Latvija in brief - 2009-07-01

  • 2009-07-01
The Interior Ministry has announced that it will liquidate the Latvian Police Academy as of Jan. 1 of next year. No new students will be allowed to enroll at the academy, and current students studying at the academy will be given the opportunity to continue studying at the University of Latvia. The Interior Ministry said most of the Academy's graduates study law 's rather than police training 's and that the majority of these students go on to work in the private sector. Last year the Interior Ministry spent about 2.5 million lats (3.56 million euros) funding the Academy.

Three of the five parties that form the Harmony Center political coalition have announced that they will join together into a single party. The People's Harmony Party, led by Janis Urbanovics, the New Center Party, led by Sergejs Dolgopolovs, and the Social Democratic Party, led by Egils Rutkovskis, formally signed the papers to become a new party that will be known simply as Harmony. Currently, Harmony Center is made up of five parties - People's Harmony Party, New Center, Social Democratic Party, Daugavpils' City Party, and Latvian Socialist Party. The party reorganization process is to be completed by August 30.

U.S. President Barack Obama has announced his nominee for the post of U.S. Ambassador to Latvia 's professional diplomat Judith Garber. Garber still has to be approved for the position by the U.S. Senate. Garber is currently Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Garber joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1984. Her previous diplomatic assignments include working as economic affairs counsel in Madrid, Tel Aviv, Prague, and Mexico. Garber has also served as the vice consul in Seville, Spain. Garber's Washington assignments include director for North Central Europe in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and director for Overseas Development Finance in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

The unemployment rate in Latvia is continuing its rise, reaching 11.5 percent in June. A total of 129,262 people were registered as unemployed in the month, which is 0.2 percentage points more than in May. Employment Agency's Deputy Director Vija Racinska told the LETA national news agency that the unemployment rate rose the fastest in Talsi District and Riga Region, and fell the most in Aizkraukle District. According to the preliminary data, unemployment rate in Riga increased to 9.7 percent, unemployment in Kurzeme, Vidzeme and Zemgale provinces exceeded 12 percent, and the highest unemployment rate is in Latgale province, 15.5 percent on the average.

The Latvian government has announced that in the latest round of wage cuts, public sector workers who make more than 300 lats (427 euros) per month will see salary reductions of 20 percent. Those that make less than 300 lats per month will see their wages reduced by 15 percent. The government said 20.5 percent of direct employees of the government had salaries under 300 lats while 79.5 percent were over 300 lats. The government has also decided to cut pensions by 10 percent.
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