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Wednesday 21.02.2018 | Name days: Eleonora, Ariadne
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Week in Lithuania. Lithuania obtains copies of 1939 Soviet-Nazi pact from Germany

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUGermany has given Lithuania copies of a 1939 Soviet-Nazi pact that divided Eastern Europe into spheres of influence, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday, August 23.

Lithuania received scanned copies of the pact, a protocol and a map with signatures from the Political Archive of the German Foreign Ministry.

«We are well aware of the contents of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, but it the first time that the German Foreign Ministry has given us scanned versions of the secret protocols and the map,» Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said in a press release.

The minister expressed hope that «other countries will follow the example of Germany and open up their archives to Lithuanian historians».

The copies are planned to be put on display as part of an exhibition on the Lithuanian diplomatic service between 1918 and 2018 to be opened at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas next year.

Customs officers nab 75 kilos of Latvia-bound hashish

Lithuanian customs officers have seized a shipment of 75 kilograms of hashish in the eastern town of Zarasai, the Customs Criminal Service said. With the help of a sniffer dog, the officers found over 75 kilograms of the drug in a car headed for Latvia. The estimated street value of the shipment is around 750,000 euros. The Nissan Qashqai was pulled over for a check in the centre of Zarasai. The driver, a man who lives in Kaunas, said he had «no idea» how the drugs got into his car. He has been placed in police custody for a month. Lithuanian customs officials have seized over 1,500 kilograms of drugs, mostly cocaine and hashish, this year so far.

Lithuanians in UK to be educated on human trafficking

An awareness campaign will be launched in the United Kingdom, the country with the largest number of reported cases of Lithuanian nationals sold into slavery and abused, to educate local Lithuanians on human trafficking, the Lithuanian Interior Ministry said. The ministry has for the first time invited Lithuanian expatriate communities to put forward projects for raising awareness about the forms of human trafficking and the threats it poses, as well as about the victims’ rights and available assistance. The ministry will grant 10,000 euros for the winning project, submitted by the UK’s Lithuanian community, which will run in September through December. Twenty-five of last year’s reported 51 human trafficking cases involving Lithuanians occurred in the United Kingdom. The victims were sold for sexual exploitation, forced labour, crime or forced marriage purposes. Data from the UK authorities show Lithuania among the top five countries by the number of citizens subjected to modern slavery.

Lithuania drops merging plans

The Lithuanian Interior Ministry has abandoned plans to merge the Financial Crimes Investigation Service, or FNTT, with other bodies. The government earlier considered merging FNTT into the Customs Criminal Service or the State Tax Inspectorate. The ministry plans to recommend a candidate to be the next permanent director of FNTT to the government for consideration.

Ministry not keen to move to Kaunas

Lithuanian Agriculture Minister Bronius Markauskas is now not so keen on moving his ministry from Vilnius to Kaunas, an idea he was enthusiastic about some time ago. When reminded Markauskas that the idea was included in the LFGU-led government’s program, Markauskas said, “If there is a decision to move, I will not object. I have told Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis that I will comply with any decision by the Seimas and the government.” The minister made it clear that President Dalia Grybauskaitė’s office is not enthusiastic about the government’s plans to move the ministries for agriculture and environment out of the capital either.

Lithuanian’s Jews appreciate German president’s attention

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid homage to the Holocaust victims in Paneriai, outside Vilnius, the leader of the Jewish Community of Lithuania (JCL) says that they highly appreciate such attention. «We highly appreciate the respect that is being shown, because Paneriai is, after all, a symbol of all the killed Lithuanian Jews,» Faina Kukliansky, the JCL head said. Steinmeier, who started his two-day official visit to Lithuania on Thursday, August 24, also visited Friday, August 25, German troops stationed in Rukla, in the central Lithuanian district of Jonava.

Ukrainian president awards Lithuania’s ex-PM Kubilius

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has honoured Andrius Kubilius, a former Lithuanian prime minister, with a high state award, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported on Thursday, August 24. On the occasion of Ukraine’s Independence Day, Poroshenko signed a decree conferring the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise on the Lithuanian politician. Kubilius has been active in calling on European politicians to agree on financial support to Ukraine in exchange for reforms in the country. The initiative is dubbed «the Marshall plan for Ukraine».

Lithuania to keep up pressure on Belarus over N-plant

Members of the Lithuanian Cabinet agreed on Thursday, August 24, to keep up the pressure on Belarus over the safety of the Astravyets nuclear power plant, but at the same time to seek to develop good economic relations with the neighbouring country, an advisor to Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said. Skvernelis discussed the outlook for bilateral relations with the foreign, energy, economy, transport and environment ministers at a special meeting convened for the purpose. Deividas Matulionis, the PM‘s advisor said that the Cabinet members discussed the situation regarding Moscow’s pressure on Belarus to export oil products through Russian ports rather than via the Baltic countries, adding that Lithuania does not see any major threat in this, at least for now.

French sporting goods giant Decathlon to operate from Vilnius

French sporting goods giant Decathlon is entering the Baltic countries by launching an online store, with decisions on opening physicals stores to be made at a later stage. The company plans to operate from Vilnius and does not rule out building a warehouse in Lithuania or another Baltic country and looking for production partners in the region in the future. Nicolas Fogola, CEO of Decathlon Lietuva, a Decathlon subsidiary, said that the company does have a fixed deadline for deciding on its expansion in Lithuania and in the Baltic region.

PM concerned about domestic consumption trends

Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis is concerned about growing domestic consumption, saying that the government wants economic growth to be driven more by exports and labour productivity. Lithuania’s GDP grew by a seasonally and workday-adjusted 3.9 percent in the second quarter of 2017 from a year ago to reach 10.339 billion euros at current prices.

PM says alcohol excise hike brings expected results

PM Saulius Skvernelis says that this year’s drastic increase in excise duties on alcoholic drinks has produced the expected results as alcohol consumption has fallen, but the state has not lost tax revenue. The prime minister said that at the moment the government is not considering a further drastic increase in excise duties next year. Based on the latest data from the State Tax Inspectorate, the amount of declared alcohol excise duties for January through July 2017 totalled 174.463 million euros, up 24.4 per cent from 140.261 million euros in the same period last year. Wholesale beer sales (through excise warehouses) for the seven months dropped by 14.5 per cent year-on-year, intermediate product sales fell by 12.4 per cent, wine sales declined by 5.9 per cent and spirit drink sales were down by 8.5 per cent.


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