Latvija in brief - 2008-08-13

  • 2008-08-13
A chartered flight of Latvian national airline airBaltic from Yerevan successfully landed in Latvia with 72 passengers from Georgia on board, including 45 Latvian passengers and residents of other countries. The president of the airline Bertold Flick said that people were definitely having difficulty leaving the region returning home as there are many people trying to leave Georgia. Although the chartered flight was not full, its aim was taking on and carrying home as many Latvian passengers as possible, which was done. Flick said that there would be more flights, although the regular flights to Tbilisi will be renewed only when the company is sure that the region is safe. Latvian Foreign Ministry and the Latvian Embassy in Georgia continue to search for relatives of Latvian citizens wishing to go home and more flights will be organized to help people return home from the affected regions.

Latvia's women's Olympic basketball team lost the first two games at the 2008 Olympic games. The first match against Russia was close, but ended in a final score of 62-57. The second match against Belarus was also neck and neck but ended with a final score of 79-57. Games are expected to improve as the Latvian women face Brazil on August 13, Australia on August 15 and ending with a final game against Korea on August 17.

Men's beach volleyball also had it's ups and downs as Latvia pummeled Team USA in a score of 2-0. Thought to be the overwhelming favorites for the 2008 gold, Team USA composed of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, world champions, took a big hit after winning 21 games in a row.  Latvia won 21-19, 21-18 in a best-of-three match.  Martins Plavins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs, former junior world champions, are Latvia's first team to qualify for the Olympics.

More than 40 Latvian students have won scholarships granted by governments of foreign countries for studies and research abroad in the next academic year. Academic Programs agency's representative Aija Jakovica said that although the number of candidates for the foreign scholarships was not very high, the toughest competitions were for scholarships offered by Denmark, China and Switzerland.Young Latvians have also won scholarships for studies and research in Greece, Hungary, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Israel, Italy and Russia. These include short-term scholarships and grants for participation in summer schools. Most of the young people who applied for the foreign scholarships come from the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and the University of Latvia.

Latvian President Valdis Zatlers on Monday met with Chinese President Hu Jintao to discuss economic cooperation.The Chinese president said that China is interested in cooperation with Latvia. Zatlers reported that the Chinese president said that Latvian goods are welcome in China and implied that this meant any competitive good from Latvia would be able to enter the Chinese market. The meeting also discussed transportation issues as China is interested in Latvian ports. The presidents also discussed mutual recognition of university diplomas.