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Monday 21.05.2018 | Name days: Ingmārs, Ernestīne, Akvelīna
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Week in Lithuania. Klaipėda port seen as outpacing Baltic rivals

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Klaipėda Seaport in Lithuania has registered record cargo volume levels in the first quarter of 2016, despite the fact that cargo volume in many ports in the eastern part of the Baltic Sea is dropping significantly.

«We have seen record growth levels of cargo handling in March, up 15 per cent in comparison with the same period last year,» said Arvydas Vaitkus, director general of the Klaipeda State Seaport Authority.

U.S.-Russia incident seen as communication chance for Lithuania

The incident of Russian fighter jets approaching an American warship in the Baltic Sea prompted Lithuanian analysts to call on pushing for more military support for Lithuania from NATO allies.

«This is a communication opportunity for us, but it remains to be seen if we can use it,» political analyst Deividas Šlekys of Vilnius University’s Institute of International Relations and Political Science told.

International conference in Vilnius

The Foreign Ministry of Lithuania has hosted a seminar on Information Society and Media in Vilnius to mark the twentieth anniversary of the European Commission’s Technical Assistance and Information Exchange (TAIEX) instrument. Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrius Krivas opened the seminar which gathered representatives from the Western Balkans, Turkey and the Eastern Partnership countries.

Websites of Lithuanian state institutions shut down by hackers

Four Lithuanian state institutions, including Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) and Foreign Ministry, have been hacked by unidentified cyber hackers over the past several days. Rimtautas Černiauskas, director of Lithuania’s Cyber Security Centre, revealed the websites of the Lithuanian Parliament, the President’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Justice, had incurred the attacks.

«Our specialists said it was a DDoS attack,» the foreign minister’s spokesman Kęstutis Vaškelevičius told BNS. DDoS attacks involve a large number of inquiries from various Internet points, thus interrupting operations of the website due to excessive visitor flows.

Humanitarian aid to Ukraine from Lithuania

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has allocated 50 thousand euro as humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The funds will be transferred to the World Health Organisation for rendering integrated and health and nutrition services in emergencies to the conflict-affected people in Ukraine and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for children’s mine risk education there. The Humanitarian Response Plan 2016 for Ukraine by the United Nations and the Government of Ukraine humanitarian organisations is calling for slightly over 250 million euro for urgent humanitarian support and assistance.Since the beginning of the aggression against Ukraine, Lithuania has allocated for the task more than 1.1 million euro from the state reserves.

Scandinavian language specialists to be trained in Kaunas

In a development that will further boost Kaunas’ rapidly developing shared services sector, a bachelor’s programme in Scandinavian culture and languages will be launched in September at Kaunas-based Vytautas Magnus University (VMU). Approximately 50 students will be enrolled in the programme this year, with first year students able to study either Swedish or Norwegian.

Taxmen and financial crime investigators to probe Panama Papers revelations

A special body, set up jointly by the State Tax Inspectorate (VMI) and the Financial Crime Investigation Service (FNTT), will investigate Lithuanian individuals and companies named in the Panama Papers.

Construction sector’s revenue tumbles

Lithuanian construction sector’s revenue dropped by 3.5 percent in 2015 – from 2014 to 2.5 billion euros, a result of the lack of large-scale public projects. Mitnija, one of the country’s leading construction companies, last year posted a 29 per cent decline in revenue.

Foreign Minister welcomes Crimean Tatars

Linas Linkevičius, the Foreign minister, has welcomed participants of the meeting of the Executive Board of the World Crimean Tatar Congress, which was taking in Vilnius this year. Linkevičius stressed that Lithuania condemned the illegal annexation of Crimea and that they would keep on raising the issue with international organizations and during meetings at an international level.«Crimean Tatars have become the victims of an artificial international conflict. Crimean Tatars, who are historically linked to Lithuania, are a modern European people, and their rights should be respected and defended,» Linkevičius said.

New Interior minister appointed

President Dalia Grybauskaitė has appointed Tomas Žilinskas, the director of the Interior Ministry’s Public Security Policy Department, as the country’s new minister of the interior affairs. The head-of-state emphasized that with six months left until the general elections, it was important to have a minister who was not a member of a political party but rather a professional with experience of working in the system, the president’s spokeswoman Daiva Ulbinaitė told journalists on Wednesday, April 13.

Number of IT professionals trained in Lithuania to grow

Thanks to a 50 per cent increase in state financing for IT studies this year, the number of highly qualified IT professionals trained in Lithuania is set to grow. The new funding is part of a wider package for a range of study fields that has been recently approved by the government.

The decision to increase funding for IT was influenced by three main factors. First and foremost was consideration of future market needs. The success of Lithuanian IT start-ups in recent years and the growth of the IT sector in Lithuania were also important considerations for policymakers. Year on year growth in the interest foreign IT companies show in Lithuania as an investment location was also a decisive factor, according to Investuok Lietuvoje (Invest in Lithuania).

