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Wednesday 18.10.2017 | Name days: Rolanda, Rolands, Ronalds, Erlends
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Week in Lithuania. Interior Ministry, prosecutors initiate probe over leak to Russia

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The Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office and Interior Minister Eimutis Misiūnas initiated on Thursday, September 28, probes to check media reports about a possible leak of information from the Migration Department to Russia.

The minister instructed the ministry’s Corruption Prevention and Internal Investigations Division to scrutinise the circumstances, while the Prosecutor General’s Office requested information from Juozas Bernatonis, chairman of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee and said it would decide on further action after reception of the data.

Report about the probes came a day after delfi.lt news portal said that restricted information had been sent to Russian Constitutional Court judges, specifying the reasons behind the ban for them to attend an international congress in Lithuania.

According to the portal, the problems were caused by the fact that the materials contained a position by Lithuanian Constitutional Court president Dainius Žalimas to refuse entry to the judges for legalizing the Crimea annexation. Based on the position, Moscow has started pressuring Lithuania to remove the judges from the black list, barring Žalimas from entering Russia.

Laisvės TV recently said that the Migration Department had granted permit to businessman Anton Treushnikov linked with the circles of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Road Administration chief resigns

Egidijus Skrodenis, top executive of the Lithuanian Road Administration, resigned from the post after nearly two years in office citing personal reasons. Skrodenis, 36, took helm of the Lithuanian Road Administration in December of 2015 for a term that was due to expire in late 2019. He said he wanted to go to private business for a higher salary but refused to specify his plans.

Seimas approves children’s rights protection reform

Lithuanian parliament, Seimas, has approved a reformed children’s rights protection system, for the first time stipulating that children under the age of six cannot be left home alone. The new wording of the Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child was approved with 100 votes in support and a single abstention vote from MP Aušra Maldeikienė. The new law is scheduled to take effect in July of 2018.

Baltcap to build a biomass plant in Vilnius

The Baltic venture capital fund Baltcap Infrastructure Fund (BinF) has signed a contract to finance the construction of a 48 megawatt biomass plant in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius for 16 million euros, the first infrastructure project financed by BInF. The biomass plant near Gariūnai should be built and become operational by the beginning of 2019.

President to seek EC leader’s support to grid synchronization

President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with European Commission’s (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker in Tallinn on Friday, September 29, and discussed the European Union’s (EU) support to the synchronization of electricity networks with Western Europe. Both officials also discussed the EU support for safe decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant and a united EU response to threats posed by the Astraviets nuclear power plant, reads the press release circulated ahead of the EU summit in the Estonian capital.

Scrutiny over politicians’ ties with Russian firms

Vytautas Bakas, chairman of the Lithuanian parliament’s National Security and Defence Committee, has initiated a parliamentary probe of the ties between Lithuanian politicians and Russian nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, Lithuanian business influence upon political decisions and harmful investments in strategic companies.

MPs mull raising fines for all corruption crimes

Lithuanian parliament hinted that it will approve the President’s bill of raising fines for crimes, linking corruption fines with the size of the damage or the bribe, as well as the benefit gained by the offender. Currently, the minimum fine stipulated in the Penal Code is 38 euros – a minimum subsistence level (MSL). President Dalia Grybauskaitė has suggested scrapping the provision, suggesting that minimum fines should range between 570 euros (15 MSL) for a criminal offense and 5,700 euros (150 MSL) for major crimes. Fines for legal entities would start at 7,600 euros (200 MSL). Under the proposal, largest fines would be from 19,000 euros for a criminal offense to 38,000 euros for legal entities.

Lithuanian president awards 43 rescuers of Jews

President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Wednesday, September 27, bestowed 43 Lithuanians who rescued Jews during World War Two with Life Saving Crosses. As most of the rescuers are no longer among the living, the ceremony was attended by their family members, the president’s press office said. The Jerusalem-based Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial has recognised 896 Lithuanians as Righteous among the Nations for risking their lives and health to rescue Jews during World War Two. The Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators killed about 195,000 Lithuanian Jews during the German occupation in 1941 to 1944. Only 5-10 percent of the Lithuanian pre-war Jewish population survived until the end of the war.

Government allows non-Lithuanians letters in company names

Lithuanian government has backed a proposal to allow companies and organizations to register their names in all letters of the Latin alphabet, including those that do not exist in the Lithuanian alphabet. The Cabinet approved draft laws that call for allowing x, w and q in the names of companies and organizations, but a final decision will be made by the parliament.

Lithuania drops 6 spots on World Economic Forum competition index

Lithuania declined six spots to 41st worldwide in terms of competition among 137 rated countries in the latest competitiveness report published by the World Economic Forum. Meanwhile, Estonia went up one spot to 29th and Latvia dropped from the 49th to 54th, said Statistics Lithuania.

Seimas eases land purchase conditions

Lithuanian parliament has lifted some of the safeguards on land purchases. Until now, farmland could only bought by people with certain professional skills and competences, i.e., at least three years of farming experience, diploma in agricultural education, registered farm, etc.

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