We're sorry to report this is our third attempt to send the mail out
today... failed once with Eudora, failed with Netscape, and now trying with an
upgraded version of Eudora. We've been stymied, as tech support can't seem to
find any problems at the other end. We're still trying, though!
In the news these past couple of weeks...
With all that saber-rattling going on about NATO again, one has to
wonder if Duma elections are coming up again!
No links this issue as we try and catch up However, we did manage to
slip in a picture. Sometimes the classics -- like the
Riga skyline from across the Daugava -- are still the best! We found this
picture on one of our APS snapshot "mystery" rolls, turns out it was from our
vacation this summer!
As always, AOL'ers, Remember, mailer or not, Lat Chat spontaneously
appears every Sunday on AOL starting around 9:00/9:30pm Eastern time, lasting
until 11:00/11:30pm. AOL'ers can follow this link:
»Town Square - Latvian chat.
And thanks to you participating on the Latvian message board as well:
»LATVIA (both on AOL only). We
admit to showing up about 10:00 after X-Files!
Ar visu labu -- Good fortune in all things,
Latvia says covers three more EU accession areas
World Report Wednesday, 2001. November 28. 8:23:00
Copyright 2001 Reuters
RIGA, Nov 28 (Reuters) -- Latvia said on
Wednesday it had closed three sensitive chapters in talks on joining the
European Union (EU) -- including environment -- keeping on track to complete
negotiations next year.
Latvia's chief EU
negotiator Andris Kesteris said besides environment the country also closed the
negotiating chapters on financial control and competition.
The closure of these three negotiating areas brings
the number of provisionally closed chapters by the Baltic EU aspirant to 21,
out of a total of 31.
"We are proceeding in good
pace and in line with our schedule, with closing these sensitive chapters a
real success," Kesteris told Reuters.
Latvia had secured eight transition periods in the area of environment,
including a gradual improvement in water standards by 2015.
Kesteris said Latvia expects talks on at least
three more chapters started by the end of 2001 and some possibly closed, among
them areas like energy sector, transport, justice and home affairs.
Latvia started EU accession talks in 2000 and hopes
to complete them at the end of next year to get full membership in 2004 -- a
possibility the EU has recently held out for 10 candidate countries.
Riga City Council deploys SCREAM to connect schools to
Newswire Thursday, 2001. November 29. 10:56:00
Nov 29, 2001 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) --
Riga City Council, primary network provider for the Latvian capital has
purchased the net.com Service Creation Manager SCREAM to connect Riga's 165
schools in six districts to the internet. The network will also be used by more
than 150 other institutions in Riga, including administration, finance and
geographic information services, to facilitate videoconferencing and other
multimedia applications, and will additionally manage the bandwidth required
for video traffic monitoring.
SCREAM is a universal
broadband services switch, providing cell and packet transfer, high touch IP
services, ATM switching and open service creation.
Riga will initially use the five nodes for their
ATM capabilities to provide traffic shaping and management with QoS (quality of
service), with plans to expand to SCREAM's full service creation capabilities
as the network expands.
Mr Raimonds Kruminsh,
director of Finance of the Riga City Council, appeared recently on the State TV
of Latvia to announce, "We are very proud of this expansion, which allows us to
provide more advanced services while more efficiently managing the bandwidth
required for dynamic connections and management of the network for our schools,
libraries, hospitals, police stations and other institutions. It is a very
progressive solution that will further provide us with the capability of direct
accounting for each institution with SCREAM's ability to easily integrate with
our internal billing systems. SCREAM is the cornerstone of this fixed and
Dan Communications have been
working with Riga City Council as consultants and systems integrators on their
network for over two years, so they understand both the challenges and needs of
this complex service. Dan Communications' General Manager, Victor Belov, is
available for interview to discuss the installation and the benefits of SCREAM
to Riga City Council.
NATO chief stops in the Baltics amid increasing
WorldStream Thursday, 2001. November 29. 11:48:00
Copyright 2001 The
By MICHAEL TARM
Associated Press Writer
TALLINN, Estonia (AP) -- NATO
Secretary-General Lord Robertson said Thursday that Estonia was an "excellent
candidate" for membership in the alliance and Baltic officials had good reason
to be optimistic but needed to "stay focused."
Officials in this former Soviet Baltic republic,
whose membership bid has been seen as potentially contentious because of
Russian opposition, have been increasingly hopeful that they'll be invited to
join during next year's NATO summit in Prague, the Czech capital.
After meeting with Estonia's president, prime
minister and defense officials, Lord Robertson said the country was "an
excellent candidate" but added that it needed to "stay focused" on fulfilling
"It's always good to be
optimistic," he said. "But there will be no decision until the summit itself."
Robertson, who was in Moscow last week, said he
also detected a change in attitude in Russia.
"Russia is still unenthusiastic about NATO
enlargement. But I think President (Vladimir) Putin recognizes that NATO will
not be stopped from the enlargement process," Robertson said. "Russia is
interested in a more practical relationship with NATO rather than being fixated
with something they can't have influence over."
Estonian leaders were encouraged by a 372-46 vote
in the U.S. Congress earlier this month to grant dlrs 55 million in security
assistance to NATO candidates, including Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania.
