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Ceturtdiena 19.09.2019 | Name days: Verners, Muntis
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Week in Lithuania. Watchdog: Simpsons might have negative effect on minors

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This image released by FOX shows character Homer Simpson, from the animated series, “The Simpsons”

The Radio and Television Commission (RTCL) of Lithuania believes the popular American sitcom, The Simpsons, might be having negative impact on minors, thus, should be shown after 9 p.m. According to the watchdog, certain scenes involving the use of alcohol, polygamy promotion, and talks about sexual intercourse, could be detrimental to minors. The RTCL has asked the TV3 channel airing The Simpsons to provide explanations.

Parliament extends fall session until January 12

The Lithuanian parliament has extended its fall session until January 12. Newly-appointed ministers are expected to be sworn in during plenary sittings scheduled for January 11 and 12. Under the Constitution, the parliament’s fall session starts on September 10 and ends on December 23. If the session had not been extended, the Seimas would have had to hold a plenary sitting on Sunday, December 23, the day before Christmas Eve.

Parliament backs MRU-VGTU merger

The Seimas of Lithuania on Thursday, December 20, endorsed plans to merge Mykolas Romeris University with Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, with 84 votes in favour, no votes against and two abstentions. Earlier, the Lithuanian parliament backed the merger of Aleksandras Stulginskis University and the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences. In early December, lawmakers backed the government’s proposal to merge Siauliai and Vilnius Universities.

Seimas greenlights Lithuanian Railway’s overhaul

The Seimas of Lithuania (Parliament) on Thursday, December 20, backed plans for the overhaul of the state-run railways company Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways), with 69 votes in favour and nine abstentions. Under the plan, instead of the railway company’s three existing directorates, including Passenger Transportation Directorate, Freight Transportation Directorate and the Railway Infrastructure Directorate, three separate enterprises will be established and Lietuvos Geležinkeliai will own their shares. Lietuvos Geležinkeliai will remain a solely state-owned company. Failure to overhaul the railway company would have caused Brussels’ punitive actions.

Presidents’ friendship encouraged to invest in Belarus

Ramūnas Karbauskis, the leader of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union (LFGU), says the Lithuanian and Belarusian presidents’ friendship encouraged Agrokoncernas to invest in the neighbouring country, even though his business purchased a plant in the Brest region before Dalia Grybauskaite became president. Karbauskis’ comment came after the Lithuanian Radio and Television (LRT) reported on Thursday that Agrokoncernas had owned a fertilizer plant in Belarus in 2008 to 2017. Agrokoncernas acquired a 50 per cent stake in Xoll Kemikal, the owner of the Belarusian fertilizer plant, in 2008 and signed a deal to buy another 30 per cent of shares at the end of that year, bringing its total shareholding to 83.22 per cent.

New referendum law allows more polling places abroad

The Lithuanian parliament adopted on Thursday, December 20, the new wording of the Law on Referendum that adjusts referendum organization procedures and allows more polling places abroad.

The new wording of the law, which was passed with 65 votes in favour, two against and 18 abstentions, is expected to come into force in January. Decisions on additional polling stations for a referendum will be made by the Foreign Ministry and will have to be approved by the Central Electoral Commission. Lithuania plans to hold a dual citizenship referendum on May 12 and May 26, 2019, in tandem with the first and second rounds of voting in the next presidential election.

President signs 2019 budget bill into law

President Dalia Grybauskaite on Thursday, December 20, signed into law a bill on next year’s central government and municipal budgets. The 2019 budget projects a total of 10.59 billion euros in central government budget revenue, including 1.922 billion euros in EU and other international financial support, and 11.706 billion euros in expenditure. This leaves a budget deficit of 1.106 billion euros. The ruling bloc says the planned cut in labour taxes will help increase incomes for all working Lithuanians and will encourage job creation, but critics warn that the reform will leave a hole in the state’s coffers that will affect public sector financing.

