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Friday 21.07.2017 | Name days: Meldra, Meldris, Melisa
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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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Saeima deputies sign agreement on Oligarch talks committee’s formation

So far only parliament members have signed the agreement on the formation of a Saeima committee for the investigation of Oligarch talks. Neither of them represents Unity – Karlis Serzants from Union of Greens and Farmers and Einars Cilinskis from VL-TB/LNNK.

Seaima Praesidium approves parliamentary budget for 2018

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Beer brewers: fooling around with tax reforms could destroy Latvia’s beer industry

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4,558 marriages registered in Latvia in first six months of 2017

Over the past three years, Latvian birth number almost has not changed and constitutes 22 thousand annually. 10,175 children were born in the first half of 2017, which means 990 newborn fewer than in the same period a year ago.

Broadcasting organizations ask NEPLP to stop meddling with public media contents

The board of Latvian Association of Broadcasting Organizations urges the government and National Electronic Mass Media Council to continue realizing reforms in public media.

Kucinskis also met with Slesers in the infamous meeting room of Ridzene hotel

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Pumpurs hands 99% of Užavas alus capital shares to his son

Ildis Pumpurs, up until now the only owner and board member of Ventspils Užavas alus brewery, has handed 99% of the company’s capital shares to his son Oskars Pumpurs.

Repeated elections in Kekava – activity twice as high so far

Repeated election has commenced in Kekava’s 785 election site. 274 voters or 7% of local voting population took part in elections in the first day, according to data from the election site.

Estonia plans accepting from Turkey 160 Syrian refugees

Estonian police are looking into the documents on 160 refugees from Syria that are to be moved to Estonia in line with an agreement reached between the EU and Turkey.

Experts: potato harvest in Latvia may come later than usual this year

Potato harvest in Latvia may come one week later than usual. Still, the harvest is expected to be on the level of last year, BNN was told by Potato Growers and Processors Union.

News feed to be added to Google's website and mobile app

Internet search giant Google has said it would add a continuous feed of news and other content to its homepage and mobile app, which would be displayed before a user makes a search query.

NATO and Chinese ships perform joint manoeuvrer before entering Baltic Sea

This week, Standing NATO Maritime Group One welcomed in international a group of Chinese Navy ships that entered the Baltic Sea through the Strait of Denmark from the North Sea. Ships of both groups performed a mutually coordinated manoeuvrer for the ships to ensure safe entry of ships into the Baltic Sea, as reported by Latvian Defence Ministry.

Russia distances itself from proclamation of «Malorossiya» in eastern Ukraine

The Kremlin has noted that the proclamation of a county entitled «Malorossiya», or «Little Russia» in the pro-Kremlin-separatist-held eastern parts of Ukraine is a personal initiative of the rebel leader.

Expert: oil prices will likely remain zigzag-like

Aside from one week, oil reserves have been continuously declining since April. This trend will likely continue. Oil refining activities were not too high. This reduced demand for oil. In Q3, oil producers will increase production output and compound stores, comments macroeconomics expert Dainis Gaspuitis.

Construction output in Q1 in Latvia – tenth largest in EU

In Latvia, construction production volume in Q1 2017, when compared with the same period of last year, grew 8.4%. This puts Latvia on the tenth place among EU member states, according to the latest data from Eurostat.

Pabriks invites Estonia to focus on protecting Europe’s borders during presidency

MEP from Latvia Artis Pabriks invites Estonia as the presiding country in the European Council to focus on the protection of Europe’s borders and help motivate other member states to follow through with their objectives.

Contract signed for 60 million euros loan for Rīgas satiksme

Nordic Investment Bank and Riga municipality’s company Rīgas satiksme have signed a contract for the allocation of a loan worth 60 million euros. Funding is intended to be used to purchase hydrogen-powered buses and low-floor trams, as well as investments into tram infrastructure.

Household expenditure on consumption exceeds pre-crisis levels in Latvia

In 2016, household consumption expenditure comprised on average EUR 333 per household member monthly – EUR 17 or 5.4 % more than in 2015.

Antane: government has set ‘checkmate’ for Latvia’s transport industry

With plans to increase excise tax on fuel, the government has set ‘checkmate’ to Latvia’s transport industry and transit sector. Instead of the awaited tax revenue compensation, Latvia risks considerably reducing the competitiveness of the industry that brings in one billion euros to the economy every year, says Inga Antane, President of Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics.

Four Dutch soldiers arrested after fight in Lithuania

After getting involved in a brawl in Lithuania, four Dutch troops, who are part of the NATO multi-national force in the Baltic country have been sent back to their homeland.

Swedbank: small companies contribute to appearance of new loans

Swedbank’s profits in Latvia reached EUR 52 million in the first six months of 2017. This is a similar result when compared with the same period of last year.

Three million Mercedes-Benz diesel cars to be recalled for emissions software update

German car-builder Daimler made a step to voluntarily avoid troubled waters in relation to emissions concerns and has announced a recall of over three million Mercedes-Benz diesel cars to change their software.

Demand for seasonal fruits increases in Latvia

Compared with the previous year, demand for seasonal fruits grew this summer: 31% for peaches, 35% for plums and 63% for apricots at Maxima Latvia supermarkets.

German Catholic clergymen blamed for abusing hundreds of boys

The administration the Regensburger Domspatzen boys choir in Germany is blamed for that over a period of 60 years not less than 547 boys have suffered physical abuse and in dozens of cases – sexual abuse.

Saeima to decide on tax discount for donations to sports organizations

A meeting of the Saeima Sports Subcommittee will be held soon to discuss the upcoming changes to the tax reform in relation to PIT discount for donations to organizations and associations, as well as sports organizations, BNN was informed by Saeima’s press-service.

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