Posts published in Day: December 20, 2018

Mattis to step down as Pentagon chief, citing deep differences with Trump

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned Thursday as the Pentagon chief just one day after President Donald Trump abruptly announced he was pulling all American troops out of Syria against the advice of his top national security advisers. Mattis cited differences in views with the president in a resignation letter laced with criticism of Trump’s foreign policy. The letter was distributed by Pentagon officials moments after Trump announced Mattis’ impending “retirement,…

Samba music and kettlebells: Santa Claus visits the Riigikogu

Thursday, December 20, 2018

According to tradition, Santa Claus paid a visit to the Riigikogu during its final sitting of the calendar year, sharing banter and gifts alike with the Estonian MPs. As in recent years, some MPs recognised the man behind the beard as Gaute Kivistik, alias Rohke Debelakk. Members of the Board of the Riigikogu were all given medals, while parliamentary groups each received a topical gift. Santa Claus presented the opposition…

The ghost of hostile foreign intelligence and spies shadow Lithuania’s Christmas

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Christmas is around the corner, however not the merriest annual holiday, but the topic of secret services and spies prevails the Lithuanian media ahead of the celebration. Lithuania’s law enforcement on Wednesday, December 19, announced it busted a «whole network of persons», including Algirdas Paleckis, the former leader of Lithuania’s Socialist People’s Front, spying for Russia. Prosecutor General Evaldas Pašilis did not reveal the exact number of detainees, just mentioned Paleckis…

Activities related to terrorism now added to list of crimes in Estonia

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Riigikogu adopted a government bill on Wednesday that makes training as well as travel for the purpose of joining a terrorist organisation or committing an act of terrorism a crime. The same bill also adds the organisation, funding and support of terrorism to Estonia’s list of crimes. The new law transposes a directive of the European Union to the effect into Estonian law. The bill also brings Estonian legislation…

Europe briefing: Six stories to know about today

Thursday, December 20, 2018

1. Putin says world should not underestimate threat of nuclear war In his year-end press conference on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the world against underestimating the threat of nuclear war, adding that he believed the “the world arms control system has collapsed”. Putin also remarked on several other international issues, including Ukraine and sanctions placed on Russia by the West. On Ukraine, the Russian president said the recent…

Nuclear war threat should not be underestimated, says Putin

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the threat of nuclear war should not be underestimated, but that he hoped that common sense would prevail. Speaking at his annual news conference, Putin said it was hard to predict what the consequences would be of a U.S. withdrawal from the landmark Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed in 1987. “It’s a real shame that there’s a tendency to underestimate them (nuclear…

Lithuanian Energy to look for strategic partners for offshore wind farm investment

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Lithuania’s state-run energy group Lietuvos Energija (Lithuanian Energy), planning investment into renewable energy in Lithuania and abroad, is set to look for strategic partners for the implementation of offshore wind farm projects in the Baltic Sea, the group’s head Darius Maikstenas told LETA/BNS. “Early next year, we will start looking for strategic partners who have already implemented 1-2 GW projects to get ready for farm projects in the Lithuanian waters…

Food prices to increase next year – Latvian Institute of Agricultural Resources and Economics

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Prices of various food groups are expected to increase in Latvia next year, Inguna Gulbe, the head of the Latvian Institute of Agricultural Resources and Economics. She said that grain and grain products are expected to see a rise of over 20%, with rice expected to remain at the current level. Furthermore, fruit and vegetable prices are expected to increase by about 30% at the beginning of the next season…

Moscow’s embassy describes new spy probe in Lithuania as ‘anti-Russian campaign’

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Russian Embassy in Vilnius said on Wednesday that Lithuanian law-enforcement bodies’ new investigation into suspected spying for Moscow was “yet another anti-Russian campaign”. “Undoubtedly, the new fuss about spies is yet another serious and crude anti-Russian campaign by Lithuanian authorities,” the embassy said in its response to a question from the Russian news agency Itar-Tass. The response was published on the embassy’s website. Lithuania’s law enforcement said earlier in the day…

Trump pulling all US troops from Syria

Thursday, December 20, 2018

President Donald Trump is pulling all 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria, officials announced Wednesday as the president suddenly declared victory over the Islamic State, contradicting his own experts’ assessments and sparking surprise and outrage from his party’s lawmakers who called his action rash and dangerous. The U.S. began airstrikes in Syria in 2014, and ground troops moved in the following year to battle the Islamic State, or ISIS, and…