Latvija in brief - 2005-12-21

  • 2005-12-21
Discount airline Ryanair head Michael O'Leary denied rumors that his airline would relocate to Latvia in order to cut costs. O'Leary reportedly said there "was no truth" in the speculation. The low cost carrier is unhappy that the Dublin Airport will not build a low cost wing to its facilities. Recently, Ireland has seen demonstrations against low pay for eastern European labor, sparking concern that workers from the new member states may take local jobs. It soon emerged that Irish Ferries had reregistered its company to Cyprus, and was set on paying its workers - many of whom were Latvian - lower than the Irish minimum wage. The company has since agreed to increase the pay of its workers.

Jurijs Petropavlovskis, an activist who was not given citizenship despite passing the exam, lost his first court case after challenging the decision in Administrative Court. Petropavlovskis said he would appeal the decision, if need be, all the way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Petropavlovskis was denied citizenship after a vote was taken in the Cabinet of Ministers, since the activist was considered a threat to the country and not loyal.

The seven Somalis that have been detained at the Olaine illegal immigrant center said they would appeal a recent decision to send them back to their home country. The Somalis mysteriously appeared earlier this year and went directly to the Red Cross, speaking little English. They had reportedly arrived in Latvia on a cargo ship, and their destination was supposed to be Sweden. An interpreter had to be located in Estonia to help the would-be refugees. The Refugee Appellate Court will rule on the appeal within three months.

The state revenue service will begin examining the incomes of state representatives who have declared more than 100,000 lats (144, 000 euros) in cash. So far, a list of 69 individuals has reportedly been drawn up for an examination.

Leader of the Latvian Social Democratic Party, Gundars Bojars, stepped down, saying it was time to retire from politics and try something else. Ansis Dobelis will take over for him, and Bojars said the new leader would bring in a younger party membership. Bojars was previously the mayor of Riga.

A Latvian court is expected to hear a legal case brought by Russian billionaire exile Boris Berezovsky in January, challenging his blacklisting by the government. Berezovsky was declared persona non grata after his second trip this year, accompanied by Neil Bush, brother of the American president. Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis said that the billionaire was a threat to the country, and Interior Minister Eriks Jekabsons, who has met with Berezovsky, resigned at the time.