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Ceturtdiena 12.12.2019 | Name days: Otīlija, Iveta

Week in Lithuania: Olympic hero gets disqualified, PM wins confidence, Nausėda visits Latvia

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

Lithuanian Olympic gold medalist Rūta Meilutytė

Last week, Lithuania’s new President Gitanas Nausėda paid visit to his Latvian counterpart, Egils Levits, PM Skvernelis won confidence vote in Parliament and Olympics’ winner got disqualified for two years.

President in Latvia discusses joint infrastructure projects

President Gitanas Nausėda on Tuesday, July 23, paid visit to his Latvian counterpart Egils Levits. During the meeting bilateral relations, and positions on shared goals in the EU and NATO, as well as defence and security issues, strategic transport infrastructure projects Via Baltica and Rail Baltica and joint energy projects were discussed. Before the visit Nausėda emphasised the extraordinary unity of the Baltic people, the common history, values and interests that Lithuanian and Latvian people share. In Riga, Nausėda laid flowers at the Freedom Monument and visited the National Library of Latvia where he saw a collection of rare and valuable books.

PM fails to present ministerial candidates to president

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has failed this week to present to President Gitanas Nausėda candidates to his updated government, despite his earlier pledge to do so. The ruling parties in a new coalition have decided to replace three ministers, including those of transport, interior and agriculture. PM Skvernelis won a confidence vote in the parliament on Tuesday, July 23, clearing the way for him to continue as prime minister after returning his Cabinet’s powers to the new president.

Lithuania approves almost 70 initiatives to mark history of Jews in 2020

The government endorsed on Wednesday, July 24, a program for marking 2020 as the Year of the Vilna Gaon and the History of the Jews of Lithuania, covering almost 70 different projects. Deputy Government Chancellor Deividas Matulionis says the planned initiatives will help draw attention to Lithuania’s rich history which is inseparable from the history of Lithuania’s Jews.

Vilnius decides to rename Škirpa street despite protests

After heated discussions and protests, Vilnius’ City Council decided on Wednesday, July 24, to rename a small street in central Vilnius named after Kazys Škirpa, a controversial 20th-century Lithuanian diplomat and military officer, due to his declared anti-Semitic views. The decision to change the name of Kazio Škirpos Aleja at the foot of the capital’s landmark Gediminas Hill to Trispalves Aleja angered opponents who emphasise Škirpa’s role in the fight for Lithuanian independence.

President appoints Skvernelis to continue as PM

President Gitanas Nausėda appointed on Wednesday, July 24, Saulius Skvernelis to continue as prime minister following his Cabinet’s Constitution- embedded resignation after the new president’s inauguration earlier this month. Nausėda gave Skvernelis 15 days to form a new Cabinet.

Olympics’ winner gets disqualified for two years

Lithuania’s retired swimming star Rūta Meilutytė has been disqualified by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) for two years for the violation of the doping rules. The Lithuanian athlete breached the World Anti-Doping Code’s articles under which doping control officers failed to find her in the stated location three times within a period of 12 months. At the age of 15, Meilutytė won a gold medal at the London Olympics. She has won 20 golden medals, 10 silver and one bronze medal at major international competitions.

Seimas speaker cleared by ruling party’s ethics watchdog

Viktoras Pranckietis, the speaker of the Seimas, did not breach ethics rules, the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union’s ethics watchdog ruled on Wednesday, July 24. A complaint against Pranckietis, a member of the Farmers and Greens Union, was filed by the party’s board. Ramūnas Karbauskis, the party’s chairman, told reporters after the board’s meeting last week that they had complained over the speaker’s public statements about his refusal to step down despite the LFGU council’s decision to approve an expanded government coalition agreement.

Justice minister introduces EP committee chair to Jan 13 case

Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevičius on Thursday, July 25, introduced the chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to the high-profile January 13 case, and also informed about the prosecution of the case’s investigators and judges, launched by Russia. In July, 2018, the Russian Investigative Committee launched a criminal investigation against Lithuanian judges and prosecutors who worked on the January 13 case.

Amber Grid signs GIPL pipe contract with Poland’s Izostal

Lithuania’s natural gas transmission system operator Amber Grid, signed on Thursday, July 25, a contract worth 31.9 million euros, including VAT, with Poland’s Izostal for the purchase of steel pipes for the Gas Interconnector Poland-Lithuania (GIPL).

Vaikšnoras takes over as Lithuanian Land Force commander

Brigadier General Raimundas Vaikšnoras took over as commander of the Lithuanian Land Force in an official ceremony on Wednesday, July 24, the Defence Ministry said. Vaikšnoras replaced Major General Valdemaras Rupšys, who has been appointed as the country’s chief of defence. Vaikšnoras started his military service in 1991. His military career includes serving as commander of the Mechanized Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf.

Vilnius will build national stadium without EU funding

The City Council of Vilnius decided on Wednesday, July 24, to go ahead with the capital’s national stadium project without EU funding, using its own funds and those provided by the central government. The council plans to approve a financing model by November 1. Also, it may explore possibilities for borrowing money. The city would have to provide around 50 million euros for the project, with another 55 million euros to be contributed by the central government.

President moves to stop political parties from using state property for free

President Gitanas Nausėda vetoed on Tuesday, July 23, legislative amendments allowing political parties to continue using state-owned or municipal property free of charge. This is the second piece of legislation that the new president has returned to the parliament for reconsideration this week. According to Nausėda, the amendments to the Law on the Management, Use and Disposal of State and Municipal Assets, adopted by the Seimas on July 9, run counter to the constitutional principles of responsible governance and rational management of public assets.

Lithuania climbs 2 places to 38 on Global Innovation Index

Lithuania rose two places to rank 38th out of 129 countries worldwide on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2019, which was announced this week. Lithuania made it to the top ten in four categories, ranking 4th in mobile app creation and in females employed with advanced degrees, 7th in the pupil-teacher ratio in secondary education, and 10th in ISO 14001 environmental certificates.

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  1. Justs says:

    The history of the Balts and the Jews is entirely separable – There were no Jews in the Baltics until German invaders brought them there.

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