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Week in Lithuania: awards to Jew savers presented, majority in Seimas restored, Foreigner centre criticised

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Last week, the top events in Lithuanian politics and business were awards being presented to people, who saved Jews, the restoration of a majority in the legislature and the EBRD bank to pulling out from Lithuania’s Šiaulių Bankas.

EBRD to pull out from Lithuanian Bank

The European Bank for Co-operation and Development, which has invested almost 1 billion euros in Lithuania, has decided to withdraw from shareholders of Lithuania’s Šiaulių Bankas, but it plans to stay a Citadele shareholder for some time, Ian Brown, the EBRC head of the Baltics, said.

President bestowed awards on Jew savers

President Gitanas Nausėda on Friday, September 20, presented Life Saving Cross awards to people who saved Jewish from the Nazis’ genocide. All in all, 38 people will be awarded, with the majority of them posthumously. Their awards were presented to family members. The head of state dedicated these awards to the upcoming Day of Remembrance for Jewish Victims of Genocide in Lithuania, which will be marked on September 23. The Vilnius Ghetto was liquidated on that day.

Top court rejects Seimas opposition’s request on government approval

The Constitutional Court of Lithuania on Thursday, September 19, rejected the Seimas opposition’s request to rule whether the approval of the Saulius Skvernelis government after the president election did not run counter to the procedures embedded in the Constitution. The Court ruled that the lawmakers from the Homeland Union- Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD) provided only statements and considerations of abstract and contradictory nature, but did not provide their position and legal arguments.

EC okays cost cutting scheme for KLNG terminal

The European Commission on Thursday, September 19, endorsed the measures Lithuania plans to implement to reduce the annual maintenance costs of the Klaipeda-based LNG terminal, the country’s Energy Ministry said. It will allow making further necessary decisions on the reduction of payments for the LNG terminal beyond 2020 by 23-25 million euros a year, the ministry said.

Ruling block backs bid to ban flavoured e-cigarettes

Lithuania’s ruling parties back the opposition’s initiative to ban flavoured e-cigarettes, their representatives said on Thursday, September 19. Such flavours would be banned from July, with the initiative’s supporters claiming that cherry, vanilla or mint flavours make young people hooked on nicotine. Such a ban is already in place in Estonia, and Sweden plans to introduce it next year.

Majority restored in Lithuanian parliament

A majority was restored in the Seimas of Lithuania as of Thursday, September 19, after a newly-formed political group, «For Lithuania’s Welfare», signed a cooperation agreement with the ruling parties, Ramūnas Karbauskis, leader of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, said. The cooperation agreement was signed by the elders of the LFGU, the Social Democratic Labour Party and the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance. The four groups have 75 votes in the parliament.

Businesses call on President to improve public sector’s efficiency

Business associations called on President Gitanas Nausėda on Wednesday, September 18, to take measures to improve the efficiency of the public sector, saying that much of education and social security spending is inefficient. According to Danas Arlauskas, the director general of the Lithuanian Business Employers’ Confederation, representatives of business associations also informed Nausėda of their position that reinvestments should not be taxed.

German submarine moors in seaport of Klaipėda

A German Navy submarine moored in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda on Wednesday, September 18, the Defence Minister said. The U-31 submarine was escorted by the FGS Oste, another warship of the German Navy. The ship was welcomed by Deputy Defence Minister Vytautas Umbrasas who noted that Germany remains one of Lithuania’s key allies ensuring security across the Baltic Sea region.

Conservatives’ leader calls Ušackas decision regrettable

Gabrielius Landsbergis, the leader of the opposition Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats, says it is regrettable that Vygaudas Ušackas, a former long-time diplomat who has recently left the conservative party, chose to work at a multinational avia company ASG. On Tuesday, Ušackas took up his new position as a member of the board of directors at ASG responsible for overseeing and coordinating the group’s international relations and helping its investment teams to invest in new regions.

CNSD considers MP probe, removes impeachment bid

Lithuania’s parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence on Wednesday, September 18, edited the questions of the planned investigation into MP Irina Rozova’s ties with Russian diplomats and said it no longer planned to look into whether there’s sufficient evidence to launch impeachment proceedings.

