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HEAVY METAL: Valmiera City Council Dec. 14 supported the construction of a precious metal processing plant in the north-eastern Latvian city. Russian state-owned company Severonikel has expressed willingness to build such a plant in Valmiera. City Council executive director Ugis Berzins said the Russian company's representatives had visited Valmiera this year and several rounds of talks have been held because they wanted to build a plant in Eastern Europe.
NO AFRICAN CATTLE: The State Veterinary Service (SVS) issued an order Dec. 14 banning the import of cattle from the Republic of South Africa, Swaziland and Mauritania, an SVS official said. Aivars Dedzins said the ban is due to an outbreak of an animal disease there. It is banned to import sheep, goats, pigs, cows and other cattle from the three countries as well as milk, dairy products and biological products.
VIVA LA FRANCE: Latvian Prime Minister Andris Berzins, in a meeting Dec. 14 with a delegation of the French industrialist organization MEDEF, urged to step up cooperation in economy and trade between Latvia and France, the government's press office reported. The prime minister said the cooperation between the two countries has been successful in politics but insufficiently active in economy.
SELLING TO COMPENSATE: In order to compensate the fall of euro exchange rate and reach the annual sales target for 2000 at 13.8 million lats ($22.25 million), the fiberglass company Stikla Skiedra has additionally produced and sold products worth some 800,000 lats. The information was provided to reporters in a news conference Dec. 13 held by Stikla Skiedra.
NO MORE BEEF: The border service of the Estonian Veterinary and Food Inspectorate will from next week suspend the import of beef and protein-including feeds from 10 European countries. Due to restrictions caused by mad cow disease, import licenses issued earlier will be suspended and no new licenses will be issued starting Dec. 20.
COMPLAINING ABOUT PRICES: Following a complaint filed by Swedish phone company Tele2, the Communications Board has given state phone company Eesti Telefon orders to revise network interconnection prices. Eesti Telefon must link up the networks within this year and quote a feasible price, Communications Board director general Juri Joema said at a news conference Dec. 14.
A TALE OF TWO BIDS: The City of Tallinn received by a Dec. 15 deadline two bids for the central Viru Square, one from Viru Valjaku Arenduse OU (Viru Square Development Co.) and the other from Fort Group, Deputy Mayor Ivar Virkus said. Merko and SRV are partners in Viru Square Development, and Fort Group's shareholders are KC Group. Virkus said the bids will be examined and their conformity to the set requirements evaluated on Dec. 20.
GREEN ENERGY: The first consumer of the environmentally-friendly energy of national energy company Eesti Energia will be the State Chancellery, which will cut its other expenses to buy the more expensive power. Alternative energy costs more today than oil shale-based energy, but we intend to cover the additional expenses arising from the purchase by saving on the State Chancellery's other outlays, Eesti Energia quoted Prime Minister Mart Laar as saying.
FRENCH LOOKING EAST: The French would like to actively invest in Lithuanian heating, transport, energy and other sectors. Representatives of the French companies Gaz de France, Electricite de France, Bull International, Bouyges Batiment, Connex Transport, Renault Agriculture, Dalkia, Thomson and the banks BNP Paribas and Societe Generale, in Lithuania on a two-day visit, expressed interest in doing business there.
PORTS TO COMPETE: Lithuanian and Kaliningrad officials agreed to develop port cooperation while competing for the flow of Russian cargo with Latvian and Estonian ports. This was agreed after a meeting in the Russian Kaliningrad region between Rimvydas Gradauskas, Lithuania's deputy minister for transport and communications, and Sergei Buchelnikov, deputy head of the region's administration.
TURN OFF IF YOU WANT EU: Anders Henriksson, head of the Lithuanian department at the European Commission's general directorate for expansion, said Lithuania must make a decision on the date of closure for the second reactor at the Ignalina nuclear plant if it wants to become a European Union member by 2004.