Latvija in brief - 2008-09-18

  • 2008-09-18
 Goalkeeper Edgars Masalskis of Latvia's newly formed Riga Dinamo ice hockey club was brutally beaten up by six people late on Sept.15 in Riga. He is said to be conscious, but sustained serious injuries during the attack. The goalie will be unable to play for about three months. Masalskis was on his way home from a late dinner with fellow Dinamo teammates after being named most valuable goalkeeper of the Continental Ice Hockey League just last week.

Police are investigating a robbery that took place on Sept. 14 in which robbers broke into a clothing store in Riga's center and stole 50,000 euros worth of fur coats, reported LNT news program. The three robbers who wore masks, were caught on tape by a security camera as they smashed through the store's glass door with rocks. They grabbed 25 valuable fur coats and quickly fled the scene of the crime by car. The robbers struck the clothing retail outlet on Krisjana Barona Street at approximately 4:30 a.m.

Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins urged the government to send five peacekeepers to Georgia. In the telephone conversation with BNS from Brussels, where a meeting of the EU foreign ministers was held on Sept. 15, Riekstins announced that Latvia could send five peacekeepers from the Interior Ministry and Foreign Ministry to Georgia. The expense of sending one expert would cost approximately 50,000-60,000 lats ( 71,143 - 85,372 euros.) The government will soon decide whether they will grant 300,000 lats of the budget of 2008 and 2009 to allow Latvian participation in the joint EU peacekeeping mission. Estonia and Lithuania plan to send a similar number of experts to Georgia. The minister said that the economic situation in Latvia is not easy. Despite that, the experts should be sent. It is expected that experts will start arriving in Georgia on Oct.1 and stay there for at least six months with the possibility of an extension. Riekstins said that the experts would have to perform short term and long-term tasks, including the monitoring of the six-point agreement and the monitoring of overall stability in the regions affected by the war.

Latvian health care workers are planning to stage a warning strike on Sept. 26. If the action does not have the desired results, and their wage increase demands are not met, medics and social workers will call a large two-day strike at the end of October. The Latvian trade union of health and social care workers (LVSADA) took this decision at a meeting on Sep.16, said LVSADA chairman Valdis Keris. Some 500 employees are prepared to take part in the one-day warning strike, scheduled for September 26, while 800 medics and social workers will be picketing outside the parliament building in Riga to remind lawmakers of their promise to raise wages for health and social care workers.If this action proves unsuccessful, a two-day strike of all health care workers will be called on October 30 and 31. Keris pointed out that medics have already reduced their demands and agreed that doctors' monthly pre-tax wages are raised to 815 lats (EUR 1016) instead of the promised 908 lats. They also demand that the wages of medical nurses be raised to 600 lats.