Minister regrets failure to stop Belarus’ N-plant project

Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius regrets that Lithuania failed to stop the construction of the Astravyets nuclear power plant in Belarus, despite major efforts to torpedo the project. He said the project in Astravyets, just 50 kilometers from Vilnius, should have been stopped from the beginning. The chief diplomat also said he regretted that Lithuania did not have sufficient arguments to convince neighbouring countries not to buy electricity from the Astravyets plant. Belarus expects the plant’s first reactor unit to be ready for industrial power generation by late 2019 and the second unit to be operational by mid-2020.

Government to draft bill on freezing of Russian oligarchs’ assets

The government said on Wednesday, December 19, it will itself draft a bill providing a legal basis for freezing assets of Russian oligarchs and officials on Lithuania’s blacklist and restricting their economic and financial activities in the country. The Cabinet did not approve of similar amendments tabled by two opposition parties – the Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats (HU-LCD) and the Liberal Movement. If the amendments were adopted, money kept in Lithuania-based banks and other financial assets would be frozen, and people and companies in Lithuania would be banned from doing business with blacklisted individuals.

Government nods to 3 PPP military base development projects

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday, December 19, gave the go-ahead for the Defence Ministry to develop military bases in the city of Šiauliai and in the districts of Šilalė and Vilnius on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis. A total of up to 165 million euros at net present value are planned to be allocated for the military bases, which will house three battalions of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Negotiations with potential suppliers will be held at the turn of 2019 and 2020, with contracts to be signed in the fourth quarter of 2020.

President appoints culture minister

President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Tuesday, December 18, appointed Mindaugas Kvietkauskas as culture minister, the president’s press service said. Kvietkauskas, a 42-year-old poet and literary scholar, served as director of the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore between 2008 and 2018 and now holds the post of deputy director at the institute. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis in early December announced his decision to replace the ministers for culture, education and environment, saying he wanted to give fresh impetus to reforms.

Parliament green-lights purchase of Klaipeda LNGT

The Lithuanian parliament on Tuesday, December 18, gave the green light for purchasing the Klaipeda liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal’s floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) by late 2024, when the lease contract with Norway’s Hoegh LNG ends. The Seimas passed the respective amendments to the Law on LNG Terminal in a vote of 99 to one with 17 abstentions. Following the approval from the Seimas, the terminal’s operating costs are to be reduced to 43 million euros per year, from the current 66 million euros. The terminal’s costs for the fertilizer manufacturer Achema, Lithuania’s single largest gas consumer, would go down by around 6 million euros annually.


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  1. Bart says:

    What? Worse than Putin?

Sigulda municipality turns to police over infection cases in kindergartens

Sigulda municipality has turned to State Police to investigate the link between last week’s uncovered intestinal infection cases, including four infection cases involving salmonella bacteria, as confirmed by the municipality.

Latvian Saeima supports tighter mutual cooperation with USA in rights protection

On Thursday, 19 September, Saeima supported in the second and final reading a legislative draft, approving the September 2004 agreement for tighter cooperation between the Republic of Latvia and the United States of America for protection of rights.

Candidate: FCMC team should learn to work substantially, not formally

The team of Latvia’s Finance and Capital Market Commission should learn to work substantially, not formally, said the candidate for the post of chief of FCMC and Citadele Bank board member Santa Purgaile at a press –conference on Thursday, 19 September.

Lithuanian analysts on Russia-Belarus unification plan: actions louder than words

The announcement by Belarus and Russia this week of their entering into an economic confederacy by 2022 did not go unnoticed in Vilnius, which is courting the idea of recharging its dusty relations with Minsk. Is it just the Slavic countries’ new attempt to fulfil the endeavour?

Russia holds traditional holy man, who sought to drive out Putin

A Siberian shaman, who was on his way to Moscow, to «banish» Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been detained, Russian police has stated.

Costs for delivery of printed press to be compensated in Latvia

On Thursday, 19 September, Latvia’s Saeima supported in the second and final reading amendments to the Postal Law, which provide delivery of printed press under subscription in 2020 under the same rules and conditions that are in force now.

Saeima says state of emergency in Riga’s waste management sector is justified

Latvia’s Saeima has approved the decision made by the Cabinet of Ministers on declaring a state of emergency in Riga’s waste management sector.

