Latviski English По-русски
Wednesday 19.06.2019 | Name days: Nils, Viktors

Week in Lithuania: PM clears no-confidence vote, top Court slaps LFGU, councillor fined for slander

(No Ratings Yet)

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

Last week, Lithuania suffered upset in 2019 Eurovision Song Contest; PM Saulius Skvernelis survived a vote of no-confidence by the ruling LFGU; the Constitutional Court ruled that the Seimas breached law in dealing with public broadcaster LRT.

POLITICS: PM survives party’s confidence vote

PM Saulius Skvernelis survived on Tuesday, May 14, a vote of no-confidence by the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union’s (LFGU) political group in the Seimas, and the LFGU group has also changed its position and wants to stay in the ruling majority. During a secret ballot on Tuesday night, all 46 group members who attended the meeting voted in favour to express confidence in the prime minister. The prime minister himself had asked for such a vote and he did not take part in it.

Ruling party mulls changing general election date

The ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU) is to propose to change the date of parliamentary elections for earlier after the country elects its new president, the ruling party’s leader said on Thursday, May 16. Karbauskis did not rule out the possibility of holding an early parliamentary election next spring.

Seimas speaker does not abandon dual citizenship bid

Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, called on Wednesday, May 15, for continued efforts to amend the Constitution to allow dual citizenship to more Lithuanians. Pranckietis described Sunday’s referendum as a successful initiative, even though it did not cross the required threshold of «yes» votes to pass the amendment. The referendum met the required turnout threshold, but fell around 300,000 «yes» votes short of adopting the amendment.

INVESTIGATION: Seimas LRT probe panel breached Constitution

The ruling LFGU-orchestrated Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania breached the country’s Constitution when it established a special commission to investigate activity of the public broadcaster LRT, the Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday, May 16. The Court said such a commission’s establishment violated the Constitution’s article on the freedom of speech and the LRT’s independence from politicians.

FINANCE: Central bank chief survives no-confidence vote

The Lithuanian parliament did not pass a resolution expressing no-confidence in the central bank governor, Vitas Vasiliauskas, on Tuesday, May 14. Forty-seven MPs supported the no-confidence motion, 51 voted against and one abstained.

JUSTICE: Councillor fined for defamation of partisan leader

A Klaipeda court imposed on Tuesday, May 14, a fine of 12,000 euros on Viačeslav Titov, a local politician, for the defamation of the memory of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, one of the leaders of Lithuania’s anti-Soviet partisan resistance. The Klaipeda District Court found Titov guilty of incitement to hatred, denial of Soviet crimes and the defamation of the memory of a deceased person, Olga Sadovskaja.

Prosecutors dismiss allegations about pressure on CIA prison probe

Public allegations that prosecutors or politicians exerted influence or pressure on an investigation into secret CIA prisons are unfounded, the Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office said on Wednesday, May 15. The office said it had refused to open a probe into the statements after checking information and questioning a person indicated by Julius Rėksnys, a prosecutor who aired these allegations in the media.

MEDIA: Lietuvos Rytas daily to be issued 3 times per week

Lithuanian company Lietuvos Rytas, operating one of the largest media groups in the country, plans to issue its daily newspaper with the same name three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, as of next year, the news website reported. Several independent sources told the website the decision had been made already and would be announced with the launch of the 2020 subscription. Now the daily comes out five times per week.

President removes journalist from state awardee list

President Dalia Grybauskaite has removed Šarūnas Černiauskas, an investigative journalist who was sacked from the online news site last week, from the state awardee list, her press service said on Thursday, May 16. Černiauskas, who received the Medal of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas in February 2018, was removed from the list for discrediting the name of an awardee, it said. 15min said on Wednesday it had sent information on Černiauskas’ private information collection activity to law-enforcement officials.

BUSINESS: Lithuania’s PIS scheme was flawed

Lithuania’s public interest services (PIS) scheme that was in force in 2014 contained elements of state aid and distorted or threatened to distort competition, the EU Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday, May 15. The judgement is important for the fertilizer manufacturers Achema and Lifosa and the Orlen Lietuva crude refinery. The companies turned to courts over the PIS financing mechanism to challenge the requirement that businesses generating electricity for their needs should pay for public interest services.

Lithuania posts EU’s largest increase in new car sales

New car sales in Lithuania grew at the fastest rate in the European Union in the first four months of 2019, according to figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA). New passenger car registrations in Lithuania soared to 14,700 in January through April, up 53 percent from 9,610 a year-ago.

Refinery returns two shipments of tainted Russian crude

Polish-owned Lithuanian crude refiner Orlen Lietuva has returned two shipments of Russian oil contaminated with chlorine compounds, the business daily Verslo Žinios reported on Thursday, May 16. Orlen Lietuva says the tainted oil was not unloaded from the tankers at its Būtingė terminal and did not reach the Mažeikiai crude refinery in northwestern Lithuania.

ENTERTAINMENT: Lithuania fails to make it to Eurovision final

Lithuania’s Eurovision entry, Jurijus Veklenko, has failed to make it to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest.  The 28-year-old with his song «Run with the Lions» did not get through Thursday’s second semi-final in Tel Aviv. Last year, Lithuania’s Ieva Zasimauskaitė qualified for the final and finished in 12th place. The country’s best-ever Eurovision finish came in 2006 when LT United with their song «We are the Winners» placed sixth in Athens.

Leave a reply

Pay cut to major Latvian port board members approved by government

The salary of the board members of major Latvian ports has been cut by a quarter in a decision by the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers.

Nordea bank searched in Denmark over money laundering allegations

The Danish offices of the Scandinavian Nordea Bank have been searched by police as a probe in alleged money laundering is being conducted, Bloomberg reports.

