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Friday 21.10.2016 | Name days: Severīns, Urzula

Week in Lithuania. Tax collection results stokes FM’s optimism for 2016

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

Lithuania’s Finance Minister Rimantas Šadžius says that 2015 was a breakthrough in tax collection for Lithuania and that extra revenue is projected for 2016.

He noted that, in the 2016 budget, a certain principle of responsible budget revenue planning was used probably for the first time in the history of Lithuania. The only tax revenue included in the budget project was that which was based on macroeconomic calculations. In addition, the State Tax Inspectorate (VMI) will be instructed to further improve tax collection, the minister said.

Nearly a thousand servicemen will serve in NATO and EU rapid response forces in 2016

On January 1, 2016, about 700 Lithuanian soldiers with infantry equipment and vehicles began to stand by for the NATO and EU rapid response forces. Units and soldiers of the Lithuanian Land Force, Lithuanian Special Operations Forces, Logistics Command, Deployable Communications and Information Systems Module, Military Police, and Military Medical Services will be on standby for different components of the NATO Response Force (NRF) in 2016.

Party charged with influence peddling and money laundering

Lithuania’s Special Investigation Service’s (STT) Vilnius Department has brought charges against the Order and Justice political party over suspicions of influence peddling and money laundering. The pre-trial investigation was launched in 2014 following suspicions that private business companies could have covered part of 42,000 euro cost of the Order and Justice party-supported Pirk Dramblį event. The aim of this arrangement was for the party to influence officials from the Ministry of the Interior so that they would act in the favour of certain interested businesses during public procurement procedures.

Unvaccinated children will be barred from kindergarten

After the Seimas failed to adopt legislation authorizing mandatory vaccinations, an order made by former Minister of Health Vytenis Andriukaitis instructing not to accept unvaccinated children to kindergarten establishments has taken effect on January 1, 2016. Minister of Health Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė says that the order will only apply to newly accepted children.

Lithuanian export downturn predicted

In the upcoming months, Lithuania’s producers and exporters predict a decrease in Lithuanian industrial exports. According to a poll distributed to the heads of industrial companies by Statistics Lithuania, 14 percent of businesses predict a decrease while 17 percent predict an increase (a month ago, these percentages were 12 and 31 percent, respectively). The Lithuanian export economy suffered throughout 2015 due to Russian embargoes and that country’s economic downturn, so many exporters have struggled to reorient their businesses towards other markets, like Scandinavia and the Eurozone. 22 percent of those surveyed said they expected to increase production over the coming months, while 19 percent expected to decrease production.

Global recognition for Kaunas orchestra’s recording of Verdi opera

A studio album of Giuseppe Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra opera that was recorded by the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra received international recognition when it was named the Editor’s Choice opera album by the influential Opera News magazine in New York, the Kaunas City Municipality reports. The two-disk album also features the Kaunas State Choir and Kostas Smoriginas, among other national and international artists.

New motorized infantry brigade will be formed

Starting from January 1, 2016, a new motorized infantry brigade named Žemaitija will be formed in Western Lithuania. The announcement of the formation of the new brigade comes on the heels of a number of new military materiel acquisitions made by Lithuanian government in response to geopolitical tensions and the situation in Ukraine. These have included U.S-made Javelin anti-tank missiles and German-made Boxer armored combat vehicles.

Labour party will not ask Seimas chairwoman to step down

With less than a year left until the Seimas (parliament) elections, the Labour Party is not planning to ask Loreta Graužinienė to leave the Seimas speaker‘s position. However, not only the opposition, but some MPs from the ruling coalition are dissatisfied with the politician. When leaving at the end of December the Labour Party, Viktoras Uspaskichas, the party’s founder and honorary chairman hinted that the party should consider delegating another member of the Labour party to the parliament speaker‘s position. The Labour Party’s new leader, Valentinas Mazuronis, is convinced that there is no need to change anything so far.

