bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Tuesday 24.10.2017 | Name days: Renāte, Modrīte, Mudrīte
LithuaniaLithuania

Week in Lithuania. Lithuania extends deadline for paying compulsory health insurance arrears

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

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

After causing uproar by warning thousands of Lithuanian citizens to pay overdue compulsory health insurance contributions or face sanctions, the Lithuanian state-run social insurance fund Sodra said on Friday, February 3, that it will wait for a month before taking action to recover the arrears.

The fund in late January informed 20,000 people that it if they failed to pay off their outstanding contributions for 11 to 12 months, it would take action to recover the money, Sodra Director Mindaugas Sinkevičius said.

According to Sodra, around 300,000 people owe compulsory health insurance contributions for at least a month. All of them will be urged in writing to pay off the arrears or submit the necessary documents to have their debt annulled. Outstanding compulsory health insurance contributions total 80 million euros, including around 50 million euros in long-term arrears for a year or more.

Seimas to hold extraordinary session

The Lithuanian parliament will hold on February 12 a one-day extraordinary session to address children’s protection issues. Among other things, lawmakers will debate and vote on a new wording of the Framework Law on Children’s Rights Protection that would ban corporal punishment of children. Politicians are divided on whether the law should define corporal punishment as violence against children. The Social Security and Labour Ministry’s working group is still finalizing the concepts. In addition to banning corporal punishment, the new wording of the framework law would cover a wide range of issues, such as child custody and a child’s right to a safe environment, etc.

Army expects Germans’ assistance

Lithuania’s Armed Forces expect German troops to cooperate in the training of Lithuanian troops to use the purchased infantry fighting vehicles Boxer. The possibility was Thursday, January 2, discussed by Lithuania’s Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas and German Land Forces Commander Lieutenant General Jorg Volmer. German troops have earlier helped training Lithuanian army drivers and mechanics after the country bought German self-propelled howitzers PzH2000. The first dozen of Boxers should arrive in Lithuania in late 2017. Lithuania’s Armed Forces have purchased a total of 88 of the infantry fighting vehicles.

Air Navigation chief sacked

Algimantas Raščius, long-time top executive of Oro Navigacija (Air Navigation) state-run company, was dismissed from office last Thursday, February 2. This is the second Lithuanian enterprise controlled by the Transport and Communications Ministry that has seen its leadership replaced after Rokas Masiulis took helm of the ministry. In the minister’s words, the Public Procurement Council has established abundance of public procurement tenders that lacked transparency and were possibly intended for a single supplier.

Geopolitical situation may affect Rail Baltica funding

Tense geopolitical situation in the European Union over Brexit, refugee crisis and security matters may after 2020 reduce the European support to the European-gauge railway project Rail Baltica estimated at billions of euros, Baiba Rubesa, board chairperson of the joint Baltic enterprise, has said in Vilnius. In her words, if it turns out that the EU does not provide 85 percent of support in the future, the Baltic States would have to find ways of ensuring project continuity; however, there should be no fears of the project being terminated. In her words, very rough estimations are that the project will require a total of 4 billion euros, therefore, the three Baltic States expect the EU to continue providing 85 per cent of support. Lithuania has also said that it was only participating in the project on the condition of 85 per cent of the costs covered by the EU.

Lithuania appointing new defence attaché to Russia

Lieutenant Colonel Petras Montvila should be appointed as Lithuania’s next defence attaché to Russia, members of the parliamentary National Security and Defence Committee confirmed after discussing candidates on Wednesday, February 1. Montvila, a member of the Lithuanian defence system since 1992, will be sent to Moscow to replace Saulius Pikturna who was recalled from the post last September due to marriage to a resident of Crimea annexed by Russia. After taking the post at the embassy on August 1, Pikturna married the Crimean resident on August 18 and notified the ministry on Aug. 26. The officer was recalled for consultations on September 13.

Lithuanian, Swedish police seize stolen car parts

Lithuanian police officers, in cooperation with Swedish police, have seized a consignment of suspected stolen car parts worth 10,000 euros. The consignment, which was detained in late January, contained multimedia devices, car wheels and airbags, the Kaunas County Police Headquarters said in a press release on Thursday, February 2. According to preliminary information, the parts were stolen from BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars manufactured between 2013 and January 2017. Lithuanian police officers have detained two men, born in 1983 and 1993, who live in the district of Kaunas

German, Lithuanian military commanders meet

Brigadier General Valdemaras Rupšys, the commander of the Lithuanian Land Force, and Lieutenant General Joerg Vollmer, the chief of staff of the German Army, have signed a letter of mutual cooperation, the Lithuanian Defence Ministry said on Thursday, February 2. The letter is aimed at establishing mutually beneficial partnership in exchanging knowledge and experience between Lithuanian and German land troops, as well as strengthening cooperation in military training and exercises and in preparing defence plans, concepts and doctrines, and in other important areas, the ministry said.

