Latvija in brief - 2012-07-26

  • 2012-07-25

A total of about 25,000 people attended the Positivus music and arts festival in Salacgriva last weekend, of which about 10,000 were staying in the festival’s tent village, according to festival organizers’ estimates, reports LETA. Positivus Music representative Zane Peneze said the organizers considered this year’s festival a success. Peneze also said she was sorry for those people who were hospitalized for food poisoning after eating at one of the kebab stands on the festival grounds, and wished them speedy recovery, adding that, despite the organizers’ efforts to ensure all festival participant’s safety, such incidents could not be completely ruled out. She said that the Positivus festival would certainly be organized next year as well - as usual, on the third weekend of July. The State Police previously reported that the first day of the Positivus festival had passed peacefully; however, the police had detained 12 people for possession of drugs.

Mareks Gruskevics, who was released from his job as the Education and Science Ministry’s state secretary on July 20, said he would turn to the courts to contest the government’s decision to fire him. Gruskevics said he believed that his dismissal was unfounded. Education Minister Roberts Kilis previously pushed for a Cabinet decision on releasing Gruskevics in connection with violations in the 9 million lats (12.8 million euro) procurement on computers for Latvia’s schools and the losses suffered thereof. The government decided to fire Gruskevics at a meeting on July 10.

Composer Raimonds Pauls, in an interview in the July 20 edition of Neatkariga, predicts the demise of Jurmala’s New Wave young singers’ contest/festival, reports “It will wither away itself, even though organizers are trying to do something. But the only thing you can really do is get fresh faces involved. People have lost interest in the contest; all they care about is the gossip surrounding it... [Alla] Pugachova’s latest scandal. Initially, it was not like this,” Pauls explains. The man known as Maestro also points out that organizers “force their taste and style on others. They interfere in our singers’ choice of music, have their outfits redone, all for one goal - ratings. Nothing else matters... and here the problems start,” he comments. New Wave 2012 runs from July 24 through July 29. On the final day, judges will decide who will be the recipient of the ‘Crystal Wave’ award for this year.

Quality control at popular Dzintari Beach in Jurmala has discovered that [waste] management there does not meet the criteria of the Blue Flag eco-certificate, therefore inspectors on July 22 ordered the flag brought down, reports LETA. Jurmala City Council in response on July 23 announced that it would conduct a thorough clean-up of the beach in the coming days, and solve the trash problem. Beaches must meet 29 standards in order to earn a Blue Flag.