Latvija in brief - 2007-09-19

  • 2007-09-19
Lattelecom, the state owned telecommunications firm, has won a case against Grossline Shipping Ltd. over damages incurred when the Cypriot-registered ship Golden Sky ran aground off the coast of Latvia last January. Lattelecom had initially claimed more than 273,000 lats in damages, but was only awarded 183,581 lats as the court found the initial claim to be exaggerated. The cargo ship had severed an underwater cable when it ran aground, resulting in total damages amounting to 473,000 lats. Insurance was only able to cover 200,000 lats worth of the damage.

The defense ministry announced on Sept. 17 that the remains of five soldiers who died during WWI will be reburied in a military cemetery. The remains were found by locals in the central-Latvian county of Jelgava. Historians suspect that the troops were killed during the Christmas Battles near the house of Mangali on Jan. 5, 1917. They said that the troops could be Latvian riflemen, Russian army soldiers, or soldiers of other nationalities from the Russian army. Experts were only able to identify one of the soldiers 's junior officer Andrejs Zalmezs of the Fifth Zemgale Latvian Riflemen Regiment.

The death of a three-month-old baby in Daugavpils on Sept. 18 has sparked a criminal investigation which may lead to the mother's arrest. The Fire and Rescue Service reported that at about 9:30 a.m. the 22-year-old mother left her four children home alone while she went to the store. When she returned, she found the baby's carriage ablaze and rushed the child to the hospital. The baby died of smoke inhalation and severe burns en route. Police suspect that the fire was started by the children, all less than 5-years-old, playing with matches or a lighter.

The controversial new budget plan, due to be reviewed by the Cabinet of Ministers on Sept. 24, will leave the Chancery of the President with a much smaller sum than it had requested. The Chancery had hoped to receive 4.1 million lats (5.8 million euros), but will instead only be allocated 2.9 million lats. Finance Minister Spurdzins explained that the majority of the funds would go to work on the president's office and renovations of the president's seaside home in Jurmala. He said that no major pay raises are planned for employees of the office, which had been a major part of the requested budget.

A recently released poll commissioned by the statistics office found that the majority of Latvians feel that their health is adequate or good. According to the poll, 43.3 percent of Latvians regard the state of their health as satisfactory, while 32.3 percent consider themselves in good health. Only 2.6 percent of respondents described their health as excellent. The survey also found that of those who do not seek help when suffering health problems, the majority 's 55.7 percent 's cited financial reasons for not  seeing a doctor.