bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Wednesday 18.10.2017 | Name days: Rolanda, Rolands, Ronalds, Erlends
LithuaniaLithuania

Week in Lithuania. U.S. set to extradite former MP and judge back to Lithuania

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

The U.S. Justice Department has announced it has accepted Lithuania’s request for extradition of former MP and former judge Neringa Venckienė, said new Lithuanian Prosecutor General Evaldas Pašilis.

Venckienė is notorious for her active involvement in a nearly five-year paedophilia saga, also involving already deceased her brother Drąsius Kedys, his daughter and Kedys’ girlfriend Laimutė Stankūnaitė, the girl’s mother.

Alleging that the state has failed to protect the girl, allegedly sexually abused by high-ranking men, clandestine buddies of his girlfriend, Kedys shot to death a senior judge in Kaunas and his sister-in-law. Law enforcement has exonerated Laimutė Stankūnaitė of any wrongdoing. With the accusations surfacing that Neringa Venckienė, Kedys’ sister, a fellow judge of the slain colleague, might have been behind the intricate scheme of calumny and murder, she fled Lithuania for the United States.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister: «Free media, journalist security among Lithuania’s priorities»

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović, who was visiting Vilnius on Monday, February 1, discussed imminent threats of propaganda and premeditated disinformation, and the need to strengthen independent and fair media, which was especially relevant in today’s context of ongoing events in the EU’s eastern neighbours.

«State propaganda is another hybrid threat not only to countries in our region, but also to the whole of Europe. We are witnesses to how the state scale of propaganda is used in the context of the Russian aggression against Ukraine in order to achieve clear political objectives, to provoke a further escalation of the conflict and lead to the vulnerability of the society,» stressed the head of the Lithuanian diplomacy.

U.S. analysts: Russia could occupy three Baltic States within three days

If Russian tanks and troops invaded the Baltic States, NATO forces would be overrun in just under three days, according to a war games simulation by the Rand Corporation, a leading US think tank. In the event of a potential Russian military incursion in the Baltics, Russian forces would be knocking on the doors of the Estonian capital of Tallinn or the Latvian capital of Riga within 36 to 60 hours. US and Baltic troops – and American airpower – would be unable to halt the advance of mechanized Russian units and would suffer heavy casualties in the process, said the report.

The Obama administration has recently announced of allotting 3 billion euros to ramp up the U.S. military strength in Baltic States, Eastern Europe. Rand found that the United States and its NATO allies lack sufficient troop numbers or tanks and armoured vehicles to slow the advance of Russian armoured divisions.

Vilnius on top of Europe’s most happy city list

Dwellers of Vilnius have the third highest satisfaction rating for their city out of 79 capitals and cities across Europe, according to a new EU survey. The city authorities note that city residents’ index of happiness was on constant rise since the polling was started. Three years ago, with more than 5,000 residents of Vilnius polled, the happiness index in the capital city averaged out at 6.1 points out of 10.

President: pension indexation and labour flexibility should be at the cusp

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė says she is somewhat sceptical about the so-called new social model, a package of reforms to the labour code and the country’s welfare system. She, however, called the Government to explore possibilities of raising the pensions, one of the lowest in Eastern Europe and on the bottom among the Baltic States.

NGO proposals on more transparent elections

Lithuanian branch of Transparency International (TILS), an international anti-corruption watchdog, has suggested measures to make Lithuanian political parties more transparent. Some of these include requirements to publish more information about their financing and to impose stricter sanctions for political campaign financing violations

Lithuanian economy to grow 2.9 percent in 2016

European Commission is forecasting that the Lithuanian economy will grow by 2.9 percent this year following a lackluster performance in 2015. Most analysts have put the growth at 3 percent for 2016.

Concerns over Ukraine’s Lithuanian Economy Minister resignation

The surprise resignation of Ukraine’s Lithuanian economy minister in protest at high-level corruption is a «cold shower» for Kiev’s political elite, Lithuania’s foreign minister says.

«It’s a cold shower for all those in Ukraine who believe their personal interests are more important than those of their country,» foreign minister Linas Linkevičius told. «It’s very alarming when one of the most effective reformists in the government says he can’t do his work,» he said.

Linkevičius noted there had been a«strong» international reaction, from EU ambassadors in Kiev and from the U.S., calling for Ukraine to do better.

Linkevičius spoke after Ukraine’s economy minister, fellow Lithuanian Aivarus Abromavičius, handed in his resignation saying he refused to act as «cover» for government corruption.

