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Tuesday 18.12.2018 | Name days: Klinta, Kristaps, Kristofers, Krists
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BNN summary of the week: CPCB visit to Saeima; ministers survive no-confidence votes; DTV case ends with mild penalties

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUBNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Ruling; Future; Trust; Measures; Calendar.

RULING: Milder penalties for the accused in digital TV case; idea’s authors get no prison sentence

Riga Regional Court has released a shortened ruling in the so-called digital television criminal case. With it, the court acquitted previously convicted former director of Latvia’s National Theatre Ojārs Rubenis. Nevertheless, some of the accused have been sentenced to fines and actual prison time.

Judges of Riga Regional Court acquitted Rubenis, former state trustee of Latvia’s State Radio and Television Centre Didzis Jonovs, business consultant Valdis Purvinskis and LVRTC state trustee Adrians Boldans. First instance court has sentenced them to a fine of EUR 18,000 each.

Jurģis Liepnieks has been applied with a fine of EUR 67,080, whereas the former director of LNT Andrejs Ēķis has been applied with a fine of EUR 40,850.

Former director general of Digital Latvia’s Radio and Television Centre Guntars Spunde has been sentenced to nine months in prison and a fine of EUR 26,230. Lawyer Jānis Loze has been sentenced to one year and nine month in prison and a fine of EUR 33,540.

Former head of Kempmayer Media Latvia board member Andrejs Zabeckis has been sentenced to two years and nine months in prison. Jānis Zips – also a former board member of Kempmayer Media Latvia – has been sentenced to one year and nine months in prison, as well as a fine of EUR 22,790. Jānim Svārpstonam will have to spend the next year and two months in prison and pay a fine of EUR 22,790.

Regional court’s ruling will be subject to appeal in the Supreme Court once the full text of the ruling is made available.

Full article here

FUTURE: Swedbank economist becomes new member of Bank of Latvia Council

On Thursday, 21 June, Latvia’s Saeima approved Mārtiņš Kazāks in his new post as member of Bank of Latvia Council, as confirmed by Saeima’s press-service.

It was necessary to approve a new member of the council because the term ended for the previous member of the central bank’s council Edvards Kušners. As reported, the majority of Saeima’s members decided not to re-approve Kušners for a repeated term.

Full article here

TRUST: Latvian Economy Minister endures no-confidence vote

Saeima declined opposition deputies’ request for dismissal of Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens.

34 deputies voted in favour of Ašeradens’ dismissal, whereas 48 deputies voted against. Two parliamentarians abstained in the vote. Members of Harmony and Latvian Association of Regions voted in favour of the minister’s dismissal. The majority of coalition politicians supported Ašeradens’ remainder in his post.

Saeima had previously received a request from opposition deputies to dismiss Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens. It was signed by deputies Artuss Kaimiņš (KPV LV), Jānis Urbanovičs and deputāti Andris Morozovs, Sergejs Mirskis, Jānis Ādamsons, Jānis Tutins, Artūrs Rubiks, Sergejs Potapkins, Ivans Klementjevs and Ivars Zariņš.

Full article here

MEASURES: CPCB officers detain Kaimiņš after Saeima meeting

Officers of Latvia’s Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau detained Saeima deputy Artuss Kaimiņš after the end of the parliament’s meeting.

Officers read his rights after detainment. Kaimiņš provided an interview to mass media outlets. CPCB officers waited for him several steps away. Kaimiņš was unable to comment on the charges against him, however.

He did tell journalists that CPCB has also called in the party’s accountant for interrogation. He said he has no idea why the bureau did that, considering KPV LV has no ‘black box’.

When asked about his association with Viesturs Tamužs, the deputy said he has friendly relations with him and nothing more.

As Kaimiņš told journalists that a CPCB officer walked over to him and showed him his badge. The officer then escorted Kaimiņš from the building and put him in the bureau’s minibus.

Full article here

CALENDAR: Pope Francis’ visit to Latvia will be a national holiday

Latvia’s parliament has approved in the final reading a law that makes 24 September – the day Pope Francis plans to visit Latvia – a national holiday.

Before Saeima’s approval, this proposal was discussed by committees. It was later approved in the first, second and third readings.

68 members of the Saeima voted in favour of this proposal, 5 voted against and 2 abstained in the vote. 8 deputies did not participate in the vote.

Full article here


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  1. Simon says:

    Wow, you had a hot week.. Go Latvia, entertain us!

UGF and Harmony once again vote to keep Truksnis the Mayor of Jurmala

With votes from the Union of Greens and Farmers and Harmony, Jurmala Mayor Gatis Truksnis has once again managed to keep his post.

Corruption watchdog detains ex-mayor of Daugavpils under suspicion of bribery

Latvia’s Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has detained former mayor of Daugavpils Rihards Eigims, according to information from LETA.

Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Latvija invests EUR 53,000 in biscuit production plant

Chocolate and confectioneries production company Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Latvija has invested more than EUR 53,000 in modernization of a biscuit and waffle production plant located on Artilērijas Street. Additional funding has allowed the company to install a powder sugar dosing pot.

60% of Estonians ready to defend their country, survey estimates

A survey commissioned by the Estonian Defence Ministry has found that 60% of Estonian respondents would take part in defence related activity in the event of a military attack.

