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With Estonia Air and Air Lituanica both going bust in a matter of months, this is a tough time to be operating an airline in the Baltics. Latvia’s state carrier, airBaltic, has also been going through a rough ride.
On Nov. 3 the government approved an investor for the national airline airBaltic that had been suggested by the Prudentia consulting company – the German businessman Ralf Dieter Montag-Girmes. Will he rescue airBaltic?
He will invest EUR 52 million into the airline, and in turn get a 20 per cent stake. Without him, the state may have had to step in again and risk breaking EU competition laws. But the state will have to invest a further EUR 80 million in the airline. Approval for the state’s investment still needs to pass in Latvia’s parliament. Some ruling coalition parties vow to oppose the loan, so the bill could be in for a turbulent time before it passes, and before the German businessman can become the airline’s saviour.
Stuffed bear freed
Latvian police revealed Tuesday how they swooped in October to release a stuffed bear being illegally held by a collector, Latvia’s state broadcaster (LSM) reports.
Police from the Economic Crime Bureau working with the Nature Protection Bureau on two occasions seized illegal bearskins and a full-sized stuffed bear after a sting operation in Riga.
A 62-year-old man sold a bearskin for EUR 2,400 in one incident, while a 50-year-old man sold one for EUR 1,500 in a second purchase.
“It was found that the man has no permit or other type of documentation proving the legality of bearskin,” police said.
Police confiscated the haul of skins and stuffed bear and launched a case against the sellers who face fines of EUR 70 to EUR 700 if convicted.