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Tuesday 20.03.2018 | Name days: Made, Irbe

Week in Lithuania. Litgas and Statoil sign revised gas supply contract

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

Lithuania’s gas trade company Litgas, a subsidiary of the state-owned energy holding Lietuvos Energija, signed a revised LNG supply contract with Norway’s Statoil.

Under it, Lithuania will buy a smaller amount of gas for a lower price.

Lithuanian President calls on EU to implement its decisions

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, who was in Brussels attending an EU summit on the implementation of the decisions already taken to deal with the migration crisis, has urged the EU member states to implement adopted decisions on the issue.

«Europe has decided on a number of measures to contain the migration crisis and we must turn them into action. There is no need for plan B. We will cope with the situation only when we start implementing what has already been agreed,» the President said.

According to the President, the European Union must protect its external borders, instead of raising internal walls. It is necessary to eliminate the deficiencies in external border control and to establish a European border and coastguard agency. Europe must also demonstrate very clearly that the incomers cannot dictate their own rules, the Lithuanian head-of-state emphasized.

Working together with Turkey in tackling the migrant crisis is also urgent, Grybauskaitė asserted. According to her, it is necessary to implement the EU-Turkey agreement aimed at stemming migratory flows. Europe needs well operating registration hotspots. Half of those necessary are not working. Only 500 refugees have been resettled out of a total of 160 thousand that EU members agreed to relocate.

President’s condolences to Turkey

President Dalia Grybauskaitė extended sincere condolences to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey over the terror attack in Ankara, which took the lives of dozens of people and left many injured. Grybauskaitė stressed that Lithuania, together with the international community, strongly condemned this most brutal and inexcusable crime.

Embattled former Kaunas judge asks for donations

Former Kaunas judge Neringa Venckienė has asked for donations to fight extradition from US to Lithuania. Venckienė, a former Lithuanian lawmaker and judge, has played the first fiddle in the so-called Garliava paedophilia scandal. With the prosecutors readying to charge her with a string of charges she fled Lithuania in 2013.

Foreign Affairs Minister met with the Palestinian Assistant Minister

The Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Afairs, Linas Linkevičius, has met this week with the Palestinian Assistant Minister on European Affairs Amal Jadou. Reportedly, a range of issues was discussed.

Ultra-nationalists march in Kaunas

Around 300 ultra-nationalists marched in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second-largest city, on Independence Day, February 16, chanting anti-refugee and anti-EU slogans. Jewish groups were quick to renounce the gathering comparing the marchers with WWII Nazi-collaborators.

Ukraine at cusp at Vilnius Book Fair

The Vilnius Book Fair to be held on February 25-28 will include meetings with over 300 authors and publishers and an entire stand will be dedicated to Ukraine.

Energy and Russia issues discussed

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius and the First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans discussed a set of issues in a meeting in Brussels last Monday, February 15. The topics also included Lithuania energy, relations with Russia, as well as the EU’s Eastern neighbours.

Lithuanian start-up makes breakthrough with Google

Lithuanian start-up Sems Technology which develops solutions that allow retailers to track and analyse customer behaviour and flows in their stores has become one of a small number of Google-approved beacon manufacturers, according to The Lithuania Tribune.

Lithuania condemns Russia’s moves

Attempts by Russian institutions to ban activities of the Mejlis, or council of Crimean Tatars is politically-motivated persecution, says Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Neither Lithuania nor the entire international community recognizes the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in spring 2014.

«We consider this annexation, all the occupation authorities in Crimea and their actions illegal…Lithuania, which enjoys close historic relations with the Tatar community and fosters the rights and freedoms of ethnic communities, strongly condemns the systematic flagrant violations of human rights of the Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians by the Russian Federation in the Ukrainian Autonomous Republic of Crimea over the past two years. Moreover, we would like to draw the attention of the international community to the systematic limitation of freedom of the press in Crimea,» a statement by the Ministry says.

Finance minister steps in as acting minister of healthcare

Finance Minister Rimantas Šadžius was announced as acting head of the Ministry of Healthcare until a replacement for Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė is found. Šalaševičiūtė was forced to resign after admitting to have bribed a doctor in the past. The prime minister has said he has two candidates in mind, but would not reveal the names before the end of February.

