The Bottom line

  • 2000-09-07
Slovakian weapons added to Norwegian tires

Part of Latvian National Armed Forces and National Guard warehouses have been turned into storage facilities for useless automatic rifles and grenade launchers. The firm that had supplied them to the Latvian Defence Ministry, Slovakian Katrim Stella, has so far failed to take them back. The firm was endorsed with the government guarantee in amount of $3.9 million five years ago, but failed to satisfy the quality requirements. The Defense Ministry is planning to sue.

What law?

After the frantic signature collection in support of amendments to the Latvian energy law, catchy slogans, high emotions, and extraordinary Parliament session to settle the matter were finally over, nobody paid particular attention to what version of the law was sent to the official newspaperLatvijas Vestnesis for publication on Aug.3. It turned out to be the wrong one. The mistake went undiscovered for almost a week after the law was published on Aug. 23. The Parliament secretariat assured that the right law was in force meanwhile.

EU compared to Nomenklatura

Britain's Financial Times newspaper ran a lengthy article on Lithuania by Samuel Brittain in its weekend edition. Overall, he was highly complimentary of the country noting the renovation of Vilnius Old Town, the boom in small and medium-sized businesses and the human rights achievements over the past decade. On the down side, he quotes one Lithuanian economist as saying that negotiating with the European Union was like dealing with the Nomenklatura in Moscow (under the Soviets). This was uttered in reference to EU export restrictions that are preventing Lithuania's farmers from achieving economic prosperity.