Latvija in brief - 2004-06-17

  • 2004-06-17
The chancellory of Parliament did not allow local European Parliament officials to speak at the press conference following the EP elections so as to not create a precedent. "We did not think this would create any problems," said Philippe Kamaris, head of the EP office in Riga, "especially on the first ever European elections in Latvia."

The Riga City Council announced that it was merging the transportation companies - Rigas Satisksme and Tramvaju un Trolejbusu Parvalde - on June 8. The merger is expected to streamline the network of routes and possibly save 638,000 lats (952,000 euros) per year.

The remains of Olafs Baumanis, the first lieutenant killed in Iraq, were returned to Latvia on June 15. Baumanis was a member of the explosive ordinance unit. He, along with five other soldiers, was killed when a mortar attack hit ammunition they were trying to defuse. Baumanis' funeral will be held in Valmiera on June 17.

President Vaira Vike-Freiberga was awarded by the Canadian Psychologist Association for her contribution to feminist psychology. Vike-Freiberga was president of the organization in 1980-1981.

A memorial wall dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust and the Gulag was unveiled in Liepaja on June 9. More than 6,400 victims' names are engraved on the wall. Less than 3 percent of Liepaja's Jews survived the occupations.

Around 100 people gathered at Tornakalns train station in Riga on Jun 14 to commemorate the thousands of Latvians deported to Siberia in 1941. In her address to the gathering, which was read by historian Antonijs Zunda, President Vaira Vike-Freiberga encouraged Latvians to speak out on the deportations as a way of reminding Europe and the entire world so that these tragic events never happen again. Speaking out is also needed since Russia still has not recognized the fact of Latvia's occupation in 1940 and its consequences, the president said.