Minister: Russia uses refugees as a weapon

Refugees are being cynically used as a human weapon by Russia-backed Syrian regime in peace negotiations, says Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius. A terrorist attack in the Turkish capital Ankara on Wednesday will only make the situation in the Middle East tenser, he added.

Lithuania opens honorary consulates in India, Finland

Lithuania has opened two new honorary consulates in India and Finland this week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday, February 17.

Star Interior Minister to run for MP seat with Social Democrats

Interior Minister Saulius Skvernelis, who is basking in record-high support ratings in recent months, says he has decided to join the Social Democratic Party seeking a seat in Parliament in the coming general elections in late October.

Google surprised Lithuania with Gediminas Castle logo

Internet behemoth Google painted its logo in the Lithuanian flag colours with Gediminas Castle at the centre its logo on February 16 to congratulate Lithuania with its Independence Day. Google logos were redesigned to reflect special events for the first time in 1998.

New trains to operate between Vilnius and Klaipėda

Lietuvos Geležinkeliai, Lithuania’s state railway company announced that the old-generation trains on the railway from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius and seaport of Klaipeda will be replaced with Polish-made passenger trains.

Belarus is invited to cooperate in field of nuclear safety

In the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius has called on Belarus to cooperate constructively with the relevant international authorities on nuclear development. Lithuania is concerned about the safety of a nuclear power plant in Belarus’ Astrav, where the construction is under the way.

«On Lithuania’s initiative, the Council’s conclusions focus on nuclear safety also beyond the borders of the EU and call on Belarus to cooperate constructively with the relevant international authorities on nuclear development,» said Linkevičius.

The EU Foreign Ministers discussed issues related to Moldova, Belarus, climate diplomacy and Syria. The Council has lifted majority of sanctions against Belarus, but agreed that the arms embargo and restrictive measures related to four individuals listed in connection with the unresolved disappearances of two persons would be extended.

Liberal Movement picks best among its ranks

Lithuania’s Liberal Movement Party celebrating its 10th anniversary, has awarded the best members of the party. Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius was named the politician of the year for 2015.

Polish party wants Election law amendments

The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania party has proposed an amendment to electoral laws that would lower the threshold for ethnic minority parties to win parliament seats. Lithuania will held new parliamentary election in October.

MEP Guoga to give up Australian citizenship

Lithuanian MEP Antanas Guoga, a member of the Liberal Movement party, says he has decided to renounce his Australian citizenship. The move might allow him to run for a seat in the Lithuanian parliament, but Guoga says it is not the reason he decided to do it.

Forty five TB cases among children recorded in Lithuania in 2015

Forty five cases of tuberculosis were recorded among children in Lithuania in 2015, according to the country’s Center for Communicable Diseases and AIDS. Compare to 2014, the number dropped from 62.Just as every year, the majority of TB cases among children were the result of their contracting the disease form other family members.

The Revenant cinematographer of Lithuanian descent wins BAFTA

Emmanuel Lubezki, the director of Lithuanian descent who has already won consecutive Academy Awards for Best Cinematography for his work on the films Gravity and Birdman, has won a BAFTA for best cinematography for The Revenant.

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France's ex-leader Sarkozy in custody over links with Libya

French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has been taken in custody on March 20 and was held in custody on Tuesday and interrogated amid an investigation into whether late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi added funds to his 2007 election campaign.

KVV Liepājas metalurgs’ steelworks bought out by Austrian Smart Stahl

The auction for the sale of the insolvent KVV Liepājas metalurgs rolling mill equipment concluded with the victory of Austrian Smart Stahl GmbH, as confirmed by insolvency administrator Guntars Koris.

Entomologist: at least 5% of ticks in Latvia are infected with encephalitis

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Rail Baltica station’s construction at Riga airport will cost EUR 4.5 million

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Norwegian minister steps down to keep minority government in power

In a move to avoid the collapse of the Norwegian minority government, its Justice Minister Sylvi Listhaug resigned amid a political storm she had caused by blaming an opposition party of not being harsh enough toward terrorism suspects.

Political party calls for immediate action to resolve «over-salted Riga» problem

Member of For Latvia’s Development political party’s Riga City Council faction Ansis Ansbergs urges the administration to find a quick solution to the excessive use of salt during the winter season because it has a negative impact on both human and animal health, as well as the state of buildings, cars and plant life in the capital.

