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Monday 20.08.2018 | Name days: Bernhards, Boriss
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Week in Lithuania. Liberals ex-leader fails to recover confiscated cash

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Eligijus Masiulis, a former Liberal Movement leader on trial in a major political corruption case, has failed to recover cash that was found and seized during searches of his home.

The Lithuanian Court of Appeals on Wednesday, July 18, dismissed an appeal filed by Masiulis’ defence lawyer against the Vilnius Regional Court’s decision of June 15 to extend the temporary restriction of the right of ownership for another three months. According to the case-file, 242,400 euros, 130 pounds and 1,600 US dollars were found during the search.

PM drops out of presidential ratings’ top three

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has dropped out of the top three of presidential candidates after trust in the head of government slid, the delfi.lt news website reports. Skvernelis was replaced by former diplomat Vygaudas Ušackas, representing the conservative opposition Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats. His popularity rating remains unchanged and 6.7 percent would vote for him if a presidential election was held on the upcoming weekend. The first to two spots in the top three remain unchanged, with economist Gitanas Nausėda leading and Kaunas Mayor Visvaldas Matijošaitis following.

Firm in trouble over waste hauled to Latvia

Financial Crime Investigation Service and Vilnius Regional Prosecutor’s Office have handed over to court a criminal case in which a Lithuanian company is suspected of sham managements of metal and other packaging, causing the State of Lithuania damage worth 6 million euros.

FCIS suspects that sham certificates on the collection and management of 5,845 tons of metal and other packaging waste were produced in 2013. The certificates could have been used by firms to evade taxes for environmental pollution, causing the Lithuanian state budget damage worth over 6 million euros.

Mission Siberia expedition leaves for Kazakhstan

Lithuania’s 17th Mission Siberia expedition is leaving for Kazakhstan on Thursday, July 19. Mission Siberia’18 participants are going to the Central Asian country after the Russian embassy refused to issue them with visas in late June, less than a month before their planned departure to places of deportation of Lithuanians in the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk. Around 20,000 political prisoners from Lithuania were held in several tens of Gulag camps in what was then the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.

Police detain «fashion photographer»

Vilnius police said on Wednesday, July 18, they have detained a man who is suspected of having lured young women into his apartment with promises of an international modelling career and then drugging and raping them. The suspect, named as A. A., born in 1989, would often appear in TV shows in Lithuania and would describe himself as an «Alpha man».

Companies to export meat to Hong Kong

Ten Lithuanian meat processing companies have been given the green light for exporting chilled and frozen beef and pork and beef and pork products. The Lithuanian State Food and Veterinary Service said on Wednesday, July 18, that it has received confirmation from Hong Kong’s competent authority. The ten companies are Utenos Mesa, Agaras, Krekenavos Agrofirma, Pajūrio Mėsinė, Agrovet, Biovela’s meat processing unit, Samsonas, Klaipėdos Mėsinė, Nematekas and Dora.

Company transfers money to fraudsters

A Lithuanian company has transferred 475,000 euros to fraudsters in Hong Kong. According to Vilnius County police, representatives of one join stock company turned to them, saying that 475,000 euros had been transferred to a bank account in Hong Kong. Police say the company’s representatives believed the money was going to the holding company for the purchase of a new enterprise.

Czech soldiers join NATO eFP battalion

Soldiers of the Czech Republic on Tuesday, July 17, joined the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (NATO eFP) battalion deployed in Lithuania. According to the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence, roughly 250 Czech troops will be serving within the NATO eFP stationed in Rukla. The NATO eFP Battalion Battle Group was deployed in Rukla in 2017 and is led by Germany. Personnel and weapons to the NATO eFP Battle Group are also contributed by Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, and Iceland. In total, the strength of the multinational unit is roughly 1,200.

Maxima Grupė receives BB+ credit rating

International rating agency Standard & Poor’s has assigned Lithuanian retail group Maxima Grupė, which plans to issue international bonds, a BB+ credit rating with a stable perspective. Maxima Grupė has become the first private company in the Baltic states and one of the few retailers in the Eastern and Central European region, which received and publicly announced an international credit rating. Maxima Grupė posted 2.806 billion euros in consolidated revenue last year, up 4.2 per cent from 2016, and its net profits jumped 2.1 times to 75 million euros.

Lithuanian Railways calls land buying tender

Lithuania’s state-run railway company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) has launched tender to buy out land for European gauge railway project Rail Baltica’s strip from the country’s second –largest city of Kaunas to the Latvian border. The winner will have to prepare projects and implement them. The submission deadline is Aug. 13. It was reported in 2017 that Lithuania’s Ministry of Transport had informed the owners of 2,031 land lots of planned land dispossession necessary for the Rail Baltic project.

Lithuanian to be taught in secondary schools in Ireland

Secondary schools in Ireland will offer Lithuanian language classes as of September. Following several years of deliberation, a pilot scheme will be rolled out in 2-3 schools, and later on such classes might be extended to 25 secondary schools with around 15 Lithuanian children on average. Lithuanian language classes would be optional and would be given over a period of two or three years. They would cover around 100 hours and would be aimed at children aged 12-16. Classes would be given to Lithuanians but non-Lithuanians with good command of the language could also attend them.

Agrorodeo sells grain directly to Saudi Arabia

Lithuanian-owned agricultural product trade company Agrorodeo has for the first time sold grain to Saudi Arabia, marking the first direct grain export sale to the Middle Eastern country by a Baltic company. The Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) has purchased 115,000 tons of wheat from Agrorodeo. Lithuanian grain was until now shipped to Saudi Arabia via Louis Dreyfus, ADM, Cargill, Bunge or other international corporations holding licenses for direct cereal exports to the market.


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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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