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Ceturtdiena 09.04.2020 | Name days: Valērija, Žubīte

Week in Lithuania: retailer Maxima got in trouble, Turkish firm’s assets frozen, New Agency set up

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Lithuania, week, business, President, Poland, Klaipėdos Nafta, Maxima, Biovela, Kayi Insaat, recommended     Last week, KN revealed expansion plans, face masks were still in shortage

President: Lithuanian-Polish relations improved

Lithuania’s concessions provided to the Polish business group Orlen, operating an oil refinery in Lithuania’s Mažeikiai, have helped to improve bilateral relations but were not the key element in their thaw, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said this week.

Klaipėdos Nafta to invest up to EUR 140 mn

Klaipėdos Nafta (KN), the state-owned oil and LNG terminals operator, said this week it plans to invest up to 140 million euros into LNG projects in other countries over the next decade and become a shareholder of at least 4 LNG terminals.

Lithuania might introduce road checks

Lithuania might introduce checks for those crossing the border by road over the spreading coronavirus COVID-19, Vice Minister of Health Algirdas Šešelgis said this week. In his words, recommendations for EU member states should be provided after a ministerial meeting in Brussels on Thursday, February 13, also attended by Lithuanian minister Aurelijus Veryga.

Maxima, Biovela face fines over contaminated meat

Lithuanian retail chain Maxima and meat processing group Biovela Group are facing thousand-euro-worth fines for the supply of salmonella-contaminated meat to the market, Mantas Staskevičius, deputy director at the State Food and Veterinary Service, said Thursday, February 13. Maxima says it delayed informing the SFVS about contaminated meat as it was awaiting test results.

Court freezes Turkish builder’s assets

A court has ordered this week a freeze on 41,500 euros’ worth of asserts of Turkey’s Kayi Insaat, the former contractor for the construction of a stadium in Lithuania’s second-biggest city.  Kaunas Regional Court issued the freezing order on Wednesday, February 12, at the request of Kauno Kranai (Kaunas Cranes), a local cranes services provider that is claiming 41,100 euros in debt, interest and penalties from the Turkish company which operates in Lithuania via Kayi Construction’s local branch.

Enormous Lithuanian flag on top of Vilnius TV Tower

An enormous 540-square-meter Lithuanian tricolor was raised on the top of Vilnius’ TV Tower on Thursday, February 13, as the nation prepares to celebrate the Day of the Restoration of the State on February 16. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and other members of the Cabinet are expected to attend the ceremony of raising the 18-meter-high and 30-meter-wide flag at a height of 150 meters.

Suppliers short of face masks

A surge in demand for medical masks amid coronavirus fears has made it a product that is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain not only for the general public but also for companies supplying protective equipment to businesses, the business daily Verslo Žinios reported on Thursday, February 13. A supplier has told the paper that it imports masks from Asia, the region that is currently hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

PM calls president-hosted discussion «superfluous»

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says a meeting between the education community and politicians that President Gitanas Nausėda hosted on Wednesday, February 12, was «a superfluous discussion».   The main parliamentary parties and the Freedom Party’ leader, Aušrinė Armonaitė, were invited to the meeting, but the Labour Party, the Order and Justice and the Centre Party did not receive invitations. The three parties hold several seats in the Seimas.

PM links president’s decision to row over minister

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis says Gitanas Nausėda’s decision not to approve Lukas Savickas for economy and innovation minister this week is due to the row between the president and the ruling bloc over Transport Minister Jaroslav Narkevič. Nausėda said he decided not to approve Savickas for the job because the 29-year-old «has not yet proven that he can implement significant changes» in the months left before next fall’s parliamentary election. Skvernelis refused to sack Narkevič despite repeated calls from Nausėda for the transport minister to step down following criticism over the sacking of the management board of the state postal company Lietuvos Paštas (Lithuanian Post), for allocating funds for asphalt paving of streets in his election constituency and other issues.

Lithuania names motorway to Latvia after Baltic Way

The Lithuanian government decided on Wednesday. February 12, to name the motorway from Vilnius to the border of Latvia «the Baltic Way» to commemorate the 1989 peaceful anti-Soviet demonstration.  The Baltic Way will cover the Vilnius-Panevėžys road stretch between kilometres 9 and 13.2, and the Panevėžys–Pasvalys–Riga road stretch between kilometres 4.6 and 66.  On August 23, 1989, over a million people formed a human chain spanning Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to demand an end to the Soviet occupation of their countries.

New Agency to produce strategy for Lithuania’s promotion abroad

The Chancellery of the Lithuanian Government said on Wednesday, February 12, it had signed a contract, worth 163,000 euros, with company New Agency on producing a strategy for Lithuania’s promotion abroad for the upcoming decade. The company is expected to produce Lithuania’s strategy for 2020-2030 over six months.

Prosecutors bring suspicions against Grigeo president

Prosecutors from Klaipeda Regional Prosecutor’s Office have brought this week suspicions against Gintautas Pangonis, president and major shareholder of Grigeo Group, a producer of cardboard, hygienic paper and wood fiber-board, over the release of untreated wastewater into the Curonian Lagoon by Grigeo Klaipėda.

Minister: Baltics close to compromise on Astravyets

The Baltic countries may in the coming weeks reach a common position on restricting electricity imports from Belarus’ Astravyets nuclear power plant, Lithuanian Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas said on Tuesday, February 11.

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EU Court: Poland has to reform disciplinary body in its Supreme Court

The European Court of Justice has called on Poland to stop the operation of the Disciplinary Panel of the Polish Supreme court to separate it from the influence of the parliament and government, British public broadcaster BBC reports.

