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  • More refugees could arrive to Latvia within a month
    that the process may be shorter as Latvia still has two years to take in an additional 500 According to Petersone Godmane the asylum seekers have been informed about the situation and circumstances in Latvia However they have not been asked why they chose to go there On Monday February 8 Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis told Latvian national television that there are no other persons ready for relocation yet The minister explained that first the Border Guard and security institutions will be working with the asylum seekers Only then will information be handed over to the Office for Citizenship and Migration Affairs who will decide on assigning them refugee status If refugee or alternative status is assigned other services will work with them children will be provided with kindergartens while adults will have to learn the Latvian language and find jobs Kozlovskis also said the action plan works after the first wave of refugees are admitted The first arrivals to Latvia are two families one from Eritrea and one Syria Both families have one school aged child each They been taken to the refugee center in Mucenieki After arriving in Latvia the refugees were explained their rights and responsibilities their finger prints were taken and the documents for their asylum process were submitted for processing This week representatives from the State Border Guard will meet with the asylum seekers and carry out more detailed interviews Comments Related Articles U S heavy weaponry to be deployed in Latvia from autumn 2015 Latvia Lumbers Towards Higher Spending on Defence Russia Today requests permission to establish Latvian subsidiary Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles Latvian government reaches for guns over health care Crude oil leaks from Latvia s VNT terminal Latvia and China

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/more_refugees_could_arrive_to_latvia_within_a_month/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Grybauskaite's office receives envelope containing suspicious substance
    a suspicious substance The presidential press service told BNS Lithuania that the envelope had been received by the Document Handling Division and that the operations of the president s office had not been interrupted The VIP Protection Department took the envelope for further analysis and handed it over to the relevant institutions The office of the president is working as usual it reported This is the second security incident involving the president s office over the past two years In April 2015 a man was detained outside the office after threatening a suicide attack Empty bottles were later found in the suitcase he had with him Security measures were stepped up as a result of the incident Comments Related Articles Kaunas municipality begins refurbishment work on Jewish cemetary Lithuania supports Georgia s NATO aspirations NATO to halve Baltic air policing mission four jets to remain in Siaulai Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles Mixed hopes in Vilnius for Belarus reset Lithuanian MEP migrant crisis will be a lingering issue Refugees to be questioned on religion and previous military activities by Lithuanian authorities Former KGB spy given Lithuanian residence permit 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/grybauskaite_s_office_receives_envelope_containing_suspicious_substance/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Butkevicius believes there is conspiracy to oust him as Prime Minister
    in other parties When I returned from my vacation today I found a certain document or I d say a note that said efforts will continue to be made to ensure that the prime minister comes under further attacks The general elections are approaching and if the Prime Minister were replaced it would be much simpler and easier other parties to participate in the elections he added Butkevicius said that at present he did not want to name the people seeking to oust him as prime minister He did not answer whether he thought Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite was complicit It would be very naive on my part to blame the opposition It is their job to criticise the authorities I will be able to answer this question of who is seeking to replace the prime minister later I think we are facing a long battle in the run up to the general elections Grybauskaite has said recently that the situation in the Butkevicius government is difficult due to a shadow of corruption Comments Related Articles Kaunas municipality begins refurbishment work on Jewish cemetary Lithuania supports Georgia s NATO aspirations NATO to halve Baltic air policing mission four jets to remain in Siaulai Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles Mixed hopes in Vilnius for Belarus reset Lithuanian MEP migrant crisis will be a lingering issue Refugees to be questioned on religion and previous military activities by Lithuanian authorities Former KGB spy given Lithuanian residence permit 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

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/butkevicius_believes_there_is_conspiracy_to_oust_him_as_prime_minister/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Grybauskaite blames Prime Minister over government corruption
    surrounding Lithuania s health and environment ministers as well as the possible non transparent operations of institutions subordinate to the Agriculture Ministry Grybauskaite said these practices cast a shadow upon the reputation of the whole Cabinet According to her political responsibility does not necessarily mean the resignation of ministers Political responsibility can be taken in various forms this does not necessarily mean resignation I leave the prerogative up to the prime minister however the shadows so far fall upon the environment minister the Agriculture Ministry and especially its subordinate institutions Asked about her response to the prime minister s call to provide specific facts about corruption in the government Grybauskaite said she was not a law enforcement institution Grybauskaite stated that the government must ensure the transparency of the resolutions it approves control the operations of institutions subordinate to the Agriculture Ministry and other ministries plus ensure the transparent distribution of European Union EU funds as well as improving the transparency of state and municipal institutions Personal example and responsibility along with European transparency standards rather than declarative statements should serve as the basis for the government s unconditional efforts against corruption she said Former Health Minister Rimante Salaseviciute stepped down from the post of health minister following criticism over her public admittal of having paid a bribe to a doctor She has also been interviewed in a probe into corruption at a Siauliai hospital Environment Minister Kestutis Treciokas of the Order and Justice party and Druskininkai Mayor Ricardas Malinauskas of the Social Democrats have been also been interrogated as special witnesses into the possibly unlawful influence in building a house in the region The ruling Social Democrats maintain that the scandals are plotted by their political opponents in the run up to the parliamentary elections scheduled for October Comments

