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Ceturtdiena 20.02.2020 | Name days: Smuidra, Vitauts, Smuidris

BNN summary of the week: Waiting for new Culture Minister; Misleading by Supreme Court chair; bank watchdog overhaul

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

In the past week in Latvia, changes were announced in the Financial and Capital Market Commission, which will have new a management and duties. A substitute has been proposed for Dace Melbārde as the Latvian Culture Minister after her election to the European Parliament. The conservatives have picked Nauris Puntulis, an opera singer and current Riga City councillor, for the post. The candidate gave an interview to BNN on his priorities in the post.

Meanwhile, the Estonian parliament has come to the conclusion that local people should rather buy alcohol in their home country than head to neighbouring Latvia. To this goal, Estonian legislators have decided in the final reading to cut the alcohol excise tax rate by 25%.

The Lithuanian President-Elect Gitanas Nausėda, in turn, has in the past week spoken much about the problem of social exclusion and income inequality in his country.

BNN offers you a summary of the most relevant developments of the week, including topics such as Change, Plan, Price battle, Rights, Position, Development, Arguments and Support.

CHANGE:

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

Approved: Latvian financial watchdog to have new management, more duties

The Latvian parliament has passed amendments to the Law of the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) aimed at strengthening the prevention of money laundering and terrorism funding in the financial and capital market.

The amendments passed by the Latvian Saeima in their final reading on Thursday, June 13, expand the functions of the Latvian financial and capital watchdog and set the institution an additional goal of the prevention of the legalisation of illegally obtained funds, as well as the prevention of the funding of terrorism and proliferation.

The changes – maintaining the current goal of the operations of the FCMC of ensuring financial stability and the oversight of the financial and capital market players – had been proposed to prevent the possibility to use the Latvian financial sector for the money laundering and for the financing of terrorism.

Read the full article here.

 

PLAN:

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

Lithuania’s next President set to take bull by horns in tackling poverty

Lithuania’s president-elect Gitanas Nausėda has touched one issue – social exclusion and high level of income inequality in Lithuanian society – a lot more than all the others.

But can Nausėda, economist by profession, blur the gaping gap between the rich and the poor? Can he find a common ground with the ruling coalition in tackling poverty?

BNN spoke to a number of Lithuanian analysts observing every move of the new state-of-head.

Read the full article here.

 

PRICE BATTLE:

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

Estonia confirms alcohol excise U-turn to recover beer tourists from Latvia

As Estonia tries to recover its alcohol customers lost to neighbouring Latvia due to high excise duty, the parliament in Tallinn has passed a 25% cut in excise duty rate.

Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports that the bill was passed on Thursday, June 13, in the Riigikogu by landslide.

In the final reading, the bill was passed by 70-9 MP in favour backing the cutting of the alcohol excise duty rates for beer, cider and hard liquor by 25% beginning July 1.

Read the full article here.

 

RIGHTS:

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU
Latvian parliament in no rush to discuss Jewish restitution payment of EUR 40 mln

The Latvian Saeima has postponed the discussion of a draft law to compensate the Latvian Jewish community in the amount of 40 million euros for property confiscated by totalitarian powers in the mid-20th century in the then occupied Latvia.

The parliament voted on Thursday, June 13, against putting on the Saeima agenda the draft law On the Good Will Compensation to the Latvian Jewish Community for Real Estate Illegally Confiscated during Holocaust and Communist Totalitarian Regime.

Read the full article here.

 

POSITION:

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU
Rock and opera singer nominated for Latvian Culture Minister

Latvian rock and opera singer Nauris Puntulis has been picked by the National Alliance as it looks for a new Culture Minister following the current minister’s election to the European Parliament, LETA news agency reports.

The National Alliance, which in the Latvian government is responsible for the area of culture, explained after a party board meeting that there had been tough competition for the nomination to the position.

The chairman of the party, Raivis Dzintars, explained to reporters that the candidacy of Puntulis is good as he is a long-time party member, a very experienced culture worker and is familiar with the work of the Latvian Ministry of Culture. The candidate has been employed as an adviser in the ministry.

