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Week in Lithuania. London court dismisses ex-Snoras owners’ extradition appeal. Bankers have fled to Russia reportedly.

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUA London court has ended litigation over the extradition of Vladimir Antonov and Raimondas Baranauskas, former shareholders of Lithuania’s bankrupt bank Snoras who have recently fled from the UK to Russia.

«We’ve just been notified that the court has dismissed their application for an appeal. Their appeal proceedings are now over,» Elena Martinonienė, spokeswoman for the Prosecutor General’s Office,» told BNS, a Lithuanian news agency.

Antonov and Baranauskas filed applications for an appeal late in May.

Their whereabouts are still unknown and international search continues, but they have reportedly been seen in Russia.

The two men are suspected of misappropriating about 490-million-euro-worth of Snoras‘ assets. The prosecutors have also imposed restrictions on the suspects‘ ownership rights to 233 million euros of assets.

World Lithuanian Economic Forum invites to Israel

The Lithuanian and Israeli businesspeople, diaspora members and people interested in fostering relations with Lithuania will meet for the seventh time this October in the World Lithuanian Economic Forum.

This year‘s World Lithuanian Economic Forum will take place during October 20-25 2015 in Tel Aviv, Israel.

This is the biggest business event for expatriates and will be attended by famous business leaders, the Lithuanian political elite and members of the Lithuanian and Litvak communities. Participants will share their experience, reinforce their inter-relations and discuss opportunities for implementing common projects.

The Forum is organised by the Lithuanian Business Confederation in cooperation with other major partners, namely Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA) and the Embassy of Lithuania in Israel and others.

Lithuanian advances to semifinals

Lithuanian tennis star Laurynas Grigelis has advanceed to the quarterfinals of the international ITF tournament in Vilnius, the President’s Cup. He is he only Lithuanian to stay in the singles tournament. Two Lithuanian pairs will fight for the tickets to the finals.

On Wenesday, July 22, Laurynas Grigelis (23, ATP 322) continued his dominance in the tournament with a two-set straight victory over the Dutch player Tallon Greikspoor (19, ATP 1030) with score 6-2, 6-2. The Lithuanian won with the same score over the Belarussian Ivan Liutarevich (19, ATP 1254). Grigelis, who is seeded second in the tournament, was to play in the quarter-finals against Ivan Nedelko (29, ATP 542), but the Russian retired after the first game of the match and gave a resting day to the Lithuanian and the ticket to the semifinals.

Palanga resort to scale down memorial for WWII Soviet soldiers

The authorities of the Baltic resort town Palanga in Lithuania plan to tone down the monument for fallen Soviet soldiers in the heart of the town.

«The Soviet monument and the space designated for it are disproportionally big. The square for the soldiers‘ cemetery will be made smaller and their burial site will be marked with a modest memorial plank without any Soviet symbols,” Palanga Mayor Šarūnas Vaitkus said. According to Deputy Mayor Rimantas Mikalkėnas, the designing work could start as early as next year, if the city provided funding for the reconstruction. The Palanga authorities have no plans to rebury the Soviet troops elsewhere as it would spark outrage in Russia and anger local residents who would be against such a plan,» Vaitkus, the mayor, said.

Lithuanian ship returns from Poland

One of the detained ships of state-controlled company Lietuvos Jūrų Laivininkystė (Lithuanian Shipping Company, or LJL), which is facing bankruptcy proceedings, has returned from the Polish port of Gdansk to Klaipėda, Transport Minister Rimantas Sinkevičius confirmed on Thursday, July 23.

The minister said that the ship‘s release had been secured after paying part of the company‘s debts to the Polish port and «reaching other agreements».

Danish company may set up excellence centre in Panevėžys

John Erland Østergaard, the founder and director of the Danish company Blue Ocean Robotics, and Thomas Solupajev-Ronlev, partner in the company’s Lithuanian subsidiary, paid their third visit to Panevėžys. During their previous visits the businessmen visited the robotics laboratory of the Panevėžys Faculty of Kaunas University of Technology, Panevėžys Mechatronics Centre, and introduced their company to the city’s mayor and other politicians. It was agreed to draw up a map of the competencies of companies in Panevėžys and the Panevėžys region and the competencies of the scientists who develop technologies, as well as competencies which are needed. This map will serve as the basis for the future excellence centre.

Polish organizations draw criticism over homophobic T-shirts

Lithuanian LGBT groups has expressed regret over the decision of Polish organizations in Lithuania to produce and wear T-shirts with the homophobic slogan, Vilnius on Bicycles without Pedals (Wilno Na Rowerach Bez Pedalow) during their recent congress.

