Latvija in brief - 2006-05-31

  • 2006-05-31
President Vaira Vike-Freiberga left for the United States on May 31 to deliver a speech at the U.S. Congress and Senate joint meeting. The president will spend a week and a half in the U.S.A., after being invited by U.S. Congress representative Dennis Hastert. During her visit, Vike-Freiberga will meet with U.S. government officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. On June 6, the Latvian President will hand out the 7th Journalism Award. Each year the U.S. Marshall Foundation presents the honor to an excelling journalist that reports on European and Transatlantic topics. Before flying to Washington, Vike-Freiberga will go to Los Angeles to address young leaders at the annual conference of the U.S. Achievements Academy.

Feja, the brilliant police dog that detected narcotics 18 times last year at the Riga International Airport, is retiring from Latvia's customs service along with its owner, senior customs expert Irena Zarina. The customs official is leaving her position due to insufficient pay. "I am unable to provide schooling for my children, that's why I feel dissatisfied," Zarina said. Anita Ezis, head of the customs service's dog training unit, described Feja as "the most efficient dog." She added that, "Both Irena and Feja knew their duties very well and were doing an excellent job."

A windsurfing instructor was reported missing in Jurmala, a Latvian seaside resort, last week. Police were alerted about the missing instructor on May 29, when his mother, a resident of Riga, told officers that her 33-year-old son left home a week earlier in his Toyota car and never returned. Police found the missing man's car parked outside a windsurfing school in Pumpuri, Jurmala. The instructor's personal belongings were also found in the car, but his surfing equipment was missing. Investigators presume the man was lost at sea. Authorities have launched a criminal probe into the disappearance.