Latvija in brief - 2009-04-15

  • 2009-04-15
In order to pay police salaries, the Interior Ministry is planning to sell the State Police building on Aspazijas Street. Interior Minister Linda Murniece was quoted as saying that the State Police would be saving 4.5 million lats, with which they could pay 2,500 police salaries.  The ministry hopes to sell the building, but the move may be too little too late as the current real estate market is slowing down. The Interior Ministry reports that some real estate companies have valued the building at 1.2 million lats, others at 4 million. Murniece said she viewed both those prices as being at the lower end of the scale.

Retail prices have decreased since the beginning of 2009, said Marketing Council's officer Andra Udre. The agency reported that prices for dairy products decreased the most: prices for milk fell 13 percent, sour cream, curds and cheese prices decreased 8 percent and butter prices decreased 3 percent. Pork prices dropped 9-12 percent, beef prices decreased 5 percent and poultry prices 9 percent. Egg prices decreased 5 percent in March. The drops have come as a slight surprise in the industry as prices rose significantly in January.

The Latvian ice hockey team has won their first game against France in preparation for the 2009 Ice Hockey World Championships. After losing 3 of four games, Herberts Vasiljevs, Mikelis Redlihs, Martins Cipulis and Aleksandrs Nizivijs scored goals to bring the Latvians to victory in a final score of 5-2. France is currently ranked number 18 by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), while Latvia is number 11. On April 16 and 17, Latvia will play an additional two games against Slovakia before the 2009 Ice Hockey Championships in Switzerland on April 24. Latvia is currently in the same group as the U.S., Sweden and Austria.

Unemployment in Latvia has reached an eleven year high in March, according to the State Employment Agency. The unemployment rate, which now stands at 10.7 percent, last reached 10.2 percent in 1998. Baiba Pasevica of the State Employment Agency said the number of unemployed persons was higher in 1998 because the population of Latvia was larger as well. November 2007 and April 2008 saw the lowest percentages of unemployed persons at 4.8 percent.

To commemorate the fifth anniversary of Latvia joining the EU, a floral arrangement will be planted in Esplanade Park the first week of May. According to the head of the European Commission Representative office Iveta Sulca, the flowers will stretch 100 meters with each country of Europe represented in a different color. The total cost for setting up the flowers will be an estimated 10,000 lats with 5,000 estimated for maintenance. It is yet unclear whether the European Commission will help fund the costs of setting up the flowers.