Latvija in brief - 2005-11-30

  • 2005-11-30
Justice Minister Solvita Aboltina said she would sign a decree removing Inga Cepjolkina from office as a bailiff after a local prosecutor said she would be charged with abuse of power. Prosecutor Evija Daugule reportedly called for Cepjolkina to be suspended as a precaution while the case heads to court. The case against Cepjolkina came after a debt collector filed a complaint against the bailiff.

A probe by the Constitutional Protection Bureau into an alleged leak of classified information by the national security council proved inconclusive, Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis said. He ordered the probe after Russian exile billionaire Boris Berezovsky said he knew how the interior minister voted during a secret meeting on his blacklisting. Kalvitis said there was not enough information to start a criminal investigation.

A 90-year-old woman was found frozen to death in the Latgale district of Riga due to the recent cold weather. She became the 17th person to freeze to death in November and the 35th since October. Many of the people who died had consumed alcohol beforehand.

Culture Minister Helena Demakova said she supported an independent audit of the Latvian Artists' Union, after receiving an open letter signed by 94 members of the Union calling for the inspection. Demakova said the ministry was interested in the fate of the Art Fund's art collection, which dates from 1945 to 1991. The minister called for the collection of over 3,000 works, asking that they be given the status of a national museum collection.

State prosecutors turned to the judiciary against Beness Aijo, leader of the National Bolsheviks' local wing, seeking an 800 lat (1,150 euro) fine for allegedly threatening to topple the government. The Security Police opened a criminal investigation after the daily Diena received a letter, allegedly by Aijo, calling for violent revolution. Aijo denied penning the letter. According to the Baltic News Service, Beness Aijo called the investigation "a fabrication by the bourgeoisie and the security services." He allegedly hand delivered the material to a guard working at Diena and wrote down his phone number. According to experts, the handwriting matched Beness Aijo's.

The state's Supreme Court ruled on Nov. 29 that the Greens and Farmers' Union will have to pay 29,100 lats in illegal donations to the Finance Ministry. Parliament faction head Augusts Brigmanis declined to comment on the ruling, but said the party would turn to its members and supporters to ask for help in coming up with the sum. The Greens and Farmers Union were dogged by allegations of illegal donations from third party sources last year.

The U.S. Embassy to Latvia is inviting young citizens, aged 17-23, to apply in a competition for free studies at the four best U.S. military academies. Those who win the competition will have a chance to study in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and the U.S. Coastal Guard Academy in Connecticut free of charge, the embassy reported.