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  • WATCH LIVE: Experts discuss Latvia's incoming EU presidency
    be found in the annex The conference will bring together the leading EU researchers and experts including the former EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs the Latvian Latvia s Ambassador at Large for the Eastern Partnership Juris Poikāns MEP from Poland Jacek Saryusz Wolski the Vice President of the Rome Institute of International Affairs Gianni Bonvicini Latvian Digital champion Reinis Zitmanis and others The full list of the conference experts can be found in the annex Media are welcome to the press briefing which will take place on December 4th from 13 00 until 13 30 at the Tallink Hotel Riga You are also welcome to visit the conference panels and apply for individual interviews Please contact the organizer Diāna Potjomkina diana potjomkina liia lv 371 2888 3143 The following experts will take place in the briefing Andris Sprūds Latvian Institute of International Affairs Latvia Sabina Lange European Institute of Public Administration EIPA Luxembourg was involved in the personnel training for Latvia s Presidency will be confirmed Ramūnas Vilpišauskas Institute of International Relations and Political science Lithuania has especially focused on the analysis of Lithuania s Presidency Michael Koran Institute of International Relations Prague will introduce the TEPSA EU researchers network s recommendations for the Latvian Presidency Latvian English simultaneous translation will be provided In the framework of the conference the TEPSA research network has published its recommendations for the Latvian Presidency http goo gl 9ljnPY The morning part and the Eastert Partnership discussion will be streamed live on www esmaja lv The conference is organised by the Latvian Institute of International Affairs in collaboration with the Trans European Policy Studies Association TEPSA and THESEUS network with the support of the European Commision representation in Latvia the Fritz Thyssen Foundation and the European Parliament Information Office in Latvia Comments Related

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/more_than_40_experts_from_latvia_and_eu_will_evaluate_the_incoming_latvian_presidency/ (2016-02-13)
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  • A visit to Ukraine’s wounded soldiers
    people here are happy to be alive they do not regret anything and neither is Sergiy an exception Even with full knowledge of the risks he could not refuse to fulfill his duty And as he said he did not want to refuse because if people like him were not there the enemy troops would be in Kiev already Six months ago my wife and I celebrated the birth of our baby and it was just at the time when I had to leave It s tough said Sergey The fact that young people go to the front is their personal civic position But I m also a father I realized that I d better go there by myself than let my son go Parents should not have to bury their children but now that happens all the time Sergiy is also sure that life on the battlefield was easier than in normal life now When he returned it was hard for him to get used to the peaceful environment For a long time he suffered from nightmares and could not sleep Another personnel officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who is staying at the Hospital refused to tell his name but gave his call sign Bear He is convinced the gunmen of the problematic eastern regions of Ukraine need the war because now there is a fight for control of lucrative business assets in the region They are interested in continuing this war for their own ulterior financial motives he claims Bear also believes the fighters from the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions are for the most part made up of Russian officers Chechens and simple local hard workers who believe they are doing something right and good that supposedly is defending their homeland from Fascism These are the sorts of opinions heard from the major general of People s Republic of Donbass Igor Bezler well known among the soldiers by his call sign Demon who mentioned in his interview for Russian press that the main task for the militias now is to defeat fascism in Ukraine We are not fighting with the Ukrainians we are fighting Fascism which our ancestors defeated together in 1945 We are fighting with the Nazis Bezler said Bear is troubled by this rhetoric They have the idea that we the Ukrainian soldiers eat the livers of five months old infants drink blood and that we will kill them because they speak Russian and we speak Ukrainian he shares According to Bear the Ukrainian army faces some issues in personnel policy The Army needs reforms Bear explains All these useless potbellied colonels who know nothing and understand nothing with their completely empty heads all of them need to be removed Not all of the colonels are useless but most of them are We need more smart volunteers It is not necessary for them to be physically strong most importantly they need to be emotionally stable And if you bring in some alcoholics

