Baltics in brief

  • 2000-03-02
THIS HOTEL DOESN'T TAKE RESERVATIONS: The construction of the new European - standard prison in Tartu will result in the building of the second most expensive residence in Estonia after the SAS Radisson Hotel, Estonian daily Aripaev reported.The project will cost 423 million kroons ($26.66 million; SAS Radisson costs $640 million), with one square metre costing 19,000 kroons and one individual cell 850,000 kroons. The complex will hold 500 inmates. Parliament will discuss in the coming weeks the 203 million kroon loan agreement with the Nordic Investment Bank, approved by the government last week, which will enable construction to start in spring. The builder will be Estonia's second-largest construction firm EMV.

HOPING TO SCORE IN THE NHL: Estonia's Viisnurk, the second largest maker of cross-country skis in the world, hopes to make hockey sticks for NHL with a new U.S. brand Lousville, business daily Aripaev reported. Viisnurk started to make hockey sticks in 1999 and made nearly 30,000. Hockey sticks provided 3 percent of the 72.7 million kroon turnover for the ski factory. This year the output of hockey sticks should grow to 100,000. "In case of a positive decision, the U.S. headquarters will pay 10,000 dollars which NHL demands from each new supplier," said Imre Taveter, sales manager of the hockey stick division in Viisnurk. "If we manage to meet the requirements set by the owner of the Lousville trademark, our hockey sticks might reach NHL in the next season or the autumn."

GANG GOES ON TRIAL: A Vilnius area court gathered on Feb. 28 for a pre-trial hearing of the gunmen gang, unmasked 1.5 years ago, which is responsible for at least thirteen murders and other serious crimes. After analyzing the pleas of defendants, lawyers and prosecutors at a pre-trial hearing, Judge Audrone Kartaniene is expected to announce March 2 whether this grandiose action should go to court. The action against gang members includes 50 volumes, with charges brought against 21 individuals. The Vilnius area prosecutor's office has been investigating the gang action since autumn of 1998 after operative actions of several months had led to it's uncovering. The gang reportedly acted as successor to the notorious "Vilnius brigade" but was organized better and employed more cruel methods. It is thought to have terrified the Lithuanian capital and surrounding areas for seven years.

KLAIPEDA ACCIDENT KILLS ONE: The inquiry opened into the accident in the terminal of Lithuanian Klaipeda sea port on Feb. 26 is to be completed March 2. The accident occurred when a concrete pavement of quay tumbled down into a three-metre pit amid loading of granite blocks from the Swedish boat Sass. Five tumbling granite blocks, which weighed 6-7 tons, killed 36 year old worker Augustinas Cerneckis. The probe group plans to thoroughly examine the cracked quay, assess its structure and conclude whether stevedoring operations were permitted in the site.

CRIME TIME: About one-fifth of Latvia's residents, 20.9 percent, say that they have been victims of a crime in the past 12 months such as robbery or assault, according to a poll conducted by the public opinion study center SKDS. According to SKDS, 75 percent of Latvia's residents questioned this January say that they had been victims of a crime in the past 12 months. Twenty-seven percent of residents whose income exceeded 127 lats ($213) per family member said that they were criminally abused in the past 12 months. While only 20 percent of those residents whose income level per family member is 42 lats said they were victims. The survey shows that Riga residents say they have been victims of a crime more often than residents of other cities and counties.

NOW THERE'S AN IDEA: The pedophila scandal is a "logical conclusion" of the competition between two Latvian commercial banks - Latvijas Unibanka and Parekss banka, this version is being put forth by the Russian Internet page, the Russian newspaper Respublika reported. The Russian agency, which has recently been tracking rumors and comprising material, comes out with a version that Prime Minister Andris Skele stands behind Unibanka, but Janis Adamsons, the head of the investigative commission on the pedophilia affair, is behind Parex Bank. According to, Skele had exerted pressure on the owners of Parex Bank recently, attempting to push it out of the market. Sources close to the Latvian government state that Skele, as a politician, has been obsessed by the idea of a Latvian-Swedish strategic alliance. Therefore Skele's pressure on Parex Bank increased after the Swedish Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken had became one of Unibanka's shareholders.

Source: LETA