Latvija in brief - 2012-11-29

  • 2012-11-28

The problem of human trafficking must be dealt with at the international level, said Minister of Interior Rihards Kozlovskis (Reform Party) during a seminar on the investigation into human trafficking crimes, prosecution and trials of traffickers, reports LETA. Countries of origin, transit countries and destination countries must all cooperate in the fight against human trafficking by improving the understanding of the problem of human trafficking, said Kozlovskis. The two-day seminar at Albert Hotel in Riga was attended by police officers, prosecutors, judges and non-governmental organizations’ representatives from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway and Russia. Latvia has introduced effective laws and regulations aimed at preventing trafficking in human beings, Latvia’s representatives said during the seminar. Experts participating in the seminar also had a high opinion about the effective investigation process in Latvia.

Saeima members on Nov. 22 approved amendments in the first reading which stipulate reducing the amount of social guarantees provided to former state presidents, reports LETA. Fifty-seven MPs voted for the amendments - ruling coalition members, as well as several Union of Greens and Farmers members. No MPs voted against or abstained, however, most Harmony Center MPs did not vote. The bill, which was submitted by President Andris Berzins, proposes that ex-presidents not be provided with apartments maintained and paid for by the state. Instead, ex-presidents’ monthly pension will be increased from the current 50 percent of president’s monthly salary, to a still imperial 85 percent. The bill also specifies the procedure fors buying or renting automobiles for ex-presidents. The new provisions will not concern the current ex-presidents.

Saeima on Nov. 15 passed in the final reading amendments to the Law on Maternity and Sickness Insurance, stipulating that minimum monthly parental benefits would increase from 63 lats (90 euros) now, to 100 lats next year, reports LETA. According to the Welfare Ministry’s estimates, the amendments will concern about 900 persons, and paying the increased benefits will require 260,000 lats next year. The bill states that this amount will be covered with money from the state master budget. Increasing the minimum parental benefit is one of the measures for tackling demographic problems in the country that the ruling coalition parties’ Saeima groups and independent MPs approved on Oct. 23.

Currently, approximately 50 choirs and folk dance groups from Latvian communities from around the world have applied to participate in next year’s Latvian Song and Dance Festival, reports LETA. The Latvian choirs and folk dance groups come from various countries throughout Europe, as well as from Australia, the United States and Russia. Inga Bika from the State Agency of Intangible Cultural Heritage said that about 550 choirs, orchestras and folk dance groups from abroad participated in the 2008 Latvian Song and Dance Festival, including participants from Germany, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Sicily, the Netherlands, Romania and many others. The XXV Nationwide Latvian Song and Dance Festival will take place in Riga from June 30 to July 7, 2013. A total of 3,277 collectives from Latvia and abroad are preparing for the celebration.