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Latvija in brief - 2009-05-20

  • 2009-05-20
The Zemgales Court has sentenced Ivars Grantins to life in prison for three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Grantins has confessed to killing his 11-year-old daughter, his common-law wife Inga Lomakina, and 18-year-old Jana Ribinska. He has also been charged with attempted murder in 1988. On August 29, 2008 at 10 p.m. the police found and arrested Grantins near the Lithuanian border. At the moment of detention, Grantins did not show any resistance and later confessed to having murdered his daughter. He later confessed to murdering Lomakina and Ribinska as well. The remains of both women were found buried in separate locations in Bauska. Lomakina was strangled to death, but Ribinska forcibly drowned in a local pond. The latter had also been raped.

Oleg Gur of Belarus won the Nordea Riga Marathon on May 17, while Katarina Demidova, also of Belarus, won the women's marathon. Gur ran the marathon in two hours 18 minutes 35 seconds. Rick Cuelemans of Belgium finished second, and Latvia's Raivis Zakis third. Demidova finished the distance in two hours 47 minutes 30 seconds, Kirsi Kovacs of Finland placed second and Michelle Mitchell of Russia third. Joel Kosgei Komen of Kenya finished first in the half-marathon, while Latvia's Edgars Sumskis won the five-kilometer event. According to Nordea, 8,593 runners from 35 countries 's 3,300 runners more than last year 's participated in Riga Marathon this year.

Approximately 8,000 jobs will be eliminated in public administration as a result of structural reforms in the public sector, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis announced while opening government debates on public administration reforms. The reforms and job cuts may save up to 30 million lats (42.6 million euros) in the budget, said Dombrovskis. As a result of the reforms, compact and professional public administration will have to be created because the current public administration system became bloated during the so-called "fat years," Dombrovskis told LETA.

Latvia's inflation is no longer the highest in the EU. Annual inflation in Latvia decreased 2 percentage points in April to 5.9 percent, according to Eurostat data. For nearly four years, Latvia had been reporting the highest inflation in the EU. On the list of countries with the highest inflation figures, Romania now takes first place with 6.5 percent, followed by Latvia and Lithuania 's both 5.9 percent, Poland with 4.3 percent, Malta with 4 percent, Bulgaria with 3.8 percent, and Hungary with 3.2 percent.

As of Nov. 1, 2009, the State Revenue Service will lay off 1,200 employees, leaving the remaining employees to work four day weeks, announced the head of the Finance Ministry's communications department. The State Revenue Service's budget for 2009 has been cut by 32.2 million lats, of which money for salaries has been slashed by 9.8 million lats. Compared to 2008, the SRS' financial resources have been decreased by 31 percent.