Latvija in brief - 2010-07-07

  • 2010-07-07

A survey revealed that the most popular Riga mayor ever is current Mayor Nils Usakovs (Harmony Center), according to the daily Neatkariga.  Usakovs, who has been in office for one year, was the favorite of 43 percent of those surveyed, while 28.5 percent were not able to say who had been the best mayor. The second most popular mayor in the SKDS survey was Andris Berzins, favored by 8.2 percent of respondents, followed by Gundars Bojars with 4.9 percent. In an interview with Neatkariga, Usakovs mentioned several positive achievements of the past 12 months: the improvement of the infrastructure of educational institutions, with 200 properties reconstructed; increased funding for the social sector, with a one and a half times increase in the number of people receiving support from the council; and an improvement of the law enforcement situation, with more police officers, more funding, and improved patrolling near schools and in suburban areas.

Several dozen individuals gathered for a commemorative ceremony on July 4 at 25 Gogola Street in Riga, the place where Nazi collaborators burned down the Great Choral Synagogue, together with worshippers trapped inside, on July 4, 1941, reports LETA. President Valdis Zatlers, in his address, stated that “if a temple burns to the ground, it is painful not only to the congregation, but to all concerned.” He added that on that tragic day, Latvia lost part of its community trust. On hand also was visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who said that he is honored to be part of this memorial event as the foreign minister of the sovereign state of Israel. He expressed his gratitude to those who sheltered and saved many Jews. Benjamins Kajems, vice chairman of the Jewish Community, told the crowd that “this tragedy is agonizing for the Jewish soul, and a thorn in our hearts.”

Prosecutor Velta Zaluksne of the Special Cases Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office has brought specific charges of bribery against former Jurmala Mayor Raimonds Munkevics and his party colleague, Jurmala emergency medical service ‘Jurmalas atras palidzibas’ board member Normunds Pirants, reports LETA. Evidence gathered by the Corruption Prevention Bureau indicates that the two men attempted to ensure a favorable result in a motion of no confidence against Munkevics, set for May 20 at Jurmula City Council. A city council deputy was offered money and a post in return for action in the bribers’ interests. The pre-trial investigation established that the bribe offered to the deputy was 5,000 lats (7,140 euros). According to the criminal law, the punishment for this offence is imprisonment for three to eight years, with the further possibility of removing the right to certain employment or to hold certain office for up to five years.