Latvija in brief - 2007-02-14

  • 2007-02-14
The State Tourism Development Agency is set to present a new 313,000 lat (EUR 445,300) campaign promoting Latvia in foreign countries. The agency is planning a series of TV videos meant for airing on such channels as CNN Europe and France's TV5, posters that will be placed in the London Underground, and an official Internet website. The television campaign, which will be launched in mid-February and will continue through the end of March, focuses on Latvia's traditional Singing Festival, and the Aerodium flight simulator and nature, among other themes.

The police have caught a "treasure hunter" 's a man illegally hunting for treasures with a metal detector 's in Latvia's northwestern county of Ventspils. "Treasure hunter" Olegs Dorofejecs will have to appear before the Latvian State Inspectorate for Heritage Protection (VKPAI) in order to explain his activities sometime this week. The man had been caught using a metal detector near the Landze church. The ancient burial site next to the church is a state archaeological heritage area, and permission from the VKPAI should have been received before any digging was carried out. This was the nation's first case of a person caught damaging an archaeological monument while using a metal detector.

More than half of the oil products from the Cyprus-registered ship Golden Sky have been pumped out. The ship ran aground on Jan. 15 about five miles from the city of Ventspils. The ship itself is in stable condition, but its carries a cargo that includes 25,000 tons of mineral fertilizers, as well as oil products that could be harmful to the environment. The ship's owners have agreed to pay for the environmental clean-up, as well as all expenses associated with the ship's rescue operation. Ventspils police have launched a criminal investigation into the damage to the environment and the possible pollution of the Baltic Sea.

The agencies of the Interior Ministry lack a united database that would make the search for missing children more successful. State Criminal Police head Dailis Luks said a single database for all interior agencies would be needed to launch efficient searches for missing minors. He pointed out that the police's leadership is currently considering ways of getting funding for setting up such a database. The State Police are planning to set up a special structure tasked with seeking missing people, but it is not clear yet when the new unit could be launched. Last year there were 288 people declared as missing in Latvia, and 199 of them have been found.

Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis has described his government's first 100 days in office as full of energetic and intense work. Kalvitis sees a swift passing of the budget and the progress made in solving the issue of Latvia's border treaty with Russia as his government's biggest achievements so far. The resignation of Health Minister Gundars Berzins and the appointment of Vinets Veldre to the post has been the government's only change in makeup during the past three months.