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Wednesday 29.01.2020 | Name days: Valērijs, Aivars
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Week in Lithuania: Turkish workers on strike, Transport Minister in trouble, Chinese probed over vandalism

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strike, vandalism, week in Lithuania, Vilnius, government

Turkish workers in Kaunas

Last week in Lithuania the key news stories were Turkish workers striking over wages in Kaunas, a Chinese woman being investigated over alleged vandalism and the Prime Minister meeting with embattled Transport minister.

Anti-corruption body names risks in citizenship restoration process

There are risks of corruption in the process of restoring Lithuanian citizenship, the Special Investigation Service (STT) said on Friday, January 3. The current time limit of not later than six months is too vague, which leaves room for unlawful agreements, the anti-corruption agency said.  According to STT’s press release, the law should make it possible to process application restoration requests under a fast-track procedure for an additional fee.

PM meets with Transport minister

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis met on Friday, January 3, with Transport Minister Jaroslav Narkevič. President Gitanas Nausėda has repeatedly called on Narkevič to resign as transport minister after he came under criticism for sacking the management board of the state postal company Lietuvos Paštas (Lithuanian Post), his behaviour during his recent visit to the UAE, for allocating funds for asphalt paving of streets in his election constituency and the one leading to Skvernelis’ home, and other issues.

President steps back on stricter regulation on plaques

President Gitanas Nausėda announced he will not seek a bill requiring municipalities to follow criteria set by the central government in making decisions on commemorative plaques.

Probe launched over Turks building stadium in Kaunas

A meeting of representatives of Kayi Construction, a company that hired Turkish construction workers who are on strike in Lithuania’s second-largest city of Kaunas, and the local authorities took place on Thursday, January 2.

Construction of GIPL starts in Lithuania

Preparatory work for the construction of the Gas Interconnector Poland-Lithuania (GIPL) has been started this week in Lithuania as the two countries plan to build it by the end of 2021 following the signing of the contractor contract with Lithuanian construction company Alvora, Lithuanian gas transmission company Amber Grid announced on Thursday, January 2.

Ignitis starts supplying gas to Finland

Ignitis, the electricity and gas supply arm of Lithuania’s state-owned energy group Ignitis Group, has become one of the first players in the Finnish gas market which opened up for competition on January 1.

Vilnius airport boasts of record year 2019

 Passenger traffic at Vilnius Airport surpassed the five million mark on the last day of 2019, setting a new annual record for the Lithuanian capital’s airport, Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports) said in a press release this week. The growth in passenger traffic in the last quarter of 2019 is attributed to the launch of flights to the Israeli resort of Eilat, and pre-holiday season trips.

President’s aide urges appointment of Klaipeda port CEO

An advisor to Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda on Thursday, January 2, urged the government to appoint a new director of the Klaipeda State Seaport Authority. The port has had no permanent director since the firing of Arvydas Vaitkus last March by Rokas Masiulis, the then transport minister, who doubted whether the director could remain impartial toward enterprises that had supported him during last spring’s municipal elections.

Spain’s Indra Sistemas to upgrade rail traffic management

Spain’s Indra Sistemas will upgrade traffic management a part of the Vilnius railway bypass under a contract, worth around 1.21 million euros including VAT, signed with Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LG) in December. Tomas Digaitis, head of corporate communications at the state railway company, said on Thursday, January 2.

Amber Grid completes reconstruction of gas pipeline

Lithuania’s gas transmission company Amber Grid has completed the reconstruction of the sections of the international gas pipeline Vilnius-Panevėžys -Riga that stretch to the Lithuanian-Latvian border, the company said on Tuesday, December 31. The total value of the project stood at 8.1 million euros.

Kaunas gets permit for Science Island construction

The authorities in Lithuania’s second-largest city of Kaunas have received a permit for the construction of a Science Island it hopes to start building next year. The construction is estimated to take 18-24 months, meaning that the National Science and Innovation Museum would open its doors to the public in 2022.

Police investigates vandalisation of crosses

Lithuania’s law-enforcement decided on Monday, January 30, to launch an investigation into the apparent vandalization of crosses in support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters at the Hill of Crosses, a sacred religious site near the northern city of Šiauliai. The probe was opened based on the Criminal Code’s article on the desecration of a grave or another place of public respect, the police said in a press release. The investigation comes after a video and photos placed on social media platforms last week caused public outrage. In the video, a Chinese woman is seen removing a wooden cross with a message of support for Hong Kong protesters from its place and throwing it away while laughing.

Central bank slaps fine on Šiaulių Bankas

The Bank of Lithuania said on Monday, December 30, it has imposed a fine of 880,000 euros on Šiaulių Bankas for certain violations. The fine follows a planned targeted inspection of Šiaulių Bankas by the central bank to assess its compliance with the credit risk management and money laundering and terrorist financing prevention requirements.


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Levits: search for a new location for VDD would delay project and create losses

If the government decides to look for a new location for the State Security Service’s new headquarters, it could delay construction by several years and create considerable financial losses, Latvian President Egils Levits told journalists on Wednesday, 29 January.

Estonian children start school with 49.5% missing some vaccines, study finds

In Estonia, 49.5% of first-graders are not fully vaccinated in the framework of a state vaccination programme, a study, cited by Estonian public broadcaster ERR, has found.

