Latvija in brief

  • 2010-08-11

The Cabinet of Ministers on Aug. 3 approved redistribution of funding for the construction of the new National Library building, reports LETA. Finance Minister Einars Repse (New Era) was instructed to inform the Saeima about the need to increase the government’s emergency funds by 13,562,417 lats (19.2 million euros) next year and, if the Saeima Budget and Finance Committee has no objections, to alter the law on the state budget for 2010 accordingly. Provided that the Saeima Budget and Finance Committee does not object to increasing the allocation, it will go to the Culture Ministry, which will spend the funds on further implementation of the National Library project. The Culture Ministry has said that if the funding for the National Library project is redistributed, the project will be implemented on schedule and without exceeding the planned construction costs. The new building is expected to open to the public in September 2013.

As of July 1, Latvia’s population was 2.238 million; this is 10,500 persons, or 0.47 percent less than at the beginning of the year, according to the Central Statistical Bureau’s data, reports Since the number of deaths exceeded the number of births, the population decreased by 5,600, whereas emigration resulted in a population decrease of 4,900 persons. Although the decline in population during the past several years had slowed, in 2009 this indicator increased again to 0.57 percent, up from 0.42 percent in 2008. As of July 1, the population of Riga was 702,700 - a decrease of 3,700 persons or 0.5 percent from the beginning of the year. There were 2,876 marriages registered in the first six months - a decrease of 20 percent on the first half of 2009. Latvia’s birthrate decreased 13.4 percent, with 9,630 births registered in the first six months this year.

On Aug. 9 the ambassador of Russia to Latvia, Alexander Veshnyakov, during a meeting with Interior Minister Linda Murniece (New Era) and the State Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) Chief Ainars Pencis, officially requested Latvia’s assistance to help contain and extinguish forest fires raging in the country, reports LETA. The ambassador submitted a list of technical equipment needed to help with fire fighting efforts. The list includes forest cultivators, individual protective clothing and respiratory devices, pumps, module type mobile pumps for controlling fires and other technical equipment. Pencis informed the ambassador that right now SFRS is ready to send two completely equipped fire-trucks in which almost all the technical equipment the Russian party asked for is included, as well as 12 firefighters. Both parties agreed that the SFRS immediately contact the Ministry for Emergency Situations of Russia to coordinate the effort. Upon agreement, the Latvian firefighters are ready to leave immediately.