Foreigners continue to buy up forests in Latvia, according to a Baltic Screen study printed in Latvijas Avize. The state-owned Latvijas Valsts Mezi, remains the largest forest owner in Latvia, with altogether 1.6 million hectares of forests. However, the proportion of foreign companies among Latvia’s 25 largest forest owners has increased from nine a year ago to twelve now. Several Latvian forest owners are no longer on the list, for instance, Vidzeme businessman Aivars Samuss, who has sold most of his forests to Foran Wood, and Valmiera businessman Aigars Bedritis, who has sold large forest areas to Sweden’s Sodra
The registered unemployment rate in Latvia is continuing to fall, and currently stands at 14.4 percent; however, many branches of the State Employment Agency (SEA) have seen a slight rise in unemployment or no change, informed SEA Director Baiba Pasevica. Currently 163,524 people are registered as being out of work, while 3,311 available jobs are registered in the SEA’s database, meaning that there are 49 registered unemployed to each vacancy. The lowest unemployment rate is still in the city of Riga - 10.4 percent, followed by Jelgava and Ventspils with 10.9 percent. The highest rate is in the eastern city of Rezekne - 22.6 percent. In September the registered unemployment rate was 14.6 percent, while in August it stood at 15 percent.
An average Latvian family spends almost one third or 180 lats (256 euros) of its monthly income on food and eating out, according to the Central Statistical Bureau’s data. Overall, monthly expenditure for an average family is almost 590 lats. The second highest category of spending is transportation and communications, of which a little bit more than 100 lats is spent per month. Expenditure on housing slightly exceed 90 lats. An average Latvian family lives in a private dwelling consisting of two rooms with a total area of 61 square meters, consists of three people - a 36-year-old male and a 33-year-old female, who have been married for nine years, and their 9-year-old son. It is predicted that the male will live till 72 years, but the female - 10 years longer - to 82. During the year, the family, eating at home, consumes 120 liters of milk, 590 eggs, 93 kilograms of meat, 265 kilograms of potatoes, 5 kilograms of coffee and approximately 12 kilograms of sweets.
A tourist from Iceland lost his life in a tragic and careless accident in Riga’s old town. According to LETA, the man entered an electrical substation at around 7:30 a.m. on October 22, with the intention of relieving himself. The 29-year-old tourist received a powerful electric shock, was seriously injured and died at the scene of the accident. As a result of the accident, one Old Riga building was without power for several hours. The occupants of the building reported the power loss to the electric company, and a team of electricians were sent to investigate the problem, only to discover the man’s body on entering the substation.