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Tuesday 19.11.2019 | Name days: Liza, Līze, Elizabete, Betija
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Week in Lithuania: PM admits he has lymphoma, President and experts discuss Minsk ties

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Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis

Last week in Lithuania, the Prime Minister admitted suffering from lymphoma, contacts with Belarus were discussed by the Lithuanian President and experts and a permit for large mosque in Vilnius was issued.

Lithuanian PM diagnosed with cancer

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis disclosed on Wednesday, August 28, he has stage 1 lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, but hopes for full recovery following treatment in September and October. Skvernelis said changes in his lymphatic system were spotted during a health examination following the May presidential election when he ran for president representing the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union. Earlier this week, President Gitanas Nausėda created a possibility for the prime minister to take sick leave, if necessary, until October 4. Under the presidential decree, the prime minister would be substituted by Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas.

Government puts off selection of EU judge

The Justice Ministry has postponed this week the selection of the second Lithuanian judge at the EU General Court. Gediminas Mesonis, a judge of the Lithuanian Constitutional Court, was initially selected for the position, but he was rejected by a special Luxembourg-based panel. The government then decided to re-appoint Virgilijus Valančius for another term as General Court judge, but did not receive the approval of President Gitanas Nausėda. Lithuania delegates two judges to the EU General Court. Rimvydas Norkus, outgoing president of the Lithuanian Supreme Court, has been approved for the position.

Lithuania’s most influential sports figures named

Lithuania’s basketball legend Arvydas Sabonis has been named Lithuania’s most influential sports figure for the third year in a row, according to the traditional poll of experts released by the Delfi.lt online news site on Friday, August 30. Zalgiris Kaunas coach Šarūnas Jasikevičius came in second, followed by Daina Gudzinevičiūtė, the president of the Lithuanian National Olympic Committee, in third place. The poll was conducted by the Reitingai magazine.

Priority in raising wages named

New Interior Minister Rita Tamašiūnienė said this week firefighters and border guards will be a priority when raising wages next year, adding that the move will be aimed at closing the pay gap among statutory services. Representing the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance, the new ministers also expressed her doubts over possibilities to implement the goal to ensure that police officers earn at least 1,000 per month next year.

MEP wants a new EU body

MEP Stasys Jakeliūnas said this week he will initiate the creation of a new EU body for protecting consumer rights in the financial field. Jakeliūnas says discussions on such a new body will begin in September to October. He expects to discuss the issue with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and other bodies active in the field.

Central bank issues e-money licenses to 2 firms

The Bank of Lithuania has issued this week e-money institution licenses to SumUp EU Payments and Goopal Pay. The licenses authorize the firms to offer electronic money issuance and redemption and certain payment services, the central bank said on Thursday, August 29. SumUp EU Payments is wholly owned by SumUp Holdings Luxembourg.

Power grid synchronisation action plan submitted

A comprehensive action plan for the planned synchronization of Lithuania’s electricity system with that of Continental Europe has been submitted to the Cabinet for discussion, the Energy Ministry said on Thursday, August 29. The plan gives a list of projects and sets deadlines for carrying them out to prepare Lithuania’s power transmission grid infrastructure for synchronous operation with Continental Europe by 2025.

Minister speaks of basic pension raise

Lithuania needs to raise the basic pension in order to tackle the problem of poverty among retirees, Social Security and Labour Minister Linas Kukuraitis said on Thursday, August 29. According to the minister, pensions have been increasing in the past few years, albeit at a lower rate than wages.

 Vatican appointments for Lithuanians

Monsignor Rolandas Makrickas, Lithuania’s Vatican diplomat, has been appointed head of administration of the Holy See’s Secretariat of State. The appointment of Lithuanian clergy to high-ranking positions within the Holy See’s Secretariat of State is a great honour for Lithuania, Archbishop Gintaras Grušas, president of the Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference, said on Thursday, August 29. Another Lithuanian, Monsignor Visvaldas Kulbokas, also works at the Secretariat of State.

Companies cleared for exports to New Zealand

Lithuanian companies have been allowed this week to export egg products to New Zealand, the State Food and Veterinary Service announced on Wednesday, August 28. It said to have received confirmation from New Zealand’s competent institution on the harmonisation of the veterinary certificate for processed egg products. It’s already a third food product group Lithuania and New Zealand have reached an export agreement on.

President, experts discuss possible changes in ties with Belarus

President Gitanas Nausėda has had an undisclosed meeting this week with political scientists to discuss possible changes in bilateral relations with Belarus, well-informed sources leaked the news on Wednesday, August 28. The meeting ostensibly took place at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday, August 27, and was attended by Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius and eight political scientists.

Construction of small mosque planned in Vilnius

There are plans to build a small mosque for 7–8 million euros in Vilnius over the next few years, 15min.lt reported on Wednesday, August 28. Lithuania’s National Land Service has given the Vilnius Sunni religious community the right to use a land lot of 8,400 square meter free of charge for a mosque in the Liepkalnis area of Vilnius. Under the plan, the new mosque would hold up to 600 people. Now in Lithuania, four mosques operate in Nemežis, Keturiasdešimties Totorių Kaimas (the Village of 40 Tatars) in Vilnius District, Raižiai near Alytus and in Kaunas.

Government proposes banning use of animals in circuses

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday, August 28, proposed to the country’s parliament to ban the use of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians in during circus performances. Now 24 European countries restrict the use of animals in circuses.


