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Tuesday 18.02.2020 | Name days: Kintija, Kora

BNN summary of the week: Doctors, teachers up for strike. Deposit system confirmed. Rīgas karte's board gone

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

Last week, many professions expressed their readiness to go on strike. Latvian doctors, dissatisfied with what the state has earmarked in the national budget to health care, announced a strike, when all medical staff, except ambulance workers, are called not to go to work.

Latvian teachers threatened once again to hold a strike – if the government will not provide guarantees to the pay rise of the teaching staff, they will be out in the streets in March, 2020.

Low wages are also a concern to Lithuanian firemen, as they are also considering protests. A fireman in Lithuania earns 500 euros after taxes, for a job that includes night shifts. The service has trouble paying wages to the current staff and finds it hard to attract new workers.

And some good news! After almost 20 years of talking, finally, the decision to introduce a deposit system in Latvia has been passed.

The BNN gives you a summary of the key events of the past week, told in news stories of the following topics: A Day Without Doctor, Threats, Deposit, Farewell, New Chief, Pause and Protests.


Latvian doctors to hold protest of A Day Without Doctor

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

Latvian doctors, angry about the planned health care funding level for the coming years, are to hold in the time until the adoption of the 2020 state budget a strike A Day Without Doctor, head of the Latvian Doctors’ Association stated.

Ilze Aizsilniece, the president of the Latvian Doctors’ Association, called on all doctors, excluding ambulance medical workers, to ask for a single-day unpaid leave from their jobs.

On the day of the strike, patients would only be provided the ambulance services to demonstrate clearly, what would happen in several years already, if politicians would not change their attitude to the health care sector, said Aizsilniece.

Read more here.


Teachers in Latvia warn of protest as they seek guarantees to pay rise

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

“Teachers” in Latvian

The Council of the Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees (LIZDA) decided that a protest of education workers would take place in March, 2020, if by then guarantees for a planned wage increase would not be received, said LIZDA chair Inga Vanaga.

After a meeting of the LIZDA Council on Thursday, October 24, Vanaga explained that education workers seek to know clear sources of funding for the schedule of a pay rise.

The chairwoman of LIZDA reiterated that Latvian Finance Minister Jānis Reirs (New Unity), Education and Science Minister Ilga Šuplinska (New Conservative Party) and the Saeima speaker have acknowledged their readiness to return in March, 2020, to the discussion of increasing the wages of education workers.

Read more here.


Riga transport ticket company sees its board removed

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

In the Latvian capital, the ticket company SIA Rīgas karte has seen whole of its board removed from office in a meeting of shareholders on Wednesday, October 23, LNT television channel reports.

The share holders of the Rīgas karte are the public transport company of the Riga city SIA Rīgas satiksme (51% of shares) and the American technology firm Conduent. The board of the ticket company previously consisted of Jānis Meirāns and Pāvels Tulovskis from the side of Rīgas satiksme, and Eric Morizur from the side of Conduent.

Read more here.


Decided: Latvia to have packaging deposit system from 2022

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

The Latvian Saeima has passed in the final reading draft amendments to The Packaging Law, which set forth introducing a deposit system for the collection of the packaging of beverages.

The Saeima Press service reported that legislators made the final decision on Thursday, October 24. The Latvian deposit system would be launched on February 1, 2022.

Read more here.

New Chief:

Latvia appoints Purgaile as new financial watchdog head

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

Santa Purgaile

The Latvian Saeima has confirmed on Wednesday, October 24, as the head of the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FKTK), Santa Purgaile, who is the former board member of the Latvian bank Citadele.

The banking specialist, who has worked extensively also in the Scandinavian-capital bank SEB Banka, was selected as the best in a job competition and has now been confirmed in the post with the support of 55 legislators out of a total of 100. Four MPs voted against her candidacy, while 21 MPs from the opposition party Harmony abstained.

Read more here.


Latvian real estate cadastre values frozen for two more years

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

The Latvian Saeima has passed amendments to the Law on Real Estate Cadastre, which set forth extending the introduction of the new base of cadastre values from 2020 to 2022.

The Latvian parliament adopted the amendments in their final reading on Thursday, October 24.

In the abstract of the Law on Real Estate Cadastre, it is explained that a working group found, when preparing the methodology of the new cadastre evaluation, that for its implementation significant changes to the software of the Real Estate State Cadastre Information System would be needed.

Read more here.


Lithuanian firefighters warn of strike over low pay

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

Lithuanian firefighters have warned of plans to hold a strike over low funding that makes paying wages and attracting new workers difficult.

Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT reported on Monday, October 21, fire services are alarmingly short on funds not just to hire more fighters, but even to pay the existing ones. In Klaipėda District, firefighters are not paid overtime and are compensated with days off.

«In December, we will have a shortage of 20,000 euros to pay firefighters’ wages,» says Klaipėda District Fire Service chief Stanislovas Virbauskas. «Even though the salaries are just a tiny bit above the minimum wage.»

Read more here.