Four persons detained in criminal case on the laundering of 50 million euros

Four persons have been detained in the criminal process on the laundering of no less than EUR 50 million, as part of which searches were performed at ABLV Bank on Tuesday, 28 January, according to information from LETA.

SEB operating revenue in Estonia was EUR 173.5 million in 2019

The operating revenue of the Estonian branch of the Swedish SEB bank was 173.4 million euros in 2019, Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports.

Retail trade turnover in Latvia increases 2.3%

Compared to 2018, total retail trade turnover rose by 2.3 % in 2019. Turnover of retail trade in food products increased by 1.2 %, turnover of retail trade in non-food products, except for retail sale of automotive fuel, rose by 4.0%, whereas turnover of retail sale of automotive fuel – by 0.4 %.

Latvian State Police warn about encryption ransomware virus attacks

Latvian State Police periodically receive complaints from private and legal persons regarding different encryption ransomware virus attacks. Viruses of this kind encrypt files and hard disks, denying owners the use of their computers and information stored therein, police report.

Lithuania operations announced by US military firm NBC Security

An announcement of entering the Lithuanian market has been made by the American military and defence company NBC Security, which aims to open a manufacturing facility in the Baltic country.

Kariņš: coalition’s partner wants to combine all three special services in Latvia, but I won’t allow it

One of the ruling coalition’s partners wants to combine all three of Latvia’s special services, said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to TV3 programme 900 seconds, on Wednesday, 29 January, adding he would be against such a proposal.

Estonian parliament to vote on divisive pension reform

In the Estonian parliament votes on pension reform are planned as the opposition has pledged to do its utmost to keep it from being passed amid concerns what effects the chance of withdrawing second pillar payments ne masse could have.

Six persons reportedly involved in case for laundering of 50 million euros

According to LETA, six people are involved in the criminal process regarding the laundering of illegally obtained funds of nearly EUR 50 million. As part of this criminal process, Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau performed a search at ABLV Bank on Tuesday, 28 January.

International evacuations from China held as coronavirus infections exceed SARS

The European Union and other countries are organising the evacuation of their citizens from China, where the infection cases of the new coronavirus have exceeded the SARS outbreak.

One step closer towards changing prosecutor general replacement order

On Tuesday, 28 January, Latvian Saeima’s Defence, Internal affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee conceptually supported planned law amendments that provide for changing the order under which the country’s prosecutor general is replaced.

Trump offers new Middle East peace plan

US President Donald Trump has offered a new peace plan for the turbulent Middle East region. It envisages the recognition by the US of Israeli occupied territories and a map of territories for the establishment of a state of Palestine.

Government: climate and energy plan for 2030 is a step towards climate neutrality

The National Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 (NEKP) supported by Latvian Cabinet of Ministers is an intermediate stage on the path towards accomplishment of climate neutrality in 2050, ministers admitted during a meeting on Tuesday, 28 January.

Latvian Economy Minister does not have plans to make taxes «green»

Currently there is no specific plan to use taxes to improve state goals in relation to climate neutrality in Latvia, said Economy Minister Ralfs Nemiro at a press-conference after a government meeting on Tuesday, 28 January.

KNAB’s search at ABLV Bank related to laundering of 50 million euros

The search performed at ABLV Bank by Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau on Tuesday, 28 January, is related to the laundering of at least EUR 50 million between 2015 and 2018, as reported by the office of the prosecutor.

Aviation giant Airbus concedes to corruption investigators in France, UK and US

World’s largest airplane maker, European multinational has agreed to potentially very expensive settlements with bribery investigators in France, the UK and the US.

Latvian government sets term for Riga and Ventspils port board members – five years

On Tuesday, 28 January, Latvian government adopted amendments to the by-laws of Riga and Ventspils port management boards, setting the term at five years for port board members.

Delna: Latvia is not doing well with corruption prevention

For years Latvia’s position has stagnated in the Global Anti-Corruption Coalition Transparency International composed Corruption Perception Index because our country is not doing well with corruption prevention, said Society for Openness Delna director Liene Gātere in an interview to Latvijas Radio on Tuesday, 28 January.

In Estonian choice of child names, Western European names replace Russian ones

In Estonia, the lists of most popular child names in 2019 have shown changes in trends compared to the year 1989 as the popularity of Russian language names has lost ground to names associated with German and English-inspired ones.

Corruption watchdog performs search at liquidated ABLV Bank

On Tuesday, 28 January, Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau performed investigative activities at the liquidated ABLV Bank.

Ķirsis: the current Riga City Council should not be the ones to decide on 2020 budget

Considering to the shadow of corruption looming over the current composition of Riga City Council and their failures, they should not be the ones to approve the municipality’s budget for 2020, said opposition deputy Vilnis Ķirsis in an interview to TV3 programme 900 seconds.

Nausėda in Auschwitz: «We must identify the hate-inciting forces»

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the notorious death camp, where pointed to the need to « identify the hate-inciting forces», who can lead to devastating consequences.

Olainfarm: Olmafarm misleads society about alleged shareholder meeting

By reporting information about the shareholder meeting that allegedly took place Friday, 24 January, medicines manufacturer Olainfarm’s largest shareholder LLC Olmafarm council and board mislead society and ignore the ruling of the court, Olainfarm representatives say.

U.S. military plane crashes in Afghanistan

In eastern Afghanistan, a U.S. military plane has crashed. U.S. forces in the country and NATO alliance have not provided details on possible casualties and the cause of the crash.


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