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57 children receive intestinal infections in one of Smiltene’s secondary schools

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Anti-money laundering: SEB says most suspicious clients from Estonia operations

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Demanding Saeima’s and Viņķele’s dismissal, doctors announce another strike

Latvian Trade Union of Health and Social Care Workers has plans to organize a new protest act outside the Saeima on 28 November. The protest will demand the parliament’s dismissal, as well as voice distrust towards Healthcare Minister Ilze Viņķele.

«Was never fit for vice-mayor’s post.» Baraņņiks loses post in Riga City Council

With votes from opposition deputies, Riga City Council’s Vice-Chairman Vadims Baraņņiks was removed from his post on Tuesday, 19 November. He was also removed from his post in Riga Freeport board.

Kundziņsala overpass construction splits Riga Freeport authority over cartel case

Last week, Riga Freeport authority decided to sign a contract worth nearly EUR 40 million on the construction of Kundziņsala transport overpass with companies that have ties with people involved in the so-called construction cartel case, as reported by LTV programme De Facto.

Tusk kept reminding EU of Russia being «strategic problem», not partner

European Council’s outgoing chairman Donald Tusk has in a speech devoted to his five years in office revealed that he had to remind member states that Russia was Europe’s «strategic problem», instead of being its strategic partner.

In Hong Kong protests, 400 people arrested

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests a standoff between activists and riot police continues at a university, where around 600 protesters have surrendered and 400 have been arrested, local authorities say.

Riga City Council opposition will likely refrain from Baraņņiks’ dismissal vote

On Tuesday, 19 November, the opposition of Riga City Council will likely abstain or not participate at all in the vote regarding the dismissal of the city council’s vice-chairman Vadims Baraņņiks, as told by For Latvia’s Development faction chairman Viesturs Zeps.

Moscow returns seized Ukrainian ships

Russian coast guard has returned three Ukrainian navy ships that Moscow seized in an incident in the Kerch Strait in 2018.

Warm weather in Latvia to become considerably colder this week

In the first half of the week, the sky will be cloudy in Latvia. Some precipitation zones are possible above certain districts. However, generally no considerable precipitation is expected in the country, as reported by Latvia’s State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Happy birthday, Latvia!

«Latvia is a wonderful land, but the beautiful must be helped to appear,» as one of Latvia’s greatest poets Imants Ziedonis once said. And with these words we can celebrate Latvia’s 101st birthday – in happiness for Latvia’s beauty and helping others see it. With flag by the home, flowers at the Freedom Monument, a good word about the home entrusted to use, and a smile on our face – all of this helps reflect Latvia’s beauty.

Week in Lithuania: President pardoned two Russian spies, climate action plan approved and bomb defused

Last week, in Lithuania, the key news stories were a presidential pardon to Russian spies, the approval of a climate change action plan getting approved and the start of a mission of the International Monetary Fund.

BNN summary of the week: budget 2020; excellent Latvian filmmakers; doctors’ worries

The patriotic week passed in Latvia not only with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Latvian army’s victory over Bermondt forces but also with intense discussions for the country’s budget of 2020. The 25-hour-long debates became so heated in the end the opposition left before the final vote. Because of that, the budget project was adopted with votes from only 57 deputies.

October’s inflation in Latvia higher than average in EU and Eurozone

In October 2019, inflation in Latvia was higher than the average in the European Union and Eurozone, according to information published by Eurostat on Friday, 15 November.

Z-Towers examination reports to be evaluated by construction experts

The State Construction Control Bureau of Latvia has commenced an administrative process and plans to assess the work performed by certified construction experts on Z-Towers. This includes assessing reports associated with the project, as confirmed by the office’s representative Elīna Balgalve.

Riga’s Vice-Mayor dismisses the board of Riga Central Market

Vice-chairman of Riga City Council and shareholder Vadims Baraņņiks has dismissed the board of SIA Riga Central Market.

Unemployment in Latvia drops to 6%

Latvia's unemployment rate constituted 6.0 % in Q3 2019. Compared to the previous quarter, unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points, while over the year it reduced by 1.0 percentage points.

Employment rate in Latvia reaches 65.6% of the population

917.8 thousand people or 65.6 % of the population of Latvia aged 15–74 were employed in Q3 2019. Over the year, employment rate grew by 0.3 percentage points, and number of employed persons fell by 2.3 thousand. During the period, population declined faster than the number of employed persons.

SEB share price heavily affected by suspected money laundering in Baltics

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State Security Service detains three persons for illegal arms supply to African countries

Latvia’s State Security Service has detained three persons for illegal supplies of arms to African countries under EU and UN sanctions, as mentioned in VDD’s report.

Investigators of MH17 downing point to close Putin ally

Dutch-led investigators of the downing of the 2014 flight MH17 over Ukraine have published a series of phone intercepts, among them one between former senior Kremlin official and pro-Kremlin separatists rebels blamed for the crash.

Harmony halts work in Riga City Council coalition until GKR makes up its mind

Political party Harmony’s faction in Riga City Council has decided to halt its work in the coalition until Honour to Service Riga makes up its mind in regards to cooperation with Independent Deputies Faction, as confirmed by Riga City Council’s vice-chairman Anna Vladova on Thursday, 14 November.

To increase parties’ independence, Saeima decides to boost support for them

In the final reading, Latvia’s Saeima approved controversial amendments to the Law on Financing of Political Organizations, significantly boosting state support for political parties.

Sweden sells off Australian, Canadian bonds over carbon footprint

Sweden’s central bank has stated it had given up bonds in the mining regions of Australia and Canada as Riksbank said the greenhouse gas emissions of both countries were large.

With 57 deputies present, Latvia’s Saeima adopts state budget for 2020

After two-days’ worth of discussions, Latvia’s Saeima finally approved the state budget on Thursday, 14 November, with 57 votes in favour, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

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