Lithuanian PM’s lymhoma treatment met with solidarity by Health Minister

Lithuanian Health Minister has shaved his head expressing solidarity with Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, who is being treated against cancer.

Finance and Capital Market Commission applies a considerable fine on PrivatBank

Latvia’s Finance and Capital Market Commission has applied a fine of EUR 1.019 million on AS PrivatBank for violation of the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism and Proliferation Financing, as confirmed by FCMC Communication Office.

Estonia to pay tens of thousands to municipalities for military training grounds

300 000 euros – such is the sum the Estonian Defence Ministry has undertaken to pay every year to nine municipalities in the territory of which training grounds of the Estonian Defence forces are located.

Competition Council: Riga City Council takes no responsibility for its own mess

«It is unfortunate that Riga City Council has involved others in resolving its own negligent problems without taking any responsibility. Competition Council has issued multiple warnings to make Riga City Council to prepare and prevent the very situation we are in now,» says Competition Council chairperson Skaidrīte Ābrama in regards to the state of emergency declared in Riga.

In Fukushima negligence case, company executives acquitted

A court in Japan has acquitted in a case of alleged negligence as to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster three executives of a power company.

Millions intended for National Acoustic Concert Hall to be spent for other needs

The EUR 23 million allocated by European structure funds for the construction of the National Acoustic Concert Hall, and which were planned to be used for the reinforcement of AB Dam, have been divided for other needs, said Latvia’s Culture Minister Nauris Puntulis.

Finland: 12 days left to UK to submit Brexit amendments

Anti Rinne, the Prime Minister of the presiding country of the European Union, has warned the United Kingdom that it has 12 days to submit proposals to amend the existing withdrawal agreement.

Latvian minister promises to control municipalities’ loans more strictly

The loans taken by municipal companies from the State Chancellery for construction of different infrastructure projects will be evaluated and controlled more carefully, promised Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce at a press-conference on Wednesday, 18 September.

Police to investigate intestinal infection cases in Sigulda’s kindergartens

On Tuesday, 17 September, Latvia’s State Police commenced a criminal process over the intestinal infection cases observed at kindergartens in Sigulda.

New MEPs express support to EU stance on Brexit in resolution

The new composition of the European Parliament has passed a resolution pledging to reject any withdrawal agreement of the United Kingdom without a backstop and readiness to support a withdrawal extension if the UK requests it.

Estonia wants quicker tobacco price hike and small brewery expansion

Estonian Finance Ministry has tabled proposals to increase excise tax on tobacco products and to allow small breweries to expand, while keeping tax deductions.

State Audit bashes Latvian municipalities for irresponsible loans and massive projects

The practice when many Latvian municipalities borrow money from the state budget to finance excessive and unnecessary construction projects demonstrates short-term thinking and irresponsible attitude towards their future costs, as concluded by State Audit.

Estonian tech firms agree to become climate neutral by 2030

33 Estonian computer technology firms have sealed a Green Pledge at Tallinn Digital Summit, promising to change their operations to a completely environmentally sustainable basis by 2030.

Latvian government allocates considerable finances for ministries’ priorities

The government has decided to allocate an additional amount of EUR 173.0 million from the 2020 budget to finance priorities of ministries and independent institutions.

Lithuanian farmers ditch milk farming due to low milk price

In Lithuania, milk purchase prices are so low that small and medium-sized farms have found it unfeasible to operate and 12% of all milk farms have seized to exist over the past year, LRT reports.

Latvian prime minister urges audit of catering services at education institutions

Following the news about intestinal infection cases in Sigulda and the violations uncovered by the Food and Veterinary Service at nearly all education institutions there, an inspection will be proposed to check the quality of catering services at other education institutions, said Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš.

Whistleblower Snowden’s new book targeted by U.S. lawsuit

American whistleblower Edward Snowden has released a new book and on the day of its publication the U.S. government has filed a lawsuit against the book to «recover all proceeds» from its sales.

Latvian government greenlights continuation of territorial reform

In spite of objections from many municipalities, Latvia’s government decided on Tuesday, 17 September, to support Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry to reduce the number of existing municipalities from 119 to 36.