Read the full article here and read the BNN exclusive interview with Nauris Puntulis here.

 

DEVELOPMENT:

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

Latvian State Auditor Elita Krūmiņa

Damage recovery rights planned for Latvian State Audit

A Latvian Saeima committee approved on Wednesday, June 12, amendments to the State Audit Law to grant the institutional watchdog rights to recover damages from responsible persons over violations of law found during inspections.

The draft amendments have been passed in their final reading on Wednesday by the Saeima Public Administration and Local Government Committee.

The changes set forth: if unlawful actions, which have caused damages to the state, are found during inspections, then the State Audit (VK) has the right to launch against the guilty public officials the proceedings of damage recovery.

Read the full article here.

 

ARGUMENTS:

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

Chairman of the Latvian Supreme Court Ivars Bičkovičs

Latvian Supreme Court chairman blamed for misleading PM over new court

Latvian Supreme Court chairman Ivars Bičkovičs has misrepresented to the Prime Minister the opinion of the Justice Council on the plan of a new economic cases’ court, says Latvian Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns.

The Latvian Justice Council, which is headed by Supreme Court chairman Ivars Bičkovičs, decided in its meeting of June 3 not to support the proposal of Justice Minister Bordāns to introduce a new court specialised in commercial disputes and financial and economic crime cases. Two members of the council voted in favour of the establishment of the new court, while nine members were against it.

The Justice Council then sent a letter to Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) and the Saeima, expressing a critical view of the plan, reasoning that the vision of the economic cases’ court lacks adequate analysis of causes of problems and their consequences.

Read the full article here.

 

SUPPORT:

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

Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis

Latvia nominates ex-PM Dombrovskis to European Commission again

The Latvian Cabinet of Ministers decided on Tuesday to nominate former Latvian Prime Minister and current Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis to continue as the representative of Latvia in the institution.

In a government sitting on Tuesday, June 11, ministers supported the draft order stipulating the nomination of Dombrovskis from the New Unity party alliance.

The candidate, who is the current European Commission Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, said to reporters on Tuesday that he would like to continue working with financial and economic affairs in the executive body of the European Union.

Read the full article here.


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Highest volume of harvested grains recorded in Latvia’s history in 2019

In 2019 the highest harvested production of grain was recorded – 3.2 million tonnes, which is 1.1 million tonnes or 1.5 times more than a year ago.

Denmark cancels Misāne’s extradition to SAR in favour of extradition to Latvia

On Thursday, 20 February, the Danish court approved the decision of the Danish office of the prosecutor to cancel Latvian citizen Kristīne Misāne’s extradition to the South African Republic. On top of that, the Danish office of the prosecutor has also decided to extradite the woman to Latvia instead, as reported by Ritzau.

Warmest winter anyone can remember is wreaking havoc on Lithuania’s nature and store shelves

This winter, so abnormally warm in Lithuania, is bewildering everyone and is wreaking havoc both in the nature and on the store shelves.

Finnish court acquits Baltic online alcohol seller over tax evasion

A court in Finland has delivered a not guilty ruling in a case, where a man had been charged with tax evasion over the online sale of alcohol to Finns in Latvia and Estonia, using online platforms, Finnish broadcaster YLE reports.

Latvian Saeima committee to consider initiative to establish a park at former Marss cycling track

On Thursday, 20 February, the Saeima decided to submit the collective initiative on establishing a part on the territory of the former cycling track Marss to the parliament’s National Security Committee for review, BNN was told by Saeima’s press-service.

Ruling in Maxima tragedy criminal case to be appealed

Riga City Pārdaugava Court’s ruling in the Maxima tragedy criminal case will definitely be appealed, said senior prosecutor Aivars Ostapko in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Thursday, 20 February.

Proposal voiced to deny Aivars Lembergs the option to enter the Saeima

A proposal has been voiced to deny suspended Ventspils mayor Aivars Lembergs, who is accused of committing serious crimes and is added to the list of sanctions of USA, the right to participate in Saeima’s activities, according to information from LTV.

Latvian police liquidates fake news site www.aumytests.net. Employee detained

Latvian State Police has detained a 2001-born young man for reporting fake news, BNN was informed by police.

