Wages for State Police officers will be raised by 10 lats (14 euros), Interior Ministry press secretary Gunta Skrebele said, reports LETA. The increase will be taxable. The wage increase will also raise officers’ total income, because higher wages also mean higher pay for working extra hours, on holidays and on night shifts. Interior Minister Linda Murniece (Unity) says that “One of the problems in the State Police is the comparatively small wages, which explains the high turnover of staff in the police.” The wages will be increased at the expense of unfilled vacancies, and almost 1.1 million lats will be spent this way in 2011 altogether.
Business partners Valerijs Belokons and founder of New Era party Einars Repse have established the ‘Artificial Intelligence Fund,’ reports LETA. The fund aims to improve the development of Latvian science, education and manufacturing, and to increase Latvia’s competitiveness in computer studies, robotics and artificial intelligence innovations. In order to achieve these goals, the fund plans to establish a scientific institute, where research projects in artificial intelligence, IT and robotics will be carried out. It will foster the development of education and information exchange among artificial intelligence, IT and robotics scientists, and promote its activities in Latvia and abroad.
Former Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov was put on Latvia’s list of ‘personae non grata’ because he “always has had a hostile attitude towards Latvia,” Interior Minister Linda Murniece (Unity) said on Jan. 18, reports LETA. This means he is barred from entering the country. Luzhkov has requested a Latvian residence permit; he made a 200,000 lats (285,700 euro) investment into the subordinated capital of Latvia’s commercial bank Rietumu Bank, which means he can apply for permanent residence. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev fired Luzhkov for reasons including “loss of confidence” and suspicions of corruption. “Hell-hole, infested with fascists and run by Russophobic ethnocrats” is how some senior Russian officials portray Latvia, certainly not the sort of place Luzhkov would retire to, wrote Edward Lucas in The Economist.