Latvija in brief - 2009-03-04

  • 2009-03-04
The winner of Latvia's Eurovision song contest, Intars Busulis, has announced he will be singing in Russian when performing in Moscow, the Latvian-language daily Neatkariga Rita reported. The singer, whose song, "Sastregums" (Traffic) was originally in Latvian, stated that he had read comments on the Internet with different opinions on whether he should sing in Latvian or Russian.

The Latvian police have decided not to punish athletes and high-profile drug users, largely because their offense would cost them their careers. The Riga Regional Criminal Police has identified about 10 high-profile figures, including athletes and people appearing in the tabloid press, who have been buying narcotics from two drug dealers that the police detained in early February. Both drug dealers also have been connected to professional sports. Criminal Police head Ints Kuzis said earlier that the celebrities had been using drugs in public and their responsibility for the offense will be assessed. Kuzis said the main task now is to find out who sold drugs to the two drug-dealers and to bust the drug dealing ring. On Feb. 6, police detained two drug dealers, aged 34 and 24, seizing 176.5 grams of methamphetamine and 11.6 grams of cocaine worth about 2,461 lats (3,501 euros).

In response to a request from the Latvian Foreign Ministry, Estonia has recalled a recommendation against visiting Latvia due to an increased risk of hepatitis A. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ivars Lasis told reporters the Estonian Health Inspectorate stopped distributing the recommendation against planning school children's trips to Latvia and to consider vaccination against this infection before traveling abroad in response to a note that Latvia gave the Estonian Foreign Ministry.

Nearly 28 percent of new families in Latvia admit they have had overdue bills, a poll by SEB Banka and a local parent group shows. The survey revealed that more than a third, some 37 percent, of families with overdue monthly bills delay the payment of public utility bills. The next most frequently delayed bills are for telecommunications. services. (at 24.8 percent), while 16.5 percent of new families delay loan payments to banks. About 21.8 percent of new families have several overdue payments. The survey also suggests that 72 percent of families always pay their monthly bills on time. The survey showed 82 percent of young moms used the Internet to pay their bills, 6 percent used automatic payment services, and only 5 percent visited bank offices to pay their bills.