia criticises U.S. charges of Russian meddling in U.S. election

The Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergei Lavrov, has criticised the charges announced by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, against 13 Russian nationals and three companies for election meddling.

Government plans to form four riot prevention units in Latvian regions

The State Police plans to form four riot prevention units in Latvia’s regions, says Chief of State Police Ints Ķuzis.

Syrian Kurdish fighters under attack by Turkey announce deal with Syrian government forces

The mainly Kurdish militia in the north-west of Syria have announced having reached an agreement with the Syrian government for the latter to deploy its soldiers in order to help Kurds repel the current Turkish attack.

NCP: it is highly important to replace management of Bank of Latvia and FCMC

Considering recent events, which have not only impacted the country’s finance sector but also its international reputation, the New Conservative Party (NCP) demands immediate measures to be undertaken to replace the management of the Bank of Latvia and the Finance and Capital Market Commission. On top of that, it is also necessary to perform radical changes in the organization and supervision of those institutions, says NCP chairman Jānis Bordāns.

Air temperature in Latvia to gradually decline this week

On Monday, 19 February, atmospheric pressure will increase slightly in the north. With that, it is expected to snow only around Kurzeme’s south-west. Air temperature in most of Latvia will stay at -1° C… -6° C. In Kurzeme, however, air temperature will be around 0° C… +1° C, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Week in Lithuania. Lithuania celebrating centennial of statehood

Leaders of European countries gathered in Vilnius on Friday, February 16, to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of restored statehood, and festive events were taking place in many cities and towns of Lithuania.

BNN summary of the week: minister threatened with dismissal; ABLV Bank scandal

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Change; Fight; Court; Problem; Decline; Commentary; Future; Proposal

SRS uncovered violations in 169 inspections at catering companies last year

In 2017, the State Revenue Service (SRS) performed a total of 989 inspections at 212 catering companies. This includes 182 thematic inspections for 125 taxpayers. Violations were uncovered in 169 inspections. The most common violation was manipulation with cash registers, according to information published by SRS.

Russian tourists often decide to celebrate International Women’s Day in Riga

To satisfy growing demand for bus tickets from Russia to Latvia for the week when 8 March is celebrated, Lux Express plans to organize additional buses between St Petersburg and Riga.

FCMC to investigate ABLV Bank again; no operational restrictions applied to the bank

Latvia’s Finance and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) has plans to perform an additional investigation at ABLV Bank in the next couple of weeks, says the commission’s manager Pēters Putniņš, adding that no operational restrictions have been applied to the bank so far.

Study: overall sense of happiness in Latvia is record-low

60% of Latvian residents feel happy. Although this is a good index, there has been a general decline of the sense of happiness, according to a study performed by Amigo mobile network operator and SKDS to assess the level of happiness of Latvian residents.

Raid reveals some taxi drivers in Riga do not have valid driver’s license

A raid was performed by the State Revenue Service and Riga Municipal Police to check taxi service providers in the capital. Authorities uncovered a total of 81 violations in 48 cases, BNN was informed by SRS.

Estonia sea ice crash: last missing body found

Nine days after a van with six people inside drove onto the ice of the Baltic Sea in south-western Estonia, the body of the last victim has been found.

Delna invites immediate investigation of claims about ABLV Bank’s money laundering schemes

The decision by US Finance Ministry’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to apply sanctions against ABLV Bank for involvement in money laundering schemes and bribery of officials was not a surprise. It is a sign for acute need to continue improving investigative and supervisory institutions’ ability to prevent money laundering through Latvia, as noted by Delna – Society for Openness.

Estonian income tax should be simplified, parties believe

The existing income tax scheme in Estonia should be simplified, three parties in the Estonian Riigikogu find, but there are differences in opinion as to maintaining the current state budget income. Meanwhile, the opposition Reform Party has voiced backing for an annual tax-free income of 6,000 a year to every earner.

Baltics propose increasing member states’ contributions to EU budget after Brexit

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia invite European Union member states to increase contributions to the EU budget after 2020 in order to make sure available funds do not drop after UK’s exit.

Instagram obeys Russian internet censor to block content on corruption allegations

In the atmosphere of the March Russian presidential election, social network Instagram has submitted to the demands of Russia's internet censorship body and blocked in the country content with corruption claims voiced by Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

Teenager charged with U.S. school shooting has confessed

A day after a tragic school shooting in Florida, the U.S., where 17 people have been killed, the suspect 19-year-old Nicolas Cruz has confessed to police.