bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Tuesday 20.02.2018 | Name days: Smuidra, Vitauts, Smuidris
LithuaniaLithuania

Week in Lithuania. Imports from Belarus' Astravyets NPP restricted

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Seimas on Thursday, April 20, adopted a bill to restrict electricity imports from the Astravyets nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus and other unsafe nuclear facilities in third countries.

The Seimas passed the Law on the Necessary Measures of Protection against Threats Posed by Unsafe Nuclear Power Plants of Third Countries with 87 votes in favour and one abstention. Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas has said earlier that the Astravyets plant and Kaliningrad’s nuclear facility project, which is currently on hold, represent a threat to Lithuania and violate the Convention on Nuclear Safety, which requires coordinating the selection of nuclear sites with neighbouring countries and assessing their impact and potential damage to their people, nature and urban environments.

Liberal Movement’s activities illegally financed

MP Gintaras Steponavičius of the Lithuanian Liberal Movement met with MG Baltic Vice-president Raimondas Kurlianskis to discuss illegal financing for his party and voted in favour of legislation benefiting the business group’s interests, thus undermining the authority of the Seimas and disgracing the name of a lawmaker, the country’s prosecutor general , Evaldas Pašilis, said on Tuesday, April 18, as he asked the parliament to strip the parliamentarian of his legal immunity over a possible abuse of powers. On Thursday, April 20, the Seimas adopted a resolution to allow legal proceedings against Steponavičius. It was supported by 109 of Lithuania’s 141 parliamentarians, with no votes against or abstentions. The resolution required 71 votes in support.

Town of Kėdainiai to erect monument to Vilna Gaon

The central Lithuanian town of Kėdainiai has decided to erect a monument to Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, the philosopher, scholar and Jewish religious leader known as the Vilna Gaon. The monument will be funded by local business people and will stand in the Old Town of Kėdainiai, where then Vilna Gaon, back then a teenage Jewish boy, was taught by the local rabbi, The statue of the young Elijah will be created by sculptor Romualdas Kvintas, whose projects include a monument to Zemach Shabad (1864-1935), a renowned Jewish doctor, social activist and humanist, in Vilnius.

Seimas opens debates on Magnitsky Act

Lithuania’s parliament has opened debates of the so-called Magnitsky Act, which would ban entry to foreigners linked with large-scale corruption, money laundering or human rights violations. Proposed by a group of MPs, the bill was supported for discussion by 87 parliamentarians, with ten abstentions. It will now be discussed by parliamentary committees. Plenary hearings are scheduled for June 15. The MPs suggest amending the provision of the Law on the Legal Status of Foreigners with a clause that foreigners would be banned from coming to the Republic of Lithuania for more than five years, if he can constitute a threat to state security or public peace. According to the bill, persons would be blacklisted on grounds of information or reasonable causes to think that the foreigner is linked with large-scale corruption, money laundering or violation of human rights, which led to death or major injuries, ungrounded conviction for political reasons or suffered other serious negative consequences.

Police opens probe into hacking of news agency system

Lithuania’s Criminal Police has opened a pre-trial investigation into hacking of the system of Vilnius bureau of BNS news agency and publishing of fake news. The launch of the investigation into unlawful login to the information system was reported by the Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau after hearing a plea from the news agency. The fake news titled The Echo of Syria in Latvia: US Troops Poisoned with Yperite was published on the agency’s system on Wednesday afternoon in the Lithuanian and Russian languages.

President dislikes tripartite deal on pay rise

President Dalia Grybauskaitė says that a trilateral pay rise agreement between the government, employers and trade unions is a good intention that cannot be put into practice as the state cannot force privately-owned businesses to commit themselves to raising wages. The president says that all employee protection mechanisms should be reflected in the new Labour Code and that agreements reached in the Tripartite Council are significant.

Health Ministry favours decriminalization of cannabis use

Lithuanian Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga does not support the legalization of cannabis, but he backs a proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and subject such persons to administrative liability instead. According to the minister, it is important to understand that cannabis is addictive and affects certain cognitive functions and one’s emotional intellect, and causes behavioural problems. Cannabis legalization supporters staged a rally outside the parliament building in Vilnius on Thursday, April 20, to demand, in the first place, decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of the drug.