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/grybauskaite_blames_prime_minister_over_government_corruption/ (2016-02-13)
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  • New, all-about-taxes Lithuanian party: “Lithuania is part of EU only de jure, not de facto”
    of your party Is it only about the flawed tax system No not only about that We want to restore capacity of advisors in our courts If in power we will strive to establish a two tier self governance locally The rest of Europe has a two level system of governance but not in Lithuania alas Here unfortunately we only have the first level of self governance operating one encompassing mayor councillors and elders Unlike in many Western towns they are mostly preoccupied with the distribution of budgetary resources and have a slight idea how the communities live A good mayor in the West does know of those in the community who display suicidal tendencies who suffer from depression and who failed at public swimming classes etcetera Ask a Lithuanian mayor if he or she can get these kinds of questions answered I doubt it I want to say is that for all local authorities this should be part of their daily routine but it is not Politically after a successful election expressing gratitude parties in the West step down from the stage and get into the crowd of the election activists and supporters and offer them to join the parties They do that not out of the desire to bolster the party which is important too but aiming to build more bridges with the communities In Lithuania grassroots after elections are usually forgotten and only big money sacks scoop up the dividends of the party s success Many institutions of local self governance in Lithuania are too big and are not able to address the needs of the population The municipality of Warsaw for example is divided into if I am not mistaken 14 or 17 smaller bodies of self governance operating in the city s largest districts They could perhaps be compared to Lithuania s elderates The gist of such local governance is to bring the authority and process of decision making closer to the communities and the Poles do it successfully For example in Punsk a small Lithuanian abundant Polish settlement on the Lithuanian Polish border local dwellers pick representatives for the local gmina an administrative district Again the purpose is the same to have authority nearer the community Not surprisingly the Poles therefore do not see such outrageous and vicious child murder scandals like we have had in Lithuania recently As a reminder we ve already had a two tier system of local governance in the 1990s but it was dismantled Do you have your election program finalised or do the ideas on taxes and self governance still need to be stitched together No the program is still in the pipeline but the ideas I am talking about will definitely be embedded in it I am sure people out there will embrace our program which I hope will be an eye opener for many I believe that people acquainted with it will sigh in disbelief Gee it seems that Lithuania is just formally a state of

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/new__all-about-taxes_lithuanian_party_____lithuania_is_part_of_eu_only_de_jure__not_de_facto___/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Meet the petrolhead Mayor of Kaunas
    live will transform into a space that becomes naturally attractive for businesses to set up and develop Visit Kaunas and you ll see he isn t wrong during the summer months the city s old town is bustling with pavement cafes and bars while Laisves Aleja is undergoing reconstruction Drawing on his personal experience in business Matijosaitis pragmatically explains that when the living environment is suitable for people to live business and investment will come naturally so you don t have to talk about any visions or workplace creations The municipality has to assist businesses that come here to start working as soon as possible and we have to provide premises houses and vacant spaces for them to get as comfortable and start working as soon as possible In a clear reference to corruption an unfortunate Soviet hangover still existent in contemporary Lithuania he adds Businessmen don t want to come to the municipality offices to meet different officials and kiss their hands for a favour and so on They want what belongs to them by law and they want it on time Such is Matijosaitis confidence in the future of Kaunas he believes his city will become a national example of how to create a transparent and efficient model for business In a good natured swipe at the capital s municipality he says Yes I think Vilnius can learn something from us in Kaunas If a business comes here and wants to open an office they can have all the necessary documents ready within eight months which is the same as in Druskininkai In Vilnius they have a longer process of doing things Yet despite the improvements in business foundation and living standards under his leadership Matijosaitis is eager to outline his biggest personal achievement which is the repair of its notoriously bad roads It sounds funny but last August I went for a drive and for the first time ever I found myself unafraid of hitting any bumps Besides he says with a laugh how could I drive all of my cars on these streets without having fixed them The interview reverts back to Matijosaitis evident car fever and it seems a good opportunity to move things away from local politics to how a boy from Soviet Kaunas eastern Viciunai district developed such a passion for all things automotive My speciality at university was automotive engineering he explains Like most petrosexuals the charismatic Matijosaitis explains that his love for cars came from his early school years When I was at school I participated in a club where we built cars and model engines but as I child I also had a love for toy cars and plastic model kits but as we know boys grow up and toys become expensive he laughs And expensive they do indeed In addition to his previously mentioned autoexotica he explains My daily car is a Porsche Panamera but in my free time it s a Ferrari F430 He enthuses about the 315

