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Monday 16.09.2019 | Name days: Dārgs, Asja, Asnate, Dāgs

BNN summary of the week: trading posts in Riga; heat in Lithuania; trains for Latvia

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThis week, Riga’s residents asked if Riga City Council has become a branch office of Riga Central Market, because the trading there hotter than at an annual fair. Oļegs Burovs almost broke his tongue trying to sell his candidacy for the mayoral post using posts in the Freeport and city council committees.

While Riga City Council was busy selling posts, Latvenergo was experiencing internal changes of its own. The company’s temporary council decided to step down due to complaints about ‘political pressure’. Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš admits that Economy Minister Ralfs Nemiro’s decisions in regards to Latvenergo were political. Nevertheless, the prime minister has no plans to request the minister’s dismissal.

In spite of scandals, however, hope appeared this week that Latvia might actually get new trains. Latvia’s Procurement Monitoring Bureau permitted railway company Pasažieru vilciens to sign a contract with Czech company Škoda.

BNN offers you a summary of the most topical developments of the week, including topics such as: Market; Forgiveness; Fourth Time; Heat; Emergency; Noose tightens.


Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUMayoral candidate offers «treats» but opposition remains lukewarm towards him

To promote cooperation among Riga City Council deputies, mayoral candidate Oļegs Burovs offered opposition members at a mutual meeting to participate in governance of committees, but he failed to gather support from them.

On Tuesday, 2 July, Burovs met with representatives of Unity, New Conservative Party, National Alliance ‘All for Latvia-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK’ and For Latvia’s Development.

According to Vilnis Ķirsis, Burovs offered ‘a treat’ in the form of posts at the freeport and elsewhere.

«We were confused with that offer and we declined it, because it offered no change, which Riga is in dire need of,» said the deputy, adding that capture of power with Harmony or any of its ex-members is not possible.

National Alliance’s deputy faction leader Dainis Locis admits that Burovs had offered deputies to take deputy chairman post in some committee and form a faction council. «A faction council is an idea worth considering, but it needs to be clearly defined and discussed. Additionally, it should be covered by amendments in the city council’s internal order. The opposition was promised deputy chairmen’s posts,» said Locis, adding that Burovs failed to secure support from factions. This means he will have to look for votes in the newly-formed faction.

Full article here


Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUPasažieru vilciens permitted to sign train supply contract with Škoda

Latvia’s Procurement Monitoring Bureau (PMB) has declined Spanish company Patentes Talgo S.L. (Talgo) complaint regarding the train procurement organized by railway passenger transport company Pasažieru vilciens’ (PV) and has permitted the company to sign a contract with Czech company Škoda Vagonka (Škoda), according to the decision published by PMB.

The decision details that Talgo’s complaint in regards to Pasažieru vilciens’ organized Talks Procedure’s results was unjustified, therefore there was no reason to cancel the decision in regards to procurement’s results. PMB permitted Pasažieru vilciens to sign supply contract with Škoda and decided to keep in force the decision made by the procurement committee in regards to results of the Talks Procedure.

As it is known, Pasažieru vilciens, considering PMB’s opinion and reviewed procurement participants’ offers a third time, picked Škoda as the winner at the end of May. Following this, Talgo submitted a complaint.

Four contenders competed with one another in Pasažieru vilciens’ procurement for 32 new electric trains and maintenance equipment – Škoda, Talgo, Polish subsidiary of Swiss Stadler, and Spanish Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF).

Initially, Talgo was picked the winner. Its offered price was EUR 225.303 million. However, two other contenders – Škoda and CAF – submitted a complaint to PMB.

Full article here


Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUSevere drought causes Lithuania to declare emergency

The Lithuanian government has declared a state of emergency over drought affecting farmers after the hottest June on record.

French news agency AFP reports that the formal announcement of an emergency situation would allow the government to compensate farmers for some losses and also permit them to avoid EU financial sanctions should they fail to reach production goals. The emergency was announced on Wednesday, July 3.

«Farmers believe their harvest can be slashed by 40 percent or 50 percent, while fish stocks are also endangered,» Lithuanian Environment Minister Kęstutis Mažeika said to AFP.

Full article here


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

Nils Ušakovs

Ex-mayor Nils Ušakovs made a suspect in Rīgas satiksme procurement case

Ex-mayor of Riga and newly-elected member of the European Parliament Nils Ušakovs from Harmony has been made a suspect in the criminal case regarding the dubious procurements performed by public transport company Rīgas satiksme, as confirmed by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB).

Corruption watchdog notes that as a result of investigative activities in the criminal process, investigators confiscated from Ušakovs’ office in Riga City Council an item competent institutions declared a device of strategic significance.

In accordance with Law on Circulation of Goods of Strategic Significance, private persons are not allowed to purchase, store and use goods of strategic significance. Breach of Law on Circulation of Goods of Strategic Significance carries criminal liability.

KNAB refrained from providing more detailed information about the device, whereas Ušakovs mentioned on his Facebook page that the item in question was «a home-made recording device». «As far as I can tell from the description, this is about a glued album fitted with a camera and microphone,» he explained. He also added that the presence of the device in his office surprised him.