Lithuanian, UK officers conduct joint probe

Lithuanian and UK officers are conducting a joint probe into human trafficking, police in the port city of Klaipeda said on Thursday, February 2. A pre-trial investigation was launched in Lithuania in April 2016 after receiving information that a 53-year-old man living in the district of Klaipeda and the owners of a British company «brutally exploited» people who had come to England to work. It is suspected that a number of men, who did not speak English, had no money and did not know the local laws, «were subjected to slavery» by false promises of easy and well-paid jobs. The men, who worked as chicken catchers, were subjected to physical and psychological violence, the Klaipeda police said in a press release.

EP panel summons prosecutor general

The European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs has asked Lithuanian Prosecutor General Evaldas Pašilis to attend hearings on stripping MEP Rolandas Paksas of his immunity in an influence peddling case.

Lithuanian prosecutors last spring asked the European Parliament to lift the immunity of Paksas. They suspect that Gedvydas Vainauskas, CEO of the media group Lietuvos Rytas, offered a 10,000-euro bribe to Paksas for pressuring construction inspectors to authorize the opening of a new Norfa retail store in Prienai, a town in southern Lithuania. Both Paksas and Vainauskas have denied the suspicions against them, branding the case as politicized.

President in Malta

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė met Thursday, February 2, with Malta’s leaders and took part in an informal EU summit to discuss the migration crisis and relations with the United States. On Friday, February 3, the Lithuanian president participated in the EU summit in Valletta.

Ministry calls on cease fire in Ukraine

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius on Wednesday, February 1, called on all sides to stop hostilities in Eastern Ukraine to avoid a humanitarian crisis, but at the same time underlined that the main responsibility for the conflict lies with Russia. He discussed the escalating situation with his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin by telephone.

Audience of Russian channels shrinks

The number of viewers news broadcasts on Russian-language television channels has declined by a third in Lithuania, shows a poll published by the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, February 1. According to the survey, 24 per cent of respondents said they constantly watched news and broadcasts on global events on the First Baltic Channel in late 2016, while 14 per cent said they watched them on RTR. In 2015, 32 per cent of those polled specified the First Baltic Channel as their main source of news, while 26 per cent said they watched RTR.

German troops from NATO battalion land

Around 70 German troops to join the international NATO battalion to be stationed in Lithuania landed in the Karmėlava airport, the Kaunas district, on Wednesday, February 1. They arrived aboard two warplanes and will now proceed to Rukla. The initial plan was to send 140 troops to Lithuania on Wednesday, however, the number of troops is lower, Captain Vaidas Žiogas, spokeswoman for the Motorized Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf, said. On February 1-10, about 450 German troops with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other equipment should come to the Baltic state.

EC member indirectly criticizes Trump, other officials mum

European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis of Lithuania has indirectly criticized the immigration ban imposed by US President Donald Trump, while other Lithuanian officials have chosen the tactic of silence and refrained from comments. Without mentioning Trump’s name, Andriukaitis of the Social Democrats issued a statement on a social network, saying that the «merciless bans on immigrants» run counter to his beliefs, warning that border only bring setbacks and isolation.  President Dalia Grybauskaitė and Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius have decided to give no comment about the Trump bans.

Poll: 1 in 4 Lithuanians worried about Trump

One in four Lithuanians believes that Donald Trump’s accession to the United States’ White House may affect the security situation in the region, shows a poll published on Wednesday, February 1. Asked whether Trump’s election as US president may have an impact on the Lithuanian-US ties and the regional security situation in general, 39 per cent said nothing would change, 27 per cent chose an answer «things may change for the worse, as the international environment is becoming unpredictable,» while another 8 per cent said the situation should improve.

Britain to strengthen embassy

Britain is set to strengthen its embassies in Lithuania and other Central and Eastern European countries in an effort to win support for Brexit negotiations, the media and diplomats say. «British ambassadors to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, and Slovakia will be given higher status and additional political and lobbying staff. The prime minister’s team wants to cultivate good relations with like-minded EU states ahead of Brexit talks due to start by March 31,» a statement by a senior British official says.

Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian brigade reaches combat readiness

The Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian brigade LITPOLUKRBRIG in late January was declared to be at full operational capability, the Lithuanian Defence Ministry said. The tri-national brigade’s combat readiness was certified after the Common Challenge 16 certification exercise, which took place in December. During the exercise, a multinational certification team identified points of improvement in the procedures and structure of the brigade command and proposed possible solutions. It is planned that the brigade will have between 3,500 and 4,000 soldiers.

Lithuania concerned over Russia’s decision

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry is concerned over Russia’s decision to grant political asylum to Raimondas Baranauskas, a former chairman of the management board at the now-bankrupt bank Snoras. «The Foreign Ministry underscores it regret that Russian authorities’ have once again refused to cooperate with Lithuanian law-enforcement bodies in investigating this and other high-profile criminal cases, despite requests for legal assistance from Lithuanian authorities,» the ministry said in a press release on Monday, February 1. British courts ruled in 2015 to extradite Antonov and Baranauskas, who then lived in London, to Lithuania, but the men fled the UK and are now hiding in Russia.

NATO jets scrambled for first time in 2017

NATO fighter-jets serving in the Baltic air-policing mission were last week scrambled for the first time this year to intercept Russian military aircraft, the Lithuanian Defence Ministry said on Monday, February 1. NATO’s jets escorted Russia’s aircraft flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea four times between January 23 and 29. Three of the aircraft had their onboard transponders switched off. The Alliance’s jets guarding the Baltic skies first took off on January 25. Last year, the first scramble took place on January 18.

Preventive measures after troop’s death

After a Lithuanian troop died of meningitis, an extremely contagious disease, preventive measures were taken on Monday, February 1, in the unit of his service. The 19-year-old member of the mandatory initial military service died in a Vilnius hospital of acute meningitis. According to data provided by the Centre of Communicable Diseases and AIDS, 75 cases of meningitis were reported in Lithuania last year, including seven with lethal outcome.

Court opens case of bilingual street signs

A Vilnius court on Monday, February 1, opened hearings into the bilingual street signs in the Lithuanian capital. The government’s representative says that non-Lithuanian signs run counter to the law and may instigate hatred, while the municipality maintains the signs are merely a decorative element. The government’s representative in the Vilnius County, Vilda Vaičiūnienė, says that all names should be strictly Lithuanian and in the form that is provided in the official register of addresses. She emphasized that street names can only be granted by the City Council, not individual politicians.

Scandal took toll on LPGU, Karbauskis’ ratings

The scandal surrounding car lease and relationship with MP Greta Kildišienė has affected the rating of the ruling Lithuanian Peasant and Green Union (LPGU) and its leader Ramunas Karbauskis, says sociologist Vladas Gaidys. According to the survey, LPGU would secure 25 per cent of the vote in elections, down from 31.5 per cent a month ago. In his words, the support to Karbauskis also fell by the analogous 6 percentage points, while the party’s other leader, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, retained his popularity, while the other members of his Cabinet are becoming increasingly valued and known.

Ref: 020/111.111.111.4671


Leave a reply

Pabriks: losing control over airBaltic would be a mistake for Latvia

«If attraction of an investor for Latvian’s national airline airBaltic results in full privatization of the company, Latvian state would make a strategic mistake,» says MEP Artis Pabriks.

Another person may be involved in NSL and ZZS illegal financing case

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau’s launched criminal process regarding possible illegal financing of parties To Latvia from the Heart and Union of Greens and Farmers has identified another involved person.

Mortality from strokes in Latvia may grow significantly in the near future

To raise awareness of the dramatic situation with strokes in Latvia and motivate decision-makers into improving stroke prevention measures and treatment and increasing funding for this area, cardiologists and neurologists invite officials to come to a discussion.

Pavļuts: party unions would be welcome, but not for politically technical reasons

In preparation for Saeima elections, unions should be considered by parties that have similar goals, not politically technical considerations, said Kustība Par leader Daniels Pavļuts in an interview to Rīta panorama programme.

Minister: changes in Russian schools needed for formation of unified political nation

Latvia requires a unified political nation, which is impossible to achieve living in different education spaces. With that, it is only natural for the process to progress towards our youth studying together, Latvian Education Minister Kārlis Šadurskis told Rīta panorama programme about the intended education reforms in Russian-speaking schools.

Czech election won by party of police-sought billionaire Babiš

In the parliamentary election of the Czech Republic, which took place over the weekend, centrist party ANO has won. It is chaired by billionaire Andrej Babiš, who has been stripped of the immunity of a member of parliament over suspected wrongdoing in attracting European Union farming subsidies.

Rīgas satiksme limits competition; agreements prevent ‘others’ from entering the market

Competition Council believes Rīgas satiksme’s contracts with private companies limit competition, because they prevent other players from entering the market, as reported by De Facto programme of LTV.

