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Monday 20.08.2018 | Name days: Bernhards, Boriss
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Week in Lithuania. Conservatives leader doesn't back proposal on Communist Party

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Gabrielius Landsbergis, leader of the Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats (HU-LCD), does not support a move by two conservative lawmakers to declare the Lithuanian Communist Party (LCP) a criminal organisation.

In his words, the enactment of such law would «sow» divisions at a time when society needs ideas that would unite, rally, bring hope and pave the way for the future.

The bill was tabled by two members of the HU-LCD political group in the Seimas, Audronius Ažubalis and Laurynas Kasčiūnas, who said they were seeking historical justice.

PM does not like anti-pollution plan

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis on Thursday, August 2, once again reiterated his government’s position that the anti-pollution plan, drafted by the Ministry of Environment, would not reach the government in its existing form.

Skvernelis also added that Environment Minister Kestutis Navickas knew the government’s position on taxing polluting cars. PM also reiterated the government’s position Thursday that a universal car tax in Lithuania is not on the table now.

PM got assurances from US congressmen

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis on Thursday, August 2, met with a delegation of American congressmen and says they assured him of support to Lithuania for ensuring security. In his words, the representatives of the US House of Representatives sent a clear message of support to Lithuania and a «certain signal to our neighbour».

Lithuania allocates funds for humanitarian aid

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Thursday, August 2, it had allocated 60,000 euros in humanitarian aid to Syria, Mali, Somalia and Guatemala.

Syria will be allocated 20,000 euros via the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mali and Somali will receive 15,000 euros each via the World Food Program, and Guatemala will receive 10,000 euros in humanitarian aid for victims of the volcano eruption.

Funds are allocated to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to contribute to the provision of humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees, with 5.6 million such people in the region, with almost half of them being children.

Remains of famous partisan Ivanauskas found

Archaeologists have found the remains of Lithuanian partisan Albinas Ivanauskas at the Orphans’ Cemetery in the Antakalnis area of Vilnius. They were found near the place where the remains of Lithuanian partisan commander Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas were discovered in June, the LNK TV channel reports.

Lab tests later confirmed the authenticity of Ivanauskas’ remains. He was executed by firing at the KGB prison in Vilnius in 1957.

Only one other tomb separated Ivanauskas’ burial site from the grave of Ramanauskas-Vanagas. The remains of Ramanauskas-Vanagas who fought against Soviet occupation were found in June.

Ministry moves for sanctions

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry on Thursday, August 2, called on the Migration Department to apply sanctions on people complicit in human rights violations in the occupied territories of Georgia.

The ministry’s proposal comes in the run-up to the 10th anniversary of the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia. The Georgian government in June announced sanctions against individuals under the so-called Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili list.

Lithuania’s Ermitažas buys Estonia’s Bauhof

Ermitažas, a retail chain of building materials and do-it-yourself and household products that is part of Vilniaus Prekyba, one of Lithuania’s biggest business groups, has acquired Estonia’s DIY chain Bauhof.

Ermi Group, a holding company that owns Ermitažas, has taken over control of 100 percent of shares in Estonia’s Bauhof Group from MyInvest Estonia, Ermitažas said. Ermitažas has six stores in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Siauliai, Jonava and Ukmergė.

Government approves change of ambassadors

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday, August 1, gave the go-ahead for the change of ambassadors to Poland, India and several other countries. Šarūnas Adomavičius will be recalled as ambassador to Poland on November 7 and will then retire. It is not known yet who will replace him.

The Cabinet approved the appointment of Julius Pranevičius as Lithuania’s ambassador to India on September 3, succeeding Laimonas Talat-Kelpša, who ended his term of office in April. Loreta Zakarevičienė is to be recalled as ambassador to Austria on October 10. A search for a new ambassador is still under way.

Vilnius launches «pillow tax» declaration system

Vilnius authorities on Wednesday, August 1, launched an online system for hotels and other accommodation providers for the declaration of the so called «pillow tax», or tourist fee. Businesses are being invited to register at turistorinkliava.vilnius.lt on Aug. 1-10 and declare their tax revenues for the past month and transfer the money into Vilnius Municipality’s bank account by Aug. 25.

