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Tuesday 07.04.2020 | Name days: Helmuts, Zina, Zinaīda
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Week in Lithuania: Vilnius municipality rebuked, Alibaba founder visits Vilnius, Audimas loses dispute with Audi

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULast week, President Nausėda called on spending more for social security, Lithuania marked 28 years since Medininkai checkpoint massacre, Centre of Registers opened up some data.

Lithuania appeals Gazprom dispute ruling

Lithuania has turned to the Supreme Court of Sweden, appealing against Sweden’s Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold the Stockholm arbitration’s 2016 ruling, unfavourable to Lithuania, in the country’s dispute with Russian gas giant Gazprom. Lithuania wants to recoup around 1.4 billion euros from the Russian company as this is the amount Lithuanian consumers overpaid for natural gas, and also have the court ruling on covering Gazprom’s legal costs of 1.3 billion euros overturned, Lithuania’s Ministry of Energy said on Thursday, August 1.

A study: alcohol control measures failed

Lithuania’s alcohol control policy based on bans and tax increases has failed to have any major influence on consumption habits, according a survey carried by scientists from Vilnius University. The survey results were released this week. The VU survey shows the legal sales of alcohol in Lithuania dropped around 7 per cent last year but people bought three times more alcohol abroad.

President calls for increased social security spending

President Gitanas Nausėda called on Thursday, August 1, for an increase in funding for social needs after meeting with Social Security and Labour Minister Linas Kukuraitis. Nausėda met with Kukuraitis amid an ongoing Cabinet reshuffle.

Minister slams Vilnius municipality for creating panic

Interior Minister Eimutis Misiūnas said on Thursday, August 1, Vilnius’ municipal authorities are creating panic among people by running an evacuation drill to test the city’s readiness to respond to a potential nuclear accident at Belarus’ Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant. According to the minister, this is creating scare and panic among residents of Vilnius, although, basically, there’s even no theoretical reason for doing so. On Wednesday, Vilnius’ municipality announced plans to hold a nuclear accident response readiness drill, involving an evacuation of a part of the city, on September 5.

Energy Ministry works out action plan for power grid synchronisation

The Energy Ministry said on Wednesday, July 31, it has worked out a plan of actions and measures for synchronising the Lithuanian electricity system with that of Continental Europe, in line with a synchronisation law passed by the parliament in June. It calls for expanding the existing LitPol Link interconnection between Lithuania and Poland, building a new submarine cable between the two neighbouring countries, named Harmony Link, and optimizing the power transmission network in northeastern Lithuania and carrying out other projects to reinforce the transmission infrastructure.

A businessman meets Alibaba founder in Vilnius

Tadas Karosas, a minority shareholder of Morele, the Polish owner of Lithuania’s e-retailer Pigu, admitted this week he met with Jack Ma, founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, last week. The businessman refused to elaborate, however. Poland’s e-commerce platform Morele, which is 51 per cent owned by MCI. PrivateVentures, has been the sole shareholder of Pigu since last October. Pigu posted 86.793 million euros in consolidated revenue for the financial year started in April 2017, up 20.3 per cent compared with the previous year. Net profits increased more than five-fold to 2.827 million euros.

Both man and woman for EU commissioner being considered

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Wednesday, July 31, Lithuania may nominate both a man and a woman candidate to be its next European commissioner. The prime minister’s comment came after Ramūnas Karbauskis, leader of the ruling Farmers and Greens Union, said earlier on Wednesday that Lithuania was not considering delegating a woman to the new European Commission. Under the law, Lithuania’s candidate is to be nominated by the government and approved by the president and the parliament.

Lithuanian MPs to collecting signatures for judges’ impeachment

Lithuanian lawmakers said on Wednesday, July 31, they are about to finish collecting signatures in favour of launching impeachment proceedings against several corruption-suspected judges. Lawmakers are proposing launching impeachment proceedings against Egidijus Laužikas, a Supreme Court judge, and the Court of Appeal’s judges Valdimaras Bavejanas, Viktoras Kazys and Konstantin Gurin.

Lithuania marks 28 years since Medininkai checkpoint massacre

Lithuania on Wednesday, July 31, marked the 28th anniversary of the Medininkai massacre when seven Lithuanian officials were gunned down at work by Soviet OMON fighters. Memorial events took place in Vilnius and at the Medininkai checkpoint on the Belarusian border. An early morning service took place at Vilnius Cathedral and solemn commemorations followed at Antakalnis Cemetery and the Medininkai Memorial.

HU-LCD suggests nominating Grybauskaite for EU commissioner

The opposition conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats on Tuesday, July 30, suggested nominating the country’s former President Dalia Grybauskaitė for European commissioner. But the former president replied she was not seeking the position. Grybauskaitė served as Lithuania’s president for two terms from 2009 until early July this year. Before that, she was the European commissioner in charge of financial programming and budget in 2004-2009.

