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Members of a Saeima committee were escorted by local police to the regional council building in Kuldiga on Aug. 18, past a crowd of 300 demonstrators, reports LETA. The MPs arrived in Kuldiga late because their bus had broken down. They were assisted by local police to a meeting concerning the conflict between the Health Ministry and Kuldiga Hospital over funding. The MPs were “welcomed” with loud hisses and boos, with an ample share reserved for Health Minister Juris Barzdins. He stopped to address the protesters, saying: “Your pleasant hospital must remain, and it shall! That’s the main thing!” The crowd chanted “Money!, money!” in response. The demonstrators held placards, and an open truck was parked at the council building with a coffin next to a hospital bed. Kuldiga Council Chairwoman Inga Berzina commented that she had never seen such a protest in the town before, but that it proves that residents are concerned about the hospital’s fate. She added that funding for hospitals in Latvia is not being allocated fairly.
Sixty-two percent of Latvian residents do not have any savings for when they retire, according to a survey about personal pensions carried out by Swedbank, reports Nozare.lv. Although respondents admit that the amount of their savings for old age is too low and they should save more, they have chosen to leave the problem for a later date. The majority, or 70 percent of those with 10 to 12 years left until their retirement, do not have any savings at all, and only 10 percent admit the amount of their savings is acceptable. 72 percent of respondents aged 50 and over are of the opinion that their savings should be higher or much higher. Only 14 percent, however, are planning to start a personal pension plan. The survey was carried out by Omnicom Media Group. 1,168 respondents in Riga and the largest cities and regions of Latvia aged 15 to 74 were surveyed.
Only 15 percent of the economically active population in the ages between 18 and 55 are satisfied with what Latvia has achieved in the past 20 years, according to a survey carried out by the market, social and media research company TNS Latvia and the LNT television channel, reports LETA. One percent said they are “definitely”satisfied, but 14 percent are “rather” satisfied with the achievements in the country in the past 20 years. Thirty-four percent said they are rather dissatisfied, while 45 percent said they are definitely dissatisfied after the regaining of independence. Six percent of the questioned had no opinion. Latvia is this month celebrating the 20th anniversary of the “de facto” restoration of independence. The survey was carried out from Aug. 16 to Aug. 18 via the Internet; altogether, 600 residents were interviewed.