Latvija in brief - 2010-11-11

  • 2010-11-10

The richest kids on the block live in the Lembergs and Lipmans homes, reports This year’s ‘Golden One Hundred’ list of the country’s wealthiest 100 people show that first place is held by the Lembergs family - Ventspils mayor Aivars and his children Anrijs and Liga - who are worth 180 million lats in total. They are followed by Latvian Hockey Federation President Kirovs Lipmans and his wife Anna - 54 million lats, metallurgical company Liepajas metalurgs shareholder Sergejs Zaharjins - 53 million lats, and Rietumu bank council chairman Leonids Esterkins - 53 million lats. The family of ex-premier and For a Good Latvia politician Andris Skele has jumped from 27th to fifth place, with assets worth 52 million lats. Also in the top ten are Justs Karlsons - 41 million lats, Arnis Riekstins - 38 million lats, Guntis Ravis - 34 million lats, Vadims Telica - 34 million lats, and Josifs Apts - 32 million lats.

In the second half of 2011, the 100 lats (142.80 euros) payments made to participants in special employment programs could be cut by 20 lats, said the new welfare minister, Ilona Jursevska (Union of Greens and Farmers), on Latvian State Radio. The 100 lats employment program will be continued until the end of next year, with numbers of participants gradually reduced as the unemployment rate falls, said the minister. The 100 lats program was created as an emergency measure in the face of rising unemployment. “It should be understood that this service cannot go on forever. We must think of an alternative, for example, waged temporary jobs,” said Jursevska. The minister repeatedly confirmed that no reductions in pension levels are planned for next year. “We will do everything possible to keep our promises to the electorate and keep pensions at their current levels,” she said, adding that the state pension age would also not be raised next year.

The Riga City Council resolved on Nov. 9 to conclude an agreement with the Latvian Lutheran Church on restoration of Dome Church, and will allot 1,999,980 lats (2.8 million euros) from the Riga budget for church restoration, reports LETA. This year, 502,000 lats will be provided by the Riga City Council for restoration of the Dome Church, whereas the rest of the amount will be allotted in 2011 and subsequent years. The priorities in restoration of the Dome Church include roof renovation and re-roofing, restoration of the building’s facade and restoration of the organ, which altogether may cost as much as 4 million lats, of which 2 million lats are to be provided by the Riga City Council and the other 2 million lats are to be received from European Union funds. It is hoped that the Dome Church restoration will be completed in two-three years, by 2014, when Riga will be Europe’s Cultural Capital. Latvian Lutheran Church Archbishop Janis Vanags previously said that Dome Church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Riga, and the church is visited by approximately 130,000 people each year.