Latvija in brief - 2005-05-04

  • 2005-05-04
The Health Ministry is considering more stringent measures against tobacco in hopes of curbing smoking. The new laws, if passed, would prohibit advertising of tobacco products in print and electronic media, as well as further restricting its sale. Cigarette packs may now have gruesome photos affixed to warn of the dangers of smoking.

Juris Bojars was elected head of the Latvian Social Democratic Workers Party at a party congress on April 30. Bojars beat former head Dainis Ivans by a vote of 187 to 167. Bojars resigned as leader of the party after a defeat in the parliamentary elections in 2002. He is the father of former Riga Mayor Gundars Bojars and a former KGB colonel who, according to current Latvian legislation, is barred from holding public office.

Customs officials seized over a million contraband cigarettes at the Ventspils port in western Latvia. Authorities said it was the biggest catch this year, with the cigarettes hidden in roles of toilet paper. The contraband product arrived by way of Lithuania and was headed to Sweden before being seized by law enforcement agents.

Four men were poisoned by a noxious swamp gas while working in a mine on the territory of Man-Tess in Riga. One worker died and the remaining three were hospitalized. Karlis Licis, acting director general of Man-Tess, an oil handler, said the mine was located in a place where there used to be a swamp, and evidently swamp gas had accumulated in the mine. The gas is highly poisonous and is made even more dangerous by the fact that it lacks any color or smell. Even specialists of Latvijas Gaze called to the scene were unable to determine the presence of the gas and level of its concentration.