Narvesen stores, Lietuvos Spauda kiosks start selling Bitcoins

Narvesen stores and Lietuvos Spauda kiosks launched this week the sale of Bitcoin vouchers that can be exchanged online into Bitcoins, one of the most popular cryptocurrencies. Narvesen stores and Lietuvos Spauda kiosks have been chosen for that purpose due to their wide network of stores, a positive attitude to cryptocurrencies, the necessary targeted audience and the possibility to buy vouchers swiftly, Rebiton, the startup behind Bitcoin vouchers, said in a statement.

Lithuania, Poland discus Belarus’ energy dependence

Lithuania and Poland are discussing projects that could help reduce Belarus’ energy dependence on Russia, Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Tuesday, September 17. Skvernelis said he discussed the issue with his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, who was visiting Vilnius on Tuesday. The prime minister did not name any specific projects, but mentioned that diversification of energy sources by using Lithuania’s infrastructure is under discussion.

Statue of poet-diplomat Oscar Milosz unveiled near Paris

 A statue of Lithuanian poet and diplomat Oscar Milosz (Oskaras Milašius in Lithuanian) has been unveiled in Fontainebleau, a town near Paris. The monument was unveiled in the garden of the town’s La Charite Royale cultural centre on Sunday, September 15, the Lithuanian embassy to France said.

Lithuanian foreigner centre in hot water

The staff of Lithuania’s detention centre for illegal migrants do not speak foreign languages, detained families with children are held behind bars and not all of the children living there attend school, an investigation has revealed. These and other violations, such as failure to offer Muslim inmates alternatives to pork-based meals, were identified in the Foreigners’ Registration Centre in Pabradė, close to Vilnius, this week by the Seimas’ Ombudsmen’s Office.


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Week in Lithuania: 5th person succumbs to COVID-19, court postpones January 13 case hearing, new ambassadors appointed

Last week, in Lithuania, the President urged EU leaders to be tougher on COVID-19 after the fifth person in Lithuania died from COVID-19. In other news, Senukai retail chain was cleared by Competition watchdog and a court postponed the hearing of the January 13 case.

BNN summary of the week: Muižnieks reinstated as rector. Friendly fuel prices

BNN gives you a summary of the key events of the past week, told in news stories of the following topics: State of Emergency, Post, Outlook, Solutions, Opinion and Price decline.

1 500 people have returned to Latvia since the beginning of state of emergency

After 27 March, no repatriation flights are planned for Latvian citizens unless it is an emergency, as confirmed by Latvian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s press-secretary Jānis Beķeris.

Covid-19 infection confirmed for a doctor of Rēzekne Hospital

Covid-19 infection has been confirmed for a doctor of Rēzekne Hospital, as reported by Disease Prevention and Monitoring Centre. The centre received this information on Thursday, 26 March. SPKC notes the infected doctor has been provided with recommendations for preventive measures.

Europol warns about rapid crime rate increase during coronavirus pandemic

During the coronavirus pandemic there has been an increase with crime rates, as criminals and criminal organizations quickly adapt their methods, as reported by Europol on Friday, 27 March.

Experts explain | don’t buy into internet offers of slimming pills – they don’t exist!

The healthy lifestyle cult has become more popular in recent years. This tendency has opened the way for greedy snake oil salesmen to get rich at the expense of people who want to become slim, especially now, when residents stay home and want to stay in good shape without exercising.

Estonia orders protective equipment from China for 10 million euros

Estonia has ordered from a company in China antiviral protection and medial equipment worth more than 10 million euros. Tallinn explained supplies could not be ordered in Europe right now, Estonian public broadcaster ERR reported.

Electricity price reduces for households in Latvia

From Q4 2019 onward the price of electricity has reduced, according to the latest market data from the Public Utilities Commission. Prices benefit from warm weather and recovery of water reserves, which allows increasing the power production output at hydroelectric power stations.

Latest Covid-19 data for Baltics. 280 in Latvia, 344 in Lithuania, 575 in Estonia

The number of Covid-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 280, which means this country has the lowest number of infection cases among the three Baltic States. Lithuanian media report 344 infection cases.

