Latviski English По-русски
Saturday 24.03.2018 | Name days: Kazimirs, Izidors

Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian PM: refugee integration is more important than burqa bans

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUWith some Lithuanian politicians raising the question whether refugee Muslim women should be allowed wear burqas in public in Lithuania, PM Algirdas Butkevičius stepped in, saying that integration of refugees is a more important issue than the question of the head apparel.

In his words, the government’s decisions come «in the light of Lithuania’s international commitments in the field of human rights and religious freedom.» Earlier Artūras Paulauskas, a MP, told he would propose a ban on burqas, if the government did not take the step. He says wearing the traditional clothing in public may threaten public security, as the burqas make people wearing them impossible to identify. He also called for a discussion whether the Muslim refugees coming to Lithuania should be allowed to perform their religious rites anywhere or be restricted to specific places. Human rights activists have criticized the initiative, saying this would perpetuate negative stereotypes in the society and interfere with integration. Lithuania has pledged to accept 325 migrants, mostly Syrians, over the course of two years, as part of wider EU efforts to address the Mediterranean refugee crisis. According to the general census of 2011, over 2,700 Muslims resided in Lithuania.

Dolphins marvel beachgoers off the Baltic coast

A couple of dolphins have been spotted in the Baltic Sea close to the Smiltynė beach near the port city of Klaipėda. «I was pleasantly surprised to see two dolphins swimming free in the Baltic Sea near the coasts of Smiltynė. Over the 35 years I’ve worked at the Sea Museum, this is the first time I have seen the spectacular view,» said Saulius Karalius, senior ichthyologist at the Lithuanian Sea Museum. He confirmed that the dolphins were Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. «The Baltic Sea is indeed unsuitable for them to live and breed. It has a low salt level, furthermore, there would be problems with food. I am certain they came from the North Sea via the Denmark Strait,» Karalius added.

WWII-era explosives found in lake near Lithuanian capital

Mine sweepers of the Lithuanian Army were busy with neutralization of explosives found in the Totoriškių Lake near Trakai, some 30km west of the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. Two World War II-era explosives were found and removed from a depth of 3-4 meters close to a footbridge. The operation should be completed on Thursday, the Ministry of National Defence said.

Government to discuss Greek bailout next week if there’s a deal

If eurozone finance ministers agree on Friday, August 14, on a long-term assistance program for Greece, the Lithuanian government will discuss this issue on Monday. Remigijus Bielinskas, a spokesman for Lithuanian Finance Minister Rimantas Šadžius, told BNS, a Lithuanian news agency, that if an agreement on the program were reached, the minister would present this issue to the Cabinet on Monday and then discuss it with members of the parliament’s European Affairs Committee on Tuesday, August 11. The deadline for Greece to clinch a deal on its third bailout package is August 20, when the country is to repay 3.4 billion euros to the European Central bank.

Lithuania to expedite renovation bill settling

Lithuania has earmarked additional 50 million euro to settle with companies that have been carrying out renovation works.

the Public Procurement Office (VPT) checked more than 200 renovation contracts and found that in all cases state customers violated agreed deadlines to settle with contractors. Payments were on average made within 84 days, even though the law stipulates that they have to be made within 30 days.

Moscow wants Lithuania to extradite Nekrasov to Russia

Moscow hopes Lithuanian institutions will decide to extradite Russian opposition journalist Andrei Nekrasov who was detained in Cyprus and later handed over to Lithuania. Russia has launched a search for Nekrasov via Interpol. After arrival in Vilnius, the Russian national has applied for political asylum in Lithuania. The Russian citizen, who is with Lithuanian border guards at the Vilnius airport, told he was filling out his asylum application.

Environmentalists to inspect green waste processing

As of August 1, the environmentalists throughout Lithuania are closely monitoring whether the general public processes the green waste properly and whether it complies with the prohibition to incinerate that type of waste. Raids by the environmentalist will run until late September, while the officers will be informing the public on proper processing of the green waste, Lithuania’s Ministry of Environment reports. The environmentalists point out that anyone incinerating grass, fallen trees, leaves, hay, and other waste of the field-husbandry and horticulture is liable to a fine of up to 230 euro.

