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Friday 23.06.2017 | Name days: Līga
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Week in Lithuania. Best U.S. fighter jets land in Lithuania

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Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė

Last Wednesday, April 27, President Dalia Grybauskaitė greeted and took a closer look at the cutting-edge U.S. F-22 Raptor fighter jets which landed at the Lithuanian Air Force Base in Zokniai.

The stealthy warplanes, arguably the planet’s most advanced fighter jets, have touched down in Lithuania for the first time. This is one of the world’s most advanced military aircraft which is impossible to detect on radar.

According to the President, these fighter jets are of special significance to the Baltic countries as NATO’s collective defence and deterrence measure to ensure effective airspace defence and prevent a possible military isolation of the region.

Dalia Grybauskaitė underlined that the landing of F-22 Raptor fighter jets in Lithuania sent a very clear signal of the U.S. and NATO solidarity, showing that the Alliance was strongly committed to the defense of the Baltic countries.

Free trade with the United States benefits Lithuania

President Dalia Grybauskaitė has met with Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade, to discuss the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations between the EU and the United States and the EU’s relations with the Eurasian Economic Union.

According to the President, the EU-U.S. free trade agreement, which will strengthen transatlantic relations, is important for Lithuania and the whole of Europe. Lithuania would be among the EU countries benefiting the most – free trade with the United States is expected to increase Lithuania’s GDP by 1.6 percent and its exports by 17 percent.

Foreign trade is important for the Lithuanian economy. Exports account for nearly 80 percent of the Lithuanian GDP; therefore, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which would remove trade barriers between the EU and the United States, would be particularly beneficial for our country.

President met her Slovakian counterpart

Last Saturday, April 23, President Dalia Grybauskaitė held a bilateral meeting with President Andrej Kiska of Slovakia which will take over the Presidency of the EU in July. According to the Lithuanian President, as Europe is looking for ways to manage the migration crisis, Slovakia will have a very difficult presidency and a great responsibility to coordinate the interests of all member states and to find effective solutions.  Grybauskaitė once again highlighted Lithuania’s position that it was most important to guarantee the protection of the EU’s external borders and demonstrate solidarity that was based on understanding rather than force in granting asylum and ensuring the integration of refugees who came to Europe.

Lithuanian Foreign minister paid visit to Moldova

Last Wednesday, April 27, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius paid an official visit to Chișinău, the capital city of Moldova. Meetings with Moldova’s President Nicolae Timofti, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Andrei Galbur, party leaders and representatives from the opposition focused on Moldova’s aspirations for the implementation of reforms, plans for bilateral cooperation and the country’s internal political situation.

In the meetings, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister called for concerted efforts by all political forces in Moldova to implement the reforms that were the key to the success of Moldova’s European integration.

Lithuanian Embassy in Kyiv holds meeting of NATO Ambassadors

Last Thursday, April 28,a meeting of NATO Ambassadors took place at the Embassy of Lithuania in Ukraine on April 27. The meeting focused on preparations for NATO Summit in Warsaw, the partnership between NATO and Ukraine, and other important issues.

The Director of the NATO Liaison Office in Ukraine Alexander Vinnikov briefed the Ambassadors about the outcomes of this month’s visits to Kyiv of the NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow and the Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee Petr Pavel, preparations for the next NATO Summit in Warsaw, and the NATO-Russia Council meeting.

Chernobyl catastrophe reminds of importance of nuclear safety standards

Last Tuesday, April 26, with the world commemorating the 30th anniversary of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Lithuania’s Foreign minister Linas Linkevičius said:  «The Ukrainian and Belarusian people, other neighbours, nature and the whole of Europe have suffered the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. A radioactive cloud drifted over most of European countries, including Lithuania. The exclusion zone was established around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the disaster. It is still considered to be one of the world’s most polluted places. And today, even 30 years later, we feel humanitarian, ecological and economic consequences,» said Linas Linkevičius.

Lithuania-Romania partnership discussed in Vilnius

Last Monday, April 25, in Vilnius, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius met with the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania Victor Micula to discuss bilateral relations, preparations for the next NATO Summit in Warsaw, the EU’s Eastern Partnership policy, and the situation in Moldova.

Archaeologists hunt for presidential ship at bottom of Baltic Sea

Klaipėda University (KU) scientists are trying to locate a legendary interwar ship President Smetona used by the president in 1926-1940 in the Baltic Sea. The expedition aiming to find the ship is underway.

Arvydas Sabonis to become Lidl’s «face»?

Lithuanian basketball prodigy Arvydas Sabonis will likely become the face for German grocery chain Lidl’s operations in Lithuania, where it is opening a number of stores. Lidl has not yet confirmed the news but both leading Lithuanian newspapers Verslo Žinios and Lietuvos Rytas quoted sources confirming that Sabonis would launch Lidl’s campaign.

Extreme temperature swings in April

The extreme temperature swings that Lithuanians have experienced this April are as a result of climate change, said Lithuanian climatologist Donatas Valiukas. However, the sudden bursts of heat alternating with cold spells are nothing compared to what is to come in the future, he said.

Russia may penetrate into Lithuania by trains

The menace of Russian secret agents or hostile forces penetrating Lithuania by train is real, according to the head of Lithuania‘s border guard service. «Three years ago, 130 Russian military personnel entered Lithuania, 32 of them were unauthorized, and so measures have been taken now to stop them coming through,» said the Kena cordon Deputy Commander Major Pranskus.

Lithuania in top of Europe’s 20 most influential countries

Influential platform Politico has ranked Lithuania as one of the top 20 most influential countries in Europe. Lithuania was ranked the 17th most influential country in Europe by Politico. The most influential countries within the European Union were Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy. Turkey came in 5th, since the rankings also considered candidate states. The high position was largely based on Turkey’s «standing invitation» to EU summits and its pivotal role in the refugee deal.