Cyber security drill held by Estonia in NATO Parliamentary Assembly

In Brussels, during the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Estonian experts have held a strategic cyber drill, where member state legislators have been asked to look for solutions in a simulated cyber incident, ERR reports.

Turkey warns of military operation in Syria to stop government-Russian forces

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated that Turkey’s offensive in north-eastern Syria could start at any moment with the aim of stopping an offensive of the Syrian government and Russian forces on opposition-controlled territory, BBC reports.

Riga Zoological Garden board members Līdaka and Morozovs laid off

Both Riga National Zoological Garden’s chairman of the board Ingmārs Līdaka and board member Andris Morozovs have been fired from their respective posts, as confirmed by Līdaka.

Enterprise Register decides KPV LV party’s February meeting had no decision-making authority

Latvia’s Enterprise Register has decided the 8 February repeated meeting of KPV LV members had no decision-making authority. This is why the Enterprise Register has set a term for prevention of problems or organization of a new meeting.

Germany hit by tragic shootings in bars; suspect found lifeless

In Germany, eight people have been killed and five injured in two shootings in the city of Hanau. Police have found the suspect dead at his residential address, DW reports.

Ķuzis’ friendship with KGB official is no problem to run with New Unity in elections

Ex-chief of Latvian State Police Ints Ķuzis has joined New Unity and intends to run in the upcoming snap elections in Riga, as BNN was informed by the party.

Kristīne Misāne’s representatives say her extradition is temporarily halted

The extradition of Latvian citizen Kristīne Misāne, who is accused of kidnapping her own child, to the South African Republic has been temporarily halted, as Delfi TV ar Jānis Domburs was told by the woman’s sister Mārīte Batraka.

Estonian wind farm land sold for EUR 51.4 million

In Estonia, the auction of a 160-hectare plot of land intended for the erection of wind turbines, has been won by Estonian energy giant Eesti Energia, which offered the price of 51.5 million euros, ERR reports.

Citskovskis: around 3 000 people have left state administration in Latvia in three years

Over the course of three years the number of people employed in Latvia’s state administration has reduced by 3 000 people, as reported by State Chancellery director Jānis Citskovskis at a meeting of Saeima’s Public Administration and Local Government Committee on Wednesday, 19 February.

European Central Bank annuls PNB Bank’s license

The European Central Bank has made a decision to liquidate PNB Bank’s license, as confirmed by Latvia’s Finance and Capital Market Commission.

Number of births in Latvia has increased in January since last year

Over the past four years, birth number is declining, however during the year there are months when greater birth number is registered. Provisional data of the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia show that 1.6 thousand newborns were registered in January 2020, which is 5 % more than in the corresponding month a year ago.

133 jobs in welfare liquidated in Latvia last year

A total of 133 jobs were liquidated in Latvia’s welfare sector last year. This was done to reduce and optimize institutions and administration in this sector, as confirmed by Welfare Minister’s advisor Liesma Kalve.

Latvia needs almost 300 million euros to afford Rail Baltica

The funding Latvia needs to implement Rail Baltica project is EUR 297 620 500. This includes EUR 242 385 425 from the Connecting Europe Facility and EUR 55 235 075 from the state co-financing, as reported by Transport Ministry’s communication office.

Spanish government approves digital tax, but waits for OECD deal

As European Union member states seek to tax the profitable business of tech giants, Spanish government has passed a digital services tax, which could affect such US companies as Facebook and Google, according to The Guardian.

Estonian police finds potentially fatal substances added to illegal drugs

In Estonia, the police have informed the society about finding rat poison and washing powder in illegal drugs, ERR reports.

Kariņš: it is blatant we’ve had to wait for so long for a ruling in Maxima tragedy case

It is blatant that we have had to wait for more than six years between the Maxima tragedy and a ruling in the criminal case, said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama on 19 February.

Latvian government takes over National Opera building

The government has decided to take over the Latvian National Opera and Ballet building and hand it over to Culture Ministry for management, as reported by the ministry’s representative Lita Kokale.

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