Lithuanian foreign minister in Ukraine

Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said after meeting with Ukrainian leaders in Kiev on Thursday, August 13, that intensive shootouts continue in Eastern Ukraine regardless of the ceasefire and urged to go on or step up the sanctions on Russia. The minister told the shooting is three times more frequent than it was after the last round of the Minsk ceasefire negotiations. On Thursday, Ukraine said that Russian-supported fighters had fired shots at the governmental forces 153 times, which was the biggest scale of military action since the February ceasefire. According to the report, the clashes are about the road between the government-controlled Mariupol port and the city of Donetsk controlled by the separatists.

First refugees could reach Lithuania in January

Lithuania’s Interior Minister Saulius Skvernelis says that first refugees could come to Lithuania in January 2016. We expect them in early January, although all the legal procedures in the European Union (EU) have not been finalised yet, the minister told reporters on Wednesday, August 13, after a meeting of the Cabinet. Over the next two years, Lithuania will have to take in 325 migrants: 240 refugees from Eritrea and Syria, currently sheltered in Italy and Greece, and 85 more migrants from third countries.

Lithuanian government backs early e-terminal voting

The Government of Lithuania has backed amendments stipulating introduction of electronic voting terminals for early voting in general elections and referendum. The proposed amendments still need parliamentary approval. The Justice Ministry said the novelty will prevent voting violations and facilitate vote counting. The new measure will cost 350,000 euro.

Leave a reply

MEP: operations of certain banks in Latvia ruin the country’s reputation

Money laundering is a problem in Latvia, because the activities performed by certain banks ruin the country’s reputation, said member of the European Parliament Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to Rietumu Radio.

Harmony believes education only in Latvian language is discrimination

Members of Harmony’s Saeima faction have turned to President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis with a request to halt the parliament’s newly approved amendments to the General Education Law and Education Law regarding education only in Latvian language.

Opinion: UFG and For Latvia and Ventspils were in favour of Vejonis congratulating Putin

Latvia’s President Raimonds Vējonis sent his congratulation to the newly-elected President of Russia Vladimir Putin in order to secure political capital for himself during next year’s presidential elections, says Assoc. Prof. Ojārs Skudra from Social Sciences Faculty of the University of Latvia.

Commissioner: Latvia should provide a clear response to situation in its financial sector

The scandal in Latvia’s financial sector has been reported far and wide in the European Union. This is why it is highly important for Latvia to provide a clear reaction to all this, said Vice-President of the European Commission for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Market Union Valdis Dombrovskis.

Don't joke about bombs at Tallinn Airport, they take it seriously

Estonia's largest airport in Tallinn has from early 2017 received 14 threats of the presence of explosives in the air-travel hub, most of which have been discovered to be just jokes said at the wrong place.

Minister: learning in a single education system using state language is only obvious

Education using state language is our way of ensuring sustainable development of our nation, says Latvia’s Education and Science Minister Kārlis Šadurskis.

Estonian banks close foreigner accounts in wake of ABLV closure

In the wake of the closure of ABLV Bank in Latvia and alleged money laundering via the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, lenders in Estonia are closing the accounts of foreigners, but this threatens the country's successful e-Residency programme aimed at attracting foreign investors.

Latvian Saeima conceptually supports limiting the Bank of Latvia governor’s authority

The Saeima has supported amendments to the Law on the Bank of Latvia in the first reading. Amendments provide that the term of the bank’s governor, his deputy and council members will be five years, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

Baltic shareholders agree to keep Baiba Rubesa in charge of RB Rail

RB Rail CEO and board chairperson Baiba Rubesa will keep her post. This was decided by shareholders during the 22 March meeting. «The supervisory council had previously mentioned the CEO’s contribution to the company’s development. Still, we intend to find solutions and continue realizing Rail Baltica project,» said RB Rail Supervisory Council chairperson Riia Sillave.

Syrian rebel groups in eastern Ghouta announce ceasefire

In the besieged eastern Ghouta territory in Syria, which has been under heavy air strikes and artillery fire for about a month, several opposition rebel groups have agreed to ceasefire.

