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Monday 11.12.2017 | Name days: Valdis, Voldemārs, Valdemārs
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Week in Lithuania. Healthcare minister admits giving bribe to doctor, President is unhappy

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Lithuania’s Healthcare Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė


Lithuania’s Healthcare Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė has confessed in a radio interview to have given a bribe to doctors in the past. She admitted she had done being asked by a relative awaiting surgery
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The family member thought that it will be more successful if the surgeon’s «palm is greased». The Minister made the revelation while discussing small-scale corruption that is wide-spread in the country’s healthcare system. Lithuanian President urged STT, Lithuania’s special service, to launch an investigation into the minister’s revelation.

Bank of Lithuania: resident payment habits changing

For purchases and services, residents tend to pay in cash less frequently; the amount spent in cash has also decreased, announced Bank of Lithuania. In addition, the number of residents having payment cards grew; a large share of them, however, are still not using a payment card for daily settlements, shows a survey of residents conducted on behalf of the Bank of Lithuania.

In 2015, the number of Lithuanian residents who have a payment card was growing, and, despite the fact that the majority of residents having payment cards still do not have a habit of consistently using them at distribution and service provision locations.

Klaipėdos Nafta loading longest tanker in its history

Almost 281 m in length tanker Hrvatska has moored at the second berth of SC Klaipėdos Nafta. In company’s history this is the longest tanker. So far, the longest tanker ever moored at SC Klaipedos Nafta berths was HS Alcina with the length of 275 meters. She entered Klaipėda port in 2014.The tanker Hrvatska is sailing with the Croatian flag. Her full length is 280.89 m. The ship is able to transport 166 thousand tons of oil products. In December last year, SC Klaipėdos Nafta’s cargo handling grew by almost 9 percent and throughout 2015 annual cargo turnover increased by more than 15 percent. Such results were mainly caused by company’s new transhipment contracts and oil producers’ favourable global margins.

Defence Minister: Lithuania could become logistics hub for US military

Lithuania could become a regional logistics centre for the US military, believes Lithuania’s Defence Minister Juozas Olekas. This was voiced Thursday, January 28, during the meeting of the minister and Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics of the United States Alan F. Estevez. They discussed the host nation support and infrastructure Lithuania provides for allied forces deployed here at a meeting in Lithuania.

Foreign Affairs Ministry marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day

On Wednesday, January 27, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organised a presentation of the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum’s two travelling exhibitions -«Lithuanian Jews behind the Iron Curtain» and the «The Vilna Ghetto Posters».The Vice-Minister Mantvydas Bekešius opened the exhibitions and thanked the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum for cooperation and efforts to increase the public interest in the Holocaust, the Lithuanian Jewish culture and traditions.

The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum’s curators – Aušra Rožankevičiūtė and Neringa Latvytė-Gustaitienė – presented the exhibitions. Later, Vice-Minister Bekešius also visited the Choral Synagogue of Vilnius, where he took part in a commemorative event and read names of the victims of the Holocaust together with members of the Jewish Community of Lithuania

Maltese man fights extradition to Lithuania

A man apprehended in Malta on Lithuania-issued arrest warrant is fighting extradition, arguing that conditions in Lithuanian prisons are inhumane and humiliate his dignity. The Court of Appeals of Malta on Tuesday, January 26, heard arguments for and against the reversal of an extradition judgement against Maltese-Australian Angelo Spiteri, the Malta Independent reported.

Lithuania earmarks 20,000 euro to refugees in Turkey

Lithuania’sMinistry of Foreign Affairs announced Thursday, February 28, it had earmarked 20,000 euro in humanitarian aid to refugees in Turkey. The funds will be transferred via the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Office (UNHCR). Lithuania has committed to accept 1105 refugees, but the process has stalled. Lithuania also continues its support to the victims of the conflict in Syria which was launched in 2014 when 48,700 euro was allocated and in 2015 – 90,000 euro for humanitarian assistance.

Credit company fined for giving quick loans to unemployed

Lithuanian banking regulators have slammed a consumer credit company with a penalty of 30,000 euro for issuing loans to jobless applicants. It is the biggest fine of this kind to date.