New prosecutor general promises changes to office

In the first press conference organized by the new Prosecutor General Evaldas Pašilis since he was sworn in two days ago, he promised changes in the Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutor general said that the institution should be more transparent and that the rights and freedoms of simple ordinary people would be respected. Similarly, according to him, prosecutors should feel safe, dignified, and should be able to do their daily work.

Lithuanian innovators and leaders honoured by President

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has hosted a ceremony honouring the Global Lithuanian Awards. The annual awards are presented to individuals who, in one way or another, have contributed to Lithuania’s welfare domestically or abroad. The President and Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius praised the initiative and made it a point that a country is more than its geographical and demographic size. Most of the nominees had been studying, working or living abroad, spreading a very positive image of the country through their actions.

Lithuanian GDP growth may outpace Estonia’s in 2016

Lithuanian economic growth in 2015 was the slowest among the Baltic countries, but analysts at Danske Bank predict that the country’s gross domestic product growth next year will be faster than in Estonia and, in 2017, will bypass Latvia as well. According to Rokas Grajauskas, Danske Bank’s Baltic analyst, the Baltic countries are still feeling the influence of the Russian embargo and the overall economic slowdown in Russia. This year, Lithuania’s economy grew the slowest because, among all of the Baltic countries, it was the most economically dependent on Russia. The situation should improve next year, however.

Lithuanian energy experts blast plans to shutter thermal power plants

Nearly 60 respeced Lithuanian power engineers, scientists, former energy and economy ministers and heads of business associations encouraged the government to take decisive actions in order to save thermal power plants as reserve electric power sources. The government adopted a resolution on October 7 that will effectively leave the thermal power plants unused.

Ref: 020/

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The first container train headed for Riga departs from China

On Thursday, 20 October, Latvian Transport Minister Uldis Augulis, representatives from LDz and YXE International Container Train, multiple Chinese officials and Latvia’s ambassador in China Maris Selga saw off the first test container train from China to Riga.

Customs officials intercept hashish shipment worth EUR 2 million

Latvian State Revenue Service’s Customs Police intercepted and confiscated a shipment of more than 200 kg of hashish worth EUR 2 million, as journalists were informed by SRS Customs Police Director Kaspars Podins on Thursday, 20 October.

SA: Riga Freeport has only realized one of five of our recommendations

Latvian State Audit follows the development of the largest investment projects especially carefully, because the state does not seem to handle them all that well. Krievu Island project is one of the largest investment projects, because there is European Union finances invested in it...

Job seekers in Lithuania want Western salaries, employers dumbstruck

Although Lithuanian labour market is in desperate for workforce, but those willing to toil will nod to a job offer only if the pay is really big. So big that the country‘s hirers feel like grabbing their heads upon hearing the candidates‘ salary expectations.

Overall government budget decreased in 2015

In 2015, the general government budget deficit amounted to EUR 309.0 million or 1.3% of the gross domestic product, whereas the general government consolidated gross debt amounted to EUR 8 846.3 million or 36.3% of the GDP.

SP: claims about Motorola’s murderer are an attempt to show Latvia as the enemy

Latvian Security Police views claims that Donetsk military commander Arseny Pavlov, aka Motorola, was allegedly killed by a hired killer from Latvia named Marks Ozolins is nothing more than yet another attempt at information war aimed to demonstrate Latvia and its citizens and enemies.

Estonian President Kaljulaid not to ask state to pay rent

Estonia’s new President Kersti Kaljulaid will not ask the state to pay rent for using her home unlike the former head of state Toomas Hendrik Ilves did.

Every third coin with Milda’s image has made its way to Europe

Every third euro coin with Milda’s image has found its way to Europe. The proportion of those coins in Latvia is 71% of all euro coins in circulation, according to monitoring data compiled by Citadele Bank’s CBL Cash Logistics service.

Estonia plans to increase female proportion in military

Estonia has announced plans to triple female involvement in the country’s Defence Forces and to expand the list of units accessible to woman soldiers by 2018.

