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Wednesday 25.04.2018 | Name days: Līksma, Bārbala
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Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian Energy Minister discusses energy imports from U.S.

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Lituanian Minister of Energy Rokas Masiulis

Energy Minister of the Republic of Lithuania, Rokas Masiulis has met Lisa Murkowski, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on his visit to the United States of America. The meeting focused on export opportunities of energy resources from the U.S. to Europe and Lithuania.

The goal of the Lithuanian Minister‘s visit was to enhance bilateral cooperation between Lithuania and the US in the area of energy, to share experience as regards energy security and implementation of strategic energy projects. On Wednesday, September 30, Masiulis delivered a report at Georgetown University about Lithuania’s leadership in the European Energy Security Policy.

Lithuanian Seimas wants more authority on refugee resettlement

A group of Lithuanian MPs have suggested that parliament should have a say on issues concerning refugee resettlement. Meanwhile the ruling Social Democratic Party has offered a political agreement among the major parties, saying that an issue as sensitive as asylum seekers should not be made the topic for electoral campaigning. Meanwhile a group of five MPs have suggested including into the legislation that any decisions on refugee resettlement in Lithuania need the approval from parliament.

According to the MPs, the issue is of great relevance to national politics and therefore the Seimas of Lithuania should have a say. The opposition, however, is sceptical about such an agreement, saying that the ruling majority should first put together a plan on how to integrate asylum seekers. Lithuania has pledged to accept 1,105 refugees over the coming two years as part of the European Union’s effort to deal with the influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa.

PM‘s advisor slags off Lithuanian president‘s UN appearance

Raimundas Lopata, political scientist and advisor to the Lithuanian PM has slammed the foreign policy of President Dalia Grybauskaitė, saying in an interview published on Friday that her recent speech at the United Nations was« sterile». «The country‘s foreign policy is void of substantial steps, there are no attempts to build partner coalitions in pursuit of national interests,» Lopata said in the interview to the daily Lietuvos Rytas. He added that «Lithuania is no longer seen in international politics as an actor.»

Lithuanian and Finnish cooperation must be bolstered

Lithuania must strengthen cooperation with Finland, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius said when meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland Timo Soini. He was visiting Lithuania, to discuss bilateral political and economic relations, regional cooperation and key issues on European agenda, including migration, the security situation in the region, relationship with Russia, the situation in Ukraine, cooperation in the fields of energy and transport.

Committees of Baltic Assembly to mull GMO regulation in Baltic States

The Baltic Assembly‘s (BA) Economics, Energy and Innovations Committee and Natural Resources and Environment Committee convened on Friday, October 2, in Kaunas to discuss the influence of the Russian embargo and the regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in the Baltic states. Lithuanian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Vilius Martusevičius delivered a report on the implementation of the BA‘s recommendations for agriculture.

Lithuanian parliament tightens instant credit loan issuance

The Seimas has approved amendments to the Law on Consumer Credit which are aimed at regulating the consumer credit market in order to promote responsibility of consumer credit lenders and their clients. Sixty-one MPs voted in support of the amendments, two voted against with six abstentions. However, parliament has to vote a second time to pass the amendments.

The changes will tighten consumer credit advertising regulations. Based on the proposal, it would be prohibited to advertise consumer credit during the events for people younger than 18 years of age or in the advertisements of such events. Information about the activities of consumer credit lender or consumer credit mediator and services proposed will have to be correct, clear and not misleading.

The so-called night credits would be prohibited striving to protect consumers, especially those who abuse concluding consumer credit agreements. As the annual percentage rate of charge for consumer credit was until now at a maximum of 200 percent, it raised doubts whether it meets fair business practice and if such an amount is always fair or is in line with consumer interests. It was proposed to regulate consumer credit prices by establishing a two-stage system. Consumer credit agreement would establish consumer credit interest of up to 75 percent.

Numbers of older people on the rise

Statistics Lithuania has published demographic data on the occasion of the Day of Older Persons. It shows that the number of older people is on the rise in the country. People aged 65 and older constituted 15.8 percent of the Lithuanian population in early 2005. Meanwhile by early 2015 the share has increased to 18.7 percent. This year, 547,100 Lithuanian residents were aged 65 and older. 149,100 or 27.3 percent of them were aged 80 and older. 368 people were older than 100 years of age. Moreover, women aged 65 and older accounted for 66.4 percent of all people of this age group. In addition, there were 2.7 times more women than men aged 80 and older. Based on employment study, 5.7 percent of people aged 65 and older were employed in 2014.

Construction of Vilnius railway bypass finished

A second line of Vilnius Railway Bypass has been constructed and will enable to divert freight trains from the city centre. Railway traffic will become safer as a result and hazardous material pollution risk will be reduced. Kyviškės-Valčiūnai Bypass Project worth over 50 million euro was implemented by Lithuania Railways. It will allow directing freight cargoes from the city. The European Union funded 85 percent of the project while Lithuanian Railways funded 15 percent. In addition to the aforementioned changes, two underground pedestrian crossings, a viaduct and a single-level pedestrian crossing were erected. More than 5 km of sound absorbing walls were built and 200 windows in residential buildings were replaced.

EU offsets Lithuanian haulage service losses in Russia

Exports of transport services to Russia is offset by providing more of these services to the European Union (EU) countries, show the results released by the Bank of Lithuania. According to the report, the most rising exports markets are to Austria, Denmark and France. While the exports of transport services to Russia have fallen by more than 40 percent in the first half of the year, the total volume of transport services‘ export fell by only 1.78 percent, according to the Minister of Transport and Communications, Rimantas Sinkevičius. In the assessment of Lithuania‘s export of transport services to the EU, the largest market is in Germany, with France and Denmark being in the second and third places respectively.

