Latvija in brief - 2010-02-03

  • 2010-02-03

The Cabinet of Ministers decided on Feb. 2 to transfer suspended State Revenue Service chief Dzintars Jakans to the office of director at the Finance Ministry’s Tax and Customs Department, reports LETA. Eight ministers voted for the transfer, all five People’s Party ministers participating in the meeting voted against. Finance Minister Einars Repse (New Era) had suggested transferring Jakans to the office of director at the Finance Ministry’s Tax and Customs Department for an indefinite period. Repse also proposed that the Revenue Service’s acting director general Nelija Jezdakova remain in the post until a new director general is appointed for the Revenue Service. The matter was reviewed without much discussion. The People’s Party ministers however threatened that those voting for transferring Jakans should realize the possible consequences of their decision in case Jakans sued the state and won the lawsuit. In the new job, Jakans will report to the Finance Ministry’s State Secretary Martins Bicevskis, and his further career will depend entirely on his performance, said Repse.

Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis (New Era) on Jan. 29 assigned Health Minister Baiba Rozentale (People’s Party) to find out why prices for medications in Latvia differ from those in Lithuania and Estonia; Economy Minister Artis Kampars (New Era) was ordered to determine whether market participants might be running a cartel in Latvia, reports LETA. Dombrovskis signed a resolution instructing Rozentale to draw up an analytical and informative report on the economic, administrative and regulatory factors that determine the differences in medication prices in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. He also requested information on the efficiency of measures taken in 2009 that were intended to improve the situation in the pharmacy business in Latvia. Kampars, in the same resolution, has been ordered to evaluate the situation in the pharmacy business and the factors that determine how prices for medications are set at pharmacies across the country.

The classical music awards of the world’s largest music industry fair – MIDEM - were presented last week at a special ceremony in Cannes, reports LETA. Among the laureates was Latvian mezzo soprano Elina Garanca. The Latvian opera singer was recognized as the year’s Best Female Singer, with German baritone Christian Gerhaher receiving the award for Best Male Singer. Garanca and Gerhaher delighted the audience at the awards ceremony with their interpretations of George Bizet’s aria “Habanera” and Gustav Mahler’s song “I Have a Gleaming Knife.” The Italian soprano Mirella Freni was also honored at the awards ceremony, receiving the MIDEM Lifetime Achievement award for her contributions to opera. Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt also received a MIDEM 2010 Award, being recognized as the year’s best instrumentalist. The honor of the year’s best opera performance went to the St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater’s production of Shostakovich’s “The Nose.”