Latvija in brief - 2007-06-13

  • 2007-06-13
The bodies of the victims of a double murder were found on June 8 in the Grizinkalns suburb of Riga. The victims were men aged 45 and 47. They had a permanent place of residence but were members of a social group that use alcohol on a regular basis. Initial reports stated that the men had been attacked with a blunt object and had heavy bruises on their heads and necks. Three other people were also injured in the attack, and one of them claims that she was raped. Police are investigating eyewitness reports of four youths involved in the attack. Police have several suspects but have not yet made any arrests.

The number of people caught driving under the influence of alcohol has grown by 33 percent so far this year, prompting Road Police head Edmunds Zivtins to call for stricter punishments for drunk drivers. He proposed that perpetrators be immediately arrested and forced to do community service. He also called for an increase in the number of judges hearing drunk driving cases and the formation of additional sobering houses. Zivtans told The Baltic News Service that the increase in drunk driving incidents was likely due to drivers having gotten over the initial shock of stricter laws and falling into a complacent feeling that "it will not happen to them."

Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip visited Riga on June 11, meeting with Latvian Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis to discuss cooperation in a number of fields. The two leaders agreed to consolidate their strategic cooperation, with Ansip calling relations between the countries "very close." The premier's visit was met with a small protest of about 20 Russian-speaking activists outside the Estonian embassy. The protesters were upset over the recent relocation of the Bronze Soldier monument in Tallinn and compared Ansip to Hitler.

A recent poll by the Nielson company has revealed that global warming worries only 4 percent of Latvians, one of the lowest figures in the world. The survey found that only people in Russia and South Korea were less worried about global warming, with respondents in Egypt citing about the same level of concern as Latvians. On a global scale, 16 percent of the world's population is now worried about the problem compared with last year's 7 percent.