Latvija in brief - 2004-08-19

  • 2004-08-19
Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks has said that the Latvian-Russian border agreement had passed from the political stage to the technical one, and was nearing completion.

A new bilingual Web site,, made its debut last week. The site features translations of selected opinions from Russian language newspapers into Latvian and Latvian papers into Russian. "It is important to show youth that there is no place for hate, detachment and segregation," Editor in Chief Anna Stroja (photo) said of the new project.

A delegation of U.S. congressmen will arrive in Riga on Aug. 18 to discuss U.S.-Latvian relations with government officials. The delegation is expected to meet with President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Andris Argailis and Prime Minister Indulis Emsis.

The Ministry of Education and Science, along with the Riga City Council, plans to host a rock concert on Sept. 1 with Latvian and Russian rock bands as a counter demonstration to the mass Shtab-organized protest scheduled for the same day.

The government approved the basic guidelines for cooperation with the OECD in the hope of becoming a member in the next two - five years. The OECD recently announced plans to expand to around 45 members, including the Baltics. (Currently 19 of the 25 EU member states are OECD members.) Latvia's cooperation with the organization started in 1991, with membership talks beginning in 1995.

Latvia's euro coins will include the pictures of a Latvian girl, whose image graced the interwar 5 lat coin, the freedom monument and the national coat of arms. The designs, by Ilze Kalnina, were chosen from over 1,000 entries by the Bank of Latvia. They are expected to enter circulation in 2008.

A Latvian-born U.S. soldier died in combat in Iraq. Special forces soldier Michael Yury Tarlavsky was serving in Najaf when his unit came under small arms fire. The Tarlavsky family had emigrated to the U.S.A. from Latvia in 1979.

Latvian soldiers serving in Denmark's Baltic squadron project in Kosovo have completed their mission. National armed forces press officer Uldis Davidovs said that the 91 peacekeepers serving in Mitrovic would return home on Aug. 20.

A new report by the Baltic Institute of Social Sciences showed that ethnic Latvians and Russians, while living together in relative peace, had strongly diverging opinions about language policy, with both communities feeling that their linguistic heritage was under threat. According to the survey - Ethnic Tolerance and Latvia's Social Integration - 77 percent of Latvians support the education reform, while 68 percent of Russians oppose it.