Week in Lithuania. Lithuanian court postpones January 13 ruling until late March

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Vilnius Regional Court on Tuesday, February 5, decided to postpone its ruling in the January 13 case until late March. The ruling had been expected on February 18 but it was postponed to March 27.In a statement, the court said it would not be able to issue the ruling in February due to one member of the judicial panel being on a long-term sick leave.

A total of 67 people have been charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes in the January 13th case, with the majority of them standing trial in absentia. Lithuanian prosecutors have proposed sentencing former Soviet defence Minister Dmitry Yazov and several other army officers to life in prison.

CEC lifts legal immunity of two mayoral candidates

Lithuania’s election watchdog, the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), on Thursday, February 7, unanimously lifted the legal immunity of two mayoral candidates suspected of influence peddling and abuse of office.

The CEC lifted the legal immunity of Rytis Mykolas Račkauskas running for mayor in the northern city of Panevėžys and also of Kęstutis Tubis running for mayor in Anykščiai, northeastern Lithuania.

Niagara Falls to light up in Lithuanian colours

The Niagara Falls in North America will light up yellow, green and red on February 16 to mark the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Lithuanian Partisans’ Declaration. The Niagara Falls, one of Canada’s top tourist destinations, will be illuminated in the Lithuanian national colours between 10 and 10:15 p.m. local time (5 a.m. Vilnius time). The event is being organized by Lithuania’s embassy to Canada together with the Niagara Falls Illumination Board.

LFGU leader accuses President of «political show»

Ramūnas Karbauskis, leader of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, has on Wednesday, February 6, accused President Dalia Grybauskaitė of staging a «political show» and undermining Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis after she refused to appoint the proposed candidate for environment minister. Karbauskis pointed to the fact that Irma Gudžiūnaitė was nominated for the position only upon prior consultation with the president. And more candidates were proposed to the president earlier, he said. Karbauskis believes the president’s decision might have to do with the prime minister’s decision to run for president.

PM’s confidence in president «shaken»

Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Thursday, February 7, his personal confidence in Dalia Grybauskaitė was «seriously shaken» after the president rejected a candidate for environment minister she had previously endorsed. Grybauskaitė’s refusal to approve Irma Gudžiūnaitė as the country’s next environment minister went against the earlier practice where the president and the prime minister would informally agree on a candidate for a minister’s job before his or her official nomination, Skvernelis said.

President’s advisers set to be appointed ambassadors

President Dalia Grybauskaite’s advisers Nerijus Aleksiejūnas and Lina Antanavičienė are set to be appointed the country’s ambassadors to France and Israel, Lithuanian media reported on Wednesday, February 6. The presidential office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have yet to comment on the report.

Government approves bill on civil asset confiscation

The Lithuanian government approved on Wednesday, February 6, a draft law on civil asset confiscation and a package of related legislative amendments to put in place the necessary regulation. Interior Minister Eimutis Misiūnas said the measure would help combat corruption and organized crime. This also applies to assets transferred to another natural or legal person who knew or ought to have known that the value of the assets is disproportionate to the legal income.

Vilnius adopts 2019 budget

The City Council of Vilnius adopted on Wednesday, February 6, the Lithuanian capital’s budget for 2019, with expenditure exceeding revenue by 5 million euros. The city’s revenue is expected to grow by 3.5 percent this year compared with 2018 to 611.717 million euros. Total revenue, including EU support and funds carried over from last year, is projected at 679.4 million euros, a rise of 9 percent year-on-year.

Flu epidemic declared in half of municipalities

An influenza epidemic has already been declared in 30 out of Lithuania’s 60 municipalities, the National Public Health Centre said on Wednesday, February 6. The disease has claimed 12 lives in the country since the start of this year.

Court rejects request to replace prosecutor in MG Baltic case

Vilnius Regional Court, hearing the high-profile political corruption case, on Wednesday, February 6, rejected the request to replace prosecutor Justas Laucius.

It had been requested by Simonas Slapšinskas defending Raimondas Kurlianskis, a former MG Baltic vice president. The defence lawyer said the prosecutor manipulated his powers to illegally public private information when he told the court in detail how Kurlianskis transferred 10,000 euros to another defendant in the case, ex-Liberal Movement leader Eligijus Masiulis.

Supermetrics to set up office in Vilnius

Finland’s marketing technology company Supermetrics is setting up an office in Vilnius, with plans to hire between 50 and 100 people in the Lithuanian capital within the next three years. The Finnish company is set to open its first office outside Finland in Vilnius this month, Invest Lithuania said in a press release on Tuesday, February 5.

President says INF arms treaty was outdated

The suspended Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the United States and Russia is outdated as it does not include other nuclear powers, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said on Monday, February 4. Grybauskaitė called on the world’s major powers to seek new arms control agreements in order to avoid a future arms race. When asked if nuclear-capable medium-range missiles should be deployed in Lithuania to boost security, Grybauskaite said that would not be necessary.

Lithuania resumes pig exports to Poland

Lithuania has resumed its exports of pigs to Poland after a break of two months. The country’s State Food and Veterinary Service said on Monday, February 4, 180 pigs were taken to a slaughterhouse in Poland from a farm in the northern District of Panevėžys on February 3. In December, Poland introduced the ban to import Lithuanian pigs and pork bred in Zone II of the ASF where fallen boars have been founds. The Lithuanian government then called the move unfounded.

Police launch probe into ex-basketballer’s unfair play

Lithuania’s police have launched an investigation into alleged result manipulation by Vaidas Kariniauskas, a former player of the Panevėžys BC Lietkabelis.

The probe comes in response to information submitted by the Lithuanian gambling watchdog, the Gaming Control Authority. Top Sport gambling company informed the gambling watchdog about “suspicious bets” of high value that Kariniauskas would score not more than eight points during the game with JDA Dijon Basket. Until then, Kariniauskas would score 10.4 points per game on average but then he managed to miss five shots out of six and score only two points.

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