BNN asks | expert speaks about the «panic» over coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

I would like to explain to readers that the word panic may not be the best description for the general mood that has increased in many parts of the world, including Latvia, in the past several weeks because of the new coronavirus.

EU states agree to overcome virus outbreak and economic crisis together

The EU heads of member states and governments have agreed in a distance meeting to fight the virus outbreak in the territory of the bloc with joint efforts, ensuring the supply of medical equipment and funding the development of a vaccine, the EU European Council sated in a press release.

Workers from all industries eligible for idleness benefits in Latvia

After meeting certain criteria, workers from companies working in all industries will become eligible for idleness benefits, as provided by Latvian Cabinet of Ministers supported rules developed by Economy Ministry for support of companies affected by Covid-19.

US surpasses China with largest number of coronavirus infections

In the US, the world’s largest number of confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus has been registered, surpassing the official data of China, American news agency Associated Press reports.

Rules for public transport bus use change in Latvia to limit Covid-19 spread

Latvian municipalities are urged to consider the option to abolish public transport discounts and benefits for certain groups to reduce the risk of people from risk groups getting infected, as well as to more accurately organize the flow of passengers, according to a Twitter post by Latvian Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits.

Latvian government approves Indriķis Muižnieks as rector of University of Latvia

On Thursday, 26 March, Latvia’s government decided without any discussions to approve Indriķis Muižnieks as the rector of University of Latvia.

Bank of Latvia expects country’s GDP to drop 6.5% this year

For 2020 the Bank of Latvia predicts GDP decline of 6.5%. Annual average inflation is estimated at 0.5%, the bank reports.

Lithuania sees upsides to the coronavirus scourge too!

It goes without words – Lithuania, as the rest of the world, has been hit hard by the spreading coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic, with the aftermaths of the crisis being likened to 2008-2010 economic crunch. The jobless rate soared 30 per cent during quarantine, year-on-year, over 60 thousand Lithuanians took sick leave. With the dire forecasts that the coronavirus patient toll in the country will peak to nearly 7 thousand cases by May 1, local economy pundits have dramatically worsened this week prognosis for GDP contraction this year.

Vaidere: Latvia to have access to nearly EUR 800 million from EU to battle Covid-19

Latvia will be able to use nearly EUR 800 million from the European Union budget to battle consequences from Covid-19 both in healthcare and the economy, says Latvian MEP Inese Vaidere.

New Zealand accused of Christchurch attacks pleads guilty

In the New Zealand criminal case into the terror attacks in the city Christchurch, where 51 people were killed in 2019, the accused man has pleaded guilty in all charges, British news portal The Guardian reports.

Covid-19 update in Baltics: 244 in Latvia, 290 in Lithuania and 538 in Estonia

The number of confirmed Covid-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 244. Lithuanian media, meanwhile, report 290 confirmed infection cases and four deaths caused by complications from the virus.

Youth Song Celebration in Latvia may be postponed to later in summer

The upcoming XII Latvian Youth Song and Dance Celebration may be postponed to a later date this summer. Worst case scenario – it may be postponed to 2021, according to information published on nacgavilet.lv.

Estonian care home finds two cases of COVID-19, despite isolation rules

In Estonia, two clients of a care home in the Saaremaa Island have been tested positive for the new coronavirus, despite a ban on visits being in place since mid-March, the Estonian Health Board stated on Thursday, March 26.

Minister on support of culture and mass media: no one will be forgotten

No one working in the culture and mass media industry will be forgotten during Covid-19 crisis, Latvian Culture Minister promised in an interview to Latvijas Radio in the morning of Thursday, 26 March.

Lithuania to keep quarantine in place until April 13

Lithuanian government has decided to extend the period of quarantine period until April 13, to fight the outbreak of COVID-19. It also advised wearing masks for mouth and nose protection recommended in public areas, according to an official statement by the government.

First months of Covid-19 have had no visible effect on Latvia’s state budget

In the first two months of the Covid-19 pandemic its effect on the state budget was not yet felt, as reported by Latvia’s Finance Ministry.


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