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Sunday 25.03.2018 | Name days: Māra, Marita, Mārīte

Week in Lithuania. Lithuania eyes beef exports to Algeria

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

The Lithuanian and Algerian authorities are finalizing veterinary certificates for Lithuanian meat product exports to the North African country.

The daily Lietuvos Zinios reported citing Mantas Staškevičius, head of the Veterinary Sanitary Division at the State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS), the export certificate approval process is also underway with other Muslim counties, including the United Arab Emirates Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Tunisia. Lithuania has recently had veterinary certificates approved by Iran and is already exporting Halal-compliant beef to Egypt and Lebanon.

Germany reaffirms pledges on Lithuania’s security enhancement

President Dalia Grybauskaitė has met with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to discuss preparations for the NATO summit in Warsaw and the situation in Ukraine.

According to the President, the tense security environment and the enhanced presence of high-readiness military forces in the neighbourhood of the Baltic countries make it necessary to deploy NATO’s adequate deterrence measures on the Eastern border of the Alliance.

Therefore, at the upcoming NATO summit due to take place in Warsaw in July, allies must finally agree on a significant increase in NATO’s presence in the Baltic countries.

Lithuania and Germany already maintain intensive cooperation ties in the field of defence. Germany has sent its troops to Lithuania for exercises. This year a total of 600 German troops are to arrive in our country in several stages. Lithuania purchases the world’s most advanced infantry fighting vehicles Boxer from German producers. Of all NATO allies, Germany has been rotating its troops in the Baltic air policing mission most frequently.

The meeting also focused on the situation in Ukraine, ongoing military actions in Donetsk and Luhansk and the annexation of Crimea.

Two universities may merge by 2019

Vilnius-based Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences and Kaunas-based Vytautas Magnus University (VDU) may to merge into one higher education institution by 2019.The universities still need to obtain approval from the Seimas before launching the merger process.

According toRaimundas Paliukas, chairman of the parliament’s Committee on Education, Science and Culture, it would be a strong humanities university as they both have similar programs.

According to him, Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) and Lithuanian University of Health Sciences have also announced merger plans. Many experts say that there are too many universities in Lithuania.

President congratulated Georgia

President Dalia Grybauskaitė extended congratulations, both personally and on behalf of the Lithuanian people, to President Giorgi Margvelashvili of Georgia on the 98th anniversary of Georgia’s Independence Day. According to the President, Georgia has come a long way in the last twenty five years towards the community of western nations. Common values, love of freedom and democratic choice have transformed Georgia into one of the most successful Eastern partnership countries.

Dalia Grybauskaitė wished the Georgian President and the people of his country continued success, prosperity and peace.

Central Bank wants daily to be prosecuted for slander

The Bank of Lithuania has asked the Prosecutor General‘s Office to investigate alleged slander by the daily Lietuvos Rytas. In early May, the daily alleged that Vytautas Valvonis, the Bank of Lithuania‘s Supervision Service director, was involved in a racketeering scheme, publishing what it said were his phonetap transcripts. The Bank of Lithuania says the transcripts are fake and that it has asked Lietuvos Rytas to retract the story six times, to no avail.

Andrikienė to replace Landsbergis in EP

Lithuania‘s Central Electoral Commission has cancelled Gabrielius Landsbergis’ mandate as a member of the European Parliament.

The leader of the conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats said during the commission’s sitting that he had given up his MEP mandate on May 13.The election watchdog on the same day transferred the MEP mandate to Laima Liucija Andrikienė, another member of the conservative party.Landsbergis announced his plans to resign as a MEP following reports about bribery suspicions against the then leader of the Liberal Movement, Eligijus Masiulis.

Strawberry price bewilders consumers

Locally grown strawberries in Lithuanian marketplaces have been a shock for consumers. A kilogramme of Lithuanian-grown strawberries at a Klaipėda market sells for 9 euro.

Lithuania totweak law on land sale

With the European Commission asking Lithuania to ease its rules on the sale of land to foreigners, Agriculture Minister Virginija Baltraitienė says that the ministry will propose minor changes to the current law.

