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Saturday 21.09.2019 | Name days: Matīss, Modris, Mariss
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Week in Lithuania: Coalition expansion talks completed, Vilnius University up in global rankings

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Last week, four parliamentary parties continued coalition negotiations, two men were sentenced for spying for Russia, Government vowed to reduce shadow income in construction and car sale sectors.

Coalition negotiators complete talks, fail to agree on child benefit

Representatives of four parties in Lithuania, holding negotiations on a future ruling coalition, said on Thursday, June 20, they have completed their work, acknowledging, however, their failure to agree on the child benefit. The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance had demanded raising the child benefit to 100 euros per month per child, from 50 euros now, as of next year and increasing it further to 120 euros in 2021. The other parties argued the increase would strain the budget too much.  Families are now paid 50 euros per month per child and large families and parents raising disabled children get 70 euros.

Lithuanian court finds two people guilty of spying for Russia

A Lithuanian court has found two persons guilty of spying for Russia and issued them prison sentences of four years and nine months, a court spokesman said on Friday, June 21.One of the persons used to work at the Lithuanian Air Force’s Air Base in Siauliai, northern Lithuanian, until his detention, and the second had already retired. The court concluded that the two men, born in 1966 and 1961, used to hand over information to a Russian intelligence organisation it was interested in for remuneration and also had contact with representatives of this country’s intelligence organization.

Remains of Lithuania’s last partisan discovered

The remains of Antanas Kraujelis-Siaubūnas, Lithuania’s last partisan who was killed with a gun in his arms, have been found at the Orphans’ Cemetery in Vilnius, the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania announced on Wednesday, June 19. The identity of the partisan, killed in 1965, was confirmed through genetic tests. Archaeologists had been looking for his remains for several decades. The research was organised by the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania and led by Vilnius University archaeologist Gintautas Vėlius.

President vetoes law

Outgoing Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Thursday, June 20, vetoed a law which, in her opinion, might restrict citizens’ rights to have guns during an emergency situation or wartime. Adopted by the Lithuanian Seimas, the law states that guns and ammunitions can be temporarily taken or commandeered pursuant to the procedures and conditions defined by the laws on emergency situation and martial law.

Government vows to reduce shadow in various sectors

Lithuania’s government in principle backed plans on Wednesday, June 19, to make intermediaries declare cars’ sale-purchase agreements as early as next year and to also introduce centralised systems of car owners and marketplaces. The government-approved document sets the goal to reduce shadow economy in the construction sector as well as in the areas of sale of cars and their parts and meat products. The government estimates there are some 500-700 million euros in unaccounted money circulates in the construction sector. The share stands at around 151 million euros in the meat and meat product segment and 73 million euros in the car sale market.

Government backs EU plan to ensure net-zero emissions by 2050

Lithuania’s government on Wednesday, June 19, decided to join an initiative by other European countries to set a goal to transition to a climate-neutral economy by 2050, despite possible challenges for the country’s economy, Economy Minister Virginijus Sinkevičius warned, however, that such changes would hit industrial cities, like Jonava, Akmenė and Mažeikiai, the hardest.

Equal university admission criteria introduced

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday, June 19, put before the country’s parliament amendments on setting equal higher school admission requirements. Currently in Lithuania, different criteria apply to school-leavers for state-funded and non-funded studies. If lawmakers approve the proposed changes, school-leavers who would wish to enrol in higher education schools would have to pass 3 national-level maturity exams, including those of the Lithuanian language, mathematics and one optional exam, and an exception would be made for those wishing to study arts as they would not be required to take the mathematics exam. If approved, the changes would come into force in 2021.

Number of road traffic victims on a steep decline

 The number of road traffic victims in Lithuania has gone down at the fastest rate in the European Union, the country’s Transport Ministry said on Thursday, June 20. Figures from the European Transport Safety Council show the number of road traffic deaths dropped 75.9 per cent in 2001-2018 in Lithuania, the most among EU member states. It went down by 73.1 per cent in Latvia, followed by Slovenia and Spain (both 67.3 per cent), compared to the average EU drop of 54.5 per cent.

Vilnius University goes up in global ranking

Vilnius University has gone up by 30 position to the 458th place in the global QS World University Rankings 2020. Vilnius University holds the highest position among Lithuanian universities in the 500-university ranking, and is the only one to have improved its ranking. Vilnius Gediminas Technical University shares 591–600 places, compared to 581–590 last year. Kaunas University of Technology shares 751–800 positions, and Vytautas Magnus University remained in the same position for a third year running, sharing 801-1000 places.

Top prosecutor meets with president-elect

Lithuania’s Prosecutor General Evaldas Pašilis says he heard no criticism from President-elect Gitanas Nausėda during their meeting on Tuesday, June 18, but pledged to improve prosecutors’ selection procedures. The chief prosecutor said he heard the future president’s wish to depoliticise the prosecution system, and improving prosecutors’ selection procedures was one of the issues discussed during the meeting.

Farmers cannot expect drought compensation from EC

Lithuanian farmers who have incurred drought-related losses cannot expect compensation from the European Union, vice minister of Agriculture Venantas Griciūnas said on Wednesday, June 19. He did not answer the question on whether farmers could expect some sort of compensation from the national budget. The drought level was reached in three municipalities earlier this week. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture will compensate farmers for losses incurred due to drought in 2018, with 8.5 million euros allocated for that purpose.