Weather will be clear and dry in Latvia at first; set to change in second half of the week

On Monday and Tuesday weather will be dictated by increased atmospheric pressure – weather will remain clear and dry. Wind will draw in from the east and south-east, which will be strong along the coast in Kurzeme, as reported by Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Spain denies effort to strip Catalonia of autonomy amount to coup

The Foreign Minister of Spain, Alfonso Dastis, has dismissed claims that the effort of the central government to introduce direct rule in the separatist region of Catalonia can be considered as a coup d'état as it is seen in Barcelona.

TM: the ministry is open for a full disposal of state-owned airBaltic shares

Latvian Transport Ministry is currently engaged in reviewing specific offers for attraction of investors for airBaltic. A full privatization of the company is not out of the question, says the ministry’s state secretary Kaspars Ozoliņš.

Week in Lithuania. Election watchdog’s decision puts budget grants for Liberals in question

A total of 45,336 euros in the costs of the training organised by an Institute of Applied Politics owned by Sarunas Gustainis, a former MP and former member of the Liberal Movement, for the party should be recognised as non-monetary contribution, says a task force established by the Lithuanian Central Electoral Commission.

BNN summary of the week: birth and death rates in Latvia turn out shocking. Gambling halls to close down

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Fight; Truth; Business; Future.

Professor: by taking money away from science, the state shoots itself in the foot

The matter regarding insufficient funding for science has recently become more topical in the public space. President of Latvian Academy of Sciences Ojārs Spārītis is rather critical of the situation: Latvia has lied to the European Union and European Commission about making sure that funding for science reaches 1.5% of GDP by 2020.

To prevent fraud, audit of MPC recipients to be performed in Latvia

Latvian Economy Ministry intends to perform an audit of mandatory procurement component recipients and use new regulations to combat fraudulent activities, as confirmed by Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens.

Rail Baltic procurements to be processed using Electronic Procurements System

Following the changes to Latvian Republic’s Public Procurements Law, all new procurements for Rail Baltica administered by RB RAIL will be processed using a free electronic information system and its e-contest subsystem.

Estonian construction price index pushed up by wages

The construction price index in Estonia has in July-September of 2017 increased by 0.9% in comparison to second quarter this year and by 1.7% from July-September of 2016, Estonian statisticians have estimated.

Surplus of Latvia’s government budget reached 9.5 million euros in 2016

In 2016 general government budget surplus accounted for EUR 9.5 million or 0.04 % of the Gross Domestic Product, whereas general government consolidated gross debt amounted to EUR 10 091.6 million or 40.6 % of the GDP.

Latvia to invest EUR 5.9 million into formation of unified port network

Ports of Riga planning region and Kurzeme planning region have commenced an important tourism project. The goal of this project is creating a unified yacht port network in Latvia and Estonia with quality services that would allow developing sailing tourism and attract foreign sailing enthusiasts in the future, reports the regions’ representative Inese Ozoliņa.

Graft-suspected Tartu deputy mayors resign

In Estonia's second largest city, Tartu, Deputy Mayors Artjom Suvorov and Valvo Semilarski have stepped down from office, Estonian press reported, after the politicians were arrested under suspicion of graft.

Expert: workers of Latvia’s NGO sector have high ‘burnout’ risk

Workers of Latvia’s NGO sector have a high burnout risk, said once the director of Providus Dace Akule in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Producer: many young people come to work in the film industry

Latvia’s film industry has been steadily growing these past several years, and it is especially gratifying that many young people are coming to work in the industry, says director and producer, representative of Film Angels Productions Jānis Kalējs.

Pollution blamed for every sixth premature death globally

Nine million premature deaths globally in 2015 are said to be related to pollution, a study has found pointing to presence of harmful matter in air, water and workplace as the three main risk factors.

Infectologist: influenza kills biologically the weakest, including children and pregnant women

Influenza is an infection that affects both children and adults. However, it kills those who are biologically weak, says Immunization State Council chairperson and infectologist of Children’s Vaccination Centre Dace Zavadska.

Investor activity made easier between Latvia and Vietnam

An intergovernmental agreement has been signed between the Republic of Latvia and Socialist Republic of Vietnam on prevention of double taxation and tax avoidance in relation to income tax.

Colder masses of air to enter Latvia in coming days; precipitation to be limited

Although high atmospheric pressure will be present above Latvia in the coming days, southern regions in Latvia will experience short-term precipitation on Saturday, 12 October, caused by the cyclone active above Poland. Colder masses of air will enter Latvia in the coming days.