Latvija in brief - 2010-04-28

  • 2010-04-28

The police arrested two persons in connection with a record shipment of 202.5 kilograms of cocaine that was seized at the Riga Port on April 16, reports LETA. The detainees are residents of Latvia. Some of the drugs were most likely meant for the Latvian market, said the head of the State Revenue Service’s Customs Criminal Department Marijans Burijs. Burijs said that the illegal drugs were found after successful cooperation between various law enforcement institutions in Latvia, and that much work was put in by the SRS’s Customs Criminal Department. The SRS checked ten suspicious cargoes at Riga Port before finally finding the one with the hidden drugs. Street value is estimated to be around 14 million lats (20 million euros). The ship with the drugs was traveling from Chile; it was loaded in Bolivia. The ship made stops in Ecuador and Holland. From Riga, the cocaine shipment was thought to be headed to Russia by land transport.

Air travel is not the only transport sector that Latvia should be developing, and it is possible that due to the recent volcanic ash chaos Latvian officials might have taken notice of this fact, said Ruta Skujeniece, director of the Baltic States representation of the travel conglomerate Travelport, reports “Perhaps finally someone will have noticed that Latvia, apparently a modern European country, does not have any real rail connections either with the other Baltic States, or with the rest of Europe,” said the travel expert.  “I hope [this] will motivate people to dust off the long-forgotten Rail Baltica project and devote attention to the restoration of rail travel between the Baltic States and Europe as a means of environmentally friendly, economical travel,” said Skujeniece. She pointed out that the only more or less comfortable international transport alternative that Latvia can offer is travel by ferry, which is time-consuming and not appropriate for business travel.

Transparency International-Latvia, or Delna founder and anti-corruption expert Inese Voika has been elected as the new chairperson of the organization’s council, reports LETA. Members at the annual general meeting elected new council members including journalist and chairman of the publication ‘Ir’ Pauls Raudseps, former Constitutional Court President, Professor Aivars Endzins, former Defense Ministry Deputy State Secretary Janis Atrens, state forestry company Latvijas valsts mezi. The priorities for Delna in 2010 are to develop voters’ memory of political wrongdoing, gather information for voters on politicians’ activities, observe the construction of the new Latvian National Library building, educate young people on anti-corruption matters and stimulate their participation in civil society, provide legal assistance for residents in matters of property development and building, and also to continue to be a watchdog of the government’s activities. Transparency International-Delna Chairwoman Lolita Cigane stepped down from her post at Delna as she is preparing to stand in the forthcoming Saeima elections.