There are currently 4,500 soldiers serving in the National Armed Forces (NAF), out of which 764 are women, which makes up 17 percent of the total soldiers serving in the NAF, according to information from the Latvian military news portal sargs.lv. Out of the 764 women serving in the NAF, 153 are officers, 394 are instructors, whilst 217 are soldiers. There are also 279 women working as civilian employees of the NAF. A total of 119 women from Latvia have served in international operations abroad, which is 5.2 percent of the total number of NAF soldiers who have served abroad. Out of the 177 Latvian soldiers currently serving in military operations abroad, seven are women. In comparison, the percentage of women serving in the militaries of other NATO partners is, on average, from eight to 13 percent. The percentage of women currently serving in the Lithuanian Armed Forces is 11 percent, whilst in Estonia it is 13 percent.
From the beginning of the cold season this past October through December, a total of 14 people have died from exposure to the cold in Riga and the surrounding area, the State Forensic Medicine Center (SFMC) said, reports LETA. Five persons died from exposure to the cold in Riga in October, four in November, and five in December. SFMC spokeswoman Lita Brice points out that nine of these persons were found on the street, whilst the others were found in garden shacks, basements or in the forest. Two were found frozen to death in their apartment.
Last year, over 1,000 vehicles worth over 8.5 million euros were stolen in Latvia, according to statistics from Autonams, reports Nozare.lv. On average, 21 vehicles with a total value of 163,170 euros are stolen each week. The average value of a vehicle at the time of theft was 7,994 euros. In 2011, a total of 1,068 vehicles were stolen in Latvia, which is about 20 percent less than in 2010. Autonams experts explain the drop in vehicle thefts with the fact that there has been a substantial reduction in the country’s residents since the economic crisis started. Many car thieves have left Latvia for “greener pastures.” Volkswagen automobiles were the most popular for car thieves last year, with 230 stolen. 188 Audi automobiles were stolen, followed by BMW at 87; Toyota at 82, and Honda at 41.
It is likely that around 360 tons of oil products and solvent were spilled on the Kraslava-Daugavpils railroad section during the Jan. 8 freight train accident in Naujene County, Daugavpils Region (eastern Latvia), reports LETA. A protective dam has been erected to contain the spill, limiting the area to around 4,000 square meters. The freight train ran off the tracks in Naujene County, and as a result, 16 tank cars overturned and three of them ruptured. The train was en route from Belarus to Ventspils. No one was injured.