bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Sunday 25.08.2019 | Name days: Patrīcija, Ludis, Ludvigs, Ivonna
LatviaLatvia

BNN summary of the week: fight with Jurašs, «visiting» Riga’s mayor, and problems with SRS

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

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: Fight; Dismissal; Crisis; Departure; Problems; Healthcare.

FIGHT: Latvian Saeima decides to permit commencement of Juris Jurašs’ criminal prosecution

With 73 votes in favour and 17 votes against, the Saeima has decided to permit criminal prosecution of Juris Jurašs from New Conservative Party for public disclosure of official secret.

BNN had previously reported that the Prosecutor General’s Office had submitted materials of the criminal case to the Saeima, requesting permission to commence criminal prosecution against Juris Jurašs.

During debates in the Saeima, New Conservative Party’s members tried convincing deputies that by deciding in favour of Jurašs’ criminal prosecution they support political persecution. Krišjānis Feldmans noted that at the time of the bribe offer Jurašs was not a politician.

Linda Ozola said: «Deputies and the Saeima do not decide the truth. We are about to decide if a Saeima deputy elected by the people has the right to perform his duties or not.»

Andrejs Judins from New Unity stressed that emotions should be tossed aside when voting either in favour or against Jurašs’ criminal prosecution. According to him, if criminal prosecution is denied, many question will remain unanswered, because Saeima deputies do not have access to full materials of the case.

Full article here

DISMISSAL: Take #2: opposition collects signatures to repeat Ušakovs’ dismissal vote

Opposition parties in Riga City Council have collected the necessary number of votes to once again request the organization of an extraordinary meeting to hold a vote on dismissal of Riga’s Mayor Nils Ušakovs, as confirmed by National Alliance’s faction representative Edvards Ratnieks.

In accordance with the Local Governments Law, the chairman has two weeks to organize such a meeting. If a regular meeting is planned in the same period of time, the matter regarding the dismissal should be added to its agenda.

Opposition deputies decided to organize a repeated dismissal vote after the searches performed by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau in Ušakovs’ office in Riga City Council and his home on Wednesday, 30 January.

Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce has asked KNAB to provide information and explanations for the searches. The ministry explains that this information will be necessary for it to evaluate the work performed by Riga City Council and consider applying monitoring instruments.

There was an attempt to dismiss the chairman of Riga City Council in December 2018. However, with votes from Harmony and Honour to Serve Riga, Ušakovs managed to keep his post.

Full article here

CRISIS: U.S. Midwest hit by unusually cold weather and freezing winds

In the U.S., untypically cold weather has hit the Midwest region with temperatures dropping below -20 degrees, worsened by strong wind.

AFP news agency reported on January 31, that the extreme weather has now been blamed for as many as eight deaths.

Postal deliveries were suspended and people were encouraged to stay home in over 10 U.S. states, where the worst freeze to grip the region in a generation is being experienced.

Full article here

DEPARTURE: Koļegova’s departure is in her and civil service’s best interest

The decision to step down by the head of Latvia’s State Environment Service is in her and the civil service’s best interest, as agreed upon by Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce and Inga Koļegova on Tuesday, 29 January.

Pūce says he had a meeting with Koļegova this Monday. During this meeting, the two had discussed matters related to Koļegova personally and the State Environment Service. The two agreed that it would be best for her to step down, said Pūce.

«I believe it would be wasteful to discuss the service’s previous activities. I intend to concentrate on finding an appropriate replacement and a way to improve the service’s work to make sure it serves Latvia even better from now on,» added the minister.

He explained that he has asked the ministry’s state secretary Rinalds Muciņš to prepare proposals on how to pick the best possible leader for the service.

Pūce mentioned that there are two options at present – picking a new leader using a personnel selection process or promoting an existing employee. The decision will be made in the coming days.

Until a new leader has been appointed, deputy director general Aina Stašāne will be in charge of SES.