Vladimir Simonko, the chief of the Lithuanian Gay League, said the word «pedal» was an insulting way of referring to the LGBT community.

«We regret the use of such vocabulary in public events co-organized by political parties financed from the Lithuanian state budget,» Simonko told BNS, a Lithuanian news agency.

The T-shirts were worn at the July 11-12 congress of the political party, the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania, and its close ally, the Polish Union of Lithuania. Photographs of participants wearing the T-shirts are published on the party’s website. Vilnius City Municipality said its lawyers were looking into the use of part of the Vilnius trademark on the T-shirts without its consent.

«The municipality does not tolerate and will not tolerate any type of discrimination on the grounds of nationality, race, religion and gender. The Public Relations Division, with the help of the Legal Department, are already looking into the case. We are expected lawyers‘ conclusions on the public use of the trademark,»Neringa Kolkaitė of the municipality told .

Vilnius to set up commission for Roma integration

Vilnius Municipality is setting up a special commission to address social issues related to the Vilnius-based Roma settlement and take care of Roma integration. According to Vice-Mayor Gintautas Paluckas, the commission would be set up next week, and its first meeting will discuss a five-step programme on Roma education, accommodation, employment and fight against drug trade. Court has ordered the Vilnius authorities to demolish nine Roma buildings that had been built illegally, but Paluckas said it would be «inhumane» to do so without addressing the issue of their accommodation. Figures from the 2011 census show that around 2,100 Roma people live in Lithuania.

Baltics must develop joint air defence system

Its in key interests of the Baltic states to develop a joint mid-range air-defence system, counter hybrid threats and strengthen regional cooperation, Lithuania‘s Defence Minister Juozas Olekas said on Wednesday, July 22, after meeting with his new Latvian counterpart, Raimonds Bergmanis, in Vilnius.

Olekas underscored that the areas calling for particular attention were development of a joint mid-range air-defence system, countering hybrid threats, and stepping up cooperation with Poland and the Nordic countries, while defence cooperation of the Baltic states is enhanced, the Ministry of National Defence said. According to the press release, the two ministers agreed at the bilateral meeting to give more focus to the coordination of their countries‘ forces on the borderline and developing simpler border-crossing procedures for Allied forces.

The ministres agreed to combine effort to ensure a NATO agreement at the upcoming summit in Warsaw concerning the long-term current and additional measures of deterrence in the Baltic region.

Lithuania foreign minister calls for more pressure on Russia over Georgia

Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister Linas Linkevičius believes that the West is not responding sufficiently to the placement of border markers with Georgia, this way approaching the Tbilisi-controlled territory even more, and calls for more pressure on the Russian Federation.

«In my opinion, we are not responding adequately as our response should be much stricter. In general, the so-called demarcation lines are illegal not only because we do not recognise the occupation but overall, that line with a barbed fence, where I have recently been to, by the way, is completely unlawful. And now the recent attempts to quietly move it kilometre after kilometre towards Georgia is aggravating the situation even more,» said the ministre last Tuesday, July 21.

According to him, the purpose of these steps is to lessen Western authority.

Georgia‘s Saakashvili warns Baltics on being Russia‘s next target

The Baltic states will be Russia’s next target after Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to test NATO, Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia and now the governor of Ukraine‘s Odessa region, said in an interview on Tuesday, July 21.

«There is no way that they will not go to the Baltics next. There is no way that they will not revisit Georgia or Azerbaijan. Putin is obsessed with the idea of testing NATO – this was clear in my long conversations with him,» Saakashvili told UK’s Independent.

Associate Professor Kęstutis Girnius of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science at Vilnius University believes Saakashvili is exaggerating.

Lithuania to accept 325 refugees over two year

Lithuania will accept 325 refugees over the next two years, the country’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė said on Monday, July 20. Most, 255, refugees will come to Lithuania from Italy and Greece and 70 will arrive from third countries, the president told via her press service.

The decision was made during the meeting of interior ministers on the distribution of refugees in Brussels. All in all, EU member states will over the next two years share 40,000 refugees from Syria and Eritrea who currently live in camps in Italy and Greece, as well as 20,000 Syrian refugees who live outside the EU.

«I think the number is real, objective and we can handle it. It’s more than half of what the European Commission initially proposed,» the Lithuanian president said.

During the meeting, Estonia made a commitment to accept 150 refugees. Latvia will take in 250 and Poland and Germany will receive 2,000 and over 12,000, respectively.


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