Latvija in brief

  • 2013-12-18

The government’s euro awareness campaign has justified itself, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis said after the Euro Introduction Coordination Council session on Dec. 13, reports LETA. This is evidenced by increasingly more people becoming informed about the euro. The campaign will continue during the remaining days until the introduction of the euro, explaining practical matters regarding Latvia’s transition, said the prime minister. Regarding the latest survey on public support for the euro, which indicates that only 35 percent of residents support euro adoption, there are two explanations for such low levels of public support, said the prime minister. Residents are concerned about the impact of the euro adoption on prices. However, there are no reasons for such concerns, since it is clear that there will be no considerable increases in prices, and inflation is considerably lower than initially predicted, explained Dombrovkis. Latvia will join the eurozone on Jan. 1.

Latvia’s top beach volleyball pair Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins will finish atop the world rankings for this beach volleyball season, reports LETA. Samoilovs/Smedins are in South Africa, where they are competing in the final World Cup stage in Durban. As this paper went to press, the pair had already won their first three group matches and qualified for the final 16. The two have earned 250 ranking points at the Durban tournament, which has already ensured them enough points to finish atop the world rankings. So far this season, the Latvian pair has won two ‘Gran Slam’ stages, and finished second in another two. They also finished in second place in this year’s European Championships.

In yet another example of Russia’s ‘friendly neighbor policy,’ over the last 12 months, and on the orders of President Vladimir Putin, Russia has secretly deployed 20 or so short-range Iskander SS-26 missiles in the Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania, the German tabloid Bild reported. The area is bordering or close to the three former Soviet republics of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Each missile has a maximum range of 500 km (Berlin is 527 km from the former Koenigsberg). The paper described the deployment as Moscow’s response to the scud missile defense system developed by NATO. Details on the Russian arsenal include satellite images showing a “double-digit” number of mobile units identified as SS-26 Stone in NATO code, and the SS-26 can carry conventional as well as nuclear warheads.