Ventspils' Mayor Aivars Lembergs reacted angrily to alleged misbehavior by NATO sailors from seven anti-mine ships that visited the coastal city Oct. 29-Oct. 31. "Discipline training in NATO forces is very poor," Lembergs told the Baltic News Service. Lembergs also claimed that NATO sailors may have been involved in the tipping over of one of the city's famous cow statues. The NATO ships were from Norway, the U.K., Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
An unnamed American missionary was found dead in his rented apartment on Tallinas St., Riga, on Nov. 1. He had been stabbed through the heart with a knife, although police believe he had been tortured and possibly strangled first. The knife was discovered at the scene of the crime. The man had been living in Riga for two years. The police have as yet been unable to provide a motive for the murder.
Ivars Godmanis, Latvia's first prime minister after independence in 1991, was named head of Latvia's Way at a party conference Oct. 30. Latvia's Way barely failed to pass the 5 percent threshold needed to stand in Parliament in the 2002 election. Party member Georgs Andrejevs managed to win a seat in the Europarliament election earlier this year, and currently sits with the Liberals.
A letter asking world leaders to carefully consider whether to attend celebrations in Moscow marking the end of WWII in Russia on May 9 next year was signed by three Baltic MEPs and one from the U.K. Most European countries celebrate the end of the war one day before Russia. The letter was written by Aldis Kuskis of Latvia, Tunne Kelam of Estonia, Vytautas Landsbergis of Lithuania, and Christopher J.P. Beazley of the U.K.
Soldiers who have completed their term on the international peacekeeping mission in Iraq, have finally returned home after a day-long delay from Kuwait due to technical problems with the airplane. The multinational coalition force airplane, with 130 Latvians soldiers abroad, left Kuwait on the morning of Nov. 2 and landed in Riga Airport at 6:45 p.m. On Oct. 30 a new rotation team of 98 peacekeepers left the country for Iraq. All in all, 120 Latvian troops will continue the peace mission in Iraq.