Court decides to turn to Constitutional Court over chief vet sacking

The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court decided on Thursday, April 20, to ask for the Constitutional Court’s opinion on whether Jonas Milius was lawfully dismissed as director of the State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS). The government fired Milius in early October 2016. Government officials then said that the director had been sacked due to his activity report not having been approved. Milius maintains, however, that the government did not even discuss the report, attributing his dismissal to political motives.

Paluckas, Sinkevicius compete in LSDP leader run-off

Vilnius Vice-Mayor Gintautas Paluckas and Lithuanian Economy Minister Mindaugas Sinkevičius are facing each other in a run-off election for the post of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) leader as voting started on Thursday, April 20. Some 9,723 members, or almost 48 percent, turned out for the first round of the election two weeks ago. Paluckas received 41 percent of votes, the most among the five candidates who ran in the first round, had a lead of over 300 votes over Sinkevičius, who came in second with 37 percent. The results will be known by Saturday night. The new chairman will take up the post on May 6.

Lithuania to verify Nord Stream 2 environmental impact assessment

Lithuania will verify whether the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Europe will have no adverse environmental impact on its territorial waters and economic zone in the Baltic Sea as stated in the project’s environmental impact assessment, a Lithuanian official said, adding that Lithuania has doubts about the economic feasibility of the project. Russia’s Gazprom expects to start implementing the Nord Stream 2 project, which is estimated to cost nearly 10 billion euros, in April 2018 jointly with Western European energy giants. Denmark and other countries are opposed to the project. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has said that the planned new gas pipeline is not a commercial project, but a geopolitical one aimed at harming Ukraine.

Drill scenario went wrong way

The scenario of a recent exercise organized by the Lithuanian Interior Ministry did not envisage the use of training weapons and the proclamation of «the People’s Republic of Šalcininkai», Interior Minister Eimutis Misiūnas said on Wednesday, April 19. The committee’s members criticized the minister for not informing police in Šalčininkai, in the eastern part of the country, and border guards about the drill beforehand.

According to Misiūnas, the heads of institutions subordinate to the Interior Ministry decided to conduct the unannounced exercise in order to test in real conditions how services would respond to such an emergency.

The Interior Ministry’s exercise on Apr. 11 was aimed at training services to react to uniformed troops without insignia. The scenario reminded one of the 2014 annexation of Crimea, which involved the so-called «little green men», Russian troops wearing no insignia.

Construction of Modern Art Centre begins in Vilnius

The construction of the Modern Art Centre in place of the demolished Lietuva Cinema in Vilnius formally got underway on Wednesday, April 19. Viktoras Butkus, the initiator of the project, says that he plans to donate the 15-million-euro centre to the state or to the city once it is launched. According to Butkus, the new museum will display a collection featuring Lithuanian modern from the 1960s up to the present day.

He estimates that the total value of the project may reach around 15 million euros, including the art collection valued at 4 million euros.

Commissioner urges Lithuania to ratify Istanbul Convention

Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, urged Lithuania on Wednesday, April 19, to ratify the so-called Istanbul Convention against violence against women. According to the commissioner, Lithuania could work with experts monitoring the implementation of the convention and use good practices of other nations to improve its system for combating domestic violence. Critics say that convention offers an unacceptable definition of social gender. The government promises to initiate discussions, but says nothing about what decisions could be made. Muiznieks rejected criticism of these concepts posing a threat to traditional family values.

Seimas speaker favours rejecting president’s veto

Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, thinks that the Lithuanian parliament should overturn the president’s veto regarding in-house purchases in municipalities as such a ban would affect local enterprises.

Pranckietis believes that direct measures should be taken to combat corruption in municipalities. The speaker thinks that the Seimas is likely to override the presidential veto.

Lithuanian firm wants to revive shuttle container train

Lithuania’s VPA Logistics, the operator of the shuttle container train service Saulė (Sun) between Europe and Asia, is trying to revive the stalling project. The Mercury shuttle train service, which ran between Moscow and Klaipėda, has been cancelled. The project is operated by Lithuania’s freight transportation and forwarding group Arijus.

Ref: 020/111.111.103.4516


Leave a reply

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.