bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Ceturtdiena 17.01.2019 | Name days: Tenis, Dravis
LithuaniaLithuania

Week in Lithuania. Intelligence still uses suspected CIA prison building

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

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

A photo taken on November 19, 2009 shows a training center of the Lithuanian State Security Department, the country’s domestic intelligence agency, in Antavilis near Vilnius

The Lithuanian State Security Department, or VSD, continues to use a building near Vilnius that allegedly housed a secret American Central Intelligence Agency’s detention facility for its training centre.

According to the Centre of Registers, VSD in April transferred the building in Antaviliai, a village close to Vilnius, to the centralized public property manager Turto Bankas ahead of its planned sale. However, Aurelija Katkuvienė, the department’s spokeswoman, says that the premises continue to be used by intelligence agency for training purposes. Lithuanian officials do not admit that the country hosted a CIA prison.

Lithuania may accept Palestinian representation

After Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al Malki said recently that the Palestinians would like to have embassy in Vilnius within the next six months, adding that the issue will be discussed with Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis during his visit to Palestine in June, Lithuania replied it will consider accepting it.

According to Rasa Jakilaitienė, spokeswoman Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed intentions to open a representative office in Vilnius during his visit to the Lithuanian capital back in 2013, but Palestine has taken no steps so far.

Since Lithuania has not recognised the state of Palestine, the Palestinian representation would officially be of a lower rank than an embassy and would probably be called Palestine’s office for relations with Lithuania.

Prime Minister Skvernelis is scheduled to visit Israel and Palestine on June 18 to 20. Some 136 countries have recognized the state of Palestine.

Klaipeda pays tribute to French POWs

Klaipeda paid tribute on Friday, June 1, to French prisoners of war who built the city’s Wilhelm Canal almost 150 years ago. The ceremony was attended, among others, by members of the French Navy Honour Guard who are currently in Lithuania as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group. The French contingent of the multinational battalion consists of nearly 300 troops. They have brought their own combat, supply and administrative equipment to Lithuania. The canal linking the port of Klaipeda with the River Minija and eventually with the River Nemunas was hand dug between 1863 and 1873. It was named after Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany.

Largest ever national military exercise kicked off

Thunder Strike 2018, the largest national exercise in the history of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, was kicked off on Friday, June 1. The Lithuanian Armed Forces will train, independently and jointly with NATO allies, to carry out a wide range of armed defence operations during the two-week drills, the Defence Ministry said. Thunder Strike is one of several military exercises to be held in Lithuania and other countries in the Baltic Sea region in June. Thunder Strike will involve up to 9,000 military servicemen and officers of the interior security system. The Ministry says that drills in Lithuania will involve up to 13,000 troops.

US decision on tariffs upsets Lithuania

Lithuanian officials say that the US decision to impose tariffs on EU steel and aluminium imports is very disappointing, but does not mean a trade war. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Albinas Zananavi

ius, Lithuania is «very disappointed», because the intensive talks between the European Commission and the United States, and efforts by other European countries to persuade them not to apply these measures against the EU failed. A 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico will take effect on Friday.

Prosecutors want to see the ECHR ruling first

Lithuanian prosecutors say they will decide on further steps in their ongoing pre-trial investigation after examining in detail the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling that the country hosted a secret CIA detention facility. The Prosecutor General’s Office said in a press release on Thursday, May 31, that they actively cooperated with the ECHR in its hearing of Abu Zubaydah’s complaint against Lithuania and provided the court with information related with its pre-trial investigation.

The Prosecutor General’s Office has not named any suspects in its pre-trial investigation regarding illegal transportation of people across the national border and abuse of office, which has been underway for more than four years now.

South Africa’s NEPI Rockcastle to buy Vilnius’ Ozas mall

South Africa’s commercial property investor and developer NEPI Rockcastle is reportedly buying the Ozas shopping complex in Vilnius from Germany’s ECE Projektmanagement. Latvia-based consultancy CBRE Baltics is providing services to the parties to the transaction.

