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Wednesday 28.06.2017 | Name days: Kitija, Viesturs, Viestards
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Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian president signs alcohol control bill into law

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUPresident Dalia Grybauskaitė has signed the amendments to the Alcohol Control Law, which were adopted by the parliament and triggered heated discussions in the society, thus imposing substantial restrictions on alcohol trade, consumption and advertisements as of 2018.

Grybauskaitė urged politicians to refrain from new controversial proposals until effects of the current restrictions upon alcohol consumption levels have been established, the President’s Office said in a press release. Last week, 10 Lithuanian parliamentarians urged the president to veto the amendments, which raise the minimum age for buying alcohol from the current 18 to 20 years. Furthermore, alcohol selling hours will be shorter and any alcohol advertisement will be prohibited after 2018, while only alcohol of under 7.5 percent will be sold in all mass events after 2020.

Seimas passes amended new Labour Code

The Lithuanian parliament on Tuesday passed amendments to the country’s new Labour Code, which was adopted last year but will come into force in July.

Association of Lithuanian Bank gets new head

Mantas Zalatorius, vice-president for Central and Eastern Europe at Sweden’s trade and investment council Business Sweden, will take office as the head of the Association of Lithuanian Banks as of September. Zalatorius recently won the competition to head the governmental exports promotion agency Versli Lietuva (Enterprise Lithuania) but refused to take the post. On Sept. 4, Zalatorius will replace Stasys Kropas who has been heading the association since 2008 and whose second term is expiring this year.

Baltic PMs visited Klaipeda LNG terminal

The prime ministers of the three Baltic states visited Friday, June 9, the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the Lithuanian port city of Klaipeda on Friday as part of the so-called LNG tour that was kicked off in Estonia to provide a platform for the prime ministers to discuss a regional LNG terminal and the possibility to secure European support.

«The prime ministers of the Baltic states will visit the liquefied natural gas terminal where they will be briefed on the terminal’s model of operations, its importance for the Baltic region, possibilities and possible cooperation perspectives,» said Klaipėdos Nafta (Klaipeda Oil), the operator of the LNG terminal.

Lithuania wants the Klaipeda LNG terminal to be listed as a regional terminal, which would enable it to secure European Union (EU) support, which, according to informal reports, may reach up to 100-150 million euros. However, Estonia’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas said earlier this week that the Lithuanian terminal was just a temporary solution, emphasizing the need to build a terminal in Estonia to secure diversified gas supplies in the long run.

Lithuania to bar access for Astravyets electricity

Lithuania will be able to prepare for imposing an embargo on Belarusian electricity once its parliament declares the nuclear power plant under construction in Astravyets, a mere 50 kilometres from Vilnius, a threat to national security, Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas said on Wednesday, June 7.

Minister dismisses Russian envoy’s words about ‘debt’

Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has dismissed as absurd the statements by Russian Ambassador Alexander Udaltsov about Russia’s right to demand 72 billion US dollars in compensation for the Soviet Union’s Soviet-era investments. The minister expressed astonishment by the timing of the interview, which appeared in the Litovskyi Kurier daily less than a week until the Day of Mourning and Hope that marks the start of mass deportations in Lithuania.

«This is an absurd statement – in some sense it is both baffling and angering, as it is stated virtually on the eve of the Day of Mourning and Hope, which marks occupation and genocide. Speaking about these things after the universally-recognized occupation of our country, the independence that was taken from us, the damage that was caused to the people and the state, speaking about some sums – it is indeed astonishing,»the minister said. Linkevičius said that Udaltsov’s move to lay flowers at the monument to Lithuanian guerrilla in a Vilnius cemetery on May 8, which the Western world celebrates as the end of World War II, was a «comprehensible and logical» step.

Lithuanian railway co plans routes to Daugavpils

After closing the route to Moscow, Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LG), the state-run railway company, plans on launching a passenger train to the Latvian city of Daugavpils. The company’s spokesman said LG was ready but had to wait for the final approval from Latvian railways.

Ex-president has pacemaker replaced

Former president Valdas Adamkus underwent a planned surgery on Tuesday, June 6, to have his heart pacemaker replaced, delfi.lt news portal said.

