Latvija in brief - 2008-07-23

  • 2008-07-23
After rejecting the proposal for renaming Riga's airport after Latvia's first Foreign Minster, the city council has agreed to rename Basteja Boulevard to honor Zigfrids Anna Meierovics. President Valdis Zatlers had been a staunch proponent of renaming the street since its inception, calling it one of his priorities for the year. Despite objection by the Riga City Council's Monument Protection Inspection, the Riga City Council's City Development Department and Riga Mayor Janis Birks, 34 council members voted in favor of renaming the street. Birks had earlier proposed to rename the airport to honor Meierovics, but the proposal was shot down by Transport Minister Slesers. The street, Basteja Boulevard running along Riga's Old Town, bore Meierovics' name from 1929 to 1941.

The Customs Criminal Board has uncovered a huge amount of smuggled cigarettes, probably the biggest amount found all year. The illegal smokes were discovered in a Chinese footwear container received by a Latvian company. The largest illegal cigarette bust so far this year occurred at the end of March, when customs officials seized about 2.3 million illegal cigarettes with Russian excise duty stickers on them. The total duty on these cigarettes would have been 104,352 lats. No word yet on how much the most recent contraband was worth.

Latvian Jevgenijs Jaronis, 42, was found dead in Tottenham, London, from multiple injuries. Jaronis was discovered with head injuries and knife wounds outside an abandoned pub on Tottenham High Road. He had been living with several others in the disused building. A later examination shows he had suffered from multiple stab wounds and head injuries from a blunt object. Those arrested are also suspected of murdering three others. Grzegorz Banaczek is currently charged with Jaronis's murder and is still in custody.

Irish health officials have taken a three-year-old-boy from a Latvian guest workers' family into care after he was found alone in an apartment along with a large amount of cannabis. As part of a drug bust operation, the police broke into the apartment of a Latvian family in Dublin. Inside the apartment they found a threeyear- old-toddler and approximately 15,000 euro worth of marijuana. The parents said they had left home during an argument and each believed the other was looking after the boy. The boy's father was charged with possession of drugs with intent to supply. The mother has been told not to leave the country. Dublin health officials are also considering charging the parents with reckless abandonment.

Ball lightning was spotted in an apartment on the first floor of a building in Smiltene. The owner of the apartment said that she and her husband were at home at the time. There was a thunderstorm and a sudden heavy sound. In the kitchen they discovered that their glass table top had been smashed into dust, covering everything in the room. The ball lightening is suspected to have come through a small ventilation hole through two panes of glass.