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Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian government approves rules for paying whistleblowers

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

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The Lithuanian government approved on Wednesday, November 14, rules for financially rewarding people who provide the authorities with valuable information on illegal activities.

The government resolution, drafted by the Justice Ministry, provides for a one-time cash payment to whistleblowers who provide prosecutors with valuable information about violations and irregularities and details the procedure for granting such a payment. A whistleblower’s request for a reward for valuable information will be examined by a special commission at the Prosecutor General’s Office, with a final decision to be made by the prosecutor general or another authorized official. The amount of reward money will be set by the commission on a case-by-case basis. A whistleblower will be entitled to 1,900 euros in compensation if he or she loses his or her job, income or a part of the salary, is moved to another post or incurs legal costs.

New teachers’ pay system to be amended

A working group, which had a meeting at the Ministry of Education and Science on Thursday, November 15, has agreed to submit proposals over the next weeks on how to amend the new tenure-based pay system for teachers, introduced in September. Talks on the pay calculation model for teachers are taking place amid an ingoing strike involving around 30 schools in Lithuania.

HU-LCD threatens minister with interpellation

Lithuania’s opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (HU-LCD) threaten Education and Science Minister Jurgita Petrauskienė with an interpellation amid an ongoing teachers’ strike over the recently-introduced new pay system. HU-LCD leader Gabrielius Landsbergis told his political group in the parliament on Tuesday, November 13, that the conservatives plan to initiate talks with the ruling parties over the changes in the way teachers’ salaries are calculated, introduced in September. A total of 12 schools went on strike on Tuesday, November 13, protesting against the recently-introduced tenure-based pay system, with another dozen set to join in on Wednesday, according to the trade union behind the industrial action.

Prosecutors launch probe into threats, libel

Vilnius Regional Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday, November 15, launched a pre-trial investigation into libel and death threats against MP Dovilė Šakalienė. The probe comes in response to a request from a group of lawmakers, the prosecution office said. The group of lawmakers says comments and illustrations have been published in the media and posted on social media against Šakalienė and she has also received direct death threats. Moreover, smearing information that Šakalienė is allegedly using her MP status to kidnap children and benefit from trade in children has also been published.

STT suspects businessman of attempt to bribe army officer

Lithuania’s Special Investigation Service (STT) is carrying out a pre-trial investigation into an alleged attempt by a businessman to bribe a Lithuanian army officer so that a Latvian company could win an international public procurement tender called by the Lithuanian army. STT said on Thursday, November 15, the pre-trial investigation had been launched in response to information from the Second Investigation Department under the Ministry of National Defence, stating that the head of one private company attempted to bribe a representative of the Lithuanian Air Force, offering him more than 90,000 euro for exceptional conditions to be created for one Latvian company to take part in and win the tender.

Lithuania to facilitate adoption for residing foreigners

Foreigners permanently residing in Lithuania will be able to adopt children under a facilitated procedure, the country’s government has decided. Residing in Lithuania, married couples with one spouse being a Lithuanian citizen and the other one a foreign citizen, will be put on the list of those wishing to adopt along Lithuanian couples. Up until now such couples have been only allowed to adopt elder children and those with disabilities. Also, such couples have had to wait longer for proposals to adopt. The adoption procedure will also be shorter and specialists will have to carry out the initial assessment over 20 days.

Parliament opens way for LSDLP to get public funding

The Seimas on Thursday, November 15, opened the way for the Lithuanian Social Democratic Labour Party (LSDLP) to receive a state grant next year. In a vote of 70 in favour and one against, the parliament adopted an amended law on political parties with amendments proposed by President Dalia Grybauskaite. The ruling block last week failed to muster enough votes to override the president’s veto of an amendment that would have enabled the LSDLP, the minor ruling coalition partner of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), to get a state grant this year. The LSDLP currently does not receive any public funding because it has not participated in any elections. It was founded earlier this year by a group of former members of the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP), who split from the party last year.

Panel nominates seven former partisans for Freedom Prize

A special commission has nominated a group of seven former partisans for this year’s Freedom Prize. The seven former partisans are Jonas Čeponis, Jonas Kadzionis, Juozas Jakavonis, Bronislavas Juospaitis, Vytautas Balsys, Jonas Abukauskas and Juozas Mocius. The Freedom Prize was established by the Seimas in 2011 to honour individuals and organizations for their role in defending freedom, democracy and human rights and promoting international cooperation for the cause of self-determination and sovereignty of Eastern and Central European nations.

HU-LCD tops party rating

Lithuania’s opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats (HU-LCD) have topped the party rating after the popularity of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union slummed, a new survey showed this week. As many as 19 per cent of people would now vote for HU-LCD and 15.2 per cent would back LFGU, compared to 19.2 and 18.3 per cent respectively in September, according to the survey carried out by Spinter Tyrimai for the news website. The Order and Justice party came in third with 9.2 per cent, and the Social Democratic Party of Lithuania, led by Gintautas Paluckas, would receive 6.2 per cent of votes.

LSDP to appeal watchdog’s decisions

The opposition Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) says it will appeal after the Central Electoral Commission ruled on Tuesday, November 13, not to provide the party with a state grant of 505,000 for the second half of this year as a punishment for what the Commission deems is gross violations of campaign financing rules during the 2016 general elections. Among other things, the party failed to report 100,000 euros in election expenses. It declared having spent 790,000 euros on the elections, exceeding the limit of 740,000 euros, the commission said.

Over 10 Lithuanian MPs set up group of Trump’s friends

Over ten members of the Lithuanian parliament announced on Tuesday, November 13, the establishment of a provisional group of friends of US President Donald Trump. Sixteen parliamentarians from different political groups of the Seimas have joined the group, which will be headed by Laurynas Kasčiūnas of the conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats (HU-LCD).

Germany’s seca opens development site in Vilnius

seca, a German medical equipment producer, has opened its 15th branch in Vilnius and will initially hire ten IT specialists, with the team set to grow to 25 employees by 2021. With the establishment of the first site dedicated to development only, seca is driving forward its digital transformation from a scale manufacturer to a software and system provider, according to Lithuania’s investment-promoting agency Invest Lithuania.

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