Riga’s administrators reserve EUR 13.87 million to battle COVID-19

During the approval of the city’s 2020 budget, Riga’s interim administrators decided to increase Riga’s reserve fund’s volume to EUR 13.87 million.

US presidential election set to be battle between Biden and Trump

In the US, Senator Bernie Sanders has left the fight for the presidential candidate nomination from the Democratic Party. He has left ex-Vice President Joe Biden the only contender for the nomination and the rival to President Donald Trump in the 2020 US presidential election, American news agency AP reports.

EUR 45.5 million to be diverted for support of agriculture in Latvia

To reduce the COVID-19 crisis in agriculture sector Latvia’s government will divert EUR 45.5 million, as agreed by Finance Minister Jānis Reirs’ work group for support of entrepreneurship and employed people on Wednesday, 8 April.

Global number of COVID-19 cases surpasses 1.5 million

Globally, the number of the confirmed infection cases of the novel coronavirus has exceeded 1,5 million, while a total of 329 thousand people are believed to have recovered. US is still the worst affected nation by the number of infections, German public broadcaster DW and American John Hopkins University report.

Reminder: no visits during Easter holiday

The holiday is near and people want to know if they can meet relatives and friends. Latvian Healthcare Ministry reminds – the virus has no holidays. Any private events involving people who do not live together are prohibited.

Court of first instance rejects Ušakovs’ appeal on dismissal as mayor of Riga

On Wednesday, 8 April, the Administrative District Court rejected Harmony politician Nils Ušakovs’ applications in which he appealed the order issued by Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce on his dismissal from the post of mayor of Riga, as reported by the court.

Latest on COVID-19 in Baltics. 577 in Latvia, 912 in Lithuania, 1 185 in Estonia

The number of COVID-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 577, increasing by 29 cases in the past day. Lithuanian media, meanwhile, report 912 confirmed infection cases. Public data in Estonia reports 1 185 infection cases in this Baltic State.

Inflation in Republic of Latvia reportedly at 1.4% in March

Compared to March 2019, the average level of consumer prices rose by 1.4 % in March 2020. Prices of goods have increased by 0.9 % and prices of services by 2.7 %.

Lithuania’s BC chief: «Latvia’s COVID-19 support for business has been swifter»

It is official: Lithuania is extending lockdown until April 27 to combat the coronavirus pandemic which death toll in the country stood at 15 as of Wednesday noon. As many as 912 persons were diagnosed with COVID-19 by then.

Lithuania on path to allow price regulation in government

In Lithuania, the majority of legislators in the Seimas, have backed draft amendments that set forth allowing the government to regulate the prices of essential goods during this time of quarantine, Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT reports.

BNN EXPLAINS | Envelope wages – one of the main reasons why idleness benefits may be denied

People need certainty – if they honestly pay taxes, they should be able to receive support from the state in the event of a crisis, since they have taken care of the state all this time by paying taxes, BNN was told in a phone conversation by chairman of LBAS Egils Baldzēns.

Criminal process launched against Aivars Lembergs for defamation

On 7 April 2020 State Police Kurzeme RP Saldus Department’s Criminal Police Office commenced a criminal process against Aivars Lembergs for untrue statements and claims he has used on multiple occasions during meetings of Ventspils City Council and Finance Committee against city council deputy Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis, as BNN was told by Kristovskis.

Latvia’s Prime Minister: we are financially well-situated in this crisis

We are financially well-situated in this crisis, said Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama.

Latvian government supports dismissal of State Land Service’s director general

Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers has supported Justice Ministry’s prepared decision project that details the dismissal of the State Land Service director general Solvitai Zvidriņa from her post, as confirmed by Justice Ministry.

China lifts lockdown in Wuhan

In the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the global pandemic of COVID-19 began, a lockdown has been lifted for the first time since January, British news portal The Guardian reports.

Support in Latvia for COVID-19 crisis prevention reaches four billion euros

The volume of support available in Latvia to finance preventive measures to overcome COVID-19 crisis has reached four billion euros, as reported by Latvian Finance Minister Jānis Reirs on Tuesday, 7 April.

Another month stuck home. Latvian government extends state of emergency

The state of emergency declared in Latvia because of COVID-19 pandemic has been extended until 12 May, as confirmed by Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs on social media on 7 April.

75 reports on competition distortions reported to Competition Council in 2019

Last year, the Competition Council received a total of 75 reports related to competition distortions caused by public persons, according to information listed in the latest public account for the institution’s more significant accomplishments in 2019 and developments in competition rights enforcement in Latvia.

Australia quashes child abuse convictions against cardinal Pell

A court in Australia has overturned child sex abuse convictions against cardinal George Pell after he was found guilty and received a prison term, British news portal The Guardian reports.

Education and Science Ministry considers not cancelling centralized exams

Latvia’s Education and Science Ministry considers the option to not cancel centralized exams, especially for 12th graders, as reported on Tuesday, 7 April, by Education Minister Ilga Šuplinska during a meeting with Saeima’s Education, Culture and Science Committee.

Estonian government in two minds on cutting public spending to help economy

Should public spending be cut to help restore the economy? Two of the three parties in the Estonian government have opposing views on this as economic recovery is increasingly discussed, Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports.

Riga International Airport plans to lay off 500 employees

Because of consequences caused by COVID-19, Riga International Airport plans to lay off 500 employees, as BNN was informed by the company.

Poland planning to hold presidential election as postal ballot

The Polish presidential election in May should be held as a postal ballot, the country’s legislators have decided. Opponents of the idea argue that this means putting public health at risk, British-Canadian news agency Reuters reports.

COVID-19 update in Baltics. 548 infected in Latvia, 880 in Lithuania, 1 149 in Estonia

The total number of confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 548, increasing by six in the past day.

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