"You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure
out that you don't give money to countries that you don't want in NATO,"
Estonian Foreign Minister Toomas Ilves said.
here following Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States that closer
NATO-Russian cooperation to fight terrorism could give Moscow an effective veto
over Baltic membership also have calmed.
of the Latvian parliament's foreign affairs committee, Guntars Krasts, said
Russian willingness to work with NATO "signaled to us that Russia has accepted
the Baltic countries' membership in NATO as inevitable."
Nicholas Redman, a leading defense analyst in
He said there was still strong
opposition in Russia's parliament, the military and among average Russians who
would see Baltic entry as a security threat, but Putin appears to have softened
"This doesn't mean he agrees with it,"
said Redman. "It's simply that he's a pragmatist and recognizes the U.S. is
determined on this and there's no point in deluding himself or Russia's public
that Baltic membership can be prevented."
Riga girl charged with hooliganism
Newswire Friday, 2001. November 30. 5:04:00
(c) 1996-2001 ITAR-TASS
RIGA, Nov 30, 2001 (Itar-Tass via COMTEX) --
A girl who swished a bunch of flowers trying to strike Prince Charles in the
face when he was on a visit in Latvia has been charged with hooliganism,
representatives of the Latvian prosecutors stated.
If the guilt of 16-year old Alina Lebedeva is
proved, she will face two years of deprivation of freedom and a fine or forced
public labour, the press secretary of the Latvian office of prosecutor-general
said. The beginning of the trial is not yet scheduled as the prosecution has
not completed the investigation.
The defendant, a
pupil of a Riga school, tried to strike Prince Charles with a bunch of flowers
in the face when he was in Latvia in early November. She explained her
behaviour by discontent over the British policy regarding Afghanistan.
Immediately after the incident, Latvian President Vaira Vike- Freiberga made
apologies to the British guest.
The police had
earlier stated that the defendant was faced with 15 years of imprisonment, but
Prince Charles appealed for clemency for the girl.
Latvian president speaks Russian
Newswire Friday, 2001. November 30. 5:29:00
By Galina Kuchina
RIGA, Nov 30, 2001 (Itar-Tass via COMTEX) --
Latvian President Vaira Vike- Freiberga who stated the wish to learn to speak
Russian proved to be as good as her word. She started speaking Russian this
week to greet the society of guarantors of Riga's Russian Drama Theatre
company. She quoted words from Pushkin's novel in verse "Eugene Onegin" in her
Vike-Freiberga said it was very interesting
and a great pleasure to her to read "Eugene Onegin". Incidentally, a volume of
verse by the great Russian poet was presented to her by first deputy
director-general of Itar-Tass Mikhail Gusman when he visited Riga last summer
during the shooting of "Formula of Power" TV programme.
Latvian Vaira Vike-Freiberga who comes from Canada
speaks five languages. She began learning the Russian language immediately upon
assuming the post of Latvian president. She started with children's books in
Russian and now graduated to Pushkin. At the celebration of the centenary of
the guarantors society in the theatre, Vike-Freiberga's Russian language
teacher sitting next to her interpreted to her just extracts from the speeches
delivered in Russian as the president understood most of what was being said.
Latvian central bank chief Repse resigns
World Report Friday, 2001. November 30. 5:49:00
Copyright 2001 Reuters
RIGA, Nov 27 (Reuters) -- Latvian central
bank head Einars Repse resigned as expected on Friday to pursue a career in
politics and said he would leave the post later in the day.
"Today is my last working day as I am leaving for a
vacation tomorrow. My deputy Ilmars Rimsevics is staying in my place," Repse
told journalists after giving his resignation to paliament.
He added that he would like his permanent
replacement to be picked from the central bank's council.
"That would be the right thing to do as we need no
revolutionary change in the central bank, but rather we need to secure the
stable, professional and independent work of the central bank," Repse said.
Repse -- known as the father of the country's lat
currency -- was elected for a second six-year term in 1997.
During his first term Repse implemented monetary
reform that swept the rouble out of circulation following Latvia's return to
independence with the end of Soviet occupation in 1991.
Latvia remembers Holocaust killings 60 years ago
World Report Friday, 2001. November 30. 13:09:00
Copyright 2001 Reuters
By Anastasia Styopina
RIGA, Nov 30 (Reuters) -- Latvia on Friday
marked the 60th anniversary of mass killings of thousands of Latvian Jews and
opened a memorial to Nazi victims deported from elsewhere in Europe to be
murdered in camps in the Baltic country.
years ago on this day, my mother and sister were killed at Rumbula," said
80-year-old Holocaust survivor Gregory Arenburg, who came to lay flowers at the
On November 30 and in early December
1941, around 26,500 Latvian Jews were massacred in the Rumbula forest on the
outskirts of the Latvian capital Riga.
1,500 Latvian Jews out of 75,000 survived after Nazi Germany invaded the
country in 1941, driving the Soviets out a year after the start of their bloody
The majority of Riga ghetto residents
were annihilated at the Rumbula forest to make room for thousands of Jews from
Germany, Austria and what was then Czechoslovakia.
They travelled across Europe to die from cold,
exhaustion and malnutrition or to be shot at Riga's Bikirnieki forest.
More than 25