More than a thousand people took part in a solemn procession from Arena Riga to the Latvian Hockey Federation’s office on Raunas Street in a commemoration for the late Latvian hockey player Karlis Skrastins, reported LETA. People started to gather at Arena Riga, lighting candles and laying flowers at the arena’s entrance. The event commemorated the tragedy of Sept. 7, when a Russian jet carrying KHL hockey players to their first match of the season crashed on takeoff, killing 44 on board. 40 of the dead were players, coaches and staff of Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, among them star Latvian defender Karlis Skrastins. The Soviet-era Yak-42 passenger jet took off from Yaroslavl Airport, northeast of Moscow, at about 4 p.m. local time, and went down a few minutes later. Authorities said on Sept. 8 that they were looking into discontinuing flights of Yak-42 planes as they said the disaster might be due to human error or aircraft malfunction. The 18-year-old plane is on the European Union’s blacklist, meaning that this plane cannot be used in EU territory as it does not meet EU safety requirements.
If the Saeima elections were held now, Harmony Center (SC) would win and Zatlers’ Reform Party (ZRP) would come in second, according to a study carried out by the market and public opinion research center SKDS, reports LETA. The popularity of SC and ZRP have slightly decreased since July, as Unity and the Union of Greens and Farmers (ZZS) have improved their ratings. These two parties are in third and fourth places, respectively, in terms of popularity with voters. SKDS questioned 1,001 residents from Aug. 12 to Aug. 27. 18.8 percent of respondents said they would vote for SC, 14.4 percent for ZRP; 9.4 percent for Unity, and 8.6 percent would support ZZS in the 11th Saeima elections. Nationalist alliance All for Latvia/For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK would also clear the five percent threshold with 6.3 percent of the vote. SKDS ratings show that Slesers’ Reform Party LPP/LC and For Human Rights in a United Latvia (PCTVL) would not be elected because their ratings are 2 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.