Full article here

PROBLEMS: Latvian state has no ‘fish’ to offer to sports industry; UGF takes away last fishing rod

Potential winners of Olympic medals in Latvia are in the process of consideration: to continue their career in sports or take up a different path. This is because Latvia’s sports industry is going through a dramatic financing decline. This situation was caused by the reform implemented by the government under the Union of Greens and Farmers.

Māris Kučinskis had promised last year to find a compensating mechanism, saying that ‘the situation is being monitored and the sports industry will not suffer’. Dana Reizniece-Ozola promised the same thing. However, the current amount of funding is not enough and tax benefits for donators have since been cut. This is why Latvia’s sports industry wants to save what is left, according to activities of ‘I support sport!’ initiative in recent months.

Sports industry’s broken fishing rod

«At the beginning of the 90s the sports industry was given an inexcusably small budget in the form of funding from the state budget. A fishing rod of sorts was given in the form of tax benefits. We were told basically: ‘Go ahead and fish!’ But then the fish ran out and the fishing rod was taken away. Now we have nothing. Then the country recovered and realized the base funding is considerably below what is needed,» said council chairman of Latvian Sports Federation and one of the supporters of the ‘I support sport!’ initiative Einars Fogelis in a conversation with BNN.

It should be said that a tax reform was launched in 2018. This reform changed the order under which companies are allowed to donate money to sports. Before the tax reform companies could receive corporate income tax discount in the form of 85% of the donated amount but no higher than 20% of the total paid tax amount.

Full article here

HEALTHCARE: Flu epidemic in Latvia picks up in strength

The flu epidemic in Latvia had spread considerably last week. 17 people have already died from this disease or complications caused by it, according to data from the Disease Prevention and Monitoring Centre.

The average age of those victims is 71. Flu has also claimed the life of a man 30-39 years old. All of those patients suffered from chronic illnesses. None of them were vaccinated against flu.

In the previous flu season, 91 people died from flu or complications caused by it. A year prior the death toll was 75 people.

Last week, flu intensity in Latvia had reached 298.4 cases per 100,000 residents. A week prior, flu intensity was 196.1 cases per 100,000 residents.

Data from SPKC shows flu cases have been registered in nearly all cities included in the monitoring. This does not include Jekabpils and Gulbene. In seven cities flu intensity has exceeded the threshold of an epidemic. Intensity is reportedly the highest in Valmiera and Riga.

Full article here


Leave a reply

Hot weekend ahead in Latvia

Over this weekend, in Latvia, a wide anticyclone will determine the weather keeping the sunny and mostly dry weather of Friday, according to the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

IKEA to land in Estonia from next week

Swedish furniture design and retail chain IKEA plans to enter the Estonian market on August 29. According to the firm, it would first open an online store.

Levits: People on Baltic Way melted totalitarian regime in their hands

During the Baltic Way people melted a totalitarian regime in their hands, said Latvian President Egils Levits at the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the peaceful mass demonstration marked at the Castle of Riga.

Turn in high-profile court saga: Ventspils mayor receives state lawyer

The mayor of the Latvian port city Ventspils, Aivars Lembergs, who is charged with serious crimes and has been suspended from office, has been appointed a state lawyer in the long court process that has had many delays.

No obstacles to Riga signing waste contract on 20 years, says ministry, despite probe

Latvian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development has stated that the plan by the Riga City Council to award a waste management contract on 20 years is not against the law, despite competition regulator investigating alleged violations.

Riga pledges to increase use of Latvian in its kindergartens

The Riga municipality will continue increasing the use of the Latvian language in the kindergartens of the capital, the responsible department of the Riga City Council has stated in reaction to calls to switch all kindergarten groups to the official language.

France supports new, short Brexit talks for UK to leave with deal

Emmanuel Macron of France supported new, month-long Brexit negotiations to avoid a no-deal Brexit, but was against the removal of the Irish backstop from the deal – a key demand by his guest British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Lithuania backs Sinkevičius as European Commission nominee

The Lithuanian parliament on Thursday, August 22, voted to support Virginijus Sinkevičius, the Lithuanian Minister of the Economy and Innovation, as the country’s pick for the next European Commission.