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Competition Council permits sale of Bauskas Alus shares to CIDO Group

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Rimšēvičs: banks have five billion in Bank of Latvia; country’s economy could benefit

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EU confident new Russia-Ukraine gas deal coming, Ukraine critical

In long-term gas deal talks between Russia and Ukraine about Russian gas transit through Ukraine held in Brussels, the European Union has seen positive signs a new deal could be reached, while Ukraine has expressed readiness stop transit if needed.

Bank of Latvia downgrades GDP growth outlook to 2.5% for 2019

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August’s producer price level in industry down 0.1% in Latvia

Compared to July, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry dropped by 0.1 % in August 2019. Prices of products sold on the domestic market grew by 0.2 %, but prices of exported products reduced by 0.3 %.

Baltic Restaurants Latvia breached hygiene standards in Sigulda’s kindergartens

Catering service provider Baltic Restaurants Latvia did not follow personal hygiene standards and committed numerous violations for cleanliness and disinfection activities at kindergartens Ieviņa and Saulīte in Sigulda.

Riga Central Market becomes more accessible for disabled people

After taking into account complaints from residents, Riga Central Market’s Gastronomy Pavilion has been made more accessible for people with motor function disabilities and more convenient for sellers, said Prof. Baiba Rozentāle, chairperson of Riga City Council’s Social Affairs Committee.

Estonia in Atomic Agency’s management to look for small-state solutions

After Estonia’s first election to the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, its priorities in the body have been declared as development of technological solutions suitable for small countries for meeting climate objectives and the safe handling of radioactive waste.

Volume of imported petrol to Latvia down 6.7% in seven months

The volume of imported motor petrol to Latvia has declined 6.7% in the first seven months in 2019 when compared to the same period of 2018. The volume of imported diesel fuel has increased 0.1%.

Estonia criticises plan to link EU migrant relocation with financial penalties

As Italy is calling for the reshaping of the migration policy of the European Union, Estonian Interior Minister has voiced opposition to the plan and vowed not to take part in the first debate of the proposal about the centralised relocation of migrants.

RISEBA rector: when students «disappear» in the labour market and never return

The desire to become independent quickly and start earning money often outcompetes students’ desire to study, BNN was told by rector of Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration Irina Senņikova in a conversation about the unfinished education problem in Latvia.

Ryanair O’Leary’s option to earn EUR 99 million approved by 50.5% shareholders

In Europe’s largest airline Ryanair, shareholders have voted with 50.5% in favour of a new renumeration system for chief executive office Michael O’Leary. In case of very successful operations, it sets forth paying him 99 million euros in five years.

PVD: no more E. coli presence found at kindergartens in Sigulda

Investigation of the cause for E.coli spread in Sigulda has been performed to the maximum extent to prevent more infection cases, said Food and Veterinary Service’s director general Māris Balodis in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Friday, 20 September.

EU-South America trade deal unacceptable to Austria

The draft free trade agreement between the European Union and the largest trade bloc in South America, Mercosur, is set to be blocked by the Austrian government as legislators in Vienna believe it would have endangered rainforests and labour rights.

Weather to remain rainy and windy in Latvia

Cyclone activity will continue dictating weather conditions in Latvia on weekends. This means the sky will become clear only briefly, as reported by Latvian State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Sigulda municipality turns to police over infection cases in kindergartens

Sigulda municipality has turned to State Police to investigate the link between last week’s uncovered intestinal infection cases, including four infection cases involving salmonella bacteria, as confirmed by the municipality.

Latvian Saeima supports tighter mutual cooperation with USA in rights protection

On Thursday, 19 September, Saeima supported in the second and final reading a legislative draft, approving the September 2004 agreement for tighter cooperation between the Republic of Latvia and the United States of America for protection of rights.

Candidate: FCMC team should learn to work substantially, not formally

The team of Latvia’s Finance and Capital Market Commission should learn to work substantially, not formally, said the candidate for the post of chief of FCMC and Citadele Bank board member Santa Purgaile at a press –conference on Thursday, 19 September.

Lithuanian analysts on Russia-Belarus unification plan: actions louder than words

The announcement by Belarus and Russia this week of their entering into an economic confederacy by 2022 did not go unnoticed in Vilnius, which is courting the idea of recharging its dusty relations with Minsk. Is it just the Slavic countries’ new attempt to fulfil the endeavour?

Russia holds traditional holy man, who sought to drive out Putin

A Siberian shaman, who was on his way to Moscow, to «banish» Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been detained, Russian police has stated.

Costs for delivery of printed press to be compensated in Latvia

On Thursday, 19 September, Latvia’s Saeima supported in the second and final reading amendments to the Postal Law, which provide delivery of printed press under subscription in 2020 under the same rules and conditions that are in force now.

Saeima says state of emergency in Riga’s waste management sector is justified

Latvia’s Saeima has approved the decision made by the Cabinet of Ministers on declaring a state of emergency in Riga’s waste management sector.

Lithuanian PM’s lymhoma treatment met with solidarity by Health Minister

Lithuanian Health Minister has shaved his head expressing solidarity with Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, who is being treated against cancer.

Finance and Capital Market Commission applies a considerable fine on PrivatBank

Latvia’s Finance and Capital Market Commission has applied a fine of EUR 1.019 million on AS PrivatBank for violation of the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism and Proliferation Financing, as confirmed by FCMC Communication Office.

Estonia to pay tens of thousands to municipalities for military training grounds

300 000 euros – such is the sum the Estonian Defence Ministry has undertaken to pay every year to nine municipalities in the territory of which training grounds of the Estonian Defence forces are located.