Latvija in brief - 2007-03-21

  • 2007-03-21
Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis will be in Moscow on March 27 to sign the long-awaited Latvian-Russian border treaty and to meet with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Fradkov and other officials. In an interview with LNT television on March 20 Kalvitis' aide Peteris Ustubs said that this will be the first "very significant premier's working visit in Moscow." Pabriks did not rule out the possibility that both presidents 's Vladimir Putin and Vaira Vike-Freiberga 's might participate in the signing ceremony.

National Bolshevik activists in the Belarusian city of Vitebsk stained the building of Latvian consular office with black paint on the night of March 15 in protest against public events planned in Latvia to commemorate Legionnaires' Day, which took place March 16. According to the Belarusian news portal Belapan, a representative of the that country's unregistered, radical National Bolshevik organization announced said that similar protests would continue until the Baltic states stop revising the history of the 1940s.

A state of emergency was called in several central and eastern municipalities due to springtime flooding, media reported on March 19. On that day water levels had dropped from what they had been the previous 24 hours, but hydrologists said ice blocks in the river near Plavinas were unlikely to move, therefore the situation in and around the town was still critical. There was no need to evacuate residents of Plavinas and Jekabpils, but people have been taken to safety from some homesteads in Jekabpils area. Floodwaters are thought to have isolated several dozen homes in the area, but classes at local schools were unaffected by the flooding.

Special Assignments Minis-ter for Societal Integration Oskars Kastens said that Riga Pride, a gay and lesbian parade scheduled for May 30 - June 3, will only increase misconceptions about homosexuals among the country's population. The minister made the statement after receiving opinions from public organizations about a proposal to include the issue of sexual minorities in Latvia's national intolerance prevention program, the his office said. "A demonstration cannot solve the problem of intolerance that the sexual minorities are complaining about. Solutions must be sought in discussions, by hearing various opinions," Kastens said.

On March 24, Latvians will see their 56-year-old former prime minister Maris Gailis in his latest role, as host of a TV talk show. Taking Europe, which will be broadcast every Saturday on Latvian public television, is a light-hearted look at European cultures. Each show will focus on a particular European country, answering numerous questions and dispelling such stereotypes as whether the Irish are all redheads, wear only green and sing their folksongs all the time. "The show will feature conversations on why we dislike them and they do not understand us," said its authors.