«The president was admitted to hospital and underwent the necessary tests. The surgery was carried out later that day and took under 30 minutes. When the surgery is conducted by professionals, everything goes without complications and major problems. The pacemaker was replaced, as its battery was almost depleted. The president is feeling well and is only subject to some limitations. The surgery left a little cut,» the president’s cardiologist Aušra Marcijonaitienė of the Santaros Clinic said. Adamkus was released from hospital on Wednesday, June 7.

Twelve MPs failed to apply for access to classified information

Thirteen Lithuanian parliamentarians have not applied for permits to work with classified information, although they should have the permits to perform their functions, Darius Jauniškis, director of the State Security Department, said on Thursday, June 8.

Banks raise Q1 profit 35 per cent

Lithuanian banks and foreign bank branches posted 82.2 million euros in combined profits in the first quarter of 2017, up by 34.7 per cent from January-March last year, the central Bank of Lithuania said on Thursday, June 8. According to the press release, 11 banks and foreign bank branches ended the quarter with a profit, while two market participants suffered losses. The banking system’s assets grew by 10.1 per cent to 2 5, 855 billion euros in late March year-on-year, with the loan (including leasing) portfolio, which makes the largest share of the assets, amounting to 18.291 billion euros, up by 10.8 percent from the first three months of 2016.

President calls for enhanced counter-corruption efforts

President Dalia Grybauskaitė has criticized the country’s ruling politicians for insufficient efforts against corruption, stating that mechanisms to protect those reporting corruption were not yet in place.

«Although shadow economy and corruption rob us all, including babies and pensioners, we still lack civic awareness and courage. Fighting corruption requires a great deal of effort, but the idea of giving protection to those who report it has been kept at a standstill in parliament for the third term running,» Grybauskaitė said in her annual state of the nation report at the parliament on Thursday.

In her words, intolerance to corruption should take root in Lithuania, with tax-payers’ money used for nationally important objectives.

Lithuanian president sees Zapad, Belarus N-plant as key threats

The world clearly understands that key threats to transatlantic security in our region arise from the militarization of the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, the Zapad military exercise and Belarus’ Astravyets nuclear power plant, which has become a geopolitical weapon, President Dalia Grybauskaitė said on Thursday, June 8.

«Today, the democratic world understands very clearly that it is our region where major threats to transatlantic security are accumulating: military buildup in the Kaliningrad enclave, aggressive offensive exercise Zapad, the Astravyets nuclear power plant that has become a geopolitical weapon,» she said in her State of the National Address to the parliament.

The president noted that Lithuania has this year received historic support from NATO allies with the deployment of a battalion involving troops from seven nations, including the United States. However, she underlined that despite the existing guarantees, it is necessary to seek a faster NATO decision-making process, even stronger defence plans and a common air defence system.

Environment services go to court

The Vilnius Regional Environmental Protection Department has turned to court with a claim for compensation of 630,000 euros in damage caused by the December 2016 sewage spill in central Vilnius, which resulted in spillage of 46,000 cubic meters of untreated wastewater into the River Neris.

Turkey’s foreign minister postpones visit to Lithuania

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has postponed his official visit to Lithuania, which was scheduled for Thursday, amid a worsening situation in the region, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said. The ministry said that the Turkish minister had called his Lithuanian counterpart, Linas Linkevičius, to apologize for the need to postpone the visit and to express his wish to arrange a visit in the near future on a date suitable for both sides. Cavusoglu last visited Lithuania two years ago. Linkevičius paid a visit to Turkey last August shortly after a failed coup attempt.

MP Žilinskas passes away

Lithuania’s conservative MP Rokas Žilinskas passed away in the Vilnius University’s Santaros Clinic after a complicated disease, Gabrielius Landsbergis, the head of the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, confirmed. In 1991-1992, Žilinskas worked as a foreign news editor at Vilniaus Laikraštis, worked at the national television in 1992-1998 and was the news anchor and foreign news editor on LNK television in 1998-2008. He was first elected to the parliament in 2008 as candidate of the-then National Resurrection Party of Arūnas Valinskas and joined the political group of the conservatives in 2011.


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