Latvija in brief

  • 2014-09-03

Despite concerns expressed by minority representatives in Latvia on the closing of mainly Russian-language schools, the number of minority schools for this school year has remained unchanged compared to the previous year, reports LETA. Education and Science Ministry spokeswoman Laura Zaharova said there are 107 minority language schools throughout the country, the same number of schools as last year. Most of the minority schools are Russian language schools, numbering 99. Furthermore, there are also four Polish language schools, as well as one Ukrainian and one Belarusian language school. Two Jewish schools are also open.

The State Police plans to purchase a small-scale water-cannon for crowd control for only 314,000 euros, according to a concept draft introduced by the State Police last week, reports LETA. Comments included in the draft indicate that the State Police require such equipment. The concept also includes a need for 20 cars and SUVs, ten jet-skis, two high-power boats and 12 speed boats. The total sum for this is about 1.6 million euros.

At the beginning of July, the United States Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of a new anti-cancer drug in medicine, the active ingredient of which was invented and synthesized in Latvia, the head of the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis, Ivars Kalvins said, reports LETA. According to Kalvins, this is a historic moment for Latvia, as this is the first time such permission has been granted for a substance that was invented and synthesized in Latvia. He explained that the new drug is meant for treating cancer. Its efficiency has been proven in treating patients with peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL). The new drug is currently being tested in various clinics in the United States and the European Union to treat 11 other forms of lymphomas. Work on the new medication began 13 years ago, said Kalvins.

In a survey conducted by SKDS in May, 801 people from Latvia’s ethnic minorities were interviewed, age 18 and older, reports LETA. Sixty-four percent said that they are patriots of Latvia. 22.4 percent added “definitely,” while 41.4 percent said that they “tended toward feeling patriotic.” Twenty-two percent of the non-Latvians interviewed said that they are not patriots of the country, with 8.6 percent declaring a definite “no.” SKDS’ Arnis Kaktins noted that the common belief that younger non-Latvians tend to be more patriotic was not reflected in the survey. The older the person, the greater feeling of patriotism. The survey also asked how non-Latvians felt about their city or town. Fifty-six percent said they have close ties. Twenty-three percent named Russia as the place they belong. Eleven percent responded that they have a “very strong” sense of belonging to Russia. Twelve percent said their sense of belonging to Russia existed, but in milder form.