Latvija in brief - 2005-01-12

  • 2005-01-12
President Vaira Vike-Freiberga called on foreign historians to study the events of the 1905 Revolution more actively. She said that it was the task for many generations of historians to study and interpret the complex and significant events of that year, which until recently were distorted by Soviet ideology. To get deeper and more comprehensive insight, an impartial view from the outside is especially important, and this can be provided by foreign scholars, said Vike-Freiberga.

Freiberga announced on Jan. 12 that she would attend the May 9 celebrations in Moscow marking the end of WWII.

The director for UNESCO's World Heritage Center, Francesco Bandarini, and acting head of the Latvian department, Rolands Ozols, called for a review of the Galerija Centrs project in a letter to Culture Minister Helena Demakova. The project, which would unite a block of buildings into a multifunctional complex in Riga's Old Town, has already begun, but construction does not comply with the principles of conservation and preservation, argued Bandarini and Ozols. The Old Town was added to UNESCO's World Heritage list in 1997.

Prosecutor general Janis Maizitis fired Juris Jekabsons, a prosecutor at the Riga customs office, for hitting a passer-by with a baseball bat over the Christmas holiday. Jekabsons allegedly left his car and hit a man crossing the street with a baseball bat in the city of Saldus. Jekabsons claimed the man had made an indecent sign while crossing in front of his car. The victim suffered concussion and bruises to the head and neck.

The United Nations' committee for the elimination of discrimination against women, has recognized legislative progress in Latvia. Committee members cited the addition of a human rights chapter in the constitution, laws on labor and sexual and reproductive health as examples. The committee called for adding the term "discrimination against women" to the constitution and the draft law on the elimination of discrimination.

About a third of Latvians still view membership in the European Union positively, a poll conducted by the SKDS pollster shows. Thirty-four percent of respondents in December described EU membership as something good, while 20 percent of respondents held a negative attitude toward membership. Forty-two percent maintained a neutral attitude. Young people aged 18-35 more frequently described EU membership as "something good," as did respondents with higher education, ethnic Latvians and residents of the country's eastern region of Latgale. People aged 40-54 had a neutral attitude, where respondants older than 55 normally saw membership as something negative.