Ruling party leaders wants new probes

The leaders of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU) on Thursday, May 31, called for new investigations into businesses’ influence on politics. The calls come after the parliament’s Committee on National Security and Defence (CNSD) completed on Wednesday, May 30, its probe into business and interest groups’ influence on political processes and decision-makers. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, who was appointed to his post by LFGU, says that further investigations should disclose the circumstances surrounding possibly non-transparent funding of political parties.

PM backs establishment of intelligence ombudsman

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says that he backs the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence’s (CNSD) proposal to establish the institution of intelligence ombudsman to help ensure better control of security services. CNSD on Wednesday, May 30, approved the findings of its investigation into businesses’ unlawful influence on political processes. The committee says, among other things, that Russia’s nuclear energy giant Rosatom and MG Baltic, a local business group, posed a threat to Lithuania’s national security by acting non-transparently and exerting unlawful influence on political processes.

Ex-SIS head becomes chief of Centre of Register

Saulius Urbanavičius, former head of Lithuania’s Special Investigation Service, has won the competition for the position of head of the Centre of Registers. According to the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Urbanavičius will assume the position upon receipt of law enforcement institutions’ conclusions. The position of the Centre of Registers’ director has been vacant over a year after its long-standing director Kęstutis Sabaliauskas resigned last February.

Lithuania will try to get more EU money

Lithuania’s government will try to negotiate more of EU cohesion support for regional development after the European Commission suggested cutting such support by 13 per cent in the new budget, Vice Minister of Finance Miglė Tuskienė says. In her words, Lithuania will try to negotiate with other EU member states and the European Parliament for the support to be cut less. Earlier on Tuesday, May 28, the EC proposed allocating 6.359 billion euros to Lithuania’s regional development in the European Union’s budget from 2021, down 12.9 per cent from 7.3 billion euros in the 2014-2020 budget.


Leave a reply

Lithuania’s ruling majority swings at media freedom, experts warn

All media, the so-called fourth authority of power, has been facing some international challenges, with the European Parliament set to vote next Monday on final text of Article 13, the proposed EU directive on copyright, which, if implemented, could censor internet users and internet platform hosts through artificial intelligence-employing filters.

Riga Active Seniors Alliance: seniors’ behaviour on the road should be discussed

Riga Active Seniors Alliance supports Latvian State Police informative safety campaign that addresses the behaviour of pedestrians on the road. This campaign invites seniors to pay attention to their own behaviour to ensure safe movement without putting at risk other traffic participants.

New healthcare service principle’s adoption in Latvia postponed until July

The rights to receive healthcare services as part of state compulsory healthcare regardless of their health insurance contributions will remain available for residents until 30 June 2019, Latvian Saeima has decided.

150 jobs lost in Estonia as polluting power stations reduce operations

Estonian state energy giant Eesti Energia, which mostly generates energy from fossile oil shale plants will reduce its operations at the Narva power plants, resulting in 150 job cuts.

Opinion: Russia will definitely interfere with European Parliament elections

According to Latvian member of the European Parliament Inese Vaidere, Russia will definitely attempt to interfere with upcoming European Parliament elections.

In no-deal Brexit, border control in Ireland would be obligatory

In an interview with the British news portal The Guardian, Michael Lux, a former head of customs legislation and procedures at the European commission, said the UK would have to impose customs checks and tariffs on the northern side of the border, despite claims to the contrary by Brexiters.

Opinion: Daugavpils City Council doesn’t want emergency elections; to agree on new mayor

Daugavpils City Council deputies Rihards Eigims and Andrejs Elksniņš are afraid of voters’ opinion in regards to emergency elections. Because of that, they will agree on the next mayoral candidate at the 17 January meeting, said Latgale party representative Jānis Lāčplēsis.

Scientists suggest sustainable diet to save the planet and prevent premature deaths

An international group of 37 scientists has developed a diet that promises to save lives, feed 10 billion people and all without causing catastrophic damage to the planet.

