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Week in Lithuania. Some 5,000 gather in protest rally outside Lithuania's Parliament

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Some 5,000 people gathered outside the Lithuanian parliament in Vilnius on Thursday, March 15, to express discontent with the failed parliamentary vote to impeach MP Mindaugas Bastys and the performance of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union.

Held under the slogan We Accuse!, the event was organised by Laisvės TV after the parliament failed to garner enough votes in a secret ballot on Tuesday, March 13, to strip Bastys of his mandate despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the lawmaker had grossly violated the Constitution and breached the oath by concealing his ties with Piotr Voyeiko, a former KGB agent.

Four opposition groups want early elections

Four opposition groups of the Lithuanian parliament have suggested holding premature parliamentary elections. Support to early elections was expressed by the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, the Liberal Movement, the Order and Justice Party and the Social Democrats. The move came in the aftermath of the Tuesday’s vote on Mindaugas Bastys impeachment process where some MPs took pictures of their ballot papers and later published them.

Small Planet Airlines expects to enter Chinese market

Lithuania’s charter carrier Small Planet Airlines is planning to offer flights in the Chinese market. Valentinas Jankelaitis, commercial director at Small Planet Airlines, says that the main flights season in China is between December and February, adding that the company expects to enter the market in time for next year’s season.

Maxima Grupė renews bid to buy Emperia Holding

Lithuania’s largest retail chain Maxima Grupė has again extended until mid-April its proposal to purchase Poland’s Emperia Holding, the operator of Stokrotka retail chain, as it has not yet received a green light from the Polish Competition Council. This time, Maxima Grupė is extending the bid until April 12 after extending the time frame until March 16 at the end of February.

Prosecutors refuse to open probe on embattled MP

Lithuanian prosecutors have refused to open an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against MP Mykolas Majauskas after failing to find a superiority link between the politician and the young female who had anonymously accused him. The prosecutors were approached by Gabrielius Landsbergis, the leader of the opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, over the sexual misconduct allegations. The Prosecutor’s Office emphasised that no victims had turned to the law-enforcement in the case.

Lithuanian academic ethics guard sacked over anti-Semitism claims

Lithuania’s parliament on Thursday, March 15, sacked Vigilijus Sadauskas from the post of ombudsman for academic ethics and procedures amid allegations of anti-Semitism after he proposed a reward for a research thesis about Jewish crimes in the 1900s. The motion to dismiss him from the post was supported by 77 members of Lithuania’s 141-seat parliament in a secret ballot on Thursday, while 17 were against and 13 abstained. Three ballot papers were discovered damaged. Sadauskas came under criticism after offering a 1,000-euro reward to a person who collects information and writes a research paper on individuals of Jewish nationality who killed people or contributed to deportations or tortures.

Landsbergis released from hospital

Vytautas Landsbergis, Lithuania’s first post-independence leader, was released from hospital on Thursday, March 15, his son confirmed to Lithuanian media. Landsbergis, the chairman of Lithuania’s Supreme Council – Reconstituent Seimas, spent about a month in hospital. The ailment forced him to miss the centennial festivities on Feb. 16 and the Restoration of Independence Day on March 11, however, forwarded his congratulatory messages or on social networks.

Vilnius Airport launches passenger terminal modernisation

Vilnius Airport on Wednesday, March 14, launched the renovation of the central area of its departure terminal, thus marking the start of a major modernization project at one of its terminals aimed at increasing its capacity and improving passenger service, Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports) said. The renovation of the departure hall includes replacing the flooring, engineering systems, partitions and elevators, as well as expanding the passport control zone and opening new space for shops and cafés. The modernisation project will take almost four years to complete and will also involve renovating the apron and taxiways, and reorganising the airport’s public traffic infrastructure, as well as renovating other areas of the passenger departure terminal.

Achemos Grupė buys wind farms in Croatia, Czech Republic

Achemos Grupė, one of the biggest concerns in Lithuania, has purchased two wind farms in the Czech Republic and Croatia. This is the concern’s first acquisition abroad. The wind farms were purchased by the group’s Renerga company, with the purchase financed by SEB Bankas and the concern itself. The concern purchased a 42 MW wind farm close to the Croatian seaport of Zadar with infrastructure ready for expansion. The park accounts for around a tenth of the country’s wind energy market capacities, which total at around 400 MW. The park in the Czech Republic is the third-largest in the country, with capacity of 18 MW.

This year’s first LNG shipment arrives in Klaipeda

This year’s first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the Lithuanian gas trade company Litgas arrived in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda on Tuesday. The shipment was purchased from Norway’s Statoil concern. Instead of the initially planned 138,000 cubic meters of LNG (around 80 mn cubic meters or 0.95 TWh), the gas carrier delivered 98,000 cubic meters of LNG (57 mn cubic meters of 0.67 TWh as gas).

Testing problems won’t delay NPP closure

The testing of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant’s new solid radioactive waste storage complex has revealed that a part of waste is more radioactive than thought, but this will not have any major impact on the decommissioning process, a former CEO said on Tuesday, March 13. The Ignalina plant, which was the first in the world to close Soviet-built RBMK-type reactors that are considered unsafe by the West, is to be fully decommissioned by 2038.

Hope for impeached president

Constitutional amendments that would allow Lithuania’s impeached former president, Rolandas Paksas, to run for parliament were introduced on Tuesday, March 13. The amendments would allow a person removed from office through impeachment to run for parliament, but would bar him or her from the post of speaker or deputy speaker of the Seimas. Paksas has been barred from running for either president or parliament since his impeachment in 2004.

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