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Latvija in brief - 2012-11-15

Nov 14, 2012

Education pays. Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity) holds a bachelors degree and a masters degree in physics, and he says that this knowledge also helps him in his work as prime minister. In an interview with LETA, the prime minister said that his knowledge of physics helps him tackle different problems, as it is a different approach of thinking about things. He said that this approach helps him when thinking about economic matters, as well as matters related to the state administration. The prime minister has also studied economics, and he says that he puts this knowledge to work every day. “Of course, knowledge of economics helps me, as I have to deal with economic matters every day,” the prime minister says. Asked about his hobbies and how he likes to spend his free time, Dombrovskis said that he does not have much free time, but when he does, he likes to participate in sports activities. “I go for a swim or play some basketball. If I have some free time, I also like to go to the countryside and clear my head,” the politician said.

In the first six months of the year, parliament members from opposition parties have been most absent from Saeima committee meetings, reports LETA. Political analyst at Transparency International-Latvia (Delna) Liga Stafecka said that Saeima Member Janis Klauzs (Union of Greens and Farmers) was tops on the list, as he has only participated in 38 percent of his committee meetings. Other Saeima members who have missed a relatively large amount of committee meetings include Janis Adamsons (Harmony Center), Rihards Eigims (Union of Greens and Farmers), Igors Melnikovs (Harmony Center) and Janis Urbanovics (Harmony Center). Meanwhile, Saeima members Karlis Engelis (Reform Party) and Dzintars Kudums (All for Latvia!-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK) have not missed any committee meetings since being elected to the 11th Saeima. Other Saeima members who are active in attending committee meetings include Atis Lejins (Unity), Andrejs Judins (Unity) and Inese Libina-Egnere (Reform Party).

Since 2008, there has been an increase in cases of persons inciting ethnic hate in Latvia, reports LETA. From 2008 to 2011, 33 such cases were brought to prosecution, while in the first half of this year, already 15 such cases criminal cases have been started, reports the Security Police. As the Security Police says, there has not been a reduction in cases involving incitement of hate in Latvia the past several years, and intolerance seems to have only increased. Inciting ethnic hate over the Internet is the most popular form, according to the Security Police. Ethnic hate on the Internet is mostly directed towards ethnic Latvians, Russians and Jews. The persons in these cases will be prosecuted in accordance with the Criminal Law’s Section 78 - inciting national, ethnic or racial hatred. The applicable sentence is from three up to ten years in prison.

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