Citing the reasons of resignation, Abromavičius focused on obstructions to his work «ranging from a sudden removal of my security detail to pressure to appoint questionable individuals to my team, or to key positions in state-owned enterprises».

Teachers’ unions threaten new strikes

After meeting with government officials on Wednesday, February 3, Lithuanian teachers’ unions announced they would resume strikes, saying the government has failed to show «political will» to meet their demands. The teachers also want the government and trade unions to work out a long-term program of pay raise among other things.

Big winter storm forces Klaipėda port to close

A large winter storm that was battering the coast of Lithuania throughout the beginning of the week has forced Klaipėda port to stop ships from entering and leaving the port. The port resumed operations late Wednesday, February 3.

Lithuania’s Lukoil Baltija may be sold

Lukoil Baltija, a chain of filling stations owned by Russia’s Lukoil, may be sold in February, the chain’s chief executive officer said on February 4. «I am not the one in charge of this process and I cannot give any news at the moment. I know that the process is underway. When something is done, there will be an announcement from the owners. Perhaps this should take place this month,» Ivan Paleičik told.

The businessman denied that the buyer was he or companies controlled by his family. Paleičik and his wife own the Vaizga Group, the owner of gas stations operating under the brands of Luktarna, Baltic Petroleum and Lukoil. Also, Andrei Paleičik, his son, is the CEO of Spectator NT, a company that operates Baltic Petroleum gas stations.

Government extends 420 million euro loan to Sodra

The Lithuanian government has agreed to extend a 420 million euro interest-free loan to Lithuania’s social insurance fund, the Sodra, to help it «balance cash flows».

«We are taking the money from the state treasury and lending it on at zero interest, which does not mean that the money costs nothing to the state,» Finance Minister Rimantas Šadžius said during the Cabinet’s meeting.

«To be specific, this amount of money was borrowed in late 2015 at 1.209 percent annual interest. Thus, around 5 million euros in state budget funds will be paid (annually) on this amount of money,» he said.

According to the minister, the state has in the past provided loans to Sodra at zero interest rates, which this year will cost the state budget 28.5 million euros, or 33.5 million euros in total, including the new loan.

Based on Sodra’s 2016 cash-flow forecast, the fund’s projected budget expenditure this year will be 742.8 million euros higher than its revenue. This deficit is to be covered by loans from the government and commercial banks.

Klaipėdos Nafta boosts January’s revenue by 17,6 percent

Lithuania’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) and oil product terminals operator Klaipėdos Nafta (Klaipeda Oil) announced last week that its total revenue for January rose to 10.7 million euros, up 17.6 percent from 9.1 million euros a year earlier.Its oil product terminal and the fuel base last month generated 4.8 million euros in revenue, a rise of 29.7 percent, year-on-year.

President wants PM on the red carpet

President Dalia Grybauskaitė says she wants to have a «serious conversation» with Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius about corruption suspicions that have plagued his cabinet over the last week. The meeting is scheduled for next week after Butkevičius comes back from vacation in the Caribbean. His press service announced Prime Minister is not planning to cut short his vacation in the Caribbean despite several of his cabinet ministers have become embroiled in controversy.

Flu epidemic declared in nine municipalities

Nine out of 60 municipalities in Lithuania have declared a flu epidemic. A flu epidemic is announced when the number of flu and acute respiratory infection cases exceed 100 per population of 10,000. Visaginas, Kaunas, Panevėžys, Jurbarkas, Alytus, Druskininkai and Ukmergė had declared flu epidemic by Tuesday, according to the Centre for Communicable Diseases and AIDS. In these municipalities, schools have been advised to cancel classes if over one fifth of all students are absent. People are also advised to avoid mass events and not to go to hospitals unnecessarily. During the last week of January, there were 12, 428 diagnosed flu cases per population of 10,000 in Lithuania, according to the Centre for Communicable Diseases and AIDS.

Jewish community leader wants prosecutors to look into Holocaust perpetrators

The leader of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, Faina Kukliansky, says that the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre should submit the list of Holocaust perpetrators to prosecutors for scrutiny.Jews living in Lithuania never said Lithuanians were a nation of Jew-shooters and do not plan on doing so, but Lithuania should acknowledge the topic of the Holocaust, Faina Kukliansky, the leader of the Lithuanian Jewish Community, said in a press release issued in the wake of heated discussions on the Holocaust.

Following the publication in Lithuania of a groundbreaking book on local complicity during the Holocaust, a state museum on genocide said it would publish a list of suspected perpetrators.

