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Ceturtdiena 12.12.2019 | Name days: Otīlija, Iveta
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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.

Committee supports amendments that allow electing city council for longer

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Finland ends EU presidency with call to take free AI course

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Latvian ministers agree on general sea port management reform

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FKTK proposes isolating Lembergs and companies under US sanctions

Finance and Capital Market Commission invites financial market participants to refrain from providing financial services to suspended Mayor of Ventspils Aivars Lembergs, as well as companies and institutions applied with US sanctions, FKTK reports.

To take over Riga and Ventspils port government to form a separate company

On Wednesday, 11 December, the Cabinet of Ministers decided at an extraordinary meeting to invite the Saeima to add amendments to the Law on Ports to accommodate the plan for the government to take control over Riga and Ventspils freeports.

Estonia health body calls for measles vaccination of Ukrainian guest workers

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In UN Court: Myanmar leader calls Rohingya genocide claims incorrect

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Family doctor visits may become more expensive for some residents in Latvia next year

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20% of Riga Central Station design work for Rail Baltica is complete

Nearly 20% of Rail Baltica project’s design work on Riga Central Station has been completed. Construction company Bererix has closed off territory, railway, underground areas and other infrastructure for topographical and measuring work, as reported by Rail Baltica project’s representative Linda Vītola.

Fire in Tartu turns tragic to family

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Forecast: UK snap election to be won by Johnson’s Conservatives

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Latvian government to decide on Riga City Council’s dismissal on 17 December

Latvia’s government plans to decide on Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce’s initiated Riga City Council dismissal on Tuesday, 17 December, said Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to LNT programme 900 seconds.

ReRe būve 1 hands over New Riga Theatre building to State Real Estate

On Tuesday, 10 December, construction company ReRe būve 1 handed over to State Real Estate the building of New Riga Theatre, as confirmed by VNI chairman Andris Vārna in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

U.S. bans Lembergs and family from entry in U.S. over «significant corruption»

The U.S. Department of State has introduced a U.S. travel ban on criminally-accused Latvian official Aivars Lembergs and his immediate adult family members over «involvement in significant corruption».

Latvian government supports reaching EU’s climate neutrality goal by 2050

Latvia’s government has agreed on support for European Union’s goal to become one of the main regions to have reached net zero level of greenhouse gas emissions or climate neutrality by 2050.

Estonian minister says Rail Baltica to be complete on time, despite scepticism

The Rail Baltica massive railway construction would be done by the 2026 deadline Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas has said despite scepticism expressed by MPs and Estonian Prime Minister.

Aivars Lembergs may be forced out of Latvian Olympic Committee

The topic of Aivars Lembergs’ dismissal from his post as member of the LOK Executive Committee may be brought up during the Tuesday, 10 December, meeting of Latvian Olympic Committee, BNN was told by LOK President Aldons Vrubļevskis’s press-secretary Mārtiņš Mālmeisters.

Latvian state to take over Riga and Ventpils ports

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Czech hospital shooting suspect found dead

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Committee’s talks about electing Riga City Council for more than five years; decision postponed

After lengthy and heated discussions on Tuesday, 10 December, Saeima’s Public Administration and Local Government Committee decided to continue discussing amendments that would allow Riga City Council composed in snap elections to function for longer than five years.

Lithuania announces world’s first digital collector coin

The Bank of Lithuania has announced it would issue a blockchain-based digital collector coin in 2020, as it seeks to attract fintech investors and give new impetus to numismatics in the Baltic country.

Aivars Lembergs leaves Ventspils Freeport board

Aivars Lembergs, who has been added by USA to its black list, has decided to leave his post at Ventspils Freeport board, according to his update on Twitter.

Shooting in Czech hospital. Gunman wanted

In the Czech Republic six people have been killed on Tuesday, when a gunman opened fire in a hospital, according to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

Unemployment level in Latvia increases to 5.8% in November

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Lembergs avoids giving a clear yes or no to stepping down from Ventspils Freeport board

Aivars Lembergs, who is accused of committing serious crimes, avoided giving a clear yes or no in regards to the possibility of stepping down as chairman of Ventspils Freeport board, according to what he said at a press-conference on Tuesday, 10 December.


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