Latvija in brief - 2004-05-13

  • 2004-05-13
Defense Minister Atis Slakteris (photo) has led a delegation on a visit to Iraq to meet the Latvian contingent of 116 soldiers serving mostly in the Polish controlled zone, as well as with coalition officials. The Latvian delegation is scheduled to meet with the commander of coalition forces in Iraq, Ricardo Sanchez, and deputy chief of the Iraqi civil department, Jeffery Oster.

UNESCO has confirmed professor Janis Sikstulis as a representative from Latvia to work on the Iraqi cultural heritage committee. Sikstulis will attend a conference in Paris May 24-25 to discuss ways of preserving Iraqi heritage in the war-torn state. Iraqi Culture Minister Mufid Muhammad Jawad al-Jaza'iri is scheduled to visit Latvia after the Paris conference. Sikstulis' specialties are Arab and Hebrew languages.

Janis Holsteins was appointed the new head of Latvian Television after receiving eight of nine votes from the Latvian National Radio and Television Council. Holsteins was chosen after a long and acrimonious debate focused on who would succeed former head Uldis Grava, who stepped down in January to take a job with the New Era party.

Hansabank received nearly 30,000 lats (45,000 euros) in counterfeit Latvian bank notes, the largest sum in postindependence history, from an unnamed British bank. Hansasbank turned over the forged bills to the Bank of Latvia. The state police is currently conducting an investigation.

AirBaltic has announced plans to create domestic flights from Riga to the western port cities of Liepaja and Venstpils. Company chief Bertolt Flick said the new flights could help the cities develop their tourism business. The Latvian state is the majority owner of airBaltic, with 52.6 percent, while the Scandinavian airline SAS controls the remainder.