Latvija in brief - 2004-07-28

  • 2004-07-28
MEP Georgs Andrejevs of Latvia's Way was named the third deputy chairman of the European Parliament's environment, health protection and food safety committee. Former Foreign Minister Rihards Piks was not able to secure a seat on the foreign policy committee.

Police discovered $80,000 in counterfeit $100 bills hidden at the RZM printing company in Riga, the same spot where over $600,000 in counterfeit bills was discovered last week. The police also found forged euros among the fake dollars in what is the largest find in recent history.

Cyber-crime, or crime committed over the Internet, is up according to economic police chief Rauls Kviesitis. Latvia recently participated in an international investigation of three racketeers in Russia, Kviesitis said, but in order to improve the department's detection of crimes, officers must continue to upgrade their computer skills. The economic police registered an increase of 744 cases this year, totaling 2,080.

A toll-free number that provides naturalization information will close due to a lack of funding. The U.S. Embassy previously provided economic assistance for the project, but funding is no longer available. The government was not expected to provide the necessary funds.

The Education Ministry has announced it would review Lashor's, an NGO opposed to the education reform, proposal for the primary education curriculum. The proposal was first submitted several years ago, but was ignored by the government at the time. If the model is accepted by the ministry it will be added to the four existing models that schools can choose from.

The state language center has asked Parliament's permission to fine MP Oskars Kastens (photo) of Latvia's First Party for violating the state's language law. Residential housing residents complained about Kastens after receiving Russian leaflets promoting the politician in the upcoming Europarliament elections. Kastens said that the leaflets were distributed by party members and were supposed to be in both Latvian and Russian.

Soldiers serving in Iraq came under fire again on July 26, the Ministry of Defense reported. The soldiers, serving in the Polish controlled section of Iraq, were attacked twice on July 8. There are currently 133 soldiers serving as peacekeepers in Iraq.

President Vaira Vike-Freiberga met with Croatian President Stjepan Mesic in his home country to discuss cooperation in tourism, and Croatia's future aspirations to join both NATO and the EU. Croatia will begin negotiations with the EU at the beginning of next year. This was Vike-Freiberga's first visit to Croatia.