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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAir Lituanica, Lithuanian airline owned by the municipality of Vilnius has announced that it is putting to end its operations as of May 22.

According to the carrier’s press release, «there is a risk that due to financial strain the company might fail to fully fulfil its commitments to passengers, therefore it stops flights on all of its routes»

Air Lituanica says it has stricken a deal with Latvia’s AirBaltic to cover some if its pre-bookings. The company says it is taking measures to take care of the rest.

According to Air Lituanica, it has agreed with AirBaltic that Air Lituanica passengers’ transportation is guaranteed for the next 8 days.

«The rest of the flights will still be discussed. Air Lituanica made an immediate payment for AirBaltic for the flights for the next eight days, so all the passengers have guaranteed flights with AirBaltic,» the statement said.

According to preliminary data, the airline has sold tickets worth 2.2 million euros for the current summer season.

Air Lituanica on Friday is operating its last flights to and from Amsterdam, Paris and Tallinn. In the next eight days, AirBaltic will accept the Lithuanian airline’s passengers on flights to Amsterdam, Brussels, Prague, Munich, Paris, Stockholm, and Tallinn.

In a bid to save the airline from bankruptcy, the previous local authority of Vilnius asked the central government for financial or other help and tried to find a strategic investor, but these efforts were unsuccessful. The city has recently allocated 6.872 million euros to the financially-troubled carrier, but the new local authority has said that it will not provide additional 5 million euros necessary for it to keep operating.

Lithuanian president praises achievements since Vilnius summit

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė says that a lot has been achieved since the last summit of the European Union’s (EU) Eastern Partnership that took place in Vilnius in late 2013, stressing that the Eastern Partnership programme is a contribution to European security.

«The summit in Vilnius a year and a half ago was a turning point in the Eastern Partnership policy. Since then, the geopolitical situation in Europe has changed dramatically highlighting different objectives of Eastern partners. But we have achieved a lot – the people of Moldova enjoy visa-free travels to the European Union, trade restrictions for Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova are being lifted. We must continue supporting these countries and be open to their people,» the president said in Riga on Thursday, May 21.

Grybauskaitė emphasized that in the near future it is very important to help Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine implement free trade agreements, and the EU must remain open to the citizens of Eastern Partnership countries. According to the President, the people of Georgia and Ukraine should get visa-free access to the EU once these countries meet all the necessary requirements.

Speaking of the UK PM David Cameron’s tougher stance on immigration, she insisted that free movement of EU member states’ citizens is a fundamental value.

The United Kingdom seeks to renegotiate the immigration rules with the European Union (EU).

Britain’s re-elected PM David Cameron has pledged to take advantage of the Riga meeting to open discussions on the conditions of his country’s EU membership.

Asked about the chances for Britain to agree with the rest of the EU, the Lithuanian president said that all parties should seek consensus, not exceptions at others’ expense.

«Free movement of labour has been the fundamental values of the EU…. Efforts to achieve compromise can be made, however, not at the expense of core values,» said the Lithuanian President.

Cameron has pledged to hold a referendum by the end of 2017 on the country’s EU membership.

Lithuania’s Eurovision hopefuls clinch the Song Contest finals

Lithuanian Eurovision fans were delighted last Thursday, May 21, to see the country’s song «This Time» performed by Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila to have qualified for the music competition finals on Saturday, May 23.

Besides Lithuania’s, other lucky entries were from Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, Norway, Montenegro, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Latvia and Israel.

Linkytė and Baumila’s song was the first one to be named among the finalists. On Saturday, the Lithuanian duo will perform in the seventh spot out of 27 contestants.

Sculpture to John Lennon unveiled in Vilnius

A sculpture of John Lennon, the legendary The Beatles musician and songwriter was unveiled in Vilnius on Thursday, May 21.

Lennon’s bronze face with a flower instead of his right eye was unveiled at a ceremony attended by some 200 viewers, with live performance of The Beatles music.

After the ceremony people rushed to take selfies with the Lennon bust.

Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius said at the ceremony that the beauty of the Lithuanian capital lies in the emergence of some odd things.

«Let’s admit it, Lennon was not Lithuanian, he never came to Vilnius, did not sing about Vilnius and did not even have a Lithuanian girlfriend, as far as I know. However, this is probably the beauty of it – birth of a new creation can be seen out of this,» said the Vilnius mayor, referring also to a monument to US musician Frank Zappa in the Lithuanian capital city.

Great Britain’s Ambassador to Lithuania David Hunt said Lennon would always be remembered for the pacifist ideology in his music, not just the beautiful lyrics and tunes.

Photographer Saulius Paukštys, the begetter of the idea, said that the bronze sculpture of Lennon should make Vilnius more beautiful and peaceful, «just like Lennon wanted.»

