Latvija in brief - 2008-10-22

  • 2008-10-22
Nearly 4000 people took part in a 24 hour 100 meter relay at Daugava Stadium as a gift for Latvia's 90th anniversary of independence. The participants were also hoping to beat the previous Guinness world record in the event. Representatives say that in calculating the current data, it looks like the record has been beaten by a large margin. For the relay results to become official records, photographs, video material, and an exact list of all participants in the race is to be submitted to the Guinness Record offices in London.

Private Raivis Medinieks of the National Armed Forces has died from injuries in a Riga hospital. The injuries were incurred when a car transporting 10 soldiers careened off the road and into a tree near the Latvian Adazi base. Another victim of the incident, Private First Class Martins Gailis, died in hospital on Aug. 21. Eleven officers from the NAF Land Force First Infantry Battalion have received punishment following the official investigation of the car crash. The report stated that the accident was partly due to the flawed organization of military service and poor personnel management in the First Infantry Battalion and the Land Forces in general.

According to Kristine Matisa, director of the Latvian film festival 'Lielais Kristaps', four animated puppet films of the Latvian Animacijas Brigade animation studio will be shown at cinemas in various French cities until mid-November. A 45 minute showing of four films will be on display from Oct. 25 until Nov. 13 in nearly 20 cities including Paris, Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand, Strasbourg and Saint-Etienne. The presentation of the film is accompanied by a book with descriptions of the films, games and other entertainment for children. The main characters of the films are drawn by Maris Putnis. In addition to the film, a Latvian puppet exhibition will also be traveling to France. Animacijas Brigade studio developed special relations with France after the 2006 film Three Musketeers by Janis Cimermanis (based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas) became popular in French cinemas.

In the first nine months of 2008, 17 people have died and 44 have sustained injuries in train accidents throughout Latvia. Dzintra Dzene, a spokeswoman for the Latvian railway police, said that 44 people including six minors were injured in train accidents in the nine-month period. During the same period a year ago, 36 people, including three minors, suffered in train accidents. Of the 17 fatalities from this year's train accidents, one was an underage person. In comparison, last year train accidents in Latvia led to 26 fatalities, including three underage victims.

A fortune teller has lured 10,500 lats (14,940 euros) out of a woman in Riga, threatening her sons' death if she didn't pay. Riga Regional Police spokeswoman Zane Berzina said that on Oct. 14 a woman asked for directions from a passer-by and then warned her that her youngest son will die on November 10, and that her eldest son will also die soon. The woman felt forced to pay the fortune teller to avoid the tragic outcome. Both women went to an ATM and the victim withdrew 500 lats and gave them to the fortune teller. However, the fortune teller demanded more money. Both women then went to the bank's office where the victim withdrew 10,000 lats from her account.