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/a_visit_to_ukraine___s_wounded_soldiers/ (2016-02-13)
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  • International Discussion in Kaunas Examined Liberal Arts Education Today
    European higher education system But a financing scheme allowed us to develop this pure liberal arts university concept Prof Algirdas Avižienis brought a fresh curriculum from Harvard as an example and did something unbelievable However now we are challenged again by bureaucracies and by the biggest struggle in Western universities commercialization some stupid understanding of what is profitable the historian said Expanding on the value of this type of teaching in the Central and Eastern Europe Vice Rector at European Humanities University Darius Udrys emphasised that it could be seen as one of the crucial building blocks in the reborn post Soviet democracies The key challenge for us is that liberal arts prepare citizens for a free society to be actively engaged in the construction of a democracy which is more complicated than to be born in one such as the USA CEE has been facing enormous challenges for 20 years What the liberal arts model needs to convey is a deep understanding of human condition so we could adapt to the changes that need to be made for the societies to be successful Udrys claimed My understanding of liberal arts is that there is a formal core in every course general skills like communication collaboration creativity But critical thinking is the other one which should also be a part of every course argued Vytautas Magnus University s Assoc Prof JD Mininger The point is not necessarily having one more card to play when the job comes up but being able to make a choice based on your options after thinking very critically about it Dr Mykolas Drunga from the VMU Dept of Public Communication added that the first challenge is to know what to critically think about and to make sure that it is a valid enterprise which is why it is important to choose good role models such as Harvard or University of Chicago The latter according to Drunga sought its students to have at least rudimentary knowledge of 10 11 different basic subjects including history philosophy fine arts etc You cannot make a critically good decision in the competitive field in which you re employed if you don t have rudimentary knowledge of the whole world Because this knowledge especially philosophy helps you see the connections which someone else might not see Dr Drunga noted Later on in the discussion an important point was brought up that business leaders can provide effective support for liberal arts Steve Jobs said that he was inspired to create his inventions by a calligraphy class he took as part of general arts curriculum He also said that he hired people with liberal education This helps to counter the argument that it s not practical Darius Udrys pointed out The discussion s participants also touched upon the value liberal arts education provides to people living in oppressive violent societies such as Pakistan or Belarus Samuel Abraham remembered a conversation in Minsk about critical thinking and how he realised that people in that

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/international_discussion_in_kaunas_examined_liberal_arts_education_today/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Latvian independence day and reflections on the military reality
    to the Latvian defense structure I attended the recent visit to Latvia by the new NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and during the conference Stoltenberg reiterated that NATO s collective defense alliance with Latvia is there to provide defense assistance to Latvia and the Baltic States Stoltenberg it appears has three priorities as NATO secretary keep NATO strong work with NATO partners and raise finances on both sides of the Atlantic According to Stoltenberg NATO is proactive in the Baltics and is continuing to increase its presence there This kind of rhetoric often draws Baltic citizens into a false form of complacency that their defenses are secure Though there was no NATO in World War II this sort of support talk I heard from Stoltenberg reminds me of the problems that Finland had with Russia in 1939 After Nazi Germany and Russia signed a non aggression pact Russia invaded Finland because they wanted a new naval base and more territory The Finns put up a stiff resistance but in the end when Britain and France were unable to come to their aid the Finns had to capitulate to Russian demands A month earlier the Baltic States were invaded by Russia and what happened after World War II was the forced illegal Russian occupation of the Baltic States until 1991 To this day this forceful occupation in the past still gnaws at the minds and hearts of the Latvian people The major powers then as now condemned Russia for their actions against the Baltics Today almost all the major world powers also condemn Russia for her actions in Ukraine Is history trying to repeat itself The Latvian military establishment also has done very little because frankly they don t have the funds manpower or equipment to counter any national security threat The Latvian military is totally dependent on NATO support for its entire defense President Putin s Russia is and remains a threat to Latvian independence And whether or not Latvia makes it to its 100th year of independence or any further Independence Day celebration still falls largely into Russian hands How is the Latvian military reacting to all these provocations Honestly very little has been done and one can see that in the parade Over a decade ago the Latvian defense structure stood at roughly about 7500 personnel Today the figure has dropped to around 5000 personnel and is still falling By the military s own admission the voluntary military enlistment program is having difficulties in bringing in recruits The current strength figures include not only the army but all military which includes air force and navy as well Sadly enough the military leadership has not addressed some important issues beside recruitment The Latvian military currently has in its inventory too many outdated and ineffective weapons systems In their defense they have tried to modernize But again due to funding constraints they have often either bought too little or bought older systems This type of management leads me to believe