Fire Service: Violations in new Ventspils music school prevented

In the newly-built Ventspils Musical High School and concert hall Latvija, which had problems with fire safety, the Latvian State and Fire Rescue Service has found in a repeated inspection that the violations have been fixed.

UN: 2.2 billion people globally still lack safe drinking water

A report by the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organisation has found in study that 1 in 3 people or 2.2 billion people around the world lack safely-managed drinking water, while 673 million people practice open defecation.

Key owner of pharmaceutical giant Olainfarm changes board member over distrust

In Olmafarm, the largest owner of the Latvian pharmaceutical giant Olainfarm, changes in the management board have taken place over no-confidence, according to a decision of the majority of the co-heirs of Olmafarm seen by LETA news agency.

Lithuanian experts: No way of stopping coming nuclear power plant of Belarus

Options that could stop the building of a nuclear power plant in Belarus have been exhausted, experts in neighbouring Lithuania have said to its public media.

Latvia pushing for joint stance of Baltic-Nordic MPs on security policy

Ahead of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe, it is key for the legislators of the eight Baltic-Nordic states to have a common position on security policy, said MP Inese Ikstena, head of the Latvian delegation.

Latvian coalition undertakes to rise teacher salaries over reform

Recognising that education reforms in Latvia have been initiated, the ruling coalition has pledged to pass the decision to allocate funds to rising teacher salaries, as indicated by Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš. Kariņš stated that the coalition parties have established that «reforms envisaged by Minister of Education Ilga Šupilinska have been initiated».

Latvian Enterprise Register: Companies not revealing true beneficiaries to be wound up

Once changes to the Latvian Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing are signed by State President, the Enterprise Register will be tasked with winding up legal entities not revealing their true beneficiaries.

Latvian PM: If Estonia breaks deal on alcohol excise, we’re forced to respond

If Estonia has broken a deal with Latvia on alcohol excise tax, then Latvia is left to no choice, but to respond with a corresponding cut in excise, said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš.

Never too late to marry – elderly marriages jump in Latvia

Over the year 2018 in Latvia, the total number of marriages fell by 0.7 %, the number of marriages concluded by elderly population grew 1.7 times, data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia showed.

Eesti Energia suggests introducing customs tax to cheap Russian power

Estonian state energy firm Eesti Energia has proposed introducing a customs tax to electricity imported by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania from Russia.

Social care centre in Latvia blamed for severe human rights violations

Latvian Ombudsman’s Office has found severe human rights violations in the social care centre Ezerkrasti and accused the institution of not complying with recommendations to it. Ezerkrasti is a branch of the state social care centre Riga, located outside the Latvian capital.

Unmarried couples’ law to be proposed in Latvia

In the Latvian Saeima, this week, a draft Law on Unmarried couples would be proposed by the party alliance Attīstībai/Par!.

Glass fibre maker Valmieras stikla šķiedra files for legal protection

Latvia-based glass fibre maker AS Valmieras stikla šķiedra has on Monday, June 17, announced filing for the start of legal protection proceedings aimed at ensuring sustainable continuation of group level operations.

Summer solstice week to be warm-to-hot in Latvia

As Latvia readies for the traditional summer solstice and Līgo festivities in the weekend, meteorologists expect the beginning of the week to be warm and sunny, whereas in the second half of the week, temperatures could rise and rain could set in.

Trees worth two hundred thousand euros disappear in Latvian border works

Developing the Latvia-Russia border, in eastern Latvia, a protected natural territory has been destroyed and timber worth over two hundred thousand euros has disappeared, reported Nekā Personīga programme of TV3 channel.

Latvian MPs request Supreme Court to evaluate Prosecutor General Kalnmeiers

Latvian legislators have asked the Latvian Supreme Court to evaluate consistency of the work of Prosecutor Ēriks Kalnmeiers with his post over inactivity in money laundering prevention and other shortcomings.

Gynaecologists in Germany fined advertising abortions

A court in Berlin has found two gynaecologists guilty of advertising how they carry out abortions in their clinic, fining them two thousand euros each. A pair of anti-abortion campaigners had reported the gynaecologists' website ad to German prosecutors.

Week in Lithuania: MP Gražulis in hot water, heat-related water supply disruptions in Kaunas

Last week, Lithuania marked the Day of Mourning and Hope, outgoing president Dalia Grybauskaite delivered her last annual address, president-elect Gitanas Nausėda spoke out against taxing owners of old polluting car, but MP Petras Gražulis suspected of bribery.

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

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.

IN PICTURES: Victims of Communist genocide remembered in Latvia

At the Freedom Monument in Latvia on Friday, June 14, there was held a ceremony to honour the victims of the Communist genocide against the people of Latvia. The mass arrests of innocent people were committed on the night from June 13 to 14.

Moscow sees U.S. decision of another thousand troops to Poland as sensitive

The Russian government stated the Russian army was closely tracking U.S. plans to send an additional thousand of its troops Poland as a deputy minister criticised the move as probably «aggressive».

Europol: Risks of Russian money laundering still exist in Baltics

In the Baltic states, there still exist risks for the laundering of money from Russia, said official from European police agency Europol, Pedro Felicio, who works on anti-money laundering measures in the body. He added that the problem is amplified by «zero cooperation from the side of Russia».

Data: 47.3% Latvian restaurants had tax debt over last six months

47.3% of Latvian restaurants and cafes had a tax debt exceeding 150 euros in the past six months, yet the total taxes paid by the sector have surged by 19.87% on year, data by business database Lursoft showed.