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Monday 17.12.2018 | Name days: Teiksma, Hilda
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Week in Lithuania. Vilnius mayor apologises for poor performance of road services

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUVilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius has admitted that the road services of the Lithuanian capital city were not efficient enough in their response to the weather conditions, apologising to Vilnius residents for the inconveniences they encountered due to traffic interruptions.

«I apologise to the residents of Vilnius for the inconveniences they had on their way to schools and work. As a matter of fact, city services did not respond fast enough to the weather changes, although all spreaders were on the streets in early hours of the day, and delays of public transport was caused by traffic jams. I will discuss the lessons with the top executives of the services later today,» Šimašius said in a message on Facebook.

He also thanked police officers for their fast response and efforts to prevent further traffic congestions.

Vilnius police reported many accidents caused by black ice, interrupting traffic of buses and trolleybuses and causing major traffic congestions.

Scientists to search for partisan commander Ramanauskas’ grave

Scientists next year are planning to search for the remains of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, a Lithuanian anti-Soviet resistance commander, and other freedom fighters in a Vilnius cemetery. Scientists from the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania (LGGRTC) and Vilnius University believe after the first stage of research that people executed at the capital’s Lukiškių and KGB prisons between 1956 and 1969 were buried in the Našlaičiu (Orphans) Cemetery in the Antakalnis neighbourhood.

Experts say that those buried at the site may include Ramanauskas–Vanagas, Pranciškus Prūsaitis–Lapė, Juozas Streikus–Stumbras and Antanas Kraujelis–Siaubūnas. Nine of the 14 graves examined during the archaeological research were found to contain the remains of 16 people with gunshot wounds in the skulls. The bodies of the executed were subjected to chemicals before being buried. Further archaeological research is planned to be continued next spring. The Seimas has designated 2018 as the year of Ramanauskas-Vanagas to mark his 100th birth anniversary.

President doesn’t criticise, nor back Trump’s move, PM more critical

President Dalia Grybauskaitė has refrained from public criticism or support to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, only restating her call to continue the peace talks in the Middle East.

«The status of Jerusalem is a sensitive issue in the Middle East peace process. Peace talks is the only way of ensuring harmony and safety,» Grybauskaitė said in a brief comment provided to BNS by her press service when asked to specify her opinion on the US president’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US Embassy in Israel to the city.

The Lithuanian president’s rhetoric on the matter is milder than that of other leaders of European Union (EU) member-states. Lithuania’s Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis was also more critical than Grybauskaitė – in his words, Trump’s decision may trigger new tensions in the region.

Klaipedos Nafta to invest in upgrading oil terminal’s quays

State-controlled energy terminals operator Klaipėdos Nafta (Klaipeda Oil) plans to invest up to 20.9 million euros, including VAT, in upgrading the port’s quays used by its oil terminal. The company’s shareholders approved on Wednesday, December 6, the management board’s proposal to reconstruct quays number one and number two for up to 16.5 million euros, not including VAT. Plans call for deepening the quays, built in 1963 to 1964, to 17 meters, making it possible for the oil terminal to accommodate up to three tankers at a time instead of the current two.

Lithuania to contest EU anti-trust fine

The Lithuanian government decided on Wednesday, December 6, to turn to a EU court over a 28-million-euro fine that imposed by the European Commission on Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) for hindering competition by removing a rail track to Latvia, Transport Minister Rokas Masiulis said.

According to the minister, Lithuania has arguments for reducing the fine or perhaps even annulling it altogether.

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said that the government had also decided to «rebuild the infrastructure», that is, the 19-kilometer track from the Mazeikiai crude refinery, in northern Lithuania, to Reņģe in Latvia, which was dismantled back in 2008.

Lietuvos Geležinkeliai CEO Mantas Bartuška said in October that the state railway company was likely to start rebuilding the Reņģe track shortly. He could not say how much this would cost the company. Earlier estimates put the cost at around 20 million euros.

Seimas lifts MP Pukas’ immunity

Lithuania’s parliament, Seimas, on Tuesday, December 5, lifted legal immunity of MP Kęstutis Pukas who faces suspicions of sexual harassment and violation of gun possession rules. Some 74 parliamentarians voted in support of stripping him of his immunity, one was against and five abstained. In an address to his colleagues before the ballot, Pukas urged the parliamentarians to think well, as any of them could end up in a situation like his.

At the end of June, Lithuania’s prosecutor general turned to the Seimas with a request to lift Pukas’ legal immunity. They say that four women’s testimonies and information gathered as part of the pre-trial investigation provide reasonable grounds to suspect that Pukas between January and February 2017 sexually harassed persons subordinate to him.

Poland’s LOT to fly from Kaunas to Warsaw next year

Poland’s LOT Polish Airlines intends to open flights from Kaunas to the Polish capital Warsaw at the end of next May. Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports), the operator of Lithuania’s three international airports, said the first LOT flight from Lithuania’s second-largest city Kaunas was scheduled for May 21. LOT plans six weekly flights in the direction. LOT temporarily flew from Kaunas to Warsaw past summer after the flights were moved from Vilnius due to reconstruction of the runway.

Next summer, LOT intends to renew seasonal flights from the Lithuanian seaside resort of Palanga to Warsaw. They will also take place six times a week. Currently, LOT operates five daily flights from Lithuania’s capital Vilnius to Warsaw. Hungary’s low-cost Wizz Air airline opened flights from Vilnius to Warsaw in mid-September. They are held four times a week.

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