Latvija in brief - 2006-10-25

  • 2006-10-25
A drunken trolleybus driver crashed into four cars in Riga on Oct. 22, injuring three people. The driver had only been on the job for two weeks. Police reported a breath alcohol result of 2.9 promils. The driver reportedly managed to escape mandatory breath alcohol tests by Riga's Satiksme (Riga Transport), the driver's employer. According to a Riga Satiksme representative, he was due to start his shift at 2 p.m., just missing the scheduled test.

The new promotional video "Sounds Like Latvia," produced by the Latvian Institute, cost the state 50,000 lats (71,100 euros). Latvian Institute director Ojars Kalnins said the video was like a business card with an invitation "to discover more about Latvia." The five-minute clip portrays Latvia with various symbols, including the national song festival and ancient sauna traditions. According to Style Masters Studio creative director Eriks Bozis, an informal poll was carried out before shooting to identify the most important things that foreigners should know about Latvia. The Latvian Institute produced the first promotion video for Latvia in 2001, and it featured the song "Welcome to My Country" by the popular band Brainstorm. As a comparison, that video cost 7,800 lats.

Parliament's education, culture and science committee members think that most programs broadcast on LTV do not meet the national content guidelines. The MPs asked the broadcasting watchdog, the National Television and Radio Council (NRTVP), to look into the situation. "It is unacceptable that only a couple of theater shows are recorded annually or that LTV does not broadcast culture events of national importance," said committee chairman Janis Strazdins. He stressed that the main purpose of LTV was not making profit, but cultivating national values instead. NRTVP member Dzintra Geka said that, at the moment, the watchdog was unable to interfere with the matter, and suggested that the law regulating NRTVP functions should be revised in the future. NRTVP has voiced its displeasure about LTV performance in the past.