Latvija in brief - 2004-02-19

  • 2004-02-19
A survey by the naturalization department revealed that only 1.6 percent of noncitizens naturalize per year, according to Eizenija Aldremane, who heads the department.

The older people within this population were far less likely to naturalize, the survey showed.

Latvia will have a problem filling vacancies within the EU bureaucracy unless more qualified applicants come forth, according to recent application results. Finding qualified translators for Latvia's EU work has proven to be one of the most difficult tasks for the Baltic state.

Prime Minister Einars Repse pilloried the Corruption Prevention and Control Bureau's recent anticorruption strategy in recent meetings. He said that the bureau's strategy lacked specific measures for curbing corruption. The strategy was returned to the bureau, which promised to revise and resubmit it in two weeks.

President Vaira Vike-Freiberga and Culture Minister Inguna Ribena made an official visit to fellow EU accession country Malta for talks on future cooperation and the role of smaller states in the European Union.

Latvian police apprehended two men suspected of sending three young women to Germany for sexual exploitation. Law enforcement was tipped off to their alleged activities by a young woman who had received a call from them after placing an ad on the Internet saying that she was looking for a job abroad. The girl met her potential employer at a cafe near the central passenger railway terminal in Riga and later called the police after they offered her work as a prostitute.

The Education Contents and Examination Center will examine history textbooks donated by the Russian Embassy to see if they are appropriate for use in Latvia's minority schools. If the history books, thousands of which were given, are deemed unfit for the Baltic state's schools they will be returned to the embassy, officials said.

A team of law students from the University of Latvia took second place out of 97 teams at the European Law Moot Court Competition in France. Topics that the teams debated included the responsibility of states within the EU and free movement of goods inside the European bloc.

The city of Riga has applied for a EU grant to promote the introduction of environmentally friendly transportation systems. If approved, the capital city would introduce six busses running on bio-diesel fuel and six minivans that would use fuel that produces less pollution.

Latvia has one of the highest rates of HIV and AIDS in Eastern Europe, according to a recently released U.N. report. Despite a decline in infection rates, the country still ranked toward the top, the report stated. Last year the country registered 405 new cases of HIV, and 12 people died of AIDS.