Pre-paid mobile card users to be registered as part of a plan to reduce grey economy

At the meeting of state secretaries on 20 October, a proposal was presented from the transport ministry to begin registration of mobile pre-paid card users.

Next year’s budget plan and other decisions viewed by Saeima this week

On Thursday, 20 October, the Saeima will gather for an extraordinary meeting, during which deputies will discuss the next year’s budget plan and 57 associated legal drafts.

European Space Agency attempts to re-connect to its Mars probe

The European Space Agency has lost contact with its Mars probe on October 19 shortly prior to its planned landing on the planet.

Klauss withdraws from SRS personnel selection process

Kristaps Klauss, executive directors of Latvian Forest Industry Federation, has decided to withdraw from State Revenue Service’s personnel selection process.

Lembergs to continue testifying in court at the end of October

Aivars Lembergs, who is accused of serious crimes, will continue testifying in his own criminal case on 31 October, as confirmed by Riga Regional Court’s press-secretary Raimonds Locmelis.

Germany: No miracles accomplished at Normandy quartet negotiations in Berlin

Following the October 19 summit talks in Berlin over ending the Donbas War, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has evaluated that no miracles have been accomplished.

Rumours state Donetsk militant commander Motorola was killed by Latvian mercenary

On Wednesday, 19 October, rumours began surfacing on Ukrainian and Russian websites that Donetsk pro-Moscow militant commander Arseny Pavlov, aka Motorola, was possibly killed by Latvian mercenary named Marks Ozolins.

Clocks to be turned one hour back at the end of October

Daylight saving time will end in Latvia and elsewhere in the world on 30 October, when clocks will have to be turned one hour back.

More than half of businesses in Latvia have a website

63.5% of enterprises in Latvia had a website at the beginning 2016, which was 4.5 percentage points more than in 2015. Similarly to previous years, at the beginning of the present year a website was set up by most of the accommodation service and information and communication service providers.

Maxima in Estonia also attracts Latvians tackling shortage of workers

With many retailers in Estonia struggling to find workers for modestly-paid jobs, Lithuanian retail giant Maxima is attracting Estonians for afar and even Latvians to fill the vacant places.

Russia plans to apply discount on transit from Belarus equal to tariffs for Baltic ports

Russian Railways plans to consider the possibility to apply 25% discount for petrol, diesel fuel and crude transit from oil processing plants in Belarus to Russia’s north-west ports. This would provide tariffs equal to those applied for Baltic ports, as reported by Kommersant.

Grybauskaitė: Deploying Iskanders to Kaliningrad – agressive move against European capitals

The sending of nuclear-capable Iskander rockets to Russia’s western-most territory in Kaliningrad is an aggressive move against Europe’s capitals, evaluated Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė on October 18.

Dzintars: two crises in a row caused major decline in volume of sales

Legal protection process is a voluntary choice of the debtor if they experience financial difficulties but wish to continue economic activities. Two consecutive crises of 2008 and 2014 caused a sharp decline in the market and resulted in a deficit of turnover funds, notes Dzintars cosmetics manufacturer board member Dagnija Maike.

Names of SRS manager selection contest candidates become known

Candidates that have made it to the third stage of the selection process for the post of director general to the State Revenue Service include Andris Nikitins, Kaspars Rumba, Kristaps Klauss and Ilze Cirule, as reported by Panorāma programme of LTV.

EC: Rail Baltica route’s crossing of Vitrupe Valley is unacceptable

The European Commission urges Latvia to comply with environmental protection acts and take into account the report of its environmental institutions on how it is unacceptable to allow Rail Baltica’s Salacrgiva section to go through Vitrupe Valley.

Belgium seeks to convince Wallonia region over Ceta

Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders has stated on October 18 that European Union member states could reach an agreement on the EU-Canada trade deal in case the objections of the Belgian region of Wallonia can be met.