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Week in Lithuania. Ruling LFGU initiates referendum to reduce number of MPs

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Members of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union will collect signatures for a referendum to reduce the size of the parliament.

The Central Electoral Commission registered on Thursday, January 10, an 18-strong initiative group for a binding referendum to amend the Constitution to cut the number of seats in the Seimas to 121, from the current 141 seats.The group has six months to collect at least 300,000 signatures of eligible voters for the referendum to be held. The LFGU notes that Lithuania currently has a population of 2.8 million, down from 3.7 million in 1992, when the Constitution, which sets the number of members of the Seimas at 141, was adopted.All previous referendum initiatives for cutting the size of the Seimas fell through.

Lithuania hosts traditional Snow Meeting

Security policy experts gathered in Lithuania on Thursday, January 10, for an annual Snow Meeting to discuss challenges faced by Europe and the United States. The participants of the two-day informal gathering included the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Slovakia and Latvia, and Ben Hodges, former commander of the United States Army Europe.A total of over 100 high-ranking diplomats, advisers, parliamentarians, experts from analytical and research centres, and international and security policy experts from about 15 countries and NATO and EU bodies attended the event in the district of Trakai in proximity of Vilnius.

Lithuania’s 2019 military conscription lists out

Lithuania’s military conscription lists for 2019 were drawn up at the Defence Ministry on Thursday, January 10. The lists, which were randomly generated by a computer program, include just over 31,000 men aged between 19 and 26 years. Some 3,827 of them will be actually called up for a nine-month military service this year.

Government nods to plans to expand training area

The Lithuanian government adopted on Wednesday, January 9, decisions opening the way for expanding the Pabradė training area to install new firing ranges and ensure better training of military units. The Cabinet approved a general development plan for a part of the eastern Švenčionys district municipality that allows more than doubling the total area of the Pabradė training grounds to almost 17514 hectares, from the current 8486 ha.

Financial crime body’s info on Revolut stirs concern

Information provided by Lithuania’s Financial Crime Investigation Service (FNNT) regarding the UK-based startup Revolut’s activities causes concern, the chairman of the parliament’s Committee on Budget and Finance said on Thursday, January 10. Stasys Jakeliūnas, a Lithuanian MP, turned to FNTT and VSD on December 21, shortly after Revolut was issued with a specialised bank license by the central bank. Marius Jurgilas, a member of the central bank’s board, has said that Revolut poses no risks to customers, adding that, on the contrary, it helps increase competition.

Lithuania ready for system tests in Kaliningrad

The Baltic countries are technically prepared to prevent a total power system blackout during Russia’s isolated operation test in its Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad in May, Lithuanian Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas said on Thursday, January 10. The efforts to ensure the energy autonomy of the Kaliningrad region sends two messages to the Baltic states, one of which is not to delay the process of synchronising their power grids with the continental European network, the minister said. The Baltic grids are still part of the post-Soviet BRELL ring, which also includes Russia and Belarus, and remain dependent on the control centre in Moscow and the Russian electricity system.

Lithuania’s new ambassador to Poland

Lithuania’s ambassador to Poland Eduardas Borisovas has presented his letters of credence to President Andrzej Duda, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, January 10. Following the ceremony, Borisovas laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw and signed the memorial book.

PM pickseducation minister

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has nominated Algirdas Monkevičius, the 62-year-old rector of Mykolas Romeris University, for the position of education, science and sports minister.In her words, services are now performing necessary checks regarding the candidate.

Small Planet Airlines launches bankruptcy proceedings

Bankruptcy proceedings for the financially-stricken Lithuanian airline Small Planet Airlines have been launched, with information from the Centre of Registers showing that Vilnius Regional Court initiated them on Monday, January 7. Small Planet Airlines CEO Kristijonas Kaikaris said the movewas aimed at securing protection from creditors as the company no longer received revenue after the Civil Aviation Administration suspended its license in late November.

Court starts hearing Russian spy case

The regional court in Lithuania’s western port of Klaipėda on Tuesday, January 8, started hearing the case of a Lithuanian citizen, Roman Sesel, charged with spying for Russia.The court had decided to hold hearings behind closed doors, citing the need to protect state secrets. In December, the regional court extended Sesel’s detention until March 14. Lithuania’s Prosecutor General’s Office says Sesel collected information on Lithuania’s Navy, NATO military ships and military equipment they carried, the city of Klaipeda and the port’s infrastructure, including that having strategic importance for Lithuania’s national security.

Šimonytė’s presidential race team’s chief named

Ingrida Šimonyė, the conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats’ presidential candidate, has chosen Paulius Lukauskas, a former managing director of the government’s export promotion agency Enterprise Lithuania, to head her election campaign. Šimonytė presented her election team to reporters on Tuesday, January 8, describing them as people who are committed to Lithuania being a modern, democratic and Western country.The candidate said several hundred volunteers will help her during next May’s presidential election.

Businessman sells his stake in Moscow’s airport

Lithuanian businessman Gediminas Žiemelis has sold his shareholding in Moscow’s Zhukovsky Airport. He confirmed it on Tuesday, January 8. The businessman said his decision to exit the project was due to several factors, including pressure to reduce the volume of business in Russia.Avia Solutions Group, a Vilnius-based aviation business group controlled by Žiemelis, announced its exit from Moscow’s Zhukovsky Airport last October, but it did not comment at that time on his possible decisions.