New member of Riga Freeport board rushes to meet controversial Šlesers, TV3 Ziņas says

Riga councilman Sandris Bergmanis has a day after being elected to the board of the Freeport of Riga Authority met with businessman and former Latvian minister Ainārs Šlesers, according to the news programme TV3 Ziņas.

Latvian power production drops to lowest level in year

Energy companies in Latvia produced 357 655 megawatt hours of power in July, which is the lowest level of national power output since July 2018. This allowed to cover 64% of the Latvian electricity consumption, according to AS Augstsprieguma tīkls.

Compensation payments of defunct Latvian PNB Banka begin

With operations of the Latvian bank, AS PNB Banka, stopped, the process of paying the guaranteed compensation to its clients has begun on August 22, according Citadele, the lender tasked with the payments.

Riga planning to introduce tourist fee – one euro per day

The Riga City Council is discussing a plan to introduce a tourist fee charging all places of tourist accommodation a fee of one euro per day.

Expert: With Belarus electricity freezing Baltics’ solidarity, Moscow is over the moon

In a blow to Lithuania’s far-reaching plans, Latvia has announced it looks forward to buying electricity from a nuclear power plant in Belarus’ Astravyets under construction 50 kilometres away from Vilnius.

WHO: Little risk from microplastics in drinking water

The World Health Organization has declared that the current level of microplastic particles in drinking water does not pose is not a serious risk for health, yet more research was necessary to determine their effects on human health.

Subsidies to controversial Riga transport company could increase by EUR 20 mln

Amid the criticism of the Riga municipal transport company Rīgas satiksme for its losses and their effect on the Latvian state budget, a plan has been voiced to increase its subsidies, now 120 million euros, by another 20 million euros, Latvian Radio reports.

Latvian Minister keeping adviser detained by corruption watchdog for now

Latvian Agriculture Minister Kaspars Gerhards will clarify the reason, why his advisor and the mayor of the city of Ogre, Egils Helmanis, has been detained by corruption investigators, to decide on keeping him in office.

Trump, Macron willing to readmit Russia to G7, despite Crimea annexation

The leaders of France and the United States have expressed their backing to readmitting Russia to the G7 conference of world powers in 2020, despite Ukraine’s Crimea still being held by Moscow, CNN reports.

Latvian excise tax income up by 8% in first half of 2018

The Latvian excise tax income in the first half of 2019 has been 521 million euros, –an increase by 39 million euros, or 8.1% – compared to the respective period last year, showed data by the Latvian State Revenue Service.

Latvian PM: Most of freely available 2020 budget funds already earmarked

Discussing the 2020 Latvian national budget, Latvian prime minister Krišjānis Kariņš pointed out that its fiscal space is limited by previous decisions and that the expected losses of the Riga transport company will not permit raising wages and pensions nationally.

Corruption watchdog detains Ogre city mayor Helmanis

The Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has on Wednesday detained the mayor of central Latvian city of Ogre, Egils Helmanis, according to LETA news agency.

New members to Freeport of Riga Authority elected, despite criticism

The Riga City Council elected to the Board of the Freeport of Riga Authority, mayor Oļegs Burovs and councilman Sandris Bergmanis, despite heavy criticism of the latter for incompetence and lack of vision.

Italy loses government, coalition of right-wing, anti-establishment parties collapses

Italy has lost its government with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announcing resignation after the right-wing League party pushed for no-confidence motion to its own government.

Kaljulaid opposed to Estonian minister after police chief scandal

Alleging that Estonian Interior Minister Mart Helme has violated the law by trying to sack top police chief, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid has stated that the minister has no place in the government.

Planned Latvian economic cases’ court conceptually backed by government

The plan by the Latvian Ministry of Justice to establish a court of economic cases has on Tuesday, August 20, been supported by the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers.

Newest comments