Latvija in brief - 2004-05-27

  • 2004-05-27
Foreign Minister Rihards Piks met with his German counterpart Joschka Fischer in Berlin to discuss the Russia-EU summit, the war in Iraq and international security.

Aleksejs Loskutovs (photo) was named the government's candidate to head the anticorruption agency by a unanimous vote in the Cabinet of ministers. Despite acting chief Juta Strike receiving a majority vote from the evaluation committee, the Cabinet chose Loskutovs, who must now be confirmed by Parliament. If he is confirmed, he will serve a five-year term.

The Sarkandaugava Unibanka branch was robbed of 180,000 lats (271,500 euros), making it the second time in four months that a Unibanka has been robbed in Riga. The assailants robbed the bank at gunpoint.

The anticorruption bureau detained a police officer in Riga for demanding a 300 lat (450 euro) bribe to bury a criminal case.

Riga Mayor Gundars Bojars invited Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov (photo) to visit the capital for the upcoming Moscow days to be held May 28-29. Prime Minister Indulis Emsis, after initially stating that he would meet with Luzhkov, later declined saying that he was too busy. Deputy Prime Minister Ainars Slesers will go in his place.

U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California, will visit Latvia from May 25 - 28 to meet with government officials and leaders of Latvia's Jewish community. Lantos, who is of Hungarian-Jewish origin, is the only Holocaust survivor to have been elected to the U.S. Congress.

State prosecutors brought charges against Guntars Spunde, former director general of the Latvian Digital Radio and Television Center, for attempted fraud, conspiracy and abuse of power. The controversy with LDRTC began when it signed an agreement with then little-known Kempmayer Media for the introduction of digital radio and television. Prosecutors may level more charges against other officials in the near future.

The National Harmony Party announced it had petitioned the Constitutional Court to stop the coming education reform set to begin this September. The political party believes that the reform violates Latvia's international obligations and constitution.

Latvia's Ukrainian and Belarusian societies have submitted letters to Parliament in support of Special Task Minister for Integration Nils Muiznieks, who faces a vote of no-confidence as early as May 27. The letter states that Muiznieks is one of the few people promoting dialogue with minorities. The Latvian-Azeri Association sent a similar letter last week.