Will Nils Ušakovs stay as Mayor of Riga?

Members of Riga City Council will meet at 15:00 on 18 December to decide on the dismissal of Riga Mayor Nils Ušakovs. According to the head of Riga City Council faction of the National Alliance Nauris Puntulis: «Ušakovs should follow Andris Ameriks’ example and step down voluntarily.»

Ex-minister: «good deed champions» buy trains first and think how to use them later

AS Pasažieru vilciens wants to purchase 32 new electric trains for a price of EUR 225,303,262. This amount three times exceeds the amount Estonia paid for its electric trains. «The problem in Latvia’s case is not just with the state overpaying but also with good deed champions wanting to buy trains first and think about their use later. There is no clarity in regards to use of those trains and railway infrastructure’s readiness,» BNN was told by ex-Transport Minister of Latvia Anrijs Matīss.

Over 290 000 Estonians on brink of statistical poverty in 2017

In Estonia, 295,000 people or 22.6% of the population were at risk of poverty in 2017, the Baltic country's official statistics found adding that the proportion of such people grew by 1.6% since 2016.

Chinese President Xi: No one can dictate to China

Xi Jinping, the President of China has warned other countries not to tell what Beijing should do and voiced his conviction that the Communist Party of China leads everything in the country.

Companies fined 33,268 euros for distorting competition in public procurements

Latvia’s Competition Council has discovered illegal coordination of activities between SIA Tomega and SIA BTK.LV on multiple occasions. The council has decided to fine SIA Tomega EUR 33,268 for intentionally distorting competition in public procurement procedures.

Global Refugee Compact approved by UN General Assembly

The U.N. General Assembly has with the exception of the U.S. and Hungary endorsed a non-binding compact, which sets forth granting support for countries where the majority of the world's more than 25 million refugees live.

City Property Committee Olegs Burovs to be nominated for Riga Vice-Mayor’s post

During a board meeting of the Honour to Serve Riga party, members decided to propose the head of Riga City Council’s City Property Committee Olegs Burovs, as confirmed by a member of the political party Mareks Gailītis.

Poland respects EU Court's ruling and reverses controversial judge law

Respecting a ruling of the European Court of Justice, Poland has suspended the controversial law of the lowering of the pension age of its Supreme Court judges.

Latvian parties generally satisfied with New Unity’s offer

Potential partners are generally supportive of New Unity’s offer for division of responsibilities in the government. Nevertheless, parties want to discuss other matters, including National Alliance’s continued management over Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry.

Riga City Council opposition suggests voting for Ušakovs’ dismissal again

On Monday, 17 December, the opposition of Riga City Council submitted a proposal for a meeting to decide on Riga Mayor Nils Ušakovs’ dismissal. The request to dismiss Ušakovs was signed by deputies from all opposition parties in Riga City Council.

Inflation in Latvia was higher than average in EU and Eurozone in November

Inflation in Latvia in November was higher than average inflation in European Union and Eurozone, according to data published by Eurostat.

LRB: there are a number of idle plans with a possible goal to acquire EU money and divert attention

«It is not normal for EUR 100 million to be suddenly pumped into the road industry shortly before elections. By doing this, Transport Minister Uldis Augulis has hurt the road construction industry,» said Latvian Road Builders association’s chairman Andris Bērziņš in a conversation with BNN.

VNT: overall situation in the Latvian transit sector is extremely dire

VNT has experienced 5% growth in last 11 months over the same period 2017 only as a result of its the strategic planning and significant improvements implemented over 2018.

Lithuania gives banking license UK technology «unicorn» Revolut

British digital payment firm Revolut, which has been valued at 1.5 billion euros, has been granted a banking licence in Lithuania, providing the firm the chance to work in the European Union regardless of Brexit.

Estonia testing internet voting with election in mind

E-governance-promoting Estonia is this week testing internet voting offering voters to send holiday greetings and to select themselves a present from the country's e-voting system.

De facto: Tukums airport’s owners deny bribing Lithuanian army official

Wing 4 Sky group – the owner of Tukums airport – denies their involvement in an attempt to bribe a Lithuanian army official. The corruption scandal surfaced when Tukums airport was trying to recover its lost reputation and certificate, as reported by LTV programme De facto.

Andris Ameriks steps down as Vice-Mayor of Riga

The vice-Mayor of Riga Andris Ameriks has decided to step down. He announced his decision at a press-briefing on Monday, 17 December.

May: Repeated Brexit referendum would break population's trust

British Prime Minister Theresa May, responding to high profile calls in the UK politics to hold a second referendum over the country's withdrawal from the European Union, has evaluated that it would «break faith with the British people».

Number of passengers carried by airBaltic up 18% this year

Latvian airline airBaltic has carried 3,842,952 or 18% more passengers during the first eleven months of 2018 than in the same period last year to its network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS and the Middle East.

Government scenario without UGF to be discussed first in Latvia

Under prime minister candidate Krišjāņis Kariņš’s leadership, parties in Latvia could first discuss government formation without the Union of Greens and Farmers, according to unofficial information.

Katowice conference arrives at guidelines for realising emmission curbs

Signatories of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement have reached a compromise set of guidelines for implementing their commitments as the world's governments agreed to take effective steps to reduce their carbon dioxide emmissions.

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