MEP: fair competition should be secured for all European farmers

Sixteen members of the European Parliament from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland submitted a joint proposal on Monday, 19 March, for a resolution regarding the future of the Common Agricultural Policy with a request to equalize the level of direct payments across all of Europe starting from 2021.

Estonia prison sentence upheld to Syrian man for causing burns to wife

In the Estonian criminal case, where a Syrian man has been convicted to 10 years in prison over causing corporal damage to his wife by setting her on fire, Estonian Supreme Court has rejected his appeal.

Olainfarm’s sales volume increased by 16% over the course of the year

Provisional consolidated data from Olainfarm for February 2018 shows that product sales volumes have reached EUR 10.69 million, which is 33% more when compared with the same period of 2017.

Minister: it is not impossible for banks to reduce number of risky clients to 5%

It is not impossible for Latvian banks to reduce the number of risky clients to 5%, says Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola.

Syrian Afrin left by 220 000 civilians, Turkish-supported rebels loot town

After seizing the northern Syrian town of Afrin from Kurdish militia, Syrian rebels supported by Turkey have been looting properties, journalists have reported. The town has been left by estimated 220 000 civilians.

Ministry orders Riga City Council to lift restrictions on questions

Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry has asked Riga City Council to act and fix violations of democratic principles in the newly approved rules for deputies.

Observers of Russia election see lack of genuine choice, numerous irregularities

Official results of the Russian presidential election showed that Vladimir Putin received in a competition of eight candidates over 76% of votes and European observers have found the election has been conducted efficiently, but that there has been a lack of choice.

Olainfarm: tax law does not allow applying for tax discount in investment projects

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EU agrees to UK's transition period before Brexit

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Latvia experiences one of the most rapid export rises among EU member states in January

In January 2017, Latvia experienced one of the most rapid export increases among EU member states when compared to the same month of the previous year, according to data published by Eurostat on Monday, 19 March.

Russian citizens living in Latvia provided more support to Putin than citizens in Russia

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Every third illegally downloaded software programme – infected with a virus

Data compiled by International Data Corporation shows: every third illegally downloaded software programme is infected with malicious software. Nevertheless, 69% of consumers and 33% of businesses in Europe procure computers with software from unsafe sources.

Russian economy has grown stable along with oil prices

Higher prices of oil have allowed the Russian economy to recover despite European Union's and U.S. sanctions and in time to benefit the Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has secured his next term in office.

Number of vacant jobs in Latvia grew 17.9% in 2017

In 2017, there were 17.0 thousand job vacancies in Latvia, which was 2.6 thousand vacancies or 17.9 % more than in 2016. In public sector there were 6.1 thousand job vacancies van in private sector 10.9 thousand vacancies.

Latvian cosmetics producers exports goods worth approximately 20 million euros

Cosmetics producers in Latvia export products worth EUR 20 million every year. Volumes increase 5% every year. The main export partner states are located in Europe. Still, there has been a significant increase of export volumes to third countries – to some countries this increase was as large as 60% -70%, according to data from Latvian Cosmetic Manufacturers Association.

US Chamber of Commerce worried that Latvia’s political culture has not changed since Ridzene talks

American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia (ACCL): «We are concerned that Latvian society’s and its government’s political culture has not changed much since the publication of information detailing events associated with Ridzene talks in 2009-2011. The state capture detailed there may still be possible...

Latvia’s prime minister open for talks regarding MPC system’s liquidation

Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis is prepared to discuss the possible liquidation of the mandatory procurement system, but not for all businesses at the same time.

Air temperature in Latvia to remain mostly positive throughout the week

On Monday, 19 March, weather in Latvia will change, as a low atmospheric pressure area together with an atmospheric front will approach the country from the north. The day will be sunny for the most part, but the amount of clouds will increase as hours go by, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Ukraine: British diplomats expelled from Moscow could work in Kyiv

In a reaction to Russia's announcement that it would expel 23 British diplomats from Moscow as part of the UK-Russia argument over poisoning of double-agent in an English city, Ukrainian Foreign Minister has suggested to his British counterpart that the 23 diplomats could now work in Ukraine.