Teresė Birutė Burauskaitė, who heads the Vilnius-based Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania, said her institution was intending to publish a book containing over 1,000 Lithuanian residents who are connected to the Holocaust.

Baltic retailer Maxima’s revenue up to 2.7 billion euros

Maxima Grupė (Maxima Group), the operator of the largest retail chain in the Baltics, said on Thursday, February 4, that its consolidated revenue rose by 3.6 percent in 2015 compared with 2014 to reach 2.677 billion euros, not including VAT. All of the group’s companies operating in five countries – Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria and Poland – posted revenue growth, it said.

Major pharmacy retailer in focus of corruption investigation

Suspicions have been brought against two staff members of the Eurovaistinė drug store network as part of an ongoing investigation into suspected corruption at Šiauliai Hospital in northern Lithuania.

Lithuanian pupils keen on foreign languages

Around 80 percent of secondary school students in Lithuania study two or more foreign languages, well above the EU average of almost 60 percent, according to Eurostat, the EU statistics agency.

Garment retailer Apranga to expand in Latvia

Apranga Group, which has 25 upmarket fashion stores in the Baltic countries, says it does not plan an expansion of this segment in Lithuania this year, but it will expand in Latvia, the Lithuanian business daily Verslo Žinios reported on February 4. Apranga Group CEO Rimantas Perveneckas toldthat two stores of different brands would be opened in Riga. Premium, a chain of seven fashion stores that is owned by Kaunas-based Sinvest Fashion, last year increased revenue by around 20 percent and is considering expansion.

Energy Minister claims Veolia allegations «are unfounded»

Most of Veolia’s allegations against Lithuania seem to be unfounded, said Lithuanian Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis on Monday, February 1. Masiulis was commenting on the French group’s request for arbitration in which it is seeking around 100 million euro in compensation from the Lithuanian state for allegedly unfair treatment and expropriation of its Lithuanian assets.

President appoints new deputy chief prosecutor

Prosecutor Žydrūnas Radišauskas is to be appointed as deputy prosecutor general of Lithuania, the President’s Office said on Monday, February 1.

Lithuania among most reliant on energy imports in European Union

Lithuania’s energy dependency rate was one of the highest across the European Union (EU) in 2014, data from Eurostat showed on Thursday, February 2. The country’s energy dependency in 2014 stood at 77.9 percent, which means that Lithuania needed to import more than three fourths of the energy it consumed that year.

Lithuania’s energy dependency ranged from the lows of 41.6 percent in 2002 to the highs of 81.8 percent in 2010.Latvia’s and Estonia’s energy dependency rates in 2014 stood at 40.6 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively, and were the lowest since 1990.

Former Vilnius mayor suggests joining forces with Liberal Movement

Former Vilnius mayor Artūras Zuokas, leader of the Lithuanian Freedom Union, says his party is planning to approach the Liberal Movement about joining forces in the general elections this October. But Eligijus Masiulis, the leader of Lietuvos Liberalų Sąjudis (Liberal Movement), the second party in the opinion polls, says he «doubts» sincerity of the Zuokas-led party.

Ref: 020/111.111.111.3161


Leave a reply

Latvia has the highest index of female CEOs among EU member states

The highest index of female CEOs among European Union member states belongs to Latvia – 47%. In total, only 33% of CEOs in EU were female last year, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

Survey: more and more people take notice of benefits provided by EU membership

65% of Latvian residents believe the country’s membership in the European Union has brought tangible benefits. A similar opinion was voiced by 64% of residents of all EU member states in the Eurobarometer study performed by the European Parliament.

17 persons in need of international aid are relocated to Latvia from Turkey

On Tuesday, 17 October, seventeen individuals, including nine children, in need of international protection were relocated to Latvia from Turkey as part of EU resettlement programme, as confirmed by Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

BATL: to avoid crisis in transit sector, government and Transport Ministry must act

Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis’ led Latvian Ports, Transit and Logistics Council also supports Saeima’s National Economy Committee’s decision on the need for Transport Ministry to develop a long-term vision for the development of the country’s transit industry.

Psychologist: six-year-old children are not ready for school

«It is wrong to believe that the sooner a child starts going to school, the better their academic results will be. Reforms are performed aggressively, without asking pedagogues or other specialists for their opinion. We lack a comprehensive analysis of the current situation that would be based on studies, not international ratings,» says certified clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Jolanta Lamstere.

Klaipeda transport ticketing system to be installed by Estonian Ridango

In the Lithuanian port city of Klaipeda, Estonian firm Ridango has been selected for installing its technology on public transport.

