Latvija in brief - 2004-08-12

  • 2004-08-12
The top three political parties according to July polls are all opposition parties - New Era, Fatherland and Freedom and left-wing For Human Rights in a United Latvia. The Latvijas Fakti pollster reported that June polls showed the same general outcome, though popularity has slipped slightly for all three parties. New Era had 16.8 percent support in July, down 2.1 percent since June, while For Father-land and Freedom had 11.3 percent, down from 14 percent and For Human Rights had 8.3 percent, down from 8.6 percent.

Traffic police detained several drivers speeding excessively during an Aug. 6 crackdown. Among them was one police officer who had been driving 157 kilometers per hour. The fastest, however, was the driver of a Porsche 911, who rocketed by at 189 kilometers per hour and a Ford Puma at 183. Interior Minister Eriks Jekabsons said that he was shocked by what was seen in the raid, adding that the off duty police officer was up for administrative punishment. Over 260 people have died in road accidents in Latvia so far this year.

Daugavpils police discovered a brothel set up in a small apartment by the owner, 50-year-old Ludmila, and her 26-year-old daughter, Jelena, on Aug. 5. Five young girls were employed to give sexual services at the brothel, which was discovered by officers after they followed a repetitious classified ad in the local paper in which a woman was seeking a friend. Both women have been detained and could end up with a prison term of up to 8 years.

After five children drowned last week, State Rescue Service chief Aivars Straume said that he was appalled by people's irresponsibility in allowing their children to play near the water unattended. "Each kid is the future of this country, and parents have no right to take away the population of this country," said Straume. This year at least 102 people have drowned, including 13 children.

A Mercedes Benz jeep exploded around noon in Riga on Aug. 10, killing the driver and injuring two others. Police said the victim may have been a businessman dealing in real estate who had previously been attacked by gunfire in Kiev two years ago. The police reported that the victim, aged 38, was not a citizen of Latvia but had a permit for temporary residency. Police could not say whether the car exploded from a bomb placed in the car or thrown at it while driving past. The explosion was estimated as being made from the equivalent of 400 grams of TNT.

Ventspils border guards caught a stowaway family aboard a ferry Aug. 5 that had been hoping to catch a ride to Sweden. A border guard spokeswoman said that the three people, all members of the same family, had boarded the ferry Fellow as visitors but failed to leave it before departure. Under the code of administrative breaches, the offense is punishable with a fine of up to 150 lats (227 euros) or an administrative arrest of up to 15 days.