According to Baltraitiene, farmers’ opinion is that the current law should not be changed and, therefore, the Agriculture Ministry will propose to amend only some of its provisions related to the administrative burden and red tape.The Commission noted in a press release that the requirement for buyers of land in Lithuania to qualify as farmers is excessively restrictive.

According to Baltraitienė, the ministry proposes to leave in place the requirement that a company that wants to purchase over 10 hectares of land must derive more than 50 percent of its revenue from agricultural activities.

Prosecutors to complete spying probe

The Prosecutor General‘s Office will soon finish the investigation of spying suspicions against a soldier of the Air Force, with the case to be handed to court in June. Along with the Lithuanian citizen, suspicions should be brought against a Russian citizen who received the classified information from the airman.

Both the suspects and their lawyers have already studied the case materials.

Municipality aims to halt industrial amber extraction

As the Lithuanian Geological Service prepares to announce a tender for surveying of an amber deposit near the seaside resort of Juodkrantė, the local Neringa municipality is considering the possibility to block amber extraction for business purposes. Neringa Mayor Darius Jasaitis stated that the 112-ton amber deposit should be intended to promote the state rather than for narrow business interests. He criticized the proposals of leaving merely five hectares of the total 80-and-more for tourism development.

EU has few levers for Belarus‘ NPP safety assurance

The European Union has almost no levers for ensuring that the Astravyets nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus meets all nuclear safety and environmental requirements, Algirdas Saudargas, a Lithuanian member of the European Parliament said on Wednesday, May 25.

According to Saudargas, the most efficient way of blocking access to the Lithuanian market for electricity generated at the Astravyets plant is to ensure sufficient and cheap electricity production in the domestic market.

Lithuanian troops complete their anti-piracy mission

Lithuanian troops on Wednesday completed their mission as part of the EU anti-piracy operation Atalanta off Somalia and are handing over the responsibility for the protection of a UN‘s World Food Program ship to another country, the National Defence Ministry said.

The Lithuanian Naval Force‘s third autonomous vessel protection detachment (AVPD-3) on Wednesday successfully reached the port of Djibouti in East Africa, the last route escorted by Lithuania‘s troops aboard this ship.

The ministry expects that the soldiers will return to Lithuania at the end of this week after handing over their mission to Serbian troops. The 16-strong Lithuanian team has guarded the World Food Program ship since early December 2015.

Lithuania hails Ukrainian pilot‘s release

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has praised the release of Ukraine‘s jailed military pilot Nadiya Savchenko as very good and symbolic news, but underlines that overall relations with Russia remain tense. According to him, the pilot‘s courage became a symbol of Ukraine’s struggle, which makes her release particularly significant.

However, the minister does not think that this step signals a turning point in relations with Russia, noting that other political trials are still ongoing in the country and reports of new deaths are coming from the front-line in Ukraine.

Authorities approve offshore wind farm project

The Lithuanian government is initiating the construction of wind power plants in the Baltic Sea, with projects to be implemented following the examples of Denmark and Germany.

The Cabinet endorsed on Wednesday, June 25, amendments to the Law on Energy from Renewable Sources and will send them to the Seimas for approval. According to Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius, this is a long-term project that calls for new wind power plant projects in the Baltic Sea to be carried out after 2020. However, the necessary studies and preparatory work need to be done now, the government’s press office said in a press release.

Lithuanian company to fly to Estonia‘s large islands

The Lithuanian company Transaviabaltika has won a tender of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to operate subsidized flights between the mainland and Estonia’s large western islands.

Transaviabaltika will start operating the services to Kuressaare, capital of Saaremaa Island, and Kardla, capital of Hiiumaa, at the beginning of June. Transaviabaltika will use a 19-seat Jetstream-3200 as the main aircraft and a 19-seat LET L-410 as substitute aircraft to operate the routes. The latter may also be used as the main aircraft at the beginning of the contract period depending on when the agreements with the county governors are signed.

Liberals‘ ex-leader rejects charges

Eligijus Masiulis, a former leader of the Lithuanian Liberal Movement, disagrees with the suspicions of influence peddling and unlawful enrichment that were formally brought against him on Tuesday.

Masiulis said that he would continue to cooperate with law-enforcement bodies. The former lawmaker did not comment in more detail on the suspicions, saying that he was under obligation not to disclose any information related to the pre-trial investigation. The politician described the situation as a blow to the entire political system and a crisis of confidence.

