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Saturday 20.01.2018 | Name days: Aļģirds, Orests, Oļģerts, Alģis
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Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian ruling MPs initiate probe into public broadcaster LRT

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Lawmakers of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU) initiated a parliamentary investigation into the management and financial and economic activities of the public broadcaster Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT), Arvydas Nekrošius, vice-speaker of the Seimas, confirmed.

According to him, 39 signatures, mostly from LFGU lawmakers and those from the Order and Justice and the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania–Christian Families Alliance (EAPL-CFA), were collected on Monday, January 8, for setting up a special investigation commission. Žygintas Pečiulis, chairman of the LRT Council, said that, on one hand, he welcomed the initiative, but added that, on the other hand, it was clearly a political move.

The commission is tasked with looking at whether LRT’s management structure, functions and the division of competences are in line with European practices, ensure the transparency of LRT’s activities and enable it to perform its mission as a public broadcaster. The commission will also look at LRT’s procurement procedures and contracts. The draft resolution sets June 1 as a deadline for completing the proposed parliamentary investigation.

 Lithuania expects OECD invitation in May

Lithuania expects to be invited to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by this summer, says Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius.

«A conference of ministers will be held in Paris at the end of May and we would really want and plan to be invited for membership at the event. We have done major work, the dynamics is positive, Lithuania looks very good in the process. (…) The finish line is near and I truly hope that this task, which is one of the priority tasks for our country, will be achieved, and the date – I will repeat myself – is the end of May,»  Linkevičius told Žinių Radijas news radio on Wednesday, January 10. Lithuania was invited to launch the OECD accession process in June 2015.

Ministries to draft a plan of action on funding of Vilnius region

Lithuania’s ministers of interior affairs, education and culture decided on Thursday, January 11, to work out an action plan of all three ministries on financing of the Vilnius region. Interior Minister Eimutis Misiūnas said that more similar meetings were planned for the future in an effort to agree on a joint stance on problems all Lithuanian regions are faced with. The plan for Vilnius should be in place by March 21.

Lithuanian Railways to launch Vilnius–Daugavpils weekend train service

Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) has launched a weekend train service between Vilnius and Latvia’s second-biggest city of Daugavpils. The state railway company currently carries passengers to Turmantas, a small town on the border with Latvia, but it sought to extend the route by another 15 kilometres to Daugavpils. The new service is being launched after Lietuvos Geležinkeliai secured the green light from the Latvian railway inspectorate.

Almost 300 French troops join NATO battalion in Lithuania

Almost 300 French troops have been deployed to Lithuania as part of NATO’s multinational battalion. The first group arrived in Lithuania in late December and the last one came Wednesday, January 10, Major Mouasso Milla Arnaud of the French contingent said. At France’s request, Lithuania last fall sent 34 troops to Mali, where they help protect a camp of the German contingent. Lithuania has also sent instructors to help train local forces in Iraq and considers sending Special Operations Forces to the country. There are over 1,200 troops in the NATO battalion stationed in Rukla, in the central part of the country.

Lithuania hosts traditional Snow Meeting

Security policy experts gathered in Lithuania on Thursday, January 11, for an annual Snow Meeting and discussed key challenges faced by the transatlantic community and responses to these challenges. The participants of the two-day meeting included the foreign ministers of the three Baltic countries and the Vatican, and the Swedish and Estonian defence ministers. The 11th Snow Meeting brought together a total of over 100 high-ranking diplomats, advisers, parliamentarians and international and security policy exports from around 15 countries and NATO and EU institutions. The participants also discussed preparations for NATO’s summit to be held in Brussels next July and its possible decisions.

Government approves state enterprises’ reorganisation plan

The Lithuanian government approved on Wednesday, January 10, a plan for reorganising companies that hold the status of state enterprises. The plan, drafted by the Economy Ministry, calls for converting five state enterprises under the Transport Ministry, including Oro Navigacija (Air Navigation), Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports), the Klaipeda Seaport Authority, the Inland Waterways Authority and Kelių Priežiūra (Road Maintenance), into public companies and the Finance Ministry-controlled Turto Bankas (Asset Bank) into a public limited company by the end of 2018.

Hoops star‘s sons on new military draft list

Basketball players Domantas Sabonis and Tautvydas Sabonis, the sons of Arvydas Sabonis, Lithuania’s basketball legend who now serves as president of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation, or LKF, are on this year’s military conscription lists published on Wednesday, January 10, the federation confirmed. However, the Sabonis brothers are unlikely to be actually called up, because the law allows deferring military service for individuals who have an extraordinary talent and achievements in science, arts, sports or other fields and promote the name of Lithuania in the world.

Police hand out candles to traffic offenders

Lithuania’s police took unconventional measures to reduce the number of deaths on the country’s roads – handing out funeral candles to pedestrians and drivers who violate traffic rules. Vytautas Grašys, chief of the Lithuanian Traffic Police Force, told journalists on Tuesday, January 9, that pedestrians would be fined 20-40 euros if caught walking without reflectors at night. Candles will also be given to drivers who do not give way to pedestrians, furthermore, they may be banned from driving. The police hope the measures will raise awareness and encourage traffic participants to be more responsible. A total of 192 people died in car accidents last year, with the number unchanged from 2016.

Ignalina N-plant chief steps down

Darius Janulevičius has stepped down his week from the CEO post of the Lithuanian Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant amid allegations of lack of transparency in the sales of the company’s properties. He did so after meeting with Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas.

Danpower halts investments in Lithuania

Germany’s heating and utilities group Danpower, the owner of Lithuania’s Danpower Baltic, will consider further investments in Lithuania in two years’ time, when there is more clarity on certain aspects of the regulatory environment and the situation in the heat market, the group’s managing director Manfred Schuele announced. According to him, the regulatory environment in Lithuania is not well-balanced for all market players.

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