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Tuesday 19.03.2019 | Name days: Jāzeps

Week in Lithuania. Georgia, Lithuania to cooperate in cyber security

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

Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė (right) and Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili

Lithuania and Georgia plan to cooperate in the area of cyber security by sharing experience and exchanging information about threats and incidents.

A corresponding bilateral declaration of intent has been signed by Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė and visiting Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili during their visit to the National Cyber Security Centre in Vilnius on Friday, March 8.

Parliamentary committee opines on date of dual citizenship referendum

The Lithuanian parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs is suggesting holding dual citizenship referendum on May 12. On Wednesday, March 6, the committee decided to register such a proposal after debating the Constitutional Court’s recent ruling that a referendum must be held one day. Earlier, the Seimas wanted to hold the dual citizenship on two separate days two weeks apart, alongside the first and second rounds of voting in the upcoming presidential election, but the Constitutional Court ruled such plans unconstitutional.

On May 12, the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union is also organising a referendum on cutting the number of lawmakers from 141 to 121.

PM signs letter to Belarusian counterpart

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis on Thursday, March 7, signed a letter to his Belarusian counterpart Sergey Rumas, containing his proposal to convert its almost-complete Astravyets nuclear power plant into a natural gas-fuelled combined heat and power plant which could be supplied with gas via the LNG terminal in Lithuania’s western port of Klaipėda and a planned Lithuanian-Polish gas link.

Minister wants more attention to social services

Lithuanian Social Security and Labour Minister Linas Kukuraitis has slammed some local municipal authorities for using social protection funds for other purposes. According to him, while more than 200 million euros are allocated for social assistance, over 60 million euros are actually given to people, which is just too little, according to him. Kukuraitis says social services, an area of municipal competence, were given too little attention in discussions during recent municipal elections.

Hollywood star Rūta Lee visits Vilnius

Rūta Lee, a Hollywood actor of Lithuanian descent who was granted Lithuanian citizenship several weeks ago, visited Vilnius on Thursday, March 7. She met with Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius on Thursday and to took part in a women’s conference on Friday. Born to Lithuanian emigrants in Canada, the 82-year-old actor has lived in the United States since 1948. She acted in around 100 films and received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles.

Vilnius elects gay councillor

Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius, a homosexual activist elected as a member of the City Council of Vilnius, plans to take steps to make the Lithuanian capital friendlier to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. The 30-year-old ran for councillor as a member of a public election committee led by Remigijus Šimašius, who is seeking a second term as Vilnius mayor. Raskevičius received 2,894 votes, coming in at number eleven on the committee’s list, slightly down from number nine on the pre-election list. The Šimašius-led committee won 17 seats in the council and the mayor himself advanced into a run-off election.

Lithuanians’ financial literacy is mediocre, survey finds

Lithuanians are financially literate enough to handle their everyday finances, but they are not good at understanding economic issues and have a poor knowledge of retirement planning, according to a survey commissioned by the Lithuanian Banks’ Association (LBA).The survey put the financial literacy index at 43 out of 100 points, which means that the population has only some basic knowledge of finances.

Court rejects journalists’ request

A Vilnius court rejected on Wednesday, March 6, journalists’ request to order the government to release the audio recording of a Cabinet meeting. The Lithuanian Journalists’ Union (LJU) and journalists from several media outlets turned to the court after the government refused to give them the audio recording of the Cabinet’s October 3, 2018 meeting in which the ministers discussed legislative amendments to give the media free access to registry data.

Since discussion during the Cabinet’s meetings where no formal decisions are adopted reflect only preliminary positions by politicians, the minutes of such meetings are sufficient to ensure the public’s right to know, the court ruled. Following the row with the media, the government initiated amendments to make all Cabinet meetings public. These amendments came into force in January.

Authorities need to fill shortage of judges

Lithuanian lawmakers are considering amending laws to ensure the smooth functioning of courts after a large-scale judicial corruption probe that led to the suspension of eight judges has exposed a shortage of judges. The parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (CLA) discussed the issue at a closed meeting on Wednesday, March 6. Eight judges of various instance courts have been charged of different corruption crimes, including bribery, influence peddling and abuse of power. Some of them are still behind bars.

Ministry calls tender for new military facilities

Lithuania’s Ministry of National Defence on Wednesday, March 6, called a tender for the construction of three new military facilities in the city of Siauliai and also Šilalė and Vilnius Districts, with the total planned investment standing at around 126 million euros.

The projects are planned to be completed through Public-Private Partnership (PPP).Negotiations with potential investors or an investor will start in 2019-2020 and a 15-year partnership contact will be signed in late 2020.

HU-LCD chief calls for Orban-led Fidesz’s EPP removal

Gabrielius Landsbergis, leader of the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (HU-LCD), has called for the removal of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban-led Fidesz party from the European People’s Party due to his antidemocratic behaviour.

Having received approval from the party’s presidium, he sent a letter to EPP chairman Joseph Daul several days ago, proposing «to start evaluation of the Fidesz membership in the EPP». In his words, the Hungarian government’s actions have long been raising concern over the violations of the freedom of speech, academic freedom and the rule of law.

President warns of tensions in the Parliament

President Dalia Grybauskaitė warned on Tuesday, March 5, that the upcoming presidential and European Parliament elections will create tensions in the Seimas during its spring session that is starting in less than a week’s time, and chided the government for stalling reforms.

The Seimas’ spring session will open on March 10 and close on June 30. The presidential and European Parliament elections will be held in May.

Police say municipal elections were calm

Lithuanian police launched much fewer pre-trial investigations during last Sunday’s municipal elections than they did four years ago, Deputy Police Commissioner General Edvardas Šileris said on Monday, March 4. According to him, police started 11 pre-trial investigations, three times as few as in 2015.

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