During a meeting in Riga on April 9, the foreign ministers of the Baltic States had positive things to say about the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between the U.S. and Russia, reports LETA. At a press conference after the meeting, Latvian Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins (People’s Party) said that, with the signing of the agreement, U.S. President Barack Obama is moving forward with his aim to reduce the number of nuclear weapons around the world. “All of us must evaluate this as a positive development,” Riekstins pointed out. Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet expressed his satisfaction that such an agreement has been made by two important global players. The ministers also met with the Baltic States’ representative on NATO’s expert panel, Aivis Ronis, on the creation of the alliance’s new strategic concept, and became acquainted with the latest news on the discussion taking place within the expert panel.
So far 3,277 people have signed the manifesto of the new movement ‘For A Good Latvia,’ proclaimed one of the founders of the movement, Guntis Belevics, reports LETA. Lido restaurant chain’s CEO Gunars Kirsons, said that people in Latvia share everything with each other, “except politics.” Politics must also be a competitive area, he believes. “I wish to unite politicians so that they would work in Latvia’s interest, and we will be right behind them.” The goal of the group is to see Latvia prosper; all persons who wish to become rich by honest work are welcome to join the new movement, it says. Proposals from other members include setting up a charity fund to support the most talented students, scientists and culture workers, returning a part of mortgages taken out by large families for buying an apartment/private home, and others. Politicians should be more rigid in talks with international lenders, and politicians should be guided by Latvia’s interests, they say.
A slight decrease, by 0.1 percent, in the registered unemployment rate was recorded at the beginning of April, reports LETA. The Employment Agency’s Director Baiba Pasevica said that currently, the unemployment rate stands at 17.2 percent. At the end of March, 194,253 persons were unemployed, with the new figure at 192,950. The largest decrease in the unemployment rate was registered in Dobele, down 0.5 percent, whereas Saldus, Liepaja, Aluksne and Kraslava offices each recorded a 0.4 percent decrease. The unemployment rate for Riga is 12.8 percent, down 0.1 percent from March. The highest unemployment is in Latgale, at 22.9 percent. Pasevica stressed that the decrease in the unemployment rate was most probably due to the beginning of seasonal jobs. Last time the unemployment rate decreased slightly in Latvia was two years ago, in March/April of 2008, she said.