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Saturday 20.07.2019 | Name days: Ramona, Ritma
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BNN summary of the week: UGF in trouble, President issues a warning, Saeima composes committees

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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: Conclusion; Remembrance; Saeima; Trouble; Change; Agreement; Warning.

CONCLUSION: Police admit November 11 Embankment is not the best place for mass events

Security-wise, 11 November Embankment is not the best place for mass events. Nevertheless, responsible authorities plan to analyse in the near future ways to improve security measures in this portion of Riga, as reported by Criminal Police Chief Artis Velšs.

«The embankment is not the best location for organizing mass events geographically security-wise, because on one side you have Daugava River and on the other you have Old Riga, which is a kind of wall in its own right,» said Velšs, adding that the embankment has been a favourite spot for all kinds of events for years.

According to estimates from authorities, the fireworks event on Sunday, 18 November, was attended by around 100,000 people. Together with municipal services, interior affairs services and ambulance brigades, police will hold meetings to analyse the situation and discuss different security aspects.

«Each side will provide their opinions on what can be improved,» said Velšs.

Although on social media residents have expressed concern over the size of crowds, Velšs said before any ass events are planned, organizers go through a security plan and algorithms used to determine the level of potential danger for each public gathering.

Full article here: https://bnn-news.com/police-admit-november-11-embankment-is-not-the-best-place-for-mass-events-194062

REMEMBRANCE: Five years pass since the Zolitude Tragedy in Latvia

The court investigation of Zolitude tragedy’s criminal case is progressing, according to the state prosecution. Wednesday, 21 November, marked five years since the tragedy, when the roof of a Maxima supermarket collapsed, killing 54 people and injuring several dozen.

The state prosecution in this criminal case is represented by prosecutors Agris Skradailis, Kaspars Cakuls and Jekaterina Kušakova. Prosecutors believe the investigation has progressed considerably since October 2015.

Testimonies of hundreds of people, opinions of experts and construction specialists, as well as the accused were checked in different court sessions over the last two and a half years. The court viewing of the case has entered the debate stage of the investigation. Once this is done, the court will allow the accused their last word and then read the final verdict.

«Despite the unprecedented number of people involved in the case and the sheer scale of the investigative area, the prosecution has managed to maintain uninterrupted investigation, thereby creating an example for efficient work of the court justice system to ensure the best results in the shortest period of time,» prosecutors say.

Full article here: https://bnn-news.com/five-years-pass-since-the-zolitude-tragedy-in-latvia-194080

SAEIMA: Saeima approves deputies for work in parliamentary committees

Latvia’s Saeima has approved deputies who will work in the parliament’s standing committees in the next four years. 92 deputies participated in the vote; no one voted against or abstained in the vote.

In accordance with regulations, there are 16 standing committees in the Saeima.

Saeima committees work in a specific legislative field, supervise the work performed by the executive power and perform other tasks. Saeima committees prepare different matters that are later discussed during parliamentary meetings. Following decisions of the Saeima, committees review legislative drafts, proposals and submissions.

Full article here: https://bnn-news.com/saeima-approves-deputies-for-work-in-parliamentary-committees-194034

TROUBLE: Police raise charges against Jurmala mayor for possible illegal financing of UGF

In the criminal case regarding possible illegal financing of the Union of Greens and Farmers, Latvia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has officially presented charges to Jurmala Mayor Gatis Truksnis and businessman Jūlijs Krūmiņš.

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau asked charges against Truksnis to be raised not only for illegal financing of political parties, but also for document forging and use of forged documents.

As for Krūmiņš, CPCB requested criminal charges for illegal financing of political parties. The businessman’s lawyer Guna Kaminska has confirmed charges against her client have been raised in accordance with the Criminal Law on two episodes. She did not provide any other comments.

According to the info graphic from CPCB, Krūmiņš is accused of illegally financing For Latvia from the Heart.

Before its submission to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the criminal case was investigated by CPCB. According to available information, an official of Jurmala municipality had reached an agreement with Krūmiņš on illegally financing political parties using a mediator.

Krūmiņš used his bank account to transfer large sums of money to political parties. Truksnis then informed Krūmiņš that ‘donations’ were not received. Krūmiņš contacted ‘supporters’ and their mediators and Jurmala City Council official, revealing the names of said ‘supporters’ and their associates.

Full article here: https://bnn-news.com/police-raise-charges-against-jurmala-mayor-for-possible-illegal-financing-of-ugf-194111

CHANGE: Jānis Vilnītis replaces Uldis Sesks as Mayor of Liepaja

On Thursday, 22 November, Jānis Vilnītis from Latvian Association of Regions was elected as the new mayor of Liepaja, replacing Uldis Sesks from Liepaja party. It is worth mentioning that Sesks spent the last 21 years in this post.

Vilnītis was the only other candidate for the mayor’s post. He was elected with eleven votes in favour and three votes against.

Election of a new mayor was necessary to implement the previous agreement reached with members of the Latvian Association of Regions.