EU member states on Skripal attack: «Highly likely» Russia was responsible

The European Union has stated it would recall its ambassador to Moscow for consultations after heads of member states and their governments agreed it was very likely that Russia was responsible for the attack with a chemical weapon on a Russian-British double agent.

Weather to remain cold in Latvia until Easter; more snowfall expected

Weather in Latvia is expected to become cold again after a brief period of warmth. Air temperature will drop again at the beginning and the middle of next week; some areas may experience frost again, as reported by Latvian State, Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Farmers in Latvia dissatisfied with resolution of electricity-related problems

Two months have passed since farmers in Latvia had received unjustifiably large electricity bills. Countless meetings and discussions have taken place in those two months. Unfortunately, no decisive measures have been undertaken to resolve the problem. Farmers are confused with decision-makers’ incisiveness in a matter important to the national economy, as noted by the Farmers’ Saeima.

Life after 25 May: is this the end for free publication of photo galleries from events?

Many of us like to check out photos from concerts, conferences or sport events on gallery portals and social networks to have a look at guests of those events. However, after 25 May, when General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force, the situation will no longer be the same.

Saeima to establish legal framework for Baltic cooperation in disaster prevention

On Thursday, 22 March, Latvian Saeima supported a legislative draft, ratification of which will help create legal framework with other Baltic States in prevention of disasters, as reported by the parliament’s press-service.

Number of complaints with postal services on a rise in Latvia

Public Utilities Commission has compiled information about complaints submitted by residents in regards to postal services in 2017. The number of complaints has increased alongside opposing views about package terminals – the regulator has received 37 complaints in total.

Output of livestock products in Latvia increased in 2017

Compared to 2016, output of meat grew by 4.6 % and output of milk by 1.4 % in 2017. In 2017, in Latvia 91.2 thousand tonnes of meat were produced, which is 4.0 thousand tonnes or 4.6 % more than in 2016. The most significant increase was observed in the output of poultry (of 11.3 %) and pork (4.7 %).

Turkey's offensive in Syria condemned by NATO ally Germany

Angela Merkel, the head of the German federal government has stated that Turkey’s military offensive in the northern Syrian town of Afrin was unacceptable and she blamed Russia for simply watching, while attacks by Syrian government forces on besieged eastern Ghouta continue.

Finance minister still believes tax reform in Latvia has brought results

«The tax reform has given us the results we had expected, especially in regards to combating envelope wages,» said Latvia’s Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.

Planned hospital reorganisation in Lithuanian regions irks both mayors and patients

If the plan of the Lithuanian Ministry of Health to overhaul treatment services in the provinces does not hit a snag, the rural hospitals will be soon providing only essential care and nursing, the focus will be on out-patient care and treatment will be available only in larger county hospitals.

Ventspils beach high in popularity this week; Lembergs gets spotlight time as well

Ventspils ended up in the spotlight in an unusual way this week: seals washed up on the beach there. Animal Freedom emphasizes that human contact with baby seals would hurt them. Residents are asked to maintain at least 50 m distance from them. However, the suspended Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs decided to take photos with baby seals and publish them on his Facebook profile.

Ombudsman: problems in nursing homes and social care centres are associated with lack of funding

Problems in nursing homes and social care centres are largely associated with lack of funding, because it is not possible to perform high-quality work using currently available resources. This is the responsibility of ministries and the government, as ombudsman Juris Jansons mentioned in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Estonian music authors receive record royalties for 2017

The organisation, which is tasked by collecting royalties for local and foreign music in Estonia, the Estonian Authors' Society, has received six million euros in royalties in 2017, which is its record level.

Facebook sorry for permitting exploitation of 50 million user data in politics

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologised for the social network failing to ensure enough privacy to its users that allowed for data on about 50 million of its users to abused by a political consultancy firm.

Zhdanok’s replacement to promote non-citizen matter in European Parliament

Miroslavs Mitrofanovs, who has taken Tatyana Zhdanok’s place in the European Parliament, plans to promote the matter of non-citizens in the institution.

Newest comments