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Monday 23.04.2018 | Name days: Jurģis, Juris, Georgs
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Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian, German ministers sign agreement on 1918 Independence Act

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Michael Roth (L), The German Minister of State for Europe at the German Foreign Ministry and Lithuanian Ambassador to Germany Deividas Matulionis present the historic document at the foreign ministry in Berlin, Germany.

The foreign ministers of Lithuania and Germany signed in Berlin on Thursday, October 5, an agreement on handover of the February 16, 1918 Independence Act to Lithuania for five years.

Starting next year, the Independence Act should be exhibited in the House of the Signatories in downtown Vilnius where it was signed almost 100 years ago. Liudas Mažylis, professor at Vytautas Magnus University, found the Council of Lithuania’s hand-written resolution proclaiming the restoration of an independent state of Lithuania with Vilnius as its capital, written by hand in Lithuanian and German and with 20 signatures on it, in the German Foreign Ministry’s archive in late March.

Presided by Jonas Basanavičius, the Council of Lithuania signed the Act of Independence in Vilnius on Feb. 16, 1918. Historians believe that several original copies of the document were signed on that day, but the whereabouts of the others are unknown.

SD leader against bid to grant more than 2 pc of GDP to defence

After Lithuania reaches 2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) for defence next year, the defence funding should no longer be increased, with money directed towards reduction of social exclusion, says Gintautas Paluckas, the leader of the Social Democratic Party.

He expressed disapproval of the idea recently proposed in the parliament for leaders of parties to update the 2012 agreement, which envisaged reaching 2 percent of the GDP by 2020, as Lithuania should reach the indicator in 2018 already. The proposal to sign a new agreement of political parties on further increase of defence spending was on Thursday, October 5, circulated by a temporary team of supporters of the Lithuanian army and the Lithuanian Riflemen’s Union.

Lithuania’s 2018 Sodra surplus projected at218 mn euro

The budget surplus of Lithuania’s social insurer Sodra is expected to reach 218 million euros in 2018, seven times the surplus planned for this year. According to the 2018 Sodra budget draft, the state-run social insurer should collect 4.23 billion euros in revenue next year, while expenditure should total 4.012 billion euros.

Sodra projects that the 2019 revenue will be 210 million euros above spending, climbing further to 41.8 million euros in 2020. In 2018, the social insurer expects to receive 132.7 million euros from the state budget for compensation of the general share of pensions due to the 1-percent decrease in the social insurance pension payment tariff. Next year, average old-age pensions should grow by about a tenth.

Finland’s Ahlstrom leaving Lithuania

Ahlstrom, global high-performance fibre-based materials company headquartered in Finland, is closing its service centre in Vilnius after three years of operation, sacking all of the staff. The company said the changes had to do with decentralization of the group’s services, not Lithuania’s investment environment.

Lithuania’s richest man co invests in Britain’s McColl’s

Lithuania’s richest man Nerijus Numavičius has invested another 33.6 million British pounds ( 37.85 mn euro) in the United Kingdom’s second-largest retail chain McColl’s Retail Group, becoming one of its biggest shareholders after buying nearly a tenth of its shares to bring the total portfolio to 11.3 per cent. Numavičius’ family office said the 9.9-per cent stake in McColl’s were purchased by UK company Klarus Capital Limited linked with Numavičius. With a chain of 1,650 small stores, McColl’s is the second-largest player on the British market after Tesco.

Lithuania turns to EC for compensation to farmers

Following heavy rains, the Lithuanian government on Thursday, October 5, turned to the European Commission (EC) with a request to compensate damages.

«The most affected farms face bankruptcy; new reports about damages incurred by farmers are received from municipalities on a daily basis. Amid the critical situation, we are asking the European Commission to earmark aid from the EU budget for compensation of damages for farmers affected by heavy rains,» reads the Lithuanian prime minister’s address to the EC chief.

President Dalia Grybauskaitė has received assurances from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that «there would be some kind of support».

Police detain plane bomb hoax suspect

Lithuanian police detained on Wednesday, October 5, a man suspected of making a hoax call about an explosive device on a plane. According to the Kaunas county police, the 24-year-old man was detained in the district of Kaunas and taken to a police station. British military jets were scrambled on Wednesday, October 5, to escort a Ryanair flight from Kaunas to London after the hoax call was received in the morning. The flight to London Luton was diverted to London Stansted for security reasons.

Ruling LFGU moves to allow medicines containing cannabis

Lawmakers of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU) propose to allow the use of medicines containing cannabis. The proposed amendment to the Law on Pharmacy and the Law on the Control of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances would allow the medicinal use of such medicinal products if their safety and efficacy are proven by scientific research and if these products are registered. The amendments would take effect in 2019. The amendments have been registered by Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga, Ramūnas Karbauskis, head of the LFGU group in the Seimas, and Agnė Širinskienė, chairwoman of the parliament’s Committee on Health Affairs.

Lithuania under UN criticism for HIV treatment

Vinay Saldanha, director of the Regional Support Team for Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the United Nations AIDS program, has urged Lithuania to step up the treatment of persons diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Lithuania’s Health Ministry says that all infected individuals should shortly have access to state-financed treatment, while the current scheme only allows treatment after the disease has progressed. In Saldanha’s words, merely about 20 percent of HIV-positive people currently receive treatment, while Lithuania, just like many other countries, has committed itself to raising the number to 90 per cent by 2020. Lithuania’s Health Vice-Minister Aušra Bilotienė-Motiejūnienė told a news conference that, when it comes to treatment, the ministry has good news – it will provide treatment to everyone diagnosed with HIV. According to data provided by the Centre of Communicable Diseases and AIDS, 2,842 HIV-positive persons were registered in Lithuania by June 1 of this year.

President: Migration Department needs restructuring, not scrapping

President Dalia Grybauskaitė has voiced disagreement with Interior Minister Eimutis Misiūnas’ proposal to water down the Migration Department. In her words, problems of the migration system should be solved by restructuring the institution rather than dividing its functions among other institutions. The head of state says that scrapping the Migration Department would run counter to the European Union (EU) law and international practice.

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