Vilnius introduced the 1-euro-per-night fee in July, with exemptions for minors, schoolchildren and disabled people. A special exemption for larger tourist groups will be in place until the end of this year.

Ruling LFGU sees Skvernelis as only presidential candidate yet

The ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union sees Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis as their sole candidate in the upcoming presidential election and does not have any alternative candidates, Economy Minister Virginijus Sinkevičius, representing the LFGU, says.

The eventual candidate has to be confirmed by the party’s convention and its date has not been set yet. The latest public poll by Spinter Tyrimai showed in June that Skvernelis would came in fourth in the upcoming presidential election as 6.3 per cent would vote for him. Economist Gitanas Nauseda came out as the poll leader.

Long-standing HU-LCD MP Degutiene mulls retiring

Irena Degutienė, a long-standing member of the opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, does not plan to stand for election during the upcoming elections in Lithuania, and is also considering retiring from politics altogether.

Degutienė says she will not stand for election during the upcoming municipal and EP elections next year and will not run for the Lithuanian Seimas in 2020. Time has come for giving opportunities to the new generation, the MP said.


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Week in Lithuania. Probe finds no «drastic» EU differences in prices of non-food goods

A price comparison probe by Lithuania's Justice Ministry and the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority (SCRPA) has found no «drastic» differences in the prices of non-food goods in Lithuania and other EU countries. Justice Vice Minister Irma Gudžiūnaitė said that Eurostat's figures for 2017 show that the level of footwear and clothing prices in Lithuania makes 105 per cent of the EU average. The probe was carried out by the price comparison cite pricer.lt for the Justice Ministry and SCRPA. It compared 60 different non-good items in 12 EU countries on August 7.

BNN summary of the week: SRS searches for spotless reputation; MPC talks continue

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Progress; Change; Contest; Announcement; Future; Politicians.

Eurostat: Latvia had inflation rate higher than average in EU and Eurozone

In July, Latvia’s inflation rate was higher than the average in Europe and Eurozone, according to data published by Eurostat.

Presence of Latvian milk reduces, whereas presence of imported milk increases in Latvia

The proportion of milk produced in Latvia is starting to lose to imported milk, as concluded by Central Union of Latvian Dairy Farmers chairman Jānis Šolks.

Seven previously convicted candidates crossed from Saeima election lists

On Friday, 17 August, the Central Election Commission decided to cross out seven previously convicted deputy candidates. The decision regarding one more candidate has been postponed until the next meeting, as confirmed by the commission.

Aspiring prosecutors «drop out» in tests – half of contenders fail second stage of tests

Approximately half of aspiring prosecutor candidates has failed the second portion of tests for general and judicial knowledge.

Riga International Airport concludes first half-year with turnover increase of 13%

Riga International Airport concluded the first half-year of 2018 with turnover increase of 13% when compared to the same period of 2017, according to the airport’s unaudited and shortened account for the six-month period before 30 June 2018.

New tender announced for post of SRS director; first requirement – spotless reputation

Latvia’s State Chancellery has announced an open personnel selection process for the post of director of State Revenue Service. Application submission process will last until 14 September.

CEC to decide on four candidates’ possible relation to KGB

Latvia’s Central Election Commission has received results of investigations of all 13th Saeima election candidates from Interior Affairs Ministry’s Information Centre and Latvian Centre for the Documentation of the Consequences of Totalitarianism.

Concord will have to include bread distribution costs in kebab café in its pre-election expenditures

Political party Concord will have to include in its 13th Saeima pre-election campaign expenditures the money spent by one of its candidates on distributing bread to pensioners free of charge in a kebab café in Bolderāja, as reported by TV3 news.

Weekends expected to be warm and at times hot in Latvia

On Friday, 17 August, the sky will partially cloudy again in Latvia, but no major precipitation is expected. Fog may form is certain regions at night thanks to slow wind speed. Maximum air temperature is expected to be around +22° C… +26° C. Night-time air temperature will stay at +11° C… +16° C, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Latvia’s State Audit requests additional funding to invest in workers

State Audit has requested additional funds in next year’s budget to invest in employees, as head of the institution Elita Krūmiņa mentioned in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Nearly half of children born in Latvia in 2017 were delivered by mothers with higher education

20,828 children were born in Latvia in 2017. Almost half of them were born to mothers having higher education. Out of the total number of newborn children mothers, 7,229 or 34.7 % had acquired upper secondary general or vocational education and 2,775 or 13.3 % had basic education or lower.