Policeman in Malta posts he's happy about killing of journalist Galizia

In Malta, where an investigative journalist has been killed this week, a police sergeant has posted on Facebook he felt happy about her death and has been suspended from office a day after.

Exchange indexes reach new records; oil prices increase as well

Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index reached new record-high values on Tuesday, 17 October. US dollar value before euro and Japanese yen increased.

Anti-corruption protesters in Ukraine push for reforms

Three protesters and a policeman have been injured in Kyiv, Ukraine, as a crowd of anti-corruption demonstrators voiced their demands for reforms aimed at tackling corruption in the country.

«Islamic state» capital conquered by Syrian Democratic Forces

An alliance of Syrian-Kurdish fighters, which is supported by the U.S., has stated it has gained full control of Raqqa, which has been for three years the centre of the «Islamic state» regime.

Poland hopes Turkey would join EU

Polish President Andrzej Duda meeting his Turkish counterpart shortly before an European Union-Turkey summit has expressed a hope that the country located at the cross-roads between Europe and the Middle East would join the EU some time.

Number of people at risk of poverty in Baltics in higher than the average in EU

The ratio of people subjected to poverty or social exclusion risk in Baltic States is higher than the average in the European Union, according to Eurostat data compiled for 26 out of 28 member states in 2016.

E-voting defended in Estonia after criticism from party leader

Responding to claims from a leader of an Estonian political party that the country’s e-voting system lacks transparency, the head of e-Government Academy’s e-democracy department explained it was possible that the voters of one party are more active e-voters than supporters of other parties.

Residents’ mood worsens; people become more critical about their finances

Over the course of the past month, residents’ general mood has worsened significantly – declines have been noted on all positions analysed by the survey. Residents were critical the most in the survey about their material state – the index in this category declined from -9 to -11, according to the latest Baltic International Bank Latvian Barometer.

Antāne: Saeima’s National Economy Committee has heard the transit industry’s cry

Inga Antāne, president of Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics, is satisfied with the decision that was made at the recent meeting of Saeima’s Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee, asking the Transport Ministry to develop and present a sustainable development strategy for the industry and putting an emphasis on raising the competitiveness of railway tariffs.

Latvian’s attitude towards combating cancer in late stages seems irresponsible

The attitude towards combating cancer in late stages in Latvia remains very low, says former healthcare minister of Latvia Ingrīda Circene.

Hydrogen-powered transport technology – a reality in Latvia

There are plans to establish a hydrogen refuelling station in Riga before the end of 2017. A publicly available H2 refuelling station in Riga would secure an inter-state network of hydrogen refuelling stations: the closest other station will be established in Pernava, says Association Zero Emission Mobility Support chairman Arnis Bergs.

Estonian ministry to collect 270 000 euros from IT company over failure to build information system

Tieto Estonia, the Estonian branch of Finnish IT firm group Tieto will compensate the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs 270,000 euros for the failure of the SKAIS2 project, the aim of which was the development of a new information system for the Estonian social insurance authority, but was deemed a failure in August.

Latvia invites Iran to act constructively to ensure security

Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs participated in a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, where he discussed about the role of Iran in the region and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in light of the upcoming report from US President Donald Trump to the Congress on Iran’s progress realizing the plan.

Vigil held in Malta over killing of investigative journalist

Several thousand people in Malta have taken part in a vigil held after news broke of the killing of an investigative journalist, who blamed Maltese government for corruption.

American exchange indexes reach record-high values; oil prices on the rise

In response to price rise of bank stocks, three leading indexes of US exchanges reached new record heights on Monday, 16 October. In addition, US Federal Reserve System manager Janet Yellen’s prediction regarding a soon inflation rise has increased confidence that base interest rate will increase in December.

54.14% more alcohol exported from Latvia; most of it to Russia

In the first eight months of 2017, a total of 102.259 million litres of alcoholic drinks was exported from Latvia, which is 54.14% more when compared with the same period of last year.

In pictures: Ireland hit by worst storm in 50 years

Three people have been killed in Ireland in the storm Ophelia, which cut off electricity networks to 120 000 homes and businesses in the country. Gusts of wind in Ireland on Monday, October 16, had reached the speed of 44 metres per second.

Tragic wildfires in Portugal and Spain

No less than 30 people have died in wildfires in Portugal and Spain.

Ašeradens to leave Latvian government at the end of November

Latvian Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens intends to leave the government after approval of the 2018 budget in the Saeima, which is scheduled for the end of November, as confirmed by Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis.