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Wednesday 18.10.2017 | Name days: Rolanda, Rolands, Ronalds, Erlends
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Week in Lithuania. Lithuania to give hope of liberty to life prisoners

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Lithuania’s authorities plan to introduce a review of a sentence by court after a person has served 25 years in prison, thus giving life prisoners a hope of liberty.

The Interior Ministry said on Wednesday, September 13, that the respective legal amendments are being finalized. These amendments would allow a prisoner to petition a court to review his or her sentence after serving 25 years, Audris Kutrevičius, the ministry’s spokesman, informed. The court will be able, but not obliged, to set a fixed term of imprisonment. Lithuanian Justice Minister Milda Vainiūtė discussed this issue with the European Court of Human Rights’ judges on a visit to Lithuania.

Ruling LFGU, opposition conservatives tied

The ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU) and the opposition Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats are tied in the latest opinion poll conducted by the pollster RAIT. The August poll put support for both the LFGU and the conservative Homeland Union at 18 per cent. The Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) held onto its third position with 11 percent of respondents saying they would vote for the party. The opposition Liberal Movement followed in fourth place with 9 per cent support. Other parties would not clear the 5 percent hurdle required to enter the parliament.

Seimas SD MPs not allowed to sign deal with LFGU

The presidium of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) decided on Thursday, September 14, not to give the green light for the party’s lawmakers to sign a deal on joint work with the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Unions (LFGU) until the party’s council makes a final decision on whether or not to withdraw from the ruling coalition. Eight members of the presidium were in favour of discussing the content of the agreement and 25 members were against, the party’s spokeswoman said.

Two Lithuanians back home from Irma-stricken island

Two citizens of Lithuania are returning from the St. Martin Island in the Caribbean Sea that has been devastated by hurricane Irma. Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry said that one of them was flying to London, while the other one was to land in Vilnius – both of them were evacuated in cooperation with the crisis centre of the Spanish Foreign Ministry. According to information provided by the ministry, seven more Lithuanian citizens remain in the islands of St. Martin and St. Bartholomew in the Caribbean.

Competition watchdog extends scrutiny

The Lithuanian Competition Council, which is examining the bid by Rimi grocer to take over Iki chain, has extend the examination of the concentration until October 18. The competition watchdog says the decision was stipulated by law. Under Lithuania’s law, if merger of companies restricts competition, the parties involved in the deal may propose measures to eliminate this. Market participants think some of Rimi or Iki stores could be transferred to other buyers. Iki has said it currently operated 231 stores in Lithuania, while Rimi Lietuva has 56.

New ŽLG owner

Tomas Balžekas, a former CEO of the 15min portal and BNS Lithuania, is buying the magazine publishing and website administration business of Žurnalų Leidybos Grupė (Magazine Publishing Group, or ŽLG), a leading Lithuanian magazine publisher, via his company Media Bitės. Media Bitės will also purchase a 40 percent stake in Medipresa, ŽLG’s periodicals and books distribution subsidiary. ZLG continues to control Vertikali Medija, the operator of the car classifieds site Autogidas and the real estate classifieds site Domo Plius.

Kidy Tour starts operations in Latvia

Lithuanian Kidy Tour operator has launched operations in Latvia, the company’s spokeswoman Karolina Kazukauskaite informed. Kidy Tour will start flights from Riga in spring 2018. The company plans to serve 5,000 travellers going on a vacation from Latvia to Turkish Antalya resort.

Kidy Tour director Gvidas Aukštuolis said that when the company launched operations in Lithuania two years ago, it had ambitious goals also for development in the neighbouring countries.In the first eight months of this year Kidy Tour served 18,000 customers from Lithuania, Estonia and Russia, and this number if expected to grow to 30,000 by the end of the year.

Kidy Tour belongs to largest aviation holding in Eastern Europe, Avia Solutions Group whose shares are quoted on the Warsaw stock exchange.

Booming car sales in Lithuania

Lithuania’s new car sales for the eight months through August rose at one of the EU’s fastest rates, figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) show. New passenger car registrations in Lithuania jumped by 19.8 per cent in January through August year-on-year to 19,800 units. Latvia posted a 3.3 percent annual increase to 11,500 and Estonia recorded a 12.2 percent rise to 17,400 units.

Lithuanian Railways trims workforce

Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, or LG) has this year cut its workforce by nearly 1,100 people, or almost 10 percent, and spent 5 million euros on severance payments, the business daily Verslo Žinios reported.

President: Lithuania better prepared than ever

President Dalia Grybauskaitė says that the country is better prepared than it has ever been before for the Zapad large-scale military drills that Russia and Belarus are holding close to its borders. According to the president, although Zapad 2017 is officially starting on Thursday, military drills are already ongoing.

 Ignalina NPP EU funding after 2020

To secure European support to decommissioning of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) after 2020, the country should commit itself to not reducing its funding for the project, Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas said. On Wednesday, September 13, he presented the ministry’s estimates for the Ignalina closure funding needs to the government. The ministry estimates that the project still lacks 1.572 billion euros in financing until 2038, of which Lithuania should contribute 314.4 million euros, including 255.6 million euros in state budget funds. The rest of the money should come from the Ignalina plant national decommissioning fund and the plant’s own resources.

Plan approved

The Lithuanian government endorsed on Wednesday, September 13, an action plan for blocking electricity imports from Belarus’ Astravyets nuclear power and thus hampering the project. Lithuania plans to restrict the transmission capacity for electricity from Belarus and to impose a cross-border transmission charge on power imports from it, as well as to ban the Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant from providing services to the neighbouring country.

Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas said during the Cabinet’s meeting that the plan was the fourth step in Lithuania’s drive to torpedo the project, which Vilnius sees as unsafe.

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