Latvija in brief - 2005-12-07

  • 2005-12-07
Baiba Strautmane, a popular television journalist, stepped down from her job at Latvian Television due to an alleged conflict of interest involving a legal case against Banka Baltija. Strautmane's husband, Romualds Vonsovics, is a lawyer representing the Latvian Central Bank against Banka Baltija. Strautmane said she would return to the media once the court case had ended. Meanwhile, she plans to relax during her time off.

President Vaira Vike-Freiberga will receive the Hannah Arendt award for political thought. The jury said that Vike-Freiberga "has been openly and publicly discussing Latvia, the Baltics and the oppressed societies of the former Soviet Union." She will receive the award in Bremen on Dec. 16. Hannah Arendt was a well-known political philosopher in Germany and the United States, and author of "The Origins of Totalitarianism," "The Human Condition," and "Between Past and Future."

The national immigration department rejected an asylum request from seven Somalis who appeared at the local Red Cross on Aug. 5. The five men and two women, who don't speak English, believed they had arrived in Scandinavia. After being dropped in a forested area outside Riga, their passports were taken. A translator from Estonia was summoned to interpret for the Somalis, who have until Dec. 7 to appeal the decision. Otherwise, the group will have to leave the country.

Indulis Emsis, head of Parliament's national security committee, turned to the board for radio and television to complain about an interview he gave to the TV program "Panorama." The dialog, he said, was improperly edited. "Panorama" later ran the entire interview live. The interview was about Emsis' assertion that an anti-democratic network structure exists in the country. The former prime minister had previously mentioned the Soros Foundation as an element in a "web of control operating in the country."