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Tuesday 21.11.2017 | Name days: Andis, Zeltīte
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Week in Lithuania. Seimas mulls restrictions for persons with criminal past

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Lithuania’s parliament, Seimas, will consider the proposal to restrict the possibility for persons with criminal records to run for the legislative body. With 77 votes in support and six abstentions, the parliament on Thursday approved for discussion a relevant amendment to the Constitution.

The change was initiated by Liberal MP Vitalijus Gailius. If approved, the Constitutional amendment would envisage that persons convicted of premeditated crimes would not be eligible to run for Seimas, if their conviction has not expired or cannot be annulled. The bill will now go to parliamentary committees. In Lithuania’s, Constitutional amendments require two votes at least three months apart. To pass the amendments, 94 members of Lithuania’s 141-member parliament must vote in support.

Emigration, immigration sets new records

More residents emigrated from Lithuania in January through October this year, as compared with the entire calendar of 2016, however, immigration numbers also reached new highs, Statistics Lithuania said on Thursday, November 9. In the first ten months of 2017, 50,888 residents emigrated from Lithuania, more than 96 percent of them are citizens of Lithuania. Some 50,333 left Lithuania through the whole year 2016.

Immigration has also already passed last year’s indicators: 23,516 persons came to Lithuania in the first ten months of this year, as compared with 20,162 throughout 2016. The number of Lithuanian citizens coming back to live to Lithuania in January-October was nearly 1,000 above last year’s level: 15,110 Lithuanians came to Lithuania this year and 14,207 came in the whole calendar of 2016.The share of foreigners coming to Lithuania is also increasing, accounting for 30 percent of newcomers last year and 36 percent in the first ten months of 2017.

Ministry sees possibilities to settle EC fine

Transport and Communications Minister Rokas Masiulis expects to achieve compromise with the European Commission (EC) over the nearly 28-million-euro fine imposed for the state-run railway company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai for the dismantled railway stretch to Latvia.

«We may be able to consider some type of a settlement until the last moment, a compromise option. Our proposal would be to rebuild the Renge stretch. We should try all options before we take decisions on how we should behave,» Masiulis told the national radio LRT.

In his words, rebuilding the stretch could take up to 18 months, and this would cost Lietuvos Geležinkeliai around 20 million euros. Masiulis restated there was «potential» to dispute the fine and the method of calculation.

Vilnius hosted conference on anti-Semitism and xenophobia

Last Thursday, November 9, Vilnius hosted a conference in which scientists and diplomats discussed the historical memory of the Holocaust and ways of reducing manifestations of anti-Semitism and xenophobia in society. The international conference called #RemembranceResponsibilityFuture was organized by the Lithuanian Jewish Community.

Efrat Hochstetler, first secretary at Israel’s embassy to Lithuania, said during the conference that anti-Semitism has been on the rise in Europe lately and cited figures from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights that a third of Jews consider leaving Europe because of hostility towards them.

Proposal to legalize medical cannabisintroduced

A proposal to legalize medicines containing cannabis in Lithuania was introduced in the Seimas, Lithuanian Parliament, on Thursday, November 9.Conservative MP Mykolas Majauskas, one of the people spearheading efforts to legalize medical cannabis, has collected signatures for draft amendments to the Law on Pharmacy and the Law on the Control of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances to be included on the agenda.

The draft amendments have been registered by lawmakers of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), including 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 to give TV transmitters to Ukrainian TV

On Wednesday, November 8, the Government decided to hand over seven used digital TV transmitters to Ukraine in an effort to help restore television broadcast in the Donetsk region, where part of the territory is controlled by Moscow-supported separatists fighting Kiev forces. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said the step was taken as part of Lithuania’s efforts to help Ukraine in every way possible. Ukraine will receive low-capacity 33.500-euro transmitters, Remigijus Šeris, head of the Lithuanian Radio and Television Centre, said.

Lithuanian rulingparty plans no new coalition partners

Ramūnas Karbauskis, chairman of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union’s (LFGU), says that they do not plan to bring any new partners into the ruling coalition.

Parliament 1 ballot short of passing Magnitsky Act

The Lithuanian Parliament missed one ballot to adopt the so-called Magnitsky Act, which would ban entry to foreigners involved in large-scale corruption, money laundering or human rights violations.

On Tuesday November 7, the parliament approved for discussion relevant amendments to the law, with 78 votes in support, one against and five abstentions. The parliament should now hold a ballot to adopt the law.

Conservatives’ leader Gabrielius Landsbergis, one of the initiators of the law, said Lithuania could become the 4th country worldwide to adopt the act. The Magnitsky Act has been adopted by the United States, Estonia and Canada.

Seimas passes resolution in support of Polish reforms

Lithuania’s parliament, Seimas, has adopted a resolution on support to Poland. Initiated by MP Petras Gražulis of the Order and Justice party, the document was supported by 44 parliamentarians, two were against and four abstained.

According to the resolution, the Lithuanian parliament «in support of the successful reforms to strengthen families in Poland, supports the successful reforms and considers implementing them in Lithuania.»Social Democratic MP Algirdas Sysas was against the resolution, saying that the document approved by merely a third of Lithuania’s parliamentarians would not show respect to Poland.

Lithuania presents Vatican gardens with oak trees

The Aleksandras Stulginskis University has presented three oak trees and a sculpture of Man of Sorrows to Pope Francis on the occasion of 100 years of restored Lithuanian statehood. The gift has already been dispatched to the Vatican. The trees should be planted in the Vatican gardens, which date back to the 13th century and feature thousands of species of plants from around the globe.

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