Latvian parties taking too long on compiling government cooperation documents

Although work on the new government’s cooperation documents has taken more time than initially expected, Latvian prime minister candidate Krišjānis Kariņš still hopes for the government to be approved next week.

Ministry: more children end up in families in Latvia not through foster families or guardians

More and more children in Latvia end up in families not through adoption, but through foster families or guardians, says Welfare Minister’s office manager Linda Baļčūne.

Estonian population continues to increase, mostly due to immigration

Estonia has registered population growth for the third consecutive year as 4,690 more persons lived in the Baltic country on January 1, 2019 than a year before, official statistics show.

Sweden to nominate head of government, who could finally be confirmed

In the Swedish parliament, three parties have stated they would not vote against caretaking Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to have another attempt to form a center-left government after a four-month political crisis.

In 2018 Latvia experienced more rapid growth of car registrations than EU

Last year the number of newly registered cars in Latvia was higher than the average in the European Union, according to the latest data from European Automobile Manufacturers' Association.

Latvian government prepares legislation to protect rights of Latvian in Britain after Brexit

Latvian government has started working on a document that provides for the protection of rights of Latvian citizens working in Britain and vice versa after Brexit, says Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.

Karolis Sankovski appointed as chairman of RB Rail council

A new council chairman has been appointed in Baltic joint company RB Rail. Riia Sillave and Edvīns Bērziņš were picked as vice-chairmen, as the company reports.

airBaltic carried record number of passengers in 2018 – 4.1 million

Latvian airBaltic airline carried a total of 4,136,711 passengers to different destinations in 2018. This is 17% more when compared to 2017. The number of passengers carried in 2018 is airBaltic’s all-time highest, as BNN was told by the company.

KPV LV to decide on dismissing Kaimiņš as vice-chairman of party’s faction

KPV LV party’s Saeima faction plans to discuss the proposal of dismissing Artuss Kaimiņš from the post of the faction’s vice-chairman.

Latvian minister sceptical about abolishing MPC system without litigations

Latvia’s Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens does not expect abolishment of the mandatory procurement component system this year to pass without litigations.

Latvian parties agree on 90% of content of coalition cooperation agreement

Parties of the forming coalition move towards a cooperation model in which matters are resolved based on the principle of consensus, says prime minister candidate Krišjānis Kariņš from New Unity.

What do Britons actually want? Reactions from EU politicians

Commenting on the rejected deal of UK withdrawal, leaders of the European Union and member states, which are British neighbours, are seeking clarity over the exit scenario London would prefer if the British really want to leave.

Ministry fails to coordinate decision regarding Riga City Council’s dismissal

On Tuesday, 15 January, Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry failed to coordinate the latest redaction of the decision project On the Dismissal of Riga City Council, because the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments and Latvian Association of Large Cities objected it.

UK rejects Brexit deal, May faces no-confidence vote

British Prime Minister Theresea May hopes to overcome a vote of no confidence in her government, following the rejection of her Brexit deal in the UK Parliament.

Is polygamy the answer for Latvia? «Demographic affairs expert» Parādnieks is the man for the job!

The government formation process in Latvia is progressing slowly and painfully. It is as though a ship without navigation – Latvia has yet to find its way in the ocean of political roads. And this ocean I full of «icebergs» Latvia keeps bumping against. The latest one is National Alliance’s official candidate, an «expert» at resolving demographic problems Imants Parādnieks.

Latvian government approves unified requirements for road and street construction quality

On Tuesday, 15 January, Latvian government approved a project of rules from the Cabinet of Ministers. The goal of this project is ensuring rational use of public funds for road and street construction.

Strike in German airports cancels hundreds of flights

Several hundred flights have been cancelled in German airports on January 15, because of strike as part of an airport worker wage dispute. Germany's powerful Verdi union has announced the strike would last from 02:00 am until 8:00 pm local time at the airports of Frankfurt, Munich, Hanover, Bremen, Hamburg, Leipzig, Dresden and Erfurt.