President Valdis Zatlers has said that speculations about setting up a new government are not serious. In an interview with Latvian TV, the president emphasized the importance of showing the world that the incumbent government was stable and in control of the situation. Last week, local media reported on plans to replace the Ivars Godmanis-led Cabinet, but the ruling coalition has denied the speculations. "Judging from information at my disposal, the government is stable," Zatlers said.
Two Estonian citizens have been arrested by the Latvian Economic Police for using forged bank cards to withdraw approximately 23,800 lats from Latvian banks. In a total of 53 separate incidents, the two men, aged 29 and 26, operated in the Latvian cities of Salacgriva, Adazi and Riga. When police searched the suspect's Lexus, they found 105 forged bank cards and more than 7,000 lats worth of cash in various currencies. Estonian police had previously suspected one of the men of participating in organized crime. The two now face up to 15 years in prison.
The group of Latvian mountaineers planning to climb Mount Everest this spring have scrapped their plans due to the recent developments in Tibet and China's decision to restrict access to the world's highest peak. They have instead chosen to climb Makalu, the world's fifth highest mountain. Following unrest in Tibet, Chinese authorities have closed the base camp to foreigners indefinitely.
The anti-corruption bureau has started criminal proceedings on possible acts of corruption by the Road Traffic Safety Directorate over suspected bribery during inspections. RTSD Public Relations Department head Janis Aizpors said that the bureau has detained five inspectors that work for the accredited company "Auteko & TUV Latvija." During the investigation, several dozen instances of acts of corruption were unveiled, where automobile inspectors accepted bribes ranging from 20 lats to 35 lats.