Sweden‘s royal couple to pay visit to Lithuania

At the invitation of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and his wife Queen Silvia will arrive on an official state visit to Lithuania on October 7-9. Along with the royal couple, Lithuania will be visited by Sweden‘s ministers of foreign affairs, enterprise and innovation, and defence and the Swedish business delegation of representatives of the country’s largest companies.

Lithuanians in Ireland celebrate anniversary of Lithuanian pilot‘s trans-Atlantic flight

Lithuanians flooded the small Irish town of Ballinrobe, in the west of the country, on September 25-27 for the traditional event «We Still Need Wings». The celebrations were meant to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the feat of a Lithuanian pilot who crossed the Atlantic in 1935.

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Saeima speaker in Tallinn: EU and NATO cooperation in defence should be enhanced

Close cooperation between European Union and NATO in defence is now more important than ever. This is especially true for cyber security and hybrid-thread prevention, said Latvian Saeima’s speaker Ināra Mūrniece during a meeting of EU member states parliaments in Tallinn on Tuesday, 24 April.

Ministry avoids going against supporting parties; Ventspils City Council’s violations reported to court

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Warfare in Ukraine escalates, soldiers wounded

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Demand for mortgage loans grew 53% in March

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Most businesses in Latvia still not ready for data protection regulation

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Finnish prisoners found radicalising towards Islamic and far-right extremism

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Ušakovs invites colleagues from Russia to attend centenary festivities in Riga

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Estonian President sees no return from e-governance

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Norway interested in developing cooperation with Latvia in tourism industry

«Latvia welcomes successful regional and economic cooperation with Norway. Our countries have common values and goals – developing Baltic and Nordic countries as a wealthy and secure European region,» said Latvia’s Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens during his meeting with Norwegian State Secretary for Trade, Industry and Fisheries Roy Angelvik.

Finland not to continue its basic income scheme

The basic income scheme in Finland that has been tested in the Nordic country since 2017, will not be continued as the Finnish government has decided to look into other schemes for reforming the Finnish social security system

MEP: New Unity may be in the government with other parties that have similar goals

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Canada experiences tragic attack on pedestrians in Toronto

In the Canadian city of Toronto, a driver has been driving onto pedestrians taking the lives of 10 people and injuring 15 more.

Latvian residents spend an average of EUR 81 on cosmetics every year

Latvian residents spend an average of EUR 81 on cosmetics every year, which is one of the lowest indexes in Europe. Compared to other Baltic States, Latvian residents spend less money on cosmetics, according to data compiled by Latvian Cosmetic Manufacturers Association.

Armenian Prime Minister Sargsyan resigns unexpectedly

The Prime Minister of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, has unexpectedly stepped down from office after ten days of protests in the Armenian capital Yerevan.

Baltic Express: Europe has already invented the bicycle; we just have to adopt it

13 March marked a historic event for Ventspils railway hub – for the first time in the history of Latvia’s railway a private cargo carrier – Baltic Express – delivered wagons to Ventspils 1st station and private infrastructure’s railway terminal. Why is this event so important and what is the future for Latvia’s cargo railway system? – Baltic Express chairman Māris Bremze told ventspilnieks.lv.

Reduction of employees in state administration went the smoothest in finance sector

Measures to reduce the number of employees in state administration last year went the smoothest for the State Revenue Service and the entire finance sector, said Latvia’s State Chancellery’s Director Jānis Citskovskis.

Alleged Paris terrorist Abdeslam convicted of attempted murder

The lone Paris attacks' suspect Salah Abdeslam has been found guilty of attempted terrorist murder of police, when taking part in a shootout with police in the Belgian capital Brussels in March 2016.

Rail Baltica’s infrastructure management model to be studied by British company

On 8 November 2017, RB RAIL joint Baltic company announced the winner in the tender for the study of Rail Balica’s infrastructure management model. The winner was British design, engineering and project management consulting company: Atkins and SNC-Lavalin Group.

Harmony and UGF have their sponsors, whereas Sudraba’s party relies on donations

Since the beginning of the week, Latvia’s political parties have received more than half a million euros in donations and membership fees. According to the database of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, pockets fill up the fastest for political parties in power in the country and Riga.

Chemical weapons investigators have taken samples in Doma, Syria

In Syria, the scene, where according to the UK, U.S. and France, an attack with chemical weapons was conducted earlier in April, has after delays been visited by inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, who have managed to collect samples.

Estonia and Finland to share patient data over innovative «secure» data highway

The Estonian-developed international data exchange technology X-road, said to be hacker-proof is to be the basis for a new Estonia-Finland system of linked doctor prescription registers that would make prescriptions issued in one country available in pharmacies in the other.

Prime minister: Linužs’ dealings with offshore business warrants an investigation

Latvia’s Transport Minister Uldis Augulis refused to comment on information reported by De Facto programme one week ago – that Rail Baltica organized Andris Linužs had signed a deal with an offshore company based in Seychelles and used by influential businessmen from St. Petersburg. Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis, on the other hand, told the programme that «deals associated with state security had been recorded in the past and represent a matter that warrants an investigation».

Afghanistan hit by tragic terror attack

In Kabul, Afghanistan, a suicide bomber has killed not less than 57 people and injured 119 more as the attack with explosives targeted a queue of people outside a voter registration centre, Afghan officials have stated.

Armenia mass protests continue as opposition leader Pashinyan detained

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Weather in Latvia to be cold; air temperature to rise at week’s end

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