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Saeima deputies put off vote on final MPC system report; say more time needed

On Monday, 17 February, Saeima’s Parliamentary Investigative Committee for Mandatory Procurement Component System did not vote on the final report. Approximately thirty minutes were spent discussing the fact that not all members of the committee have had an opportunity to study the latest redaction of the document.

Latvia’s president presents no plan for Misāne matter after meeting with heads of institutions

After meeting with representatives of the management of responsible institutions on Monday, 17 February, Latvia’s President Egils Levits did not present a clear action plan for Kristīne Misāne’s situation. However, he did stress the importance of civil activity, including the rising role online petitions.

Rubber stretching. 11th anniversary of Aivars Lembergs’ trial

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101 applications submitted for project on preservation of cultural and historical heritage

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FKTK chief: Latvia has earned the right to avoid being «greylisted»

Latvia has earned the right to avoid being added to Financial Action Task Force «grey list», said the head of Latvia’s Finance and Capital Market Commission Santa Purgaile in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Monday, 17 February.

Latvian government signs new contract for Latvia’s pavilion in Expo 2020

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Eurostat: Latvia’s GDP growth reportedly below average in EU in Q4 2019

When compared to the same period of the previous year, Latvia had a lower GDP than the average in the European Union in Q4 2019, according to data published by Eurostat for 20 of the union’s countries.

Signature collection for a referendum on municipal snap election regulations fails

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Denmark plans to have Latvian citizen Misāne handed over to South African Republic

On Friday, 14 February, the Danish court ruled not to release Latvian citizen Kristīne Misāne from custody. In the South African Republic the woman is accused of kidnapping her own child, as LTV was informed by Misāne lawyer.

Week in Lithuania: retailer Maxima got in trouble, Turkish firm’s assets frozen, New Agency set up

Lithuania's concessions provided to the Polish business group Orlen, operating an oil refinery in Lithuania's Mažeikiai, have helped to improve bilateral relations but were not the key element in their thaw, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said this week.

BNN summary of the week: Levits urges protecting officials. Riga City Council toppled. Tax changes planned

The BNN gives you a summary of the key events of the past week, told in news stories of the following topics: Serious signals; Perseverance; Dismissal; Tax changes; Media supervisors; Inflation; Slower over the bridge and Belief protectors.

Prime minister orders development of proper government MPC monitoring rules

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš has ordered Economy Minister Ralfs Nemiro to immediately commence work on a new mandatory procurement component monitoring project and submit it as soon as possible to ensure efficient control over the system, as confirmed by the prime minister’s office.

1 700 medics infected with coronavirus in China; six dead so far

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Number of foreign guests hosted in Latvian places of accommodation up 1.6%

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Experts approve Riga Central Station’s Rail Baltica regional train reception solution

A solution has been found to install a four-lane railway section at Riga Central Railway Station to replace the existing two-lane section. This will help secure not only international and airport connectivity for Rail Baltica trains but also further improve intercity and suburban train services, as reported by the project’s representatives.

Beness Aijo asks Vladimir Putin for political asylum; claims Russia has released him

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Share prices plummet on stock markets over concerns for coronavirus

On Thursday, 13 February, share prices around the world plummeted as concerns over the Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic in China. London Stock Exchange index declined shortly after British Finance Minister Sajid Javid’s sudden resignation.

Saeima to add considerable amendments to Criminal Procedure Law

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Week’s end in Latvia will be snowy, rainy and windy

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National Alliance and New Unity may run in Riga City Council elections separately

Following the decision made by the New Conservative Party to run in upcoming Riga City Council snap elections separately, a similar decision will likely be made by the National Alliance «All for Latvia – For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK» and New Unity.

Airbnb and Vilnius sign «historic» agreement, taxmen to zero in on short-term rentals

Long chastised for little regulation, Airbnb, a popular short-term rentals platform, was praised this week in Lithuania after capital city Vilnius and Airbnb inked an agreement, envisioning that from February 1 onwards Airbnb will automatically collect Vilnius city tourism tax due per night and per person and transfer the sum directly to the City of Vilnius on behalf of hosts.

Latvian parliament dissolves Riga City Council

The Saeima has decided to dissolve Riga City Council. The city council remains active, however, because the law on its dismissal will come to force the next day after its promulgation. Now President Egils Levits has ten days to make his decision on the promulgation.

Tallinn residents reject proposal to limit driving speed to 40 km/h

Residents of Tallinn have rejected mayor Mihhail Kõlvart’s proposal to limit driving speed within city limits to 40 km/h, forcing the municipality to look for other ways to control road traffic speed, as reported by Estonian public media ERR.

Journalists Kalderauska and Eglītis approved as members of National Electronic Mass Media Council

On Thursday, 13 February, Latvia’s Saeima approved journalists Ieva Kalderauska and Jānis Eglītis as new members of the National Electronic Mass Media Council.

European Parliament urges putting an end to illegal pet trade

To protect animal welfare, pet owners and public health, the European Parliament urges the European Union to come up with an action plan to put an end to illegal pet trade, BNN was informed by EP press-secretary in Latvia Jānis Krastiņš.

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