Omnitel wins Lithuania’s radio frequencies auction

Mobile operator Omnitel has won the auction of radio frequencies important for 4G network development organized by the Communications Regulatory Authority (RRT). The auction commission on January 27th identified the highest bids in the auction of 900 MHz and 1800 MHz radio frequency bands. Omnitel is the first to choose the frequency blocks offered, Tele2 was second and Bite Lietuva was third. In total, the bidders would pay 38.1 million euros for the right to use the frequency bands concerned, the authority said.

ORLEN Lithuania nets 217 million euro profit

Lithuania-based oil refining company Orlen Lietuva generated a net profit of 217 million euro last year, company announced. In the fourth quarter alone, the Lithuanian company turned a net profit of 39 million euro, up from the losses of 62 million euro in the same period of 2014.

Lithuania offers more civil, political freedoms than Latvia

The World Freedom Index published on Wednesday, February 27, shows that Lithuania is doing better in ensuring civil and political liberties than Latvia but is behind the other neighbours, Poland and Estonia.

Funding for Lithuanian filmmakers to increase in 2016

The Lithuanian Film Centre is set to increase its funding and support for Lithuanian filmmakers to 2.66 million euro in 2016 and expects the number of foreign productions filmed in Lithuanian to grow in the year ahead.

Search for fishermen lost in fog in Curonian Lagoon

A number of fishermen got lost on the Curonian Lagoon ice on Monday evening as a result of a heavy fog. In the evening, Neringa Fire and Rescue Service received a call informing that three fishermen, who were ice-fishing close to the Preila village, got lost because of dense fog and could not get back to shore. After intensive search, the anglers were rescued.

Interior Minister: Europe’s security might trump freedom of movement

The European Union might have to sacrifice the free movement of people for the sake of security, if it fails to control the flow of migrants, Lithuanian Interior Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Tuesday, January 26.

Lithuania starts blocking international betting websites

Lithuania has begun blocking access to the websites of some foreign online betting companies after tightening controls on online gaming operators at the start of this year. The Gaming Control Authority said on its website that access to the Internet sites of Betway, Unibet and WHG (International), which operates Williamhill.com, had been blocked.
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Week in Lithuania. Vilnius mayor apologises for poor performance of road services

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius has admitted that the road services of the Lithuanian capital city were not efficient enough in their response to the weather conditions, apologising to Vilnius residents for the inconveniences they encountered due to traffic interruptions.

BNN summary of the week: kebab industry’s fears, insiders in anti-corruption bureau, and Latvia’s crumbling roads

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Fight; Fear; Opinion; Confusion; Truth.

Farmers Saeima: if Latvia does not ease rules for guest workers, there won’t be any workers

During a meeting of the Food Industry Council, the biggest discussions were raised about the matter regarding the lack of labour force in agriculture and food processing companies. On top of that, farmers are confused over Economy Ministry’s proposed solution, saying that it is too far from reality.

Ex-deputy chief of anti-corruption bureau: I have no doubt the prime minister and president dance to Lembergs’ tune

«For ten year now Aivars Lembergs has been under the ban to perform duties as chairman of Ventspils City Council. And for the same period of time Lembergs and state officials have been ignoring this ban. Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Kaspars Gerhards, who is responsible for supervising municipalities and is very well-informed of the truce power centre, which, unfortunately, is not Latvian citizens as it is stated in the country’s Constitution, goes to visit Lembergs, not Ventspils. He does that to demonstrate his fealty to the ruler as he would if we lived in the Middle Ages,» says politician from New Conservative Party, councillor of Riga city Council and former deputy chief of Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau Juta Strīķe.

Average consumer price level up 2.7% in Latvia

During 2017, the average level of consumer prices rose by 2.7 % when compared with last year. Prices of goods grew by 2.7 % and prices of services by 2.9 %.

Updated: MEPs move against allowing phosphates in kebab meat said to endanger massive industry

As the European Parliament plans to vote on vetoing European Commission's proposal to allow phosphates, used to keep seasoned kebab meat moist and aromatic, the industry considers it a threat event to the existence of meat in the popular fast food.

Prime Minister: new step is made to stimulate Latvian-Japanese cooperation

A new step has been made towards stimulating cooperation between Latvia and Japan in political and economic field. Latvia is not large enough for our businesses to focus solely on the domestic market. Our country has a rapidly-growing economy with a free market ready to make major steps towards transnational cooperation, said Prime Minister of Latvia Māris Kučinskis during his visit in Tokyo.

