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Week in Lithuania. 1,000 teachers trained in sexuality education

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About 1,000 teachers have been trained to provide sexuality education in Lithuanian schools, Vice Minister of Education and Science Grazvydas Kazakevicius says.

The teachers were trained to provide education based on a new program on health, sexuality education and family, which came into force last September. The preparation of the sexuality education program sparked controversy in Lithuania, especially on how children should be taught about sexual intercourse and contraception.

Lithuania expects Trump to stay firm on Russia

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius has told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Vilnius expects US President Donald Trump’s meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to reflect Washington’s principled stance toward Moscow. Linkevicius and Pompeo spoke by phone several hours on Thursday, June 28, after the public announcement of Trump’s planned meeting with Putin in Helsinki on July 16.

Seimas gives final backing to pension reform

The Seimas of Lithuania on Thursday, June 28, gave its final backing to a proposed pension reform, with 76 votes in favour of the amendments to the Law on The Accumulation of Pensions, five against and 8 abstentions. The amendments will stop the transfer of part of the social insurance SoDra’s contribution to private pension funds. They will also change the private pension accumulation formula and make the SoDra the only payer of pension annuities.

Lithuania mulls signing refugee return deal with Germany

Lithuania is considering signing a bilateral agreement with Germany on the return of refugees, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said on Thursday, June 28. According to diplomats, such a deal would step up procedures for the return of persons who were granted asylum in Lithuania but left for Germany. Over 20 refugees have been returned to Lithuania from Germany over the past year.

Minister signs JEF deal

Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis on Thursday, June 28, signed the agreement on the creation of the UK Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) during his visit to London. The UK-led JEF will consist of troops from nine NATO members and partner countries. According to the Ministry of National Defence, the JEF will follow NATO standards and procedures and be able to bolster other international high readiness forces and support UN, NATO and EU actions.

Lithuanian judge appointed to the EU Court of Justice

Irmantas Jarukaitis, a judge from the Lithuanian Chief Administrative Court, has been appointed to the Court of Justice of the European Union. He will assume the new duties on Oct. 7, Lithuania’s National Court Administration said. Jarukaitis has worked at the Lithuanian Chief Administrative Court since 2010, used to serve as its deputy chairman and acting chairman for two years.

Parliament adopts resolution on Abkhazia, South Ossetia

The Seimas of Lithuania on Thursday, June 28, unanimously adopted a resolution, reminding of the occupation of Georgia’s regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russia ten years ago. Adopted with 82 votes, the resolution used Georgia’s preferred name Sakartvelo, which was legalized in Lithuania as an alternative name for Georgia over a month ago. Tbilisi asked for the legalization of the authentic name, stating that Georgia is a Russian name.

Parliament legalises midwifery services in home births

The Lithuanian parliament has made it legal for professional midwives to attend to home births when there is no threat to the health of the mother and the newborn baby. The Seimas passed on Thursday, June 28, amendments to the Law on Nursing Practice and Midwifery Practice in a vote of 75 to four with 34 abstentions.

Parliament approves tobacco excise tax hike plan

The Lithuanian government backed on Thursday, June 28, the government’s proposal to raise excise tax rates for cigarettes and other tobacco products, including liquids used in e-cigarettes, and to subject nicotine free e-liquids to an excise duty starting next March. The Seimas approved the government’s three-year plan for increasing the excise duties by 6-14 percent in a vote of 100 to two with 18 abstentions. The excise rate hikes are expected to generate an estimated 11 million euros in additional budget revenue next year and another 10 million euros in 2020 and 2010 each.

Parliament greenlights OECD membership

The Seimas on Thursday, June 28, gave the green light for Lithuania to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD accession agreement was ratified with 111 votes in favour, none against and 1 abstention. Following the ratification, the accession agreement will have to be deposited with the French government. Colombia becomes an OECD member along with Lithuania.

Jasikevicius stays as BC Zalgiris Kaunas head coach

Sarunas Jasikevicius is staying as head coach of BC Zalgiris Kaunas for the next season, the club said on Wednesday, June 27. The coach last season led Zalgiris to win the Lithuanian Basketball League and to its third-place finish in the Euroleague. Jasikevicius declined an offer by the Toronto Raptors to join the NBA team as a coach.

Seimas votes to raise pay for soldiers

The Lithuanian parliament passed a law that provides for raising pay for soldiers in a unanimous vote on Wednesday, June 27. As proposed by the Defence Ministry, soldiers’ salaries will be increased by 10 percent this year and next year each and by another 5 percent in 2020. Around 83 million euros are to be allocated for this purpose over a four-year period.

Inter RAO Lithuania removes board chairwoman

Karina Tsurkan, a management board member at Russia’s energy giant Inter RAO who was last week arrested in Moscow on suspicions of spying for Romania, has been removed as chairwoman of the management board at Lithuania’s electricity supplier Inter RAO Lietuva.


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