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Wednesday 29.01.2020 | Name days: Valērijs, Aivars

BNN summary of the week: Unexpected millions. Non-citizen children

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

This week, large money sparked an international debate. A Latvian court determined that 29 million euros, currently in the accounts of a non-resident at the Reģionālā investīciju banka, have been acquired criminally and ruled that they have to be transferred to the state budget.

Having heard the news, many politicians showed interest in using it for necessary investments. Latvian Prime Minister (New Unity) said that the decision on using the money should be made by the government. To his mind, it would be most appropriate to use it in a one-off infrastructure investment. Meanwhile, Ukraine, with its President visiting Latvia this week, has voiced its interest in the money noting that it had been linked to former high-ranking Ukrainian officials.

The Latvian parliament made last week a historic decision: to end from the year 2020 granting the status of a non-citizen to children born to non-citizen parents and to grant the new-borns Latvian citizenship if the parents do not object to it.

The BNN provides a summary of the key news stories of this week told in the topics of: Unexpected millions, Non-citizen children, Ousted president, Municipality reform, Strike, Subsidies, Pension reform, Another pause and Fire.


Confiscated EUR 29 mln: Latvia waiting for evidence from Ukraine

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Latvian and Ukrainian Presidents

As Ukraine seeks to recover from Latvia 29 million euros that have been confiscated by a Latvian court, Ukraine has to provide evidence as it has promised to do, according to Latvian President Egils Levits.

The Latvian President met with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy and discussed the matter on Wednesday, October 16.

«There is an agreement with Ukraine that it would provide the respective evidence. I think that this issue will be solved,» said Levits. He added that the Latvian court proceedings, as part of which the money has been confiscated, have not been finished yet.

Read more here.


Latvia decides: Non-citizen children to receive citizenship from 2020

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

The Latvian parliament passed in the final reading on Thursday, October 17, the draft law that sets forth granting citizenship to new-born children of the non-citizens of Latvia.

The draft law was supported by 60 members of the Saeima out of the total of 100.

Read more here.


Latvian football loses its head as Gorkšs ousted from federation chair

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

The turbulent Latvian Football Federation (LFF) has voted in an emergency meeting to remove its president Kaspars Gorkšs from office.

After a series of poor international results by the Latvian national football team, the decision was passed on Thursday, October 17, with 67 of a total of 129 votes going against Gorkšs, a former captain of the national team and a former British League One defender.

Read more here.


Government decides: Latvia will have 39 municipalities

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The Latvian government has backed the draft Law on Administrative Territories and Populated Places that sets forth cutting the number of municipalities in Latvia from 119 to 39.

According to the draft law, after the reform, the Baltic state would have 34 municipalities of populated places and rural territories called ‘novadi’ and cities of republican significance: Riga, Jūrmala, Daugavpils, Liepāja and Rēzekne.

Read more here.


Latvian medical workers to hold unprecedented protests against funding cuts

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

Latvian Trade Union of Health and Social Care Workers has decided to hold protests it calls unprecedented against state budget plans that would result in reduced funding for health care, according to the LVSADA Council.

The trade union announced that its planned protests would be widespread, would include a warning strike, a march and rally in combination with a claim in the Latvian Constitutional Court.

Read more here.


Rīgas satiksme expects profits, yet asks EUR 140 mln from Riga budget

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

Interim board chairman of Rīgas satiksme Ernests Saulītis

Rīgas satiksme, the municipal transport company plans to end the year 2019 with a 1.3-million-euro profit, and yet it will request a large subsidy from the Latvian capital for 2020 as well, says the company’s interim board chairman Ernests Saulītis.

The scandal-plagued transport company asked for the year 2019 a subsidy of 139 million euros, but was allocated 130 million euros. In 2018 and 2017, it received 131 million euros and 122 million euros, respectively.

Read more here.


Court proceedings of Lembergs could restart only in 2020

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

The Riga Regional Court ruled on Thursday, October 17, that the lawyer of criminally-accused Latvian politician Aivars Lembergs (For Latvia and Ventspils) has been given until January 2020 to read the materials of the case.

The court explained that the criminal department of the Riga Regional Court evaluated the volume of case materials lawyer Genādijs Ivankins is yet to read, in order to prepare his speech for debates, decided to give him time until January 12, 2020.

Read more here.


Estonian pension reform expected later in 2019

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

Estonian Social Affairs Minister Tanel Kiik

The pension reform of Estonia should be adopted later this year to start it in 2021, believes Estonian Social Affairs Minister, who has pointed out that the country’s ruling coalition has reached an agreement on the core issues of the reform.

Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports that Social Affairs Minister Tanel Kiik (Centre Party) said in an interview that the final draft of the pension reform bill has not landed on his desk yet. The reform’s working group has presented its results to the government and fundamental agreements are ready, while many questions still remain, such as tax policy, details of exiting the second pension pillar and other.

Read more here.


Video: Evacuation in Lithuania amid fire at tyre recycling plant

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

Alytus in southern Lithuania was hit by a cloud of black smoke from a fire at a large tyre recycling plant. A hospital nearby has been evacuated.

Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT reports that the fire broke out on Wednesday, October 16. Fire fighters from nearby towns and cities, including Kaunas, have been trying to extinguish the flames. The military has been called in to assist the effort which continues into Wednesday afternoon.

Smoke from burning tires is extremely harmful, so a rehabilitation hospital in Alytus has been evacuated. The town’s inhabitants are advised to stay indoors, cover water wells and not use the water for food.