Full article here


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

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (L) and Economy Minister Ralfs Nemiro (R)

Latvian prime minister declares Latvenergo council’s dismissal a political decision

The changes exacted in the council of Latvia’s energy giant by Economy Minister Ralfs Nemiro were a political decision. However, the possibility of the minister’s dismissal is not on the table, said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to Latvijas Radio programme Krustpunktā on Wednesday, 3 July.

The prime minister said during his interview that he saw no reasons to have Latvenergo’s council replaced. Nevertheless, the economy minister had all the rights to make such a decision.

At the same time, Kariņš said he is confident that after replacing the council no temporary Latvenergo council should have been appointed, as councils tend not to be temporary. «I can see it was more likely a political decision,» said the prime minister.

He also said he is satisfied that the temporary council in Latvenergo decided to step down. This way Latvenergo is no longer governed by a politically-approved council.

Full article here


Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUEstonian oil shale region concerned over public income loss

With the cuts in fossil oil shale extraction in Estonia over climate policy and cheaper Russian electricity, mining municipalities in the Ida-Viru County brace for deep cuts that would affect spending, especially in education.

Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports on Thursday, July 7, that the Mayor of Alutagus municipality in Ida-Viru County has expressed concern to regional daily Põhjarannik over the estimated loss of EUR 800,000 to the industry as Enefit Kaevandused, a state owned oil shale mining and transportation company has forecast its mining volumes for Ida-Viru County and the Narva quarry.

Alutagus mayor Tauno Võhmar evaluated that the effects of cutbacks would be felt far beyond the immediate oil shale sector.

Full article here

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Ukraine planning surge in military spending as war continues

Amid preparations for Donbas War talks in the Normandy format, Kyiv has announced a draft national budget that would include a 16%-hike in defence spending.

Latvia’s number of vacant job above EU’s average in second quarter of 2019

In Q2 2019, the number of vacant jobs in Latvia was above the average of European Union and Eurozone, which is reflected in percentage ratio between the total number of jobs – both taken and vacant.

Estonia worried West’s loosening grip on Russia could end in third intervention

Amid concessions to Russia in the OSCE and calls to invite it to the G7, Estonian Foreign Minister has spoken against the possibility of lower European Union’s principles against Russia, which could encourage Moscow to carry out third interventionist adventure.

19 children and four kindergarten employees show signs of intestinal infection

By Sunday, 15 September, symptoms of intestinal infection were found for 23 people, including 19 children and four kindergarten employees in Sigulda and its surrounding areas, as reported by Disease Prevention and Control Centre.

Number of vacant jobs in Latvia up 5 900 or 23.8%

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Europe’s electricity network will help increase energy exchange opportunities

After Baltic States’ joining of the European Electricity Network, there will be an increase for opportunities in energy exchange and trade, says AS Augstsprieguma tīkls board member Varis Boks.

Tartu retail battle: Maxima objects being shoulder to shoulder with Lidl

In the city of Tartu, Lithuanian grocery retail chain Maxima is not satisfied with the local zoning plan that could see the first shop of its low-price competitor Lidl be opened close to its property.

Unemployment benefits in Latvia to be paid for eight, not nine months

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Transport pollution: Paris planning 500 subsidy to e-bike purchase to millions

As France aims to reduce its air pollution, greater Paris is considering a massive subsidy programme to millions of its inhabitants to the purchase of an electric bike.

Polluted areas in Riga disappear from registers; builders often relieved of clean-up

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EU: Progress in Brexit talks not «huge» as PM Johnson says it is

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Ex-chief of SRS occupies state real estate in Jurmala and has no plans to vacate it

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Latvian government plans to finish work on public administration remuneration regulation

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Global oil prices jump after attacks on Saudi Arabia

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Week in Lithuania: High-ranking judges dismissed, Achema loses EU court case, Lithuania’s EC Commissioner proposed

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BNN summary of the week: state of emergency in Riga; seat for Dombrovskis; politics in construction cartel

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Cooperation partners blast government for breach of law in budget development

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Hourly labour costs in Latvia up 8.9%

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Latvian Justice Ministry insists on improving prison infrastructure

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UK’s parliament speaker ready to prevent October 31 no-deal Brexit – a violation of law

In the Brexit saga, speaker of a parliamentary chamber has pledged to permit changing the rules of procedure to keep UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson from forcing a no-deal Brexit on October 31, seen as a potential violation of law.

Latvian government allocates more than EUR 192 million for priority tasks

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Lithuanian shops using increase in wages to raise prices, analyst asserts

In Lithuania, inflation has been two times faster in 2019 compared to other markets in the euro area. Economist Žygimantas Mauricas believes retailers have used a surge in wages to increase prices, especially in grocery stores.

Beneficial owner status in a company does not always involve receiving material benefits

If a person is declared as a company’s beneficial owner, it does not always mean it is a person who is at the end of the chain and receives material benefits from companies.

Prague to move Soviet army Marshal, despite death threats to Mayor

In the Czech capital of Prague, a local government has decided to take down a monument devoted to a Marshal of the Soviet Union. It is planned to replace it with a memorial of a more general meaning.

Estonia to establish cyber diplomacy body to make its voice heard globally

In Estonia, where the authorities may much attention to computed technology solutions and the e-environment, the Foreign Ministry plans to open a Cyber Diplomacy Department.