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/latvian_independence_day_and_reflections_on_the_military_reality/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Latvia’s new residency permit laws reckless and irresponsible
    based on the new rules were submitted We can also confirm a substantial drop in interest among the clients of our group To anybody with even a basic understanding of economics it s clear that the multiplier effect will work its way to the taxpayers pretty quickly Everyone not only bankers real estate developers and restaurant owners will feel the effect in 2015 The changes that the new Saeima already approved at the first reading of the law state that Latvia should not provide residence permits to Russian citizens who purchase real estate in Latvia The National Alliance wants to put these exact words into the state legislation and Saeima voted for the inclusion so this is not just a PR action this is how Latvia wants to be seen by the outside world I do not believe that this type of legislation sounds reasonable From the legal perspective limiting rights based on citizenship might bring unpleasant legal action against the State by all those people who made more than a billion euros worth of investment into the Latvian economy and will definitely scare any new investors away If this is the price that Latvia is prepared to pay to make a political statement then I hope that cooler heads in Saeima understand the consequences for the economy and the country The most profitable residence permit programs are actually run quite openly by the USA Canada the United Kingdom and Switzerland The amount of investment in each of those countries is substantial even for those much larger economies Our colleagues from Grant Thornton showed us how in 20 years they helped the Canadian government build the largest investor residence permit program in the world attracting upper middle class and exceptional talent to the country and bringing billions of dollars into the economy The government should not only be making political statements it should also be looking for a pragmatic approach as a way to build a strong economy This is a fundamental responsibility to its citizens a responsibility that it seems is severely lacking at the moment If I look at this issue purely from the business perspective not as a citizen and taxpayer of Latvia for our residency consultancy business this is not a knockout as we can switch relatively easily to offering other residence programs currently the UK investor visa and the Malta citizenship program are probably the most stable and popular We are also looking at the programs of our Baltic neighbors and if before Latvia was the clear winner now Estonia and Lithuania are becoming more attractive and as far as I am aware they welcome investors from the CIS countries We as a country will of course lose a very attractive economic opportunity and I wonder if the government has a plan for 2015 of how to replace the budget hole that will inevitably come about as a result of scrapping the most successful investor attraction program of the last 10 years The writer is

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/latvia___s_new_residency_permit_laws_reckless_and_irresponsible/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Charity with a question mark
    Health Ministry Of course the government can t predict how many children might come down with uncommon diseases in any given year but the current system in which desperate parents are forced to become public beggars seems rather well not acceptable The government has promised to look at systemic changes Let s hope so But my other question is this Surely the medical personnel at the specific clinic in Philadelphia are not from the Hogwarts School of Magic They are not going to wave wands and mutter incantations over Davis to make him better They apparently have the know how the equipment and the medicines to treat him Are they keeping all of this a deep secret Why If Davis family had found treatment in the EU there would have been a very different financing process Couldn t the doctors in Philadelphia tell doctors in Latvia how to do what they do By Skype if in no other way If it s a matter of expensive equipment it probably wouldn t make sense to buy it just for Latvia but the clinic has said that it is also treating children from Belgium and Germany who have the same problem as Davis does If it s some kind of super duper technology couldn t Europe get together in this regard Surely whoever manufactures it isn t a company that made just one and then got out of the business It seems odd It makes entire sense that a small and comparatively poor country such as Latvia cannot offer every single medical service known to mankind This small and comparatively poor country even has trouble getting its act together on compensation for desperately needed medications in many cases But it really does seem that if there is such a thing as the