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/the_petrolhead_mayor_of_kaunas/ (2016-02-13)
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  • US pressures Latvia to clean up its non-resident banks
    the US Department of the Treasury was more diplomatic it regularly encourages countries to establish strict supervision and actively control it and that applies to large European financial centres including Latvia A matter of national security Since the restoration of independence 25 years ago an unusually large banking sector for a country of 2 million has developed in Latvia Thirteen of 17 banks work mostly with non residents They own over half of all funds deposited in the banks It s a risky but very profitable business for their owners two of the three biggest banks in Latvia in recent years are ABLV and Rietumu banka that cater to a non resident clientele Historical connections knowledge of the Russian language understanding of the Russian mentality and willingness to engage in risky and fraudulent dealings have attracted clients mostly from ex USSR countries 80 per cent of the non resident bank clients come from CIS countries US attention to the Latvian banking sector has always been present in diplomatic talks but its relevance started to grow after Russian backed aggression in Ukraine when the assets of Russian and Ukrainian officials subject to sanctions were being chased around the world diplomatic sources with detailed knowledge of the situation revealed to Re Baltica Latvia presents itself as a financial centre but Americans say each financial centre dealing with international transfers in dollars must invest adequate resources in banking control It s not just a matter of business it s a matter of national security says Andris Razans the ambassador of Latvia to the US Kristaps Zakulis the head of the bank regulator was summoned to the highest level security meeting the National Security Council chaired by the president twice in a short period of time in Sept and Dec 2015 Nothing similar had happened before The guests and agenda of the council meetings are classified so no official information can be obtained on the subjects discussed Before Christmas Zakulis was criticized in the parliament committee overseeing the regulator Suddenly faults were found in the work of the FCMC additional staff members were promised to bring the total to eight and regular reports to MPs were demanded Talk of replacing Zakulis was only silenced for a while by the collapse of the government Laws are always in the centre of attention because they are obvious and allow actions to be manifested But if there is not enough enforcement it doesn t matter how strict the regulation is says Mark Galeotti professor at New York University who together with his colleague Andrew Bowen analyzed the money laundering situation in Latvia a few years ago In Nov 2015 Galeotti spoke of the relations of the West and Russia in the annual Riga security conference He urged people to take a look at the laundering of money illegally obtained in the countries of the CIS from a national security perspective and ask which side is Latvia on The OECD drive One of the reasons the parliament committee

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/us_pressures_latvia_to_clean_up_its_non-resident_banks/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Latvia’s AirDog: Man’s best drone friend
    the AirDog team their drone is also a sturdy beast waterproof for surfers and water skiers well able to withstand altitudes up to 3 500 metres chills of down to minus 10 degrees Celsius and heats of up to 40C all alongside winds of up to 28 knots In less tempestuous conditions it can reach speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour to keep up with anything from ski mobiles in Patagonia to dirt bikes in the Sahara The team are reaching out to Olympic athletes looking to fine tune their techniques with high quality video recordings But an incident right at the end of last year could stymie momentum for drone makers like AirDog On Dec 23 a drone filming a slalom ski race in Italy veered into a no fly zone and plummeted from the sky crashing and shattering onto the slalom course in the middle of the race barely a metre behind Marcel Hirscher the downhill skiing world champion Hirscher skied on unscathed But the incident caused the International Ski Federation FSI to raise a red flag Clearly we tried it in this case and we had numerous safety measures in place that we were assured would be met says Jenny Wiedeke a spokesman for the FSI noting that drones were traditionally used for pre course coverage and beauty shots far from where they could fall into the crowd Looking ahead to the future we won t be using drones until the safety of our athletes and spectators can be guaranteed she tells The Baltic Times by phone from the FSI s HQ in Bern Switzerland So the technology has to continue to improve It is not just on the ski slopes that regulators are starting to look into the challenges and opportunities presented by the increasing quantity and sophistication of drones zipping through European skies Accidents will happen reads the Riga Declaration a set of basic principles laid down during Latvia s EU Council presidency which form a starting point for EU wide regulations that are still at the foetal stage Last month the European Commission unveiled its new Aviation Strategy for Europe and it was quick to recognise the current regulatory frame was not fit for purpose The existing rules do not reflect well the needs of this newly emerging technology reads the accompanying impact assessment released Dec 7 Today s aviation safety rules are not adapted to drones another communique released the same day points out Given the broad variety of types of drones being used under very differing operation conditions a risk based framework needs to be put in place rapidly Maris Gorodcovs Director of Latvian Civil Aviation Agency who chaired an EU summit on drones back in March last year the first high level meeting of its kind shares this sense of urgency Companies need uniform regulation across the whole of the EU he tells The Baltic Times because that s the only opportunity for European companies to develop and to

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