Latvia in brief - 2004-01-29

  • 2004-01-29
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright met with President Vaira Vike-Freiberga while in Riga on a two-day visit to promote her book, "Madame Secretary." Albright received an honorary doctorate from the University of Latvia for her contributions to political science and for helping to strengthen the Baltic country's independence.

Police Academy Rector Arija Meikalisa became Latvia's first female police general when she was promoted by the government on Jan. 27. Foreign Minister Sandra Kalniete praised the move, citing it as another example of the many women in high positions in the country's leadership.

Speaking at the international conference against genocide in Stockholm, President Vaira Vike-Freiberga emphasized the need for Europe to properly evaluate the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes. Vike-Freiberga had previously attended the conference on tolerance in Stockholm in 2000 when the meeting focused on the Holocaust.

Latvia witnessed a drop in the number of HIV cases, as 405 new cases of the virus were registered in the country last year, down from 542 the year before and a high of 807 in 2001. The bulk of the new cases were contracted through intravenous drug use. Despite the decline, experts predict that the number will rise in the future.