«Steel Magnolia» named Lithuania's most influential politician for fourth consecutive year

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė, dubbed as «Steel Magnolia» by foreign press, remains the most influential politician in the country for the fourth consecutive year. In two separate polls, one by the popular ratings magazine Reitingai and the other by pollster Spinter Tyrimai, she appeared on top, being followed by Saulius Skvernelis, Prime Minister, Ramūnas Karbauskis, the leader of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), Valdas Adamkus, ex-president, and Vytautas Landsbergis, Lithuania's first post-independence leader.

Ex-director: Rundale Castle Museum should be managed with the same ideals as before

In the years to come Rundale Castle Museum should be managed with the same ideals as before, says the soon ex-director of the museum Imants Lancmanis, who intends to retire at the end of this year.

Star Rating determines the best schools in Latvia

According to the 2018 Star Rating, Riga State Gymnasium No.1 remains in the lead among Latvia’s schools. Daugavpils Russian Secondary School – Lyceum is second, and Riga State Gymnasium No.2 is third.

ABLV Bank assets worth EUR 21.052 million were recovered in July

Liquidators of ABLV Bank have recovered assets worth EUR 21.052 million in July. This includes EUR 11.602 million recovered from issued loans, EUR 7.644 million from recovered/sold securities, EUR 1,792 million from loans provided to credit institutions, and EUR 14,000 from sales of real estate and other types of property, according to the account published in Latvian Herald.

Concerns over Turkish crisis cause world stock market decline

Stock prices around the world took a massive dive on Wednesday, 15 August, as concerns over Turkish crisis’ possible influence and investors’ attempts to get rid of risky assets surfaced again.

Election commission receives word some candidates’ possible non-compliance with the law

Latvia’s Central Election Commission has received information regarding possible non-compliance of multiple deputy candidates with requirements of the Saeima Election Law, says CEC chairman Arnis Cimdars.

African swine fever found in domestic pigs in Saldus; inspectors investigate illness in Unguri

African swine fever has been found in domestic pigs in Saldus Country’s Zaņa Parish. The infection was found in four domestic pigs. It cannot be excluded that ASF may have entered SIA Druvas Unguri farm’s pig enclosure along with sawdust or cars, as reported by Food and Veterinary Service Public Relations Office manager Ilze Meistere.

Lithuania lays symbolic rail on restored Mažeiķi–Reņģe railway line

Lithuania’s Lietuvos geležinkeliai railway company’s director general Mantas Bartuška and Polish oil concern Orlen manager Daniel Obatjek laid a symbolic rail on the restored railway route connecting Orlen Lithuania owned Mažeiķi oil processing plant in Lithuania and Reņģi in Latvia this Tuesday, 14 August.

Unemployment level in Latvia down to 7.7% in Q2 2018

In Q2 2018 Latvian unemployment rate constituted 7.7 %. Compared to the previous quarter, unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points, while over the year it dropped by 1.2 percentage points.

Saeima approves stricter requirements for fast loans

On Tuesday, 14 August, Saeima’s Economic Committee supported in the second reading amendments to the Consumer Rights Protection Law. The legislative draft states that total loan costs that exceed 0.07% a day from the loan amount are unacceptable and non-compliant with good practice, as reported by Saeima press-service.

Noord Natie develops a new business niche – attracts cruise ships for Ventspils

The first of the cruise ships attracted from SIA Noord Natie Ventspils Terminals will arrive at Ventspils port this week. NNVT stresses that development of cruise business as a new product will help develop tourism in the city and region, as well as provide a contribution to economic development and raise recognition of NNVT terminal and the city.

Culture Ministry announces open contest for post of director of Rundale Castle Museum

Latvia’s Culture Ministry invites contenders to apply for participation in an open contest for the post of director of Rundale Castle Museum. Contenders can submit their applications before 14 September.

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