WAP! Mobile phone operator Q-GSM will become the first in Estonia to offer the Wireless Access Protocol service, which allows internet connections from mobile phones. Q-GSM spokeswoman Jaana Aduson said it is possible to get information about Q-GSM by means of the WAP service. Eesti Mobiiltelefon will start offering services based on the company's own WAP as of mid-April, EMT spokesman Juri Kriiseman said. There has been EMT WAP access to online news of the dailies Aripaev and Eesti Paevaleht for several weeks already.
PHONE BILLS CUT: Baltkom GSM, the mobile telecommunications operator, has significantly reduced tariffs for Business Class international calls on weekdays effective April 10. The tariffs have been reduced by 1.4 to 3.1 times, depending on the country to which the call is made. For calls to Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Norway, Italy and other countries the tariff has been reduced 3.1 times while for calls to Estonia and Lithuania the tariff has been reduced 1.4 times.
U.S. MONEY FOR NUKE CLOSURE: The United States will offer financial assistance to Lithuania for the decommissioning of its Ignalina nuclear power plant, U.S. deputy secretary of state for economic, business and agricultural issues, Alan P.Larson, said April 7. Larson said that the United States will assist Lithuania in the decommissioning of the plant, but did not mention specific projects or amounts of money. Lithuania's government confirmed in early March a law, still to be OK'd by Parliament, on the decommissioning of the first of two RBMK-type power units by Jan. 1, 2005. The costs of the closure are expected to total at about 20 billion litas ($5 billion). The expenditures will be distributed over several decades.
MORE SAUCE: Spilva, Latvia's largest manufacturer of canned fruit and vegetables is planning to invest $847,000 over the next year. Spilva last year reported a turn over of $9,491,525. The company has competed internationally and last year in Lithuania received a gold medal for its salad dressing. The company is ready to launch a wide variety of products including a special sauce aimed at teenagers and low calorie mayonnaise. Spilva is hoping to increase its exports and improve on last year's export figures of $2,203,389. The investment of the $847,000 is seen as inducement for the company's profit margins in the forthcoming years.
WOOL OFF THE SHEEP'S BACK: The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development is supporting the privatization of Lithuania's textile industry by a loan worth $9.9 million including equity investments. The International Finance Corporation is lending $16 million to the company Drobe in Lithuania, one of the largest manufacturers of pure wool and wool blend fabrics in Central and Eastern Europe. Dutch and Finnish governments are supporting the initiative.
NO PLAYGROUND: The company Abava presented Latvia's first industrial park, Nordic Industrial Park, at the Radisson SAS Daugava on April 5. The NIP is the only European-standard industrial park in Latvia and is foreseen to be completed by summer. The Olaine site covers an area of 14 hectares. There will be 16 buildings housing international and local business offices and service outlets. The projected cost is approximately $12 million.
ELIXIR OF A NATION: Latvijas Balzams is celebrating its 100 year anniversary at the chambers of Riga's City Council this week. Riga's mayor, Andris Berzins, will be conducting the ceremony along with Latvijas Balzams' president Aleksandrs Ivanovs. The Latvian elixir is seen by many as an icon of the Latvian nation.
CLICK CLICK: Compaq computer company launched its year 2000 strategy for Latvia at the Hotel Ridzene on April 7. Compaq's division of enterprise and business, which introduced its new Internet service iPaq, its new portable Armada computer and its new service departments, sees the Baltic region as a large growth area in the development of the computer industry.