Lithuania‘s EU commissioner, Russian minister talk on pork embargo

EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis has held talks with Russia‘s agriculture minister Alexander Tkachev on the lifting of Moscow’s ban on pork imports.

The meeting took place in Paris on Sunday, Andriukaitis‘ spokeswoman informed on Tuesday, May 24.Lithuania‘s EU commissioner was in Paris for the General Session of the World Assembly of Delegates of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).The European Commission two years ago turned to the World Trade Organization over Russia‘s ban on pork imports from the EU, which was imposed after ASF was found in Lithuania in January 2014.

AviaAM Leasing, China‘s HNCA to set up joint venture

Lithuania-based aircraft leasing company AviaAM Leasing and China‘s Henan Civil Aviation Development and Investment Company (HNCA) have signed an agreement to establish a joint venture for aircraft leasing.

It is planned that the joint venture will be based in China’s central province of Henan and will build and manage a fleet of narrow-body aircraft worth of up to 900 million US dollars.

Court upholds businessman’s detention

The detention of Raimondas Kurlianskis, MG Baltic group vice-president suspected of bribery, trade in influence and unlawful possession of a state secret, was legitimate, a Vilnius court ruled on Tuesday, May 24.Kurlianskis‘ lawyer told journalists that his plea against the detention had been overruled.

Kurlianskis was detained on May 12 for 20 days on charges of bribery and trade in influence and as already spent 12 days behind bars. The Tuesday’s finding is final and not subject to appeals.

Lithuanian law-enforcement are investigating suspicions that Kurlianskis may have paid a bribe of about 100,000 euros to Eligijus Masiulis, former MP and former leader of the opposition Liberal Movement. The businessman pleads not guilty.

Ref: 020/

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MEP: operations of certain banks in Latvia ruin the country’s reputation

Money laundering is a problem in Latvia, because the activities performed by certain banks ruin the country’s reputation, said member of the European Parliament Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to Rietumu Radio.

Harmony believes education only in Latvian language is discrimination

Members of Harmony’s Saeima faction have turned to President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis with a request to halt the parliament’s newly approved amendments to the General Education Law and Education Law regarding education only in Latvian language.

Opinion: UFG and For Latvia and Ventspils were in favour of Vejonis congratulating Putin

Latvia’s President Raimonds Vējonis sent his congratulation to the newly-elected President of Russia Vladimir Putin in order to secure political capital for himself during next year’s presidential elections, says Assoc. Prof. Ojārs Skudra from Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Latvia.

Commissioner: Latvia should provide a clear response to situation in its financial sector

The scandal in Latvia’s financial sector has been reported far and wide in the European Union. This is why it is highly important for Latvia to provide a clear reaction to all this, said Vice-President of the European Commission for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Market Union Valdis Dombrovskis.

Don't joke about bombs at Tallinn Airport, they take it seriously

Estonia's largest airport in Tallinn has from early 2017 received 14 threats of the presence of explosives in the air-travel hub, most of which have been discovered to be just jokes said at the wrong place.

Minister: learning in a single education system using state language is only obvious

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Estonian banks close foreigner accounts in wake of ABLV closure

In the wake of the closure of ABLV Bank in Latvia and alleged money laundering via the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, lenders in Estonia are closing the accounts of foreigners, but this threatens the country's successful e-Residency programme aimed at attracting foreign investors.

Latvian Saeima conceptually supports limiting the Bank of Latvia governor’s authority

The Saeima has supported amendments to the Law on the Bank of Latvia in the first reading. Amendments provide that the term of the bank’s governor, his deputy and council members will be five years, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

Baltic shareholders agree to keep Baiba Rubesa in charge of RB Rail

RB Rail CEO and board chairperson Baiba Rubesa will keep her post. This was decided by shareholders during the 22 March meeting. «The supervisory council had previously mentioned the CEO’s contribution to the company’s development. Still, we intend to find solutions and continue realizing Rail Baltica project,» said RB Rail Supervisory Council chairperson Riia Sillave.

