Latvija in brief - 2009-02-04

  • 2009-02-04
Famed paranormal experts from the U.S. TV show "Ghost Hunters" are getting ready to explore the ghostly aura of Liepaja's Karosta prison. Even before the last prisoner left in 1997, tales of the paranormal surrounded the territory. The most prevalent of these ghost tales is that of the "White Lady," who committed suicide after her jailed fiancee was shot. Ghost Hunters International producers believe that the TV show will significantly increase the popularity of Karosta in the world. The team of international ghost hunters has already visited famous English and Scottish castles, as well as haunted sites in Peru, Singapore, Sweden, the Philippines and other countries. Liepaja's Karosta jail is the only Baltic site in their project.

Some 86 percent of people in Latvia view the current national economic situation as bad, according to the latest DnB Nord Latvia Barometer survey. According to the survey, only 9 percent of respondents feel that the situation in Latvia is developing in the right direction, while 80 percent said it was going in the wrong direction. The number of respondents that believe the economic situation is deteriorating also grew in December, to 78 percent from 59-68 percent between April and October and 73 percent in November. Respondents' forecasts about the future, meanwhile, became increasingly pessimistic, with 57 percent predicting a further deterioration in the next year, 24 percent not expecting any significant change, and only 9 percent saying they thought there would be improvement. About 42 percent of respondents think that their financial situation will only worsen over the next year, while 12 percent expected improvement.

Janis Imsa and Indra Veipa have been given jail sentences for embezzeling from the Latvian anti-corruption bureau (KNAB). Imsa, the chief specialist of confidentiality maintenance at KNAB, pled guilty and was given a fine of 1,800 lats (2,561 euros) and four years in jail.Veipa, head of the confidentiality maintenance department, pled not guilty and has been given a five year jail sentence for not catching the embezzlment tens of thousands of euros seized by KNAB. Both Imsa and Veipa were found to have spent the KNAB money on daily needs as well as foreign trips.

Legendary composer and MP Raimonds Pauls is not planning on running in elections in the future, but plans to remain in the People's Party. The party's parliament faction head Maris Kucinskis told BNS that Pauls has said that he will not run in any future elections. There is no discussion about him leaving the party. He has been a culture minister, a culture aide to president Guntis Ulmanis, and a parliament lawmaker. Pauls has been a member of the People's Party for the last seven years.

Incidents of flu have doubled in Latvia and reached a level of epidemic in Bauska and Ventspils counties, reported the Public Health Agency. Flu cases have been reported in Ventspils, Liepaja, Jelgava, Bauska, Aizkraukle, Daugavpils, Riga, Salaspils and Sigulda, while the flu rate in Ventspils and Bauska has reached the level of an epidemic. In large part due to the flu, attendance at educational establishments has dropped to 68 percent in pre-school educational centers and 90 percent in general educational establishments. The flu season in Latvia is usually from November to March.