Latvija in brief - 2007-06-27

  • 2007-06-27
Police have detained two people in connection with the theft of hundreds of thousands of lats in various currencies from a plane traveling from Riga to Vienna. The June 21 flight contained approximately 4.4 million euros which was being sent from Latvia's Parex bank to Austria's Raiffeisen-Zentralbank. When the plane arrived in Austria, it was found that one of the bags had been cut and approximately 1.2 million euros was missing. One of the passengers on the plane found packages containing $300,000 in her bags and immediately reported it to police, who do not consider the woman a suspect. Police believe the money was stolen in the Riga airport.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party, said on June 25 that it would be impossible for the Russian Duma to ratify the Latvian border treaty. He also said that a border treaty with Estonia was out of the question. Zhirinovsky argued that many territories in the Baltic countries were historically Russian, and hence the "borders are wrong." He specifically mentioned the Latvian cities of Liepaja and Jekabpils, as well as the Estonian cities of Tartu, Tallinn, and Parnu. Russia has pledged to ratify the treaty by July.

Approximately 50 people took part in this year's nude run in the western town of Kuldiga. While most of the participants were completely naked, some still wore the traditional wreaths made of flowers or oak leaves. While the run has been slowly growing every year, the number of spectators still far outnumbers the actual runners. The event is not organized by any particular group, and the runners are of all races, ages and genders. This was the seventh year in a row that the run has taken place at 3 a.m. on midsummer's night.

A suspected thief spent nearly an hour submerged in mud while hiding from police in Valmiera on June 26 before being caught. The man was caught after police received a call about suspicious looking individuals lurking around cars in a backyard. The police initially lost the man in a chase, but later found him submerged in the mud surrounding Dzirnavu lake with only his nose above the surface. He had allegedly stolen a car radio and was still holding the radio when police dragged him out of the mud.

In her June 25 address to Parliament, President Vaira Vike-Freiberga warned MPs that they need to reassess their finances over the past year if they hope to be re-elected into the next government. Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis responded in an interview with the LTV1 program "100th article" on June 26 that he had serious reason to think that some parties had been involved in illegal financing, but that his own People's Party, including the so-called oligarch Andris Skele, was not implicated in any wrongdoing. Kalvitis said the Latvian people would not be surprised by the revelations.