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Wednesday 21.02.2018 | Name days: Eleonora, Ariadne
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Week in Lithuania. Fake news on Lithuanian Defence Minister planted on news portal

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Lithuanian Minister of Defence Raimundas Karoblis

The Tv3. lt news website was hacked on Thursday, January 18 – a fake news story about Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis was posted claiming that Karoblis allegedly harassed Ridas Jasiulionis, a journalist at the Žinių Radijas radio station, and admitted being gay.

The site was broken into at 7:15 p.m. and the defamatory article was published nine minutes later. The portal removed it five minutes later, Arturas Anužis, the portal’s editor-in-chief, said.

Earlier this week, a piece of fake news on Lithuania appeared on the Russian news website Livejournal. It said that the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė was angered and signed a decree which establishes sanctions against Mongolia. Allegedly, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis followed her up by loudly declaring a «victory against the Horde». The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry dismissed the information as fake news.

Prosecutors to look into the ruling party leader‘s business

On Tuesday, January 16, the Prosecutor General’s Office initiated an investigation regarding news media reports over land controlled by Lithuanian Farmer and Greens Union chairman Ramūnas Karbauskis business and his family members. «Concerning information released on the news media on cases where several legal entities jointly control more land than the 500 hectares of agricultural purpose land outlined in legislation, the Prosecutor General’s Office has chosen to initiate an investigation in defence of the public interest,» the press release states. According to the office, after an investigation is performed and information is reviewed, a decision will be made whether there is legislative basis to take the matter to court.

Tax Inspectorate goes after well-known journalist

The Lithuanian State Tax Inspectorate, or VMI, has taken administrative action against a high-profile producer and well-known journalist Edmundas Jakilaitis following an inquiry by Agnė Širinskienė, a lawmaker of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU).Jakilaitis considers this as an effort to put pressure on him for his criticism, but Širinskienė, who heads the parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs, dismisses such allegations, saying that what she asked VMI was to examine data on the journalist’s business activities. VMI spokesman Laimonas Rimkus said that he could not specify what kind of administrative action the authority had taken against Jakilaitis, who has harshly criticised the LFGU leader, Karbauskis.

LRT CEO: ruling party’s leader aims to control LRT

Audrius Siaurusevičius, the director general of Lithuanian Radio and Television (LRT), says that plans by Ramūnas Karbauskis, the leader of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), to make public LRT documents available to lawmakers prove that the politician seeks to control the public broadcaster. The Seimas has launched a probe into the LRT finances and activity. Karbauskis has said that he would make public next week some of the documents provided by LRT to lawmakers.

 STT launches probe into e-health project

The Special Investigation Service (STT) has opened a pre-trial investigation into possible abuse based on the conclusions of the parliamentary Anti-Corruption Commission about creation of the electronic health system. The probe was opened to analyse the circumstances of the development and establish possible corrupt criminal deeds in the development scheme, STT said. The parliamentary commission found that the state may have incurred major damages, as all three phases of the system designed in 2000 were implemented in an undue manner – the system is still not operational and does not provide high-quality services, regardless of investment of around 40 million euros. The system was designed to reduce patient lines to see doctors. The commission said former employees of the Health Ministry in charge of the system carried out their duties in neglect. The project is currently in its fourth phase, which will require another 28 million euros.

A controversial proposal

Some Conservative Lithuanian politicians have proposed naming a square next to the Russian Embassy after the assassinated Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. Meanwhile, Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius suggests that this could be done in another location.

Ten people convicted for setting cars on fire

A court on Thursday, January 18, handed down prison sentences to ten people who were charged with committing an act of terrorism when they torched seven cars in the town of Marijampolė to intimidate the public and exert pressure on the southwestern Lithuanian town’s law-enforcement officials.Seven cars were simultaneously set on fire by smashing their windows and throwing in combustible material at various locations in the town in the early hours of Jan. 13, 2011.The accused were given prison sentences of between one and four years.

Lithuania votes against EU proposal

Lithuania was one of the two countries that has voted this week against the European Union’s proposal for an earlier start to greenhouse gas emission reductions, saying that such plans may lead to funds being spent on buying extra emission quotas, rather than invested in reducing air pollution.

Lithuania’s Hanner to invest heavily in Latvia

Lithuanian real estate developer Hanner is planning to increase investing in real estate projects by nearly a third this year to 80 million euros, with 34 million euros of this amount to be invested in Latvia. The biggest share of the investment, i.e., 38 million euros, will go towards residential and commercial projects in Lithuania, with another 34 million euros to be invested in Latvia and the remaining money in a multifunctional quarter under development in Romania, said Hanner.In Lithuania, Hanner plans an investment of 14 million euros in commercial real estate projects, including completion of the Business Stadium West business centre in the Business Stadium quarter and the Marriot Hotel.

Ex Go Vilnius CEO wins lawsuits

Vilnius County Court decided on Monday, January 15, to satisfy, in part, Darius Udrys’ appeal of a lower court’s decision regarding his dismissal from the position of Director of Go Vilnius, the official development agency of the City of Vilnius. The Court ordered Vilnius Municipality to pay compensation to Udrys, who was dismissed from his post by Mayor Remigijus Šimašius last summer. The District Court also abolished the Mayor’s order dismissing Udrys from his position, signed July 7, 2017. Udrys will be paid 1283.50 euros in compensation, minus taxes, as well as 16,013.44 euros in back pay for the time he was unable to perform his duties until the Court’s judgment date. Udrys was also awarded 100 euros he requested for moral damages. The Municipality will also have to cover his legal expenses.

New chancellor

Algirdas Stončaitis has become chancellor of the Lithuanian Government headed by PM Saulius Skvernelis. Applauded by his former colleagues for diligence and organizational skills, the 55-year-old replaced Milda Dargužaitė and is believed to be a good personal friend of Skvernelis.

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