Almost 20 years ago, Paukštys built a bust of another prominent musician, Frank Zappa, in central Vilnius.

Vilnius mayor and Swedish ambassador Step Challenge awards

Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius and Swedish Ambassador to Lithuania Cecilia Ruthstrom-Ruin participated in the ceremony of the Step Challenge awards hosted by the Embassy of Sweden to Lithuania.

The challenge to make as many steps as possible and thus preserve the environment and improve one’s health was taken by employees of the Embassies of the Nordic and Baltic States, the Vilnius Municipality and the President’s Office.

The mayor invited residents to Vilnius to be part of the challenge, as limited movement condemns them to serious health problems.

The winner of the challenge was the team of the Canadian Embassy which made on average 11,176 steps per day. The second place was won by the American Embassy with 10,249 steps per day, followed by the Embassy of Finland whose employees covered 9,473 steps per day.

Šimašius in total made 36,128 steps or on average 9,032 steps per day.

According to the Swedish ambassador, it is quite usual in the Scandinavian countries that public institutions challenge each other with walking competitions.

Vilnius University produces unique gadget for CERN

The team of the Department of Semiconductor Physics of Vilnius University (VU), headed by professor Juozas Vidmantis Vaitkus, under the framework of the AIDA project was to study the possibility to use a microwave absorption technique for radiation monitoring in the proton irradiation facility at CERN. The Vilnius University team produced a cost-effective, flexible and easy-to-handle monitoring system, VU said.

The system is based on the measurement of the radiation induced decrease of the charge carrier lifetime in pure silicon wafer pieces. A prototype apparatus was built in Vilnius and tested at CERN, Vilnius University reports.

Lithuania terminates above water search for An-2 pilots

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre of the Lithuanian Navy decided to terminate the above-water and

The plane with two pilots went missing while crossing the Baltic Sea from Sweden to Lithuania on Saturday afternoon last week.

A body of one of the pilots has been found by a marine sonar robot stranded in the cockpit.

Lithuanian professionals from US largest hubs join forces

The Global Lithuanian Leaders network, a worldwide organization for Lithuanian professionals, recently collaborated with the Enterprise Lithuania group and made a visit to the United States recently.

The collaboration organized a number of events in the cities of New York and Chicago, both areas with a significant Lithuanian émigré population. The events attracted around 150 professionals from different sectors important for Lithuanian business.

The aim of the events was to extend the network of Lithuanian professionals from different business sectors.

At present, the GLL network connects more than 700 professionals from 45 different countries who have experience working internationally, and either a business or personal link with Lithuania.

During the stateside meetings, participants discussed the progress Lithuania has made in recent years, as well as its future perspectives, development opportunities and how Lithuanian professionals having valuable international experience could help develop the country’s reputation around the world.

Meetings with professionals of Lithuanian origin were organized in cooperation with Lithuanian consulates, Lithuanian communities in the U.S. and organizations run by professionals in the regions.

Ref: 020/

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FKTK lists exceptions in which banks are allowed to service Aivars Lembergs

Latvian Finance and Capital Market Commission has listed cases in which Latvia’s finance market participants will be allowed to service Aivars Lembergs, who is subjected to US OFAC sanctions and accused of serious crimes, and three organizations associated with him – Ventspils Development Agency, Business Development Association and Latvian Transit Business Association.

Appropriate jobs promised for laid-off LDz workers

Latvian State Employment Agency promises to find appropriate jobs for laid-off Latvian Railway workers. If need be, those people will be provided the opportunity for re-qualification, raise their qualification or train for a new profession, as confirmed by the agency’s representative Signe Bierande.

Bordāns selects potential candidates to lead the Supreme Court and Prosecutor General’s office

I can see people who could take the reins over the Office of the Prosecutor General and the Supreme Court and change their work standards, Latvian Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns told TV3 programme 900 seconds when asked about any potential candidates to lead those institutions.

Ukrainian Prime Minister ready quit after leaked voice recording

Ukrainian head of government Oleksiy Honcharuk has offered to resign following the circulation of an audio recording, where criticism of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his knowledge in economy is voiced.

Inflation in Latvia reportedly higher than Europe’s and Eurozone’s in December

In December 2019 inflation in Latvia was higher than the average in the European Union and Eurozone, according to information published by Eurostat on Friday, 17 January.

Estonian population growth continues in 2019 due to immigration

Estonia has registered in 2019 population growth for the fifth consecutive year and it can be explained with immigration not with natural growth, according to preliminary data released by Statistics Estonia.