New Vilnius-Zurich route to be launched

Airline Germania is about to start its regular flights between Vilnius and Zurich. The inaugural flight is slated for June 2, but the airline’s management flew to Vilnius last week.

President met with Thai princess

Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the princess of Thailand, who was on an official visit to Lithuania, visited President Dalia Grybauskaite and discussed how to consolidate bilateral economic, scientific and cultural ties, as well as collaboration between Lithuania and Thailand in the United Nations and other organizations.

Panama Papers shed light on Lithuania’s oil industry in the past

The Panama Papers can offer some insight into Lithuania’s oil industry at its crucial moment two decades ago as documents leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca reveal bank accounts in Switzerland of former and present heads of Lukoil Baltija and Mažeikių Nafta.

The Lithuanian online newspaper 15min.lt, which has access to the Panama Papers, reports that Ivanas Paleičikas, CEO of Lukoil Baltija, and two former directors of the then state-owned oil refinery Mažeikių Nafta (renamed Orlen Lietuva after being purchased by Poland’s PKN Orlen) Bronislovas Vainora and Gedeminas Kiesus were named beneficiaries of Swiss bank accounts opened on the same day by the same intermediary.

Decommissioning of Ignalina nuclear plant will be costlier than thought

The Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) will need extra900 million euro for its ongoing decommissioning by 2020, said an INPP official. Audrius Kamienas, the director of the Activity Planning and Finance Department at the INPP, said the institution expects that after 2020 all Lithuanian institutions will make efforts to continue and secure financing from the EU and donors so that the decommissioning can be continued

Ukraine’s new PM welcomed

Lithuanian Foreign affairs minister Linas Linkevičius believes that the goals of Ukraine’s new Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, are correct and should be given the opportunity to become reality. «There is a start, everyone will await for tasks now. His statements signal an adequate understanding of the situation – corruption, management of state-run companies, efficiency, compliance to IMF requirements and less populism. These are very correct statements – it is now time to translate them into reality. This is what everyone expects and awaits,» Linkevičius told.

U.S. gives Lithuania reassurances

The Lithuanian Minister of National Defence, Juozas Olekas, was assured on his visit to the USthat Congress will approve the 3.4 billion USD for the European Reassurance Initiative for 2017, the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence said on Thursday, April 14. Olekas received these assurances during his meeting with Senator John McCain, chairman of the US Senate Committee on Armed Services, and Senator Jack Reed, his deputy.

Lithuanian national sentenced to 13 years for spying in Russia

A court in Russia’s Kaliningrad region has found Yevgeny Mataitis, a dual Lithuanian-Russian citizen, guilty of high treason and sentenced him to 13 years in prison, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Wednesday, April 13. Mataitis is the second Lithuanian citizen sentenced by a Russian court for spying in a month. Russia’s law-enforcement bodies say that Mataitis, a reserve naval officer, agreed to supply information to Lithuania’s military intelligence services about the Russian Armed Forces.

EP to vote on lifting Paksas’ immunity

The European Parliament will vote on Lithuanian prosecutors’ request to strip Rolandas Paksas, the Order and Justice party’s leader, of his immunity as an MEP. Lithuanian law enforcement bodies want to bring official suspicions against the politician in an influence peddling case. EP vice-president David-Maria Sassoli informed MEPs about the request from the Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office for the waiver of immunity during Wednesday’s plenary session.

Lidl opens first logistics centre in Lithuania

German-owned discount supermarket chain Lidl opened a logistics centre near Kaunas on Thursday, April 14. The chain is preparing to launch retail operations in Lithuania this year. «This distribution centre is the most modern buildings not only in Lithuania, but in the Baltic countries. This modern building is the most important step in opening our stores because this centre will handle all the goods and distribute them,» Lidl Lietuva CEO Radostin Roussev-Peine said at a news conference.

Lithuanian hoopster readies for NBA playoffs

Lithuanian hoops star Donatas Motiejūnas has helped the Houston Rockets to make it into this year’s playoffs with a 116-81 win against the Sacramento Kings. The Rockets clinched eighth place in the Western Conference and in the play-off will face the top-seeded Golden State Warriors.

Lithuania could become EU entry point for migrants

Lithuania’s new Interior minister Tomas Žilinskas believes Lithuania could become the new entry point for migrants coming to the European Union and the country’s authorities must prepare for the potentiality. «Following the entry into force of the readmission agreement between the European Union and Turkey, (migrant) flows may turn via the Black Sea, Ukraine to Poland and via Russia to the Baltic countries,» Tomas Žilinskas told.

Russian helicopters crossed into Lithuanian territory

Russian helicopters crossed into the Lithuanian territory from Kaliningrad on Tuesday, April 12. They were spotted visually, but not by aradar, the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence has confirmed. The Ministry was notified about three helicopters possibly flying into the Lithuanian territory over the Lake Vištytis which lies on the border between Lithuania and Russia’s Kaliningrad. The helicopters turned around and flew back to Kaliningrad immediately, according to the ministry.
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