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/charity_with_a_question_mark/ (2016-02-13)
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  • News search
    a trait that gets associated with ballet Read More Taming a beast with tenderness VILNIUS Lithuanian singer songwriter Ieva Narkute is finally pleasing her fans and going on Read More Odd Hugo go on tour TARTU After their latest performance at the end of October for a rousing crowd in Tartu Est Read More Breaking artistic boundaries in Riga RIGA Over the last few decades artists that have made their body the central focus of their Read More Bright stars at the Black Nights Film Festival TALLINN The Black Nights Film Festival has grown to be arguably the most well known Baltic f Read More Catching a ride on Brightman s Dreamchaser TALLINN The owner of a gorgeous and amazingly powerful voice a star of both the opera and p Read More New Privatization Agency board elected RIGA An emergency meeting of the Latvian Privatization Agency s shareholders was held Read More British Week begins in Riga RIGA British Week a series of events celebrating the traditions and history of Great Read More Previous 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 Next Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Subscribe A subscription to The Baltic Times is a cost effective way of staying in touch with the latest Baltic news and views enabling you full access from anywhere with an Internet connection Subscribe Now About The Baltic Times The Baltic Times is an independent monthly newspaper that covers latest political economic business and cultural events in Estonia Latvia and Lithuania Born of a merger between The Baltic Independent and The Baltic Observer in 1996 The Baltic Times continues to bring objective comprehensive and timely information to those with an interest in this rapidly developing area of the Baltic Sea region

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/search/jcms/start/1580/ (2016-02-13)
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  • The Path to the Future (President Nursultan Nazarbayev speaks to the people of Kazakhstan)
    Government to work on the construction or rental of terminals at dry and sea ports in China Iran Russia and the EU Second development of industrial infrastructure The implementation of infrastructure projects will produce big demand for construction materials products and services for transport communication energy housing and utility areas So firstly we need to complete our work on the formation of infrastructure in existing special economic zones The Government and the akims governors need to work in a timely manner to fill those zones with concrete projects Secondly they need to explore the possibility of constructing new industrial zones in regions aimed at the development of production facilities of SMEs and raising extra investments Tourism infrastructure is a separate line The creation of one job here costs 10 times less than in industry Third the development of energy infrastructure Extensive work has been carried out within the framework of the industrialisation programme in energy in the past five years Nevertheless limited transmission systems create a deficit of electric energy in the southern regions of the country and of natural gas in central and eastern regions We need to focus on two projects To construct high voltage lines Ekibastuz Semey Ust Kamenogorsk and Semey Aktogai Taldykorgan Almaty This will create a balanced energy supply from Kazakh power plants to all regions of the country Fourth the modernisation of housing and utilities infrastructure and water and heat supply networks The total demand for investments makes no less than 2 trillion tenge with annual allocation till 2020 from all sources of founding of no less than 200 billion tenge Today we see significant interest in investing in the modernisation of housing and utilities from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development the Asian Development Bank the Islamic Development Bank and private investors We need to ensure their maximum involvement through the provision of long term investment rates Such projects should be co funded by the state to prevent significant increases in rates We should allocate up to 100 billion tenge each year to accelerate the level of modernisation in our heat and water supply systems in addition to the funds already envisaged in the budget Fifth the strengthening of housing infrastructure The formation of urban centres is accompanied by a significant cross flow of the population This creates pressure on the labour market and city infrastructure including on the housing fund Therefore our approach to construction of rental housing should be revised The state will construct social housing to rent out and provide to the population for long term rent with the right to buy it The provision of housing directly without mediators with low interest loans will allow us to reduce the cost of acquisition No first instalment and low mortgage interest will make housing more affordable for various strata of the people of Kazakhstan Therefore we will additionally increase funding of construction of rental housing by 180 billion tenge during 2015 2016 Sixth development of social infrastructure We must resolve

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/the_path_to_the_future__president_nursultan_nazarbayev__speaks_to_the_people_of_kazakhstan_/ (2016-02-13)
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