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Saturday 25.11.2017 | Name days: Kadrija, Kate, Katrīna, Trīne
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Week in Lithuania. Lithuania buying Norwegian air defence systems

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Lithuanian defence officials have announced intention to buy Norwegian medium-range air-defence systems NASAMS in hopes of patching one of the biggest defence gaps.

Published last week, the state budget draft envisages 122.379 million euros for acquisition and modernization of medium-range air defence systems within the next three years, with about equal amounts earmarked in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Lithuania’s Armed Forces should reportedly have the system available by 2020. Air defence is one of the weakest points in the Baltic states. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia currently only have short-range anti-aircraft defence systems with a range of 3-5 km. Meanwhile, ten Norwegian missiles fly a few dozen km and take down targets at an altitude of 15 km.

PM offers Vilnius as venue for regional World Economic Forum event

Amid Lithuania’s plans of developing the infrastructure of electric cars, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis suggested hosting a regional event of the World Economic Forum in Vilnius. Skvernelis made the offer to Klaus Martin Schwab, the forum’s founder and board chairman, at a meeting in Vilnius on Friday, October 13. He also emphasised the importance of cyber and information security, Lithuania’s aspirations of joining the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and planned active cooperation with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Lithuanian dairy firm clashes with Estonia’s Estover

Žemaitijos Pienas, one of Lithuania’s largest dairy companies, has initiated a dispute with Estonian milk processor Estover over a sign of string cheese. Žemaitijos Pienas said it had filed a suit with an Estonian court over the Pik-Nik brand, demanding that Estover should be banned from using a similar sign in Estonia where it sells its production.

Ignalina N-plant gets go-ahead for tests

Lithuania’s State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) has given a green light to the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), which is no longer operational, to start hot tests of the radioactive waste sorting and storage complex. If the tests are successful, the plant will start storing the waste in the new complex in 2018. Ina Daukšienė, spokeswoman for Ignalina, informed that the complex would store 2,500 cubic meters of short-term waste, which will require nearly 1,200 concrete containers, and 2,000 cubic meters of long-term waste that will need 840 metal containers. The processes waste will be stored for up to 50 years before burial in burial sites, which still need to be constructed. The nearly 200-million-euro complex was built by a Russian-capital German company Nukem Technologies.

Landsbergis awarded Lithuanian Diplomacy Star

Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius on Thursday, October 12, bestowed the ministry’s sign of honour, the Lithuanian Diplomacy Star, to Vytautas Landsbergis, the chairman of the country’s Supreme Council – Reconstituent Seimas who is often titled as the first-post independence state leader. Landsbergis received the ministry’s highest award for his outstanding merits to Lithuania’s statehood and international recognition, the Foreign Ministry said. The Lithuanian Diplomacy   Star award has been conferred since 2010 for Lithuanian and foreign citizens and organizations for promoting Lithuania’s name and fostering interstate relations.

Seimas approved increased presence in foreign missions

The Parliament on Thursday, October 12, gave a green light to dispatch of more troops to international missions abroad, including increased participation in efforts against the Islamic State group. The bid was supported by 87 parliamentarians, with no votes against or abstentions. Under the resolution, Lithuania will be able to send up to 40 military and civilian members of the defence system to the Inherent Resolve and Spartan Shield operations headed by the US-led coalition. Currently, up to 30 troops can be sent to Inherent Resolve. Six instructors have been sent to the mission and they can be sent for training of Iraq’s Armed Forces. Currently, about 90 Lithuanian soldiers serve in nine international operations and missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Ukraine, Mali, the Central African Republic and the Mediterranean Sea.

Delfi.lt news portal gets new editor-in-chief

Rasa Lukaitytė-Vnarauskienė will replace Monika Garbaciauskaitė-Budrienė in the post of editor-in-chief of Lithuania’s most popular delfi.lt news portal, the portal said on Thursday, October 12. Garbaciauskaitė-Budrienė said she had decided to reshuffle her professional priorities and focus on journalistic and creative work, pledging to continue her cooperation with delfi.lt. Lukaitytė-Vnarauskienė has graduated the Vilnius University with a degree in journalism and master’s degree in economics, she has been working for delfi.lt since 2006. After a few years as a reporter of economic news, she has been heading the business news desk for the past two years and serving as deputy editor-in-chief.

MP: inflation won’t eat up revenue growth

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says that people are more sensitive about inflation than they should be, adding that the price hike would not be steep enough to outdo growing salaries.

«We will definitely not have (inflation of) 5 percent, from what we project, salaries in the private sector should grow by 10 percent and in the public sector by 6 percent this year. In light of the next year’s budget, inflation will not eat it all,» Skvernelis told Žinių Radijas news radio on Thursday morning.

The annual inflation stood at 4.8 per cent in September, as compared year-on-year, while the average annual inflation was 3 per cent (4.4 per cent and 2.6 per cent in August, respectively). Lithuania’s Finance Ministry projected in September that the average annual inflation for 2017 would be 3.5 per cent in light of the faster increase in prices for services, which is 0.1 percentage points above the spring estimates.

Government grants railway company 36 mn euro

Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LG), which were recently slammed a fine of nearly 28 million euros from the European Commission (EC) for competition offense, should next year receive close to 36 million euros in compensation for passenger transport losses. Transport and Communications Minister Paulius Martinkus said the decision to compensate the losses incurred by the state-run railway company from carrying passengers had been taken in spring of 2017.

«When the budget drafting was started in spring, the decision was taken to move in the direction to cover for special obligations from the budget, at the same time, Lietuvos Geležinkeliai will be required to pay dividend. This is the practice from now on,» Martinkus said.

The 2018 state budget draft envisages 35.752 million euros for the railway company.

Mantas Dubauskas, spokesman for LG, said the losses incurred due to carrying passengers had not been compensated by the state until now.

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