Lithuanian scientist nominated for European Inventor of the Year

Lithuanian scientist, Professor Arminas Ragauskas has been nominated for the European Inventor Award, the first Lithuanian ever to be nominated for this award. Arminas Ragauskas Professor Ragauskas and his colleagues Gediminas Daubaris and Algis Džiugas have patented an intracranial pressure measuring method and device in the EU and the United States that is being used by NASA to test the effect of long space flights on astronauts.

Prosecutors appeal ruling in Labour Party’s book-cooking case

The Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office has appealed a ruling in the Labour Party’s book cooking case to the Supreme Court and asked it to send the case back to the Court of Appeals Court re-examination. Vitalija Vonžutaitė, Vytautas Gapšys, Viktoras Uspaskichas. «The appeal raises the issues of fraud through tax evasion, the statute of limitation, liability in the event of the reorganization of a legal entity, as well as civil claim issues,» Prosecutor Saulius Verseckas told.

Social Democrats scrap dual citizenship idea

The ruling Lithuanian Social Democratic Party has decided to abandon a legislative initiative to call a referendum on dual citizenship that was initially proposed to be held alongside parliamentary elections this October.«We think the proposal is unrealistic and the referendum would probably fail,» Seimas Vice-Speaker Gediminas Kirkilas told.

New political group forms in Druskininkai

Druskininkai Mayor Ričardas Malinauskas, who left the Social Democrats after a string of scandals involving his name, his fellow party members of the SD Druskininkai branch are working on a new movement. Ričardas Malinauskas. «Nearly 100 people gathered and we decided to create a movement of our own,» Malinauskas told last Thursday, April 28.

Lithuanian NBA player Motiejūnas eliminated from NBA play-offs

Donatas Motiejūnas and the Houston Rockets were eliminated from the NBA playoffs by a Stephen Curry-less Golden State Warriors in a crushing defeat last night. The Rockets unexpectedly scraped into the play-offs with a late three-game surge but their loss to the NBA champions in the next game, 114-81, has shattered the NBA further advancement dream.


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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.

Life in Riga remains more expensive than life in Vilnius and Tallinn

Riga is recognized as 126th most expensive city in the world. Life in the Latvian capital is considerably more expensive than it is in Vilnius or Tallinn, according to a study published by *Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

Most universities in Estonia to cut number of new students this year

Three of the four universities working in Estonia have expressed plans to bring down the number of admissions in the coming academic year.

Foreign investors do not support amendments proposed for Financial Instruments Market

The Foreign Investors Council in Latvia does not support proposals for protection of rights of minority shareholders, which are include and proposed in amendments to the Law on the Financial Instruments Market.

Ligo celebration causes condom sales to go up in Latvia

Nearly 39% Latvian residents plan to spend around 21 to 40 euros on Ligo, according to results of a survey performed by Maxima. 22% of respondents plan to spend around 20 euros on the celebration. 22% of residents plan to spend 41 to 60 euros, and 17% - more than 61 euros.

Latvian government asked to compensate profits lost from rejecting Nord Stream 2

Considering the stance of the Latvian Republic in relation to Nord Stream 2 project, in which the Cabinet of Ministers decided not to permit the participation of Ventspils Freeport, Noord Natie Ventspils Terminal and Baltic Express have decided to ask the government to compensate lost profits. An official request has been submitted to the prime ministers.

Hospital: countryside residents with no easy access to a urologist are at risk

For the third consecutive year urologists from Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital’s travel to Latvia’s far-away regions to provide men there with free health check-ups and consultations. This year urologists decided to visit Dobele, Cesis, Rezekne and Jekabpils.

Stoltenberg visits Iron Wolf exercises in Lithuania

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has visited Lithuania on Tuesday, June 20, to see international military drill Iron Wolf 2017 and has noted that the involved countries are protecting each other.

German Chancellor could support introducing eurozone budget for sensible purposes

Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, has stated that she could support the introduction of a separate eurozone budget and a position of an eurozone finance minister, in case of right circumstances and sensible aims.

Prosecutor decides to end criminal case against former KNAB officer Juris Jurass

In spite of the decision by Security Police to present charges, the prosecutor responsible for the case has decided to end the criminal process commenced against the now former official of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau Juris Jurass for intentional disclosure of official secrets.

Latvia wants to introduce electronic working time tracking in construction

Saeima’s Budget and Finance Commission has expressed unanimous conceptual support for amendments to the Law on Taxes and Duties. These amendments provide for the introduction of electronic working time tracking system in construction, as BNN was informed by Saeima’s press-service.

Alleged bomber shot in Brussels central station

In the central station of Brussels, Belgium, soldiers have shot a man suspected he was to detonate explosives, local authorities have stated. The man was shot and later died after reportedly setting off a small explosion on Tuesday, June 20, and no-one else is believed to have been injured.

Expert: pension capital grows, but the Latvia still has a ways to go

«Latvia’s pension system has been named one of the best in the world multiple times. Pension capital in it has grown rapidly over the years. The volume of savings gathered on the 2nd level pension system by the end of Q1 2017 came close to EUR 3 billion. The volume saved on the 3rd level pension system was close to EUR 4 billion,» explains Nordea Pensions Latvia board member Ilja Arefjevs.

Businessmen remain worried about availability of qualified workers in Latvia

For a long time now businessmen have been concerned about the lack of qualified labour force in Latvia. Their fears only continue to grow. 64% of interviewed businessmen believe the general availability of required labour force is poor and 33% of businessmen think the situation will only get worse in the future, according to results of Citadele Index.

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