Latvija in brief - 2004-07-01

  • 2004-07-01
Another 15 Latvian soldiers have left for Iraq to serve as peacekeepers in the Polish controlled sector of the Middle Eastern state. Officials said they did not know when the rest of the replacement soldiers would arrive in Iraq to relieve the soldiers currently serving there.

The Constitutional Court has rejected a petition by Boris Cilevics and Vitalijs Orlovs that challenged the education reform, deeming it inadmissible. They plan to repetition the court and even turn to the European Court of Human Rights if the legal action proves unsuccessful.

Latvia became a full member of the Task Force of International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. The government has already created plans for new teaching materials for Holocaust education.

A drunk Belarusian male who had illegally crossed into Latvia by train fell and lost an arm and a leg. Border guards found the inebriated man on the tracks where he was rushed to a nearby hospital. Doctors were unable to reattach the arm and leg and he was sent back to Belarus. After regaining consciousness, he reportedly did not remember how he had entered Latvia.

The European Free Trade Association announced that it would grant Latvia 53.74 million euros to help in harmonizing economic and social development with other EU countries. The award will be used over a five-year term for various projects including environmental protection and preserving European culture.

Aleksejs Loskutovs (photo), head of the Corruption Prevention and Control Bureau, visited the Occupation Museum on June 29. Afterwards, he reversed his earlier statement that he didn't know whether Latvia was occupied or not, admitting that the country was indeed occupied. His initial statement sparked outrage from Culture Minister Helena Demakova to the right-wing opposition.

Loskutovs presented the bureau's four-year anti-corruption plan to Parliament this week. The plans contains 122 tasks and will target 37 state institutions and will require some 4.6 million lats (6.8 million euros). A bureau spokeswoman said the Cabinet was likely to confirm the plan, which was drafted over the course of a year.

The International Ice Hockey Federation will choose a site for the smaller of the two arenas required for the 2006 World Ice Hockey Championship in either Liepaja or Riga. Part-time oligarch and Ventspils Mayor Aivars Lembergs, who wanted the smaller arena built in his city, derided the decision.

Riga hosted the ninth World Estonian Festival on June 26-30. The festival sought to create links between Estonians from around the world and was attended by Estonian President Arnold Rutel. Approximately 100,000 Estonians live outside Estonia.