Latvija in brief - 2006-10-18

  • 2006-10-18
Latvijas Gaze spokesman Vinsents Makaris announced that 2.1 billion cubic meters of gas were pumped into the Incukalns underground gas facility, which makes for a total of 2.3 billion cubic meters of gas stored for the winter. The gas supplies should keep the Baltics warm through the winter with 1.3 billion cubic meters for Latvian customers and 1.025 billion cubic meters for Estonia, Russia and Lithuania. The storage facility is filled from April to October and the natural gas pumping season lasts from November to March. Last season, the facility supplied 2.1 billion cubic meters of gas to customers. The Incukalns facility also plans to supply gas to Finland in the future. Built in 1968, the facility is being upgraded. Latvijas Gaze plans to invest 46 million lats (65 million euros) in the upgrade project by 2010. It is the only operating underground gas storage facility in the Baltic states.

Three men were detained in the southern town of Bauska last week on suspicions of stealing fuel from the oil product pipeline between Ventspils and Polotsk, Russia. The men had been stealing fuel from the pipeline over the course of several years, a national police spokesperson reported on Oct. 17. Police seized 53,628 liters of diesel fuel and detained the men, who were in their early thirties. The criminals were later released under police supervision for the duration of the investigation. The illegal pipeline was discovered on Oct. 14, and ran some three kilometers to a tank located in a warehouse. Criminal proceedings have been opened. The men accused could face up to 15 years in jail with confiscation of property.

Security Police have closed criminal proceedings over five youth who hurled racist remarks at a black Canadian citizen in September. The five teenagers were detained after the incident. On Oct. 17, Security Police representative Kristine Apse-Krumina reported that criminal proceedings over a violation of ethnic and racial equality and the restriction of human rights had been closed. The investigation failed to prove that the assailants had instigated racial hatred, nor did it find them guilty of intending to physically harm the Canadian citizen, she said. In early September, five young people, three boys and two girls aged between 16 and 19 years, were detained for shouting racist insults at a black Canadian citizen. The youngsters had no previous criminal records.

Russian customs officers said they discovered a mile long pipeline that was pumping vodka to Latvia. Border police in Buholovo, located on the Russian-Latvian border, said that crooks had laid the tunnel six feet underground to pump home-made vodka across the border. The alcohol was then sold in Latvia. The pipeline was discovered when local council workers started digging holes to plant trees in the area."We had our suspicions that there was someone running hooch across the border, but we could never figure out how they managed it," Yakov Kabanov of the local border police said. "They probably would have got away with it for decades if those trees hadn't been planted." Officers are questioning people in Buholovo about the pipeline, which ran between two rented houses that were empty when raided.