Theatre critic: there is historic importance in people’s trust of television

«Pop-culture’s influence over society should be viewed from two different perspectives. First of all, it is important to consider how society affects popular culture – what we see or hear at least partially reflects the modern society. Secondly, if created products turn out very influential, they inspire people and shift their thought processes or behaviour one way or another. This is because new and exciting products that have never existed until now, products that are considered marginal,» said theatre critic and Assistant Professor of Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Latvia Zane Radzobe.

MEP: Soviet Union’s activities in occupied countries are not discussed openly

Even to this day Soviet Union’s activities in occupied countries are not discussed openly and loudly, said member of the European Parliament Inese Vaidere at the presentation of the English translation of the book ‘Damage Caused to the Baltics by the Soviet Union’ in Brussels.

Expert: data importance will only increase in the digital transformation era

«Technologies are the driving force behind the development of all sectors in the 21st century. They affect our everyday lives and Latvia’s future development. We cannot afford to stop now. We have to continue developing innovations and creativity on all levels,» said Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis during the annual conference organized by Information and Communication Technologies Association.

Estonia in OSCE urges Russia to meet international standards in Ukraine

Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sven Mikser, draw attention to support of Ukrainian territorial integrity and the protection of human rights, as he addressed fellow foreign ministers at the meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna this week.

Emotional debates break out in Saeima in regards to automatic access to state secrets

During the last meeting, very emotional debates in regards to automatic issue of access to official secrets were held. Proposals were voiced both in support of this and against. The proposal was declined in the end.

UK: EU citizens inside country «will be able to go on living as before»

In the talks on the UK leaving the European Union, London and Brussels have managed to agree on such key issues as the future of EU citizens within the UK and the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which will allow diplomats to move on to talks on the future relations between the bloc and the country after their divorce.

Polish head of government Szydlo resigns

The Prime Minister of Poland, Beata Szydlo, has stepped down, hours after surviving a no-confidence vote pushed for in the Sejm by the opposition.

Weather becomes colder and colder in Latvia

In the next seven days weather in Latvia will be volatile; cyclone activity will remain. On Friday, 8 December, air temperature will remain relatively high – in most of Latvia it will be around +1° C… +5° C, as reported by the State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Lithuania’s real estate market hints of troubles ahead

Although the new flat sales, including luxury sector, in Lithuanian capital Vilnius continue to hover at the peak of recent years, real estate market outside the capital and Kaunas, the second-largest Lithuanian city, is cooling off, which may be an omen as to what expect soon.

Vaškevičs asked Latvian authorities to investigate death threats against him

Bribery accused former deputy director of the State Revenue Service Vladimirs Vaškevičs, who has fled to Austria, says he had asked Latvia’s Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate an anonymous internet death threat.

People of Palestine urged for upraising after U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital

Palestine's Islamist group Hamas called on its population to quit peace efforts and launch a new uprising against Israel reacting to Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital.

Survey: residents have weak knowledge on teaching in national minority schools

Residents have very imprecise information about the teaching process in national minority schools, as concluded in results of a survey performed by SKDS.

Latvia demonstrates one of the most rapid economic growth rates in EU

In the third quarter of 2017, Latvia had experienced one of the most rapid GDP growth rates among European Union member states, according to information from Eurostat.

Saeima rejects proposal on lowering entry bar for parliamentary elections

Reviewing amendments to the Saeima Elections Law, deputies declined Gunārs Kūtris’ proposal to lower the entry barrier for next year’s parliamentary elections from 5% to 3%.

Prime Minister: Latvia wishes to work in Japan’s global financial technologies market

Latvia has a unique synergy between traditional finance sector and fintech companies. People there constantly come up with new solutions to make Latvia the first choice for fintech company headquarters, said Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis at the opening of World FinTech Day Latvia business seminar in Tokyo on 7 December.

Large companies predict turnover rise for 2018

Most large companies in Baltic States predict their turnover to rise next year. Such an opinion was voiced by 67% of large businesses in Latvia, 70% in Estonia and 59% in Lithuania, according to SEB Bank’s financial directors survey.

Estonian Defence Ministry to combine its IT and cyber policy departments

The Estonian Defence Ministry will combine its cyber policy and information technology departments into a single department.

Cimdars: there are concerns about qualifications of people working at election sites

If wages of people working at election sites is not increased, serious concerns about people’s qualifications will appear, said chairman of the Central Election Commission Arnis Cimdars in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.

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