BNN investigation | Raunas street property: quiet assistant with a «secret wallet» for Lembergs

There are suspicions that Aivars Lembergs, subjected to international sanctions, has sold real estate located on Raunas Street 27 in Riga to his sister «on paper only». This may have been done to avoid confiscation of properties in the event of a guilty verdict or a possible arrest over the real estate property. However, it is possible Lembergs maintains full control over this real estate property and, most likely, the property is used to fatten his wallet on a regular basis.

Audit: majority of Latvian housing stock has degraded to a state of a slum

Since the denationalization effective access to housing security in Latvia does not exist and most of the housing stock has degraded up to a state of a slum, as concluded by the Latvian State Audit.

Prime minister affirms possibility of carrying oil supplies for Belarus through Latvia

During his meeting with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko on Thursday, 16 January, Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš affirmed that oil supplies for Belarus may be possible using Latvia’s ports.

Rain in Australia provides relief to continuing fight against bushfires

In eastern Australia, which has been suffering in prolonged and disastrous bushfires, heavy rain has been falling for the past 24 hours.

Weather to remain warm in Latvia at week’s end

At the end of the week the sky in Latvia will become clear and the sun will shine. No precipitation is expected. However, a low atmospheric pressure area will approach the country from the west during weekends, as reported by Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

GKR helps overthrow Riga’s vice-mayors and put an end to ruling coalition

Riga City Council vice-chairperson Anna Vladova and deputy Druvis Kleins lost their respective posts at an extraordinary meeting on Thursday, 16 January. This happened because multiple deputies from Honour to Serve Riga voted together with the opposition in favour of dismissing them.

Latvian Railway plans to lay off 1 500 employees

Latvian Railway plans to terminate labour relations with approximately 1 500 employees before the end of 2020, as reported by the company’s representative Ella Pētermane.

Russian State Duma approves Putin’s new Prime Minister

The Russian State Duma has approved on Thursday, January 16, the candidacy of the country’s next Prime Minister appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ventspils opposition invites Pūce to act to prevent US sanctions from spreading to city council

Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry and especially Juris Pūce have to act to resolve the current state of Ventsils City Council. It should be dismissed, as the municipal government does not have moral, ethical or legal foundation to continue managing and implementing the criminal management’s policy, according to Ventspils City Council opposition deputies.

Trade unions urge Latvian government to resolve transit businesses’ blocked bank accounts problem

Multiple trade unions associated with the transit industry have turned to Latvia’s highest ranking officials with a request to resolve the situation with bank accounts of multiple transit companies having been blocked because of US sanctions against Aivars Lembergs. If the government does not act, trade unions promise to organize massive protests.

Anris Leimanis picked as RB Rail council chairman

Anris Leimanis, independent council member from Latvian shareholder, has been picked as Rail Baltica joint Baltic company AS RB Rail council chairman. Ahti Kuningas and Karolis Sankovskis will serve as vice-chairmen, as confirmed by the company.

CSP: number of residents at risk of poverty declines in Latvia

In 2018 a total of 434 thousand persons or 22.9 % of the population of Latvia were at risk of poverty – 0.4 percentage points less than in 2017.

Latvian Saeima to ask Denmark to not extradite Kristīne Misāne to South African Republic

On Thursday, 16 January, Latvian Saeima made the decision to protect the rights of Latvian citizen Kristīnes Misāne, asking the Danish parliament and Danish law enforcers to support their Latvian colleagues and find a solution to avoid extraditing her to the South African Republic, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

Smiltēns: Riga City Council’s situation can be described – divide, redistribute and plunder

«The situation in at Riga City Council can be described with three words – divide, redistribute, plunder,» said leader of Latvian Association of Regions Edvards Smiltēns in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama on Thursday, 16 January.

One single vote left the Lithuanian election system intact

The understanding that Lithuania’s election system needs changes is nearly overwhelming, but the ruling Farmers and Greens’ attempt to lower the Parliament election threshold in parties’ multi-member constituency from current 5 per cent to 3 per cent suffered a setback this week.

Estonian power grid executive detained over bribery suspicion

The Estonian Internal Security Service has detained a board member of the Elektrilevi power grid operator over suspicion of taking a bribe.

Demographer: Latvia has the lowest birth rate level observed the past decade

Birth rates continued to decline in Latvia in 2019. The lowest level of the past decade was reached in the country last year, says demographer Ilmārs Mežs.

Healthcare Ministry proposes single social fees rate for specialized tax regimes

One percentage point social fee rate for healthcare will be applied not only to general tax regime participants but also those working in special tax regime, such as microenterprises, patent payers and royalty recipients, according to a proposal for Latvian Healthcare Ministry.

U.S. and China reach preliminary trade agreement

Easing the U.S.-China trade conflict the governments of the two countries have agreed on the first step of mutual trade reconciliation. Their disagreements have affected the world economy for the past few years.

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