Sesks said he hopes established values will remain – keeping the city very Latvian, open, and supportive of the west.

The now former mayor also thanked his colleagues for their support in these 21 years. He also said considering leaving his post earlier – before the last municipal elections.

After he was done with his speech, deputies present in the room stood up and applauded him.

Full article here: https://bnn-news.com/janis-vilnitis-replaces-uldis-sesks-as-mayor-of-liepaja-194168

AGREEMENT: UK and EU reach agreement on draft declaration over future ties

The European Union and the UK have arrived at a draft declaration on their bilateral ties after the divorce that would allow the signing of the declaration and the British withdrawal agreement by EU member states on Sunday, November 25.

Canadian-British news agency Reuters reports that the news of Thursday, November 22, made the value of the British pound to grow by close to 1 percent on relief among investors that 18 months of tense and tortuous negotiation were ensuring nothing much will change during a transition period due to last until the end of 2020.

EU officials said there was a solid consensus that remaining smaller differences should not hold up a final deal for Sunday, as the other 27 governments go through the new paperwork.

Full article here: https://bnn-news.com/uk-and-eu-reach-agreement-on-draft-declaration-over-future-ties-194186

WARNING: Latvian president has «Plan B» if parties fail to pick a prime minister candidate on their own

If parties involved in government formation talks fail to pick a prime minister candidate on their own by Monday, 26 November, they might not get a second chance, said Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis in an interview to 900 seconds programme of LNT.

The president did not hide the fact that he has a ‘Plan B’ at the ready. He did not say what this plan entails, however. He only said «parties may not like it». The president did mention that this ‘Plan B’ does not include Saeima’s dissolution.

«I have given them [parties] time until Monday to pick a prime minister candidate. 26 November, you could say, is a critical moment. If parties fail to reach an agreement by then, they will not be given this right again,» said the president.

When asked about the possibility of including Harmony in the new government, the president reminded that not a single party elected to the Saeima has mentioned any desire to work with Harmony. This means such a scenario is not possible at the moment.

Full article here: https://bnn-news.com/latvian-president-has-plan-b-if-parties-fail-to-pick-a-prime-minister-candidate-on-their-own-194201


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Latvia among Baltic States with first quarter’s highest budget deficit

In Q1 2019, the general government budget deficit ratio to GDP in Latvia was higher than the average across the EU, according to data published by Eurostat.

Latvia’s industrial producer price level up 0.4% in June

Compared to May, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry rose by 0.4 % in June 2019. Prices of products sold on the domestic market grew by 1.5 %, but prices of exported products reduced by 0.7 %.

Curious career zigzags. From shipping schemes to a warm seat in Latvian Railway

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Estonian TransferWise hires Netflix’s ex-chief financial officer

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Ukraine to reform citizenship process following Russian passport move

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SES: barrels with chemicals found in Baldone are not harmful to people or environment

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U.S. shoots down Iranian aircraft amid rising tensions in Persian Gulf

With American-Iranian relations being tense, U.S. President Donald Trump stated that an American naval ship had downed an Iranian drone that threatened the ship in the Arabian Sea.

NATO StratCom does not consider FaceApp more dangerous than Facebook

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Additional information to be asked for in Latvian prosecutor general’s evaluation

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Latvian minister wants more responsibility for the state in children rights protection

The new children’s rights protection model will delegate more functions to the state, said Latvian Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča.

Scandinavian tourist killers in Morocco convicted to capital punishment

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European Parliament urges Russia to release illegally arrested Ukrainian citizens

On Thursday, 18 July, European Parliament’s members accepted a resolution in which they invite Russia to unconditionally release all illegally and arbitrarily arrested Ukrainian citizens in Russia and occupied territories in Ukraine.

New York Times: stakes are high for Latvia in the fight against money laundering

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Seats divided – Latvian MEPs find their jobs for the next several years

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Defiant Lithuanian Parliament Speaker snubs party’s decision on his ouster

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Latvian Saeima committee supports increasing teachers’ wages to EUR 750

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260 more marriages than last year registered in Latvia so far in 2019

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Dentists in Latvia may be offered compensation for work in country’s regions

To improve accessibility of healthcare services outside of Riga, it is planned to expand the range of medical specialists who are eligible for financial support when choosing to work in regions, as reported by Healthcare Ministry.

Open arms for Lidl – Estonian competition watchdog predicts lower prices

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Latvian president says funding is a non-issue if public media are organized

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Latvian minister shocked over situation with orphans in the country

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No measles’ vaccine for child? 2 500-euro fine planned in Germany

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Latvia commences procurement for public transport services in next decade

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Stoltenberg: Russia should save important nuclear missile treaty

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has invited Russia to save a key nuclear missile treaty by August 2 by returning to compliance, otherwise NATO would prepare a «measured, defensive» response.

Lithuanian Railway will not terminate contract with Sigmen

Lithuanian state railway company Lietuvos geležinkeliai will not terminate its contract with Latvian company Sigmen, which is one of the region’s largest Russian width standard rail suppliers.

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