Read more here.


Keywords: Latvia Ukraine

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Latvian Economy Minister does not have plans to make taxes «green»

Currently there is no specific plan to use taxes to improve state goals in relation to climate neutrality in Latvia, said Economy Minister Ralfs Nemiro at a press-conference after a government meeting on Tuesday, 28 January.

KNAB’s search at ABLV Bank related to laundering of 50 million euros

The search performed at ABLV Bank by Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau on Tuesday, 28 January, is related to the laundering of at least EUR 50 million between 2015 and 2018, as reported by the office of the prosecutor.

Aviation giant Airbus concedes to corruption investigators in France, UK and US

World’s largest airplane maker, European multinational has agreed to potentially very expensive settlements with bribery investigators in France, the UK and the US.

Latvian government sets term for Riga and Ventspils port board members – five years

On Tuesday, 28 January, Latvian government adopted amendments to the by-laws of Riga and Ventspils port management boards, setting the term at five years for port board members.

Delna: Latvia is not doing well with corruption prevention

For years Latvia’s position has stagnated in the Global Anti-Corruption Coalition Transparency International composed Corruption Perception Index because our country is not doing well with corruption prevention, said Society for Openness Delna director Liene Gātere in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Tuesday, 28 January.

In Estonian choice of child names, Western European names replace Russian ones

In Estonia, the lists of most popular child names in 2019 have shown changes in trends compared to the year 1989 as the popularity of Russian language names has lost ground to names associated with German and English-inspired ones.

Corruption watchdog performs search at liquidated ABLV Bank

On Tuesday, 28 January, Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau performed investigative activities at the liquidated ABLV Bank.

Ķirsis: the current Riga City Council should not be the ones to decide on 2020 budget

Considering to the shadow of corruption looming over the current composition of Riga City Council and their failures, they should not be the ones to approve the municipality’s budget for 2020, said opposition deputy Vilnis Ķirsis in an interview to TV3 programme 900 seconds.

Nausėda in Auschwitz: «We must identify the hate-inciting forces»

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the notorious death camp, where pointed to the need to « identify the hate-inciting forces», who can lead to devastating consequences.

Olainfarm: Olmafarm misleads society about alleged shareholder meeting

By reporting information about the shareholder meeting that allegedly took place Friday, 24 January, medicines manufacturer Olainfarm’s largest shareholder LLC Olmafarm council and board mislead society and ignore the ruling of the court, Olainfarm representatives say.

U.S. military plane crashes in Afghanistan

In eastern Afghanistan, a U.S. military plane has crashed. U.S. forces in the country and NATO alliance have not provided details on possible casualties and the cause of the crash.

Kariņš: location for VDD’s new building requires a discussion

A discussion is necessary about the chosen location for the new building of the State Security Service, says Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš.

Coronavirus reaches Germany; death toll exceeds 100

Germany is the second country in Europe, where a case of the new and dangerous coronavirus has been registered. Meanwhile, in China the number of victims has exceeded 100 people.

Patients owe Pauls Stradins hospital nearly EUR 0.7 million

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Swedbank: 27% of Latvian residents believe they are aware of tax benefits

Only every fourth Latvian resident believes they are fully aware of taxes and benefits applied to their wage, according to results of a study performed by Swedbank Institute of Finances.

On Auschwitz liberation anniversary, calls for memory of victims, survivors

In the former Auschwitz concentration camp, where 1.1 million people have been exterminated, a memorial event was held on Monday, January 27, to honour the camp’s liberation and its survivors.

Court maintains KNAB decision on Dienas Bizness’ penalty over hidden campaigning in force

Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court has decided to maintain the decision made by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau in relation to penalizing LLC Dienas Bizness for hidden political campaigning prior to 13th Saeima unchanged, as LTV was told by the court, writes public media portal

Baltic Express: transit situation would benefit from a change of Latvian Railway’s policy

It is possible to reduce the freight volume decline in Latvia by rapidly and significantly reducing Latvian Railway’s service prices, which is possible by improving the cost effectiveness of LDz operations, says Baltic Express board chairman Māris Bremze.

Minister: the state may have to invest in port terminals to secure freights

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In China, number of corona virus victims reaches 81, cases confirmed – 2 800

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Life in UK after Brexit day to stay the same for transition months

The United Kingdom will on Friday, January 31, begin its way out of the European Union. For the 11-month transition period, everyday is expected to stay the same as as British government negotiates an agreement on future relations with the bloc.

Officials avoid giving a clear answer in regards to state grants for Latvian Railway

State officials avoid giving a clear answer as whether or not Latvian Railway could end up in a situation when the company may require state budget assistance, as reported by LTV programme De Facto.

NBA star Bryant’s helicopter flew in poor weather conditions

The U.S. helicopter crash, which took the lives of NBA basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven other people, took place in conditions that the local police considered too dangerous for flying.

Economic Police may investigate Olainfarm’s council’s operations during Rebenoks’ term

Latvian State Police Economic Crimes Enforcement Unit may have commenced a criminal process over operations of pharmaceutical company Olainfarm’s council for the time when Pāvels Rebenoks and lawyer Mārtiņš Krieķis were in charge of it, as reported by TV3 programme Nekā personīga.

Weather in Latvia to remain warm and rich with precipitation in last days of January

Weather in Latvia will be dictated by several cyclones this week. This means rain, snow and wet snow. Wind will draw in from the south, making it so that air temperature at the end of January remains uncharacteristically high for the winter month, as reported by Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology.

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