Syrian rebel groups in eastern Ghouta announce ceasefire

In the besieged eastern Ghouta territory in Syria, which has been under heavy air strikes and artillery fire for about a month, several opposition rebel groups have agreed to ceasefire.

EU member states on Skripal attack: «Highly likely» Russia was responsible

The European Union has stated it would recall its ambassador to Moscow for consultations after heads of member states and their governments agreed it was very likely that Russia was responsible for the attack with a chemical weapon on a Russian-British double agent.

Weather to remain cold in Latvia until Easter; more snowfall expected

Weather in Latvia is expected to become cold again after a brief period of warmth. Air temperature will drop again at the beginning and the middle of next week; some areas may experience frost again, as reported by Latvian State, Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Farmers in Latvia dissatisfied with resolution of electricity-related problems

Two months have passed since farmers in Latvia had received unjustifiably large electricity bills. Countless meetings and discussions have taken place in those two months. Unfortunately, no decisive measures have been undertaken to resolve the problem. Farmers are confused with decision-makers’ incisiveness in a matter important to the national economy, as noted by the Farmers’ Saeima.

Life after 25 May: is this the end for free publication of photo galleries from events?

Many of us like to check out photos from concerts, conferences or sport events on gallery portals and social networks to have a look at guests of those events. However, after 25 May, when General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, the situation will no longer be the same.

Saeima to establish legal framework for Baltic cooperation in disaster prevention

On Thursday, 22 March, Latvian Saeima supported a legislative draft, ratification of which will help create legal framework with other Baltic States in prevention of disasters, as reported by the parliament’s press-service.

Number of complaints with postal services on a rise in Latvia

Public Utilities Commission has compiled information about complaints submitted by residents in regards to postal services in 2017. The number of complaints has increased alongside opposing views about package terminals – the regulator has received 37 complaints in total.

Output of livestock products in Latvia increased in 2017

Compared to 2016, output of meat grew by 4.6 % and output of milk by 1.4 % in 2017. In 2017, in Latvia 91.2 thousand tonnes of meat were produced, which is 4.0 thousand tonnes or 4.6 % more than in 2016. The most significant increase was observed in the output of poultry (of 11.3 %) and pork (4.7 %).

Turkey's offensive in Syria condemned by NATO ally Germany

Angela Merkel, the head of the German federal government has stated that Turkey’s military offensive in the northern Syrian town of Afrin was unacceptable and she blamed Russia for simply watching, while attacks by Syrian government forces on besieged eastern Ghouta continue.

Finance minister still believes tax reform in Latvia has brought results

«The tax reform has given us the results we had expected, especially in regards to combating envelope wages,» said Latvia’s Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.

Planned hospital reorganisation in Lithuanian regions irks both mayors and patients

If the plan of the Lithuanian Ministry of Health to overhaul treatment services in the provinces does not hit a snag, the rural hospitals will be soon providing only essential care and nursing, the focus will be on out-patient care and treatment will be available only in larger county hospitals.

Ventspils beach high in popularity this week; Lembergs gets spotlight time as well

Ventspils ended up in the spotlight in an unusual way this week: seals washed up on the beach there. Animal Freedom emphasizes that human contact with baby seals would hurt them. Residents are asked to maintain at least 50 m distance from them. However, the suspended Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs decided to take photos with baby seals and publish them on his Facebook profile.

Ombudsman: problems in nursing homes and social care centres are associated with lack of funding

Problems in nursing homes and social care centres are largely associated with lack of funding, because it is not possible to perform high-quality work using currently available resources. This is the responsibility of ministries and the government, as ombudsman Juris Jansons mentioned in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Estonian music authors receive record royalties for 2017

The organisation, which is tasked by collecting royalties for local and foreign music in Estonia, the Estonian Authors' Society, has received six million euros in royalties in 2017, which is its record level.

Facebook sorry for permitting exploitation of 50 million user data in politics

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologised for the social network failing to ensure enough privacy to its users that allowed for data on about 50 million of its users to abused by a political consultancy firm.

Zhdanok’s replacement to promote non-citizen matter in European Parliament

Miroslavs Mitrofanovs, who has taken Tatyana Zhdanok’s place in the European Parliament, plans to promote the matter of non-citizens in the institution.

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