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Monday 14.10.2019 | Name days: Minna, Vilhelmīne

Week in Lithuania: All-male cabinet, eight NATO ships, dual citizenship campaign launched

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President Dalia Grybauskaitė has appointed MP Kęstutis Mažeika of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU) as the country’s environment minister last week making the government a male-only cabinet. BNN offers a summary of past week’s topical news.

Mažeika, 36, has a PhD in agricultural sciences from the Lithuanian Veterinary Academy. He ran for mayor in Lithuania’s southern town of Marijampolė last month, but was defeated in the runoff vote.

BNN offers a summary of past week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Defence; Education; Justice; Business; Banking; Politics; Crimes; Medicine

DEFENCE: US commits to continue deploying troops to Lithuania

The United States committed to continue deploying troops to Lithuania under a document signed by the two countries on Tuesday, April 2. Company-sized units of US troops had been stationed in the Baltic states on a permanent basis since 2014 in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, but were withdrawn in the fall of 2017 following the deployment of NATO’s multinational battalions to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

 NATO ships arrive in Lithuania’s Klaipėda

Eight ships from NATO countries moored in Lithuania’s western port of Klaipėda on Friday, March 5. Mine hunters Weilheim and Bad Rappenau from Germany, Talivaldis from Latvia, Rauma from Norway, Bukowo from Poland and also command and logistics supply ships Rhein and Donau from Germany and Latvia’s Virsaitis will spend three days in Klaipėda.

Army inspectors observed exercise in Belarus

The Lithuanian army’s arms control inspectors observed a military exercise in Belarus on Thursday, April 4. Together with colleagues from Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Germany, the Lithuanian inspectors observed the 120th Guards Mechanized Brigade’s tactical exercise part in Borisov, Lithuania’s Ministry of National Defence said. Belarus voluntarily invited members of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe under the 2011 Vienna Document.

EDUCATION: President urges government to address issues in education system

President Dalia Grybauskaite called on the government on Thursday, April 4, to immediately take steps to improve the situation in the education system after an audit revealed irregularities. The audit of the Education, Science and Sport Ministry and 17 agencies subordinate to it has revealed numerous cases of public procurement contracts awarded to own employees, inefficiency in some procedures and a high level of nepotism in some agencies.

JUSTICE: Court upholds prosecutor’s refusal

A Vilnius court has upheld this week a prosecutor’s refusal to open a pre-trial investigation regarding Žali (The Green), a novel by Marius Ivaškevičius about the partisan war in Lithuania and partisan leader Jonas Žemaitis. The three-judge panel stated that the novel has no elements of a crime and that the writer cannot be persecuted for his post-modern novel in a democratic state. The ruling is final.

Court sentences a Russian spy

The Klaipėda Regional Court handed down on Wednesday, April 3, a seven-year jail sentence to Roman Sesel, a Lithuanian citizen accused of collecting information for Russia on NATO military ships, the oil product and LNG terminal operator Klaipėdos Nafta and other infrastructure. The Prosecutor General’s Office sought a prison sentence of eight years for the Klaipeda resident.

Vilnius University awarded memory diplomas to 85 people

Vilnius University (VU) on Tuesday, April 2, awarded symbolic Memory Diplomas to 85 former students and staff members who were expelled from the university due to actions by the Soviet and Nazi regimes in the 20th century.  Thirty-one of the 85 persons were deported. Only two of them are alive today and were presented with the special diplomas at home.

BUSINESS: Telia Lithuania set to lay off almost 300 employees

Lithuania’s integrated telecommunications company Telia Lietuva is set to lay off 285 employees this year, but plans to hire around 200 new staff at Telia Global Services Lithuania (TGSL). Some employees of Telia Lietuva will be offered jobs at TGSL in Vilnius, whose staff is planned to be increased from 300 to 500 this year.

BANKING: Seimas committee wants Revolut’s reliability reassessed

The Lithuanian parliament’s Committee on Budget and Finance (CBF) decided on Wednesday, April 3, to propose that the Seimas ask a special government commission to look, for the third time, at whether the UK-based fintech startup Revolut meets national security interests.

Lenders might have manipulated interest rates during crisis

Lithuanian commercial banks might have manipulated Vilnius interbank offered rates (Vilibor), which were used as the benchmark for lending in the litas, during the 2009-2010 economic crisis, Stasys Jakeliūnas, chairman of the Seimas Committee on Budget and Finance (CBF), said on Tuesday, April 2. PM Saulius Skvernelis does not rule out turning to prosecutors over the allegations.

POLITICS: Nausėda offers army’s chief to become his advisor

Economist Gitanas Nausėda has on Tuesday, April 2, offered Lieutenant General Jonas Vytautas Žukas, Lithuania’s chief of defence, to become his adviser, if he were elected Lithuania’s president.

Dual citizenship referendum awareness campaign kick-started

A public awareness campaign on May’s dual citizenship referendum was kicked off in Lithuania on Tuesday, April 2. the campaign will be run on national and regional media channels, including news websites, TV, press and social networks, also through diplomatic missions.

MEDICINE: Seimas receives proposal regarding vaccination

MP Radvilė Morkūnaitė-Mikulėnienė has proposed demanding a proof of vaccination from foreigners arriving in Lithuania from areas with outbreaks of an infectious disease. The lawmaker also proposed accepting only immunized children to kindergartens and pre-school establishments.

CRIMES: A murder suspect from Latvia detained in Lithuania

An armed murder suspect from Latvia has been detained by Lithuanian police near Aukštadvaris, some 60 km west from Vilnius last Saturday, March 30. The Lithuanian police officers had received information from the INTERPOL National Central Bureau for Latvia that the suspect might had entered Lithuania’s territory.

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Ukraine's Zelensky to visit Latvia this week

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Latvian government debt expected to reach 11.65 billion euros in 2020

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Syria Kurds give towns to al-Assad’s forces facing Turkey’s incursion

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Polish Law and Justice announces victory in general election

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Week in Lithuania: tax reduction for electric cars rejected, proposals on bigger excise duties, property taxes tabled

Last week, in Lithuania, the top news stories were significant tax proposals, as well as criticism from LGBTQ activists against Lithuanian PM and the killing of a famous diplomat’s mother.

BNN summary of the week: Funding for parties. Shortage of money for teachers. Budget estimates

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Experts call Latvia’s 2020 budget growth outlook «optimistic»

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50 Stockmann employees fall ill with stomach infections during Trakās dienas

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Peace Nobel awarded for reconciling frozen conflicts in East Africa

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Latvian government to appeal court’s temporary ruling in Muižnieks affair

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Latvia’s 2020 budget revenue predicted at 9.89 billion, expenditures – at 10 billion

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Lithuania acts against liquidified CO2 storage under ground

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Prison Administration guard in Latvia detained for smuggling narcotics

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Ministry: national minority schools have the same problems and Latvian schools

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Estonian drunk-driving judge takes responsibility

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Sports funding suspected of flowing through LOK president’s and executive committee member’s pockets

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Romania loses government weeks before presidential election

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Welfare Minister approves of opening Latvia’s labour market for foreigners

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