First persongetswhistle-blower status

Rasa Kazėnienė, an official who disclosed irregularities in Lithuania’s prison system two years ago, has become the first person to obtain whistle-blower status and protection. The woman applied for whistle-blower status in an effort to stop litigation with Niklita, a company which sued her for alleged damage to its business reputation.Kazėnienė told the prosecutor’s office that Niklita had been granted exclusive conditions for commercial operations at the Kaunas Remand Prison. The prosecutors found her reports about possible abusive practices, stealing of funds and other offenses at the Kaunas Remand Prison to be correct.The Law on the Protection of Whistle-blowers, which was passed by the Seimas in 2017 and came into force from the new year.


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Coronavirus in Baltics. 509 in Latvia, 771 in Lithuania, 1 018 in Estonia

The number of confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 infections in Latvia has reached 509, increasing by 16 new cases over the last day. Lithuania, meanwhile, reports 771 infections

airBaltic to cancel up to 50% of planned flights until November 2020

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Latvian government increases penalty for breach of COVID-19 restrictions

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Estonian government to help local governments with supplementary budget

The Estonian government has submitted to legislators a supplementary budget aimed at allocating to local governments 30 million euros and another 100 million to help continue economic activity in the country, Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports.

Home. Soap. Two metres – SPKC reminds residents of the main safety measures

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads through direct contact with an infected person through droplets when a person sneezes of coughs, or by touching surfaces the infected person had previously sneezed or coughed on.

Belarus rejects Lithuania’s worries about alleged hiding of COVID-19 data

Minsk has rejected the concern voiced by Lithuania that alleged inadequate reaction to the spread of COVID-19 in Belarus could turn the country into a hotspot, which endangers Lithuania, LRT reports.

COVID-19 pandemic and corruption risks. How can government and society defend against them?

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First death from COVID-19 confirmed in Latvia

The first death from COVID-19 coronavirus has been found in Latvia, as reported by public media lsm.lv.

UN General Assembly calls for closer cooperation to contain pandemic

World’s nations in the UN General Assembly have unanimously passed a resolution confirming the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 and calling countries for increased cooperation, Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera reports.

COVID-19 update in Baltics. 493 infection cases in Latvia, 696 in Lithuania, 961 in Estonia

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Latvia has reached 493, increasing by 35 in the past day. Lithuania, meanwhile, reports 696 confirmed cases. According to the latest information from Estonia, the number of confirmed infection cases there has reached 858.

Budget revenue in Latvia approximately 7% behind plan in March

With the spread of COVID-19 crisis in March Latvia’s state budget revenue has dropped 7.2% behind the plan, according to unofficial information from LETA.

Global number of COVID-19 cases exceeds one million

Globally, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has exceeded one million and the death toll related to the infectious disease is 52 500, German public broadcaster DW reports.

Latvia prohibits exports of medicines needed during state of emergency

Exports of medicines vital for the domestic market during state of emergency will be prohibited in Latvia, according to the order published in the Latvian Herald by Healthcare Minister Ilze Viņķele.

COVID-19 prompts Latvian government to involve army in border patrol with Belarus

Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks has issued an order for Latvian National Armed Forces (NBS) to provide support to the State Border Guard by sending national guardsmen to organize additional patrolling of the Latvian-Belarusian border, as confirmed by the minister.

Lithuania puts COVID-19-related prosecution above human rights

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Idleness rules will apply to companies with tax debts in Latvia

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Court to enforce nearly 12 000 euros from Gobzems for defaming Bunkus family

Riga City Vidzeme Suburb Court has partially satisfied the plea from the surviving members of the family of the murdered lawyer Mārtiņš Bunkus against Saeima deputy Aldis Gobzems over defamation. The court has decided to enforce EUR 11 833 from him, as confirmed from the deputy.

Spain registers unprecedented job loss as lethal cases of COVID-19 exceed 10 000

In Spain, nearly 900,000 jobs have been lost since mid-March during strict measures to fight the coronavirus. 10,000 Spaniards have died from the virus disease, BBC reports.

Emīls Jakrins becomes board chairman of restaurant business company Vincents

Ex-Riga City Council’s Transport Department’s head Emīls Jakrins has become board chairman of architecture, design and restaurant business company LLC Vincents, according to information from Firmas.lv.

Jānis Vitenbergs approved in Latvia’s Economy Minister's post

On Thursday, 2 April, Latvia’s Saeima approved parliamentarian Jānis Vitenbergs as the country’s economy minister.

Large mine closes in Estonia after one of 800 miners tested positive for COVID-19

In Estonia, it has been decided to close one of two large oil shale mines after one miner tested positive for COVID-19, Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports.

COVID-19 update in Baltics. 458 cases in Latvia, 649 in Lithuania, 858 in Estonia

The number of confirmed COVID-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 458, growing by 12 cases in the past day. Meanwhile, Lithuanian media report 649 confirmed coronavirus infection cases.

Germany to keep gathering restrictions past Easter

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the situation with the outbreak of COVID-19 in Germany is far from being over as the government extended its strict rules for gathering in public places until April 19, DW reports.

Shuttle buses and express buses on hold in Riga

LLC Rīgas mikroautobusu satiksme has decided to shut down shuttle bus services on all routes in Riga until the state of emergency in Latvia is over, as confirmed by RMS.

Latvian government to finance COVID-19 crisis prevention efforts from state budget

Efforts to overcome the direct negative effects from COVID-10 crisis will be financed from the state budget. After the crisis, however, the economy will be stimulated using EU funds, as decided by Finance Minister Jānis Reirs’ led work group for support of entrepreneurship and the employed on Wednesday, 1 April.


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