Centre of Registers opens up data on real estate

The Lithuanian Centre of Registers launched on Tuesday, July 30, its initiative to provide free access to anonymised data sets by opening up data on real estate. Acting Economy and Innovation Minister Virginijus Sinkevičius says more data will be opened up in the future.

Audimas loses dispute with Audi over EU trademark registration

Lithuania’s leisure and sportswear producer Audimas has lost this week a legal dispute with Germany’s carmaker Audi over the registration of its logo as a European Union trademark, the daily Lietuvos Rytas reported on July 29. According to the court, «Audi» is the main element in the «Audimas» mark, which may create a likelihood of confusion for consumers, especially Spanish speakers who could perceive it as «Audi Plus». The EU General Court has recently upheld the European Union Intellectual Property Office’s decision that the trademark applied for registration by Audimas may be confused with the Audi AG trademark.


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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

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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.

Latvian president urges not to sort idleness benefit recipients based on tax debts

When assessing whether or not a company meets requirements for idleness benefit eligibility, Latvia’s President Egils Levits urges the government to not sort them based on tax debts.

British PM Johnson treated from COVID-19 in intensive care

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to intensive care in London with his COVID-19 symptoms worsening as the outbreak is claiming more lives in the United Kingdom, British news portal The Guardian reports.

Riga City Council snap elections pushed back to 5 September

The ruling coalition in Latvia has agreed to push back Riga City Council snap elections to 5 September, as journalists were told by politicians after a meeting of ruling parties on Monday, 6 April.

US death toll of COVID-19 nears 11 000

The US, which is the country with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 infections, has on Tuesday, April 7, reached a total number of COVID-19-related deaths of 10 986, according to the US John Hopkins University and German public broadcaster DW.

Prime Minister says Latvia will neither enhance nor relieve restrictions

We do not plan to enhance restrictive measures, but neither do we plan to relieve restrictions – the storm is not over. Nevertheless, we are on the correct path, said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Spanish coronavirus death toll drops for fourth day in a row

In Spain, for the fourth day a row, the number of COVID-19 related deaths per day has decreased as the country has the most confirmed cases in infection in Europa, BBC reports.

Recovery from COVID-19 confirmed for 16 people in Latvia

So far 16 people in Latvia have made a successful recovery from COVID-19, as reported by Latvian Disease Prevention and Monitoring Centre (SPKC) Infectious Diseases Risk Analysis and Prevention Department director Jurijs Perevoščikovs at a press-conference on Monday, 6 April.

Kilometre-long freight train from China to pass through Latvia this week

This week a freight train pulling 100 containers forming a kilometre-long chain will pass through Latvia on its way from China to Kaliningrad Oblast, as BNN was told by Latvian Railway.

Design work commences across the entire Rail Baltica route in Latvia

Rail Baltica project management joint company RB Rail has signed two contracts on behalf of Latvia’s Transport Ministry for design and design supervision services on the remaining sections of Rail Baltica route in Latvia, as BNN was informed by the company.

Meduza: Head of Russian doctors’ organisation arrested during delivery of protective equipment to hospitals

The chairwoman of the Russian Doctors’ Alliance has been hit after being arrested by police as she was in a group of activists trying to deliver personal protection equipment to hospitals in the Novgorod region of Russia, Meduza news portal reports.

NEPLP wants 1.6 million euros for media to overcome COVID-19 crisis in Latvia

The National Electronic Mass Media Council has prepared historically the largest state support programme for electronic TV and radio to ensure uninterrupted production of domestic content and broadcasts during COVID-19 crisis. The volume of support is estimated at 1.6 million euros, as reported by NEPLP.

Estonian top virologist: Peak of COVID-19 will be flattened out

Estonian virologist Irja Lutsar, who is part of the Estonian government’s working group of COVID-19 has forecast that the peak point of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Estonia will be long, Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports.

COVID-19 infection numbers in Baltics. 542 in Latvia, 843 in Lithuania and 1 108 in Estonia

The number of confirmed COVID-19 infection cases in Latvia has reached 542, increasing by nine new cases in a day. Lithuanian media, meanwhile, report 843 coronavirus infection cases.

Kazāks: the virus causes Latvia’s economy to drop 2-3 percentage points every month

Because of restrictions adopted to restrict the spread of COVID-19 in the country, Latvia’s economy drops 2-3 percentage points every month, said governor of the Bank of Latvia Mārtiņš Kazāks in an interview to Latvijas Radio on 6 April.

British Prime Minister hospitalised 10 days into coronavirus infection

In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to hospital ten days after receiving positive tests for COVID-19, British public broadcaster BBC reports.

Universities in Latvia have no plans for entry exams if central exams are cancelled

If central exams in Latvia are cancelled, universities have no plans to organize entry exams, because this would require additional resources.

Number of COVID-19 infections increase in the 50 to 59 age group in Latvia

The number of COVID-19 infections in the 50 to 59 age group has nearly doubled in the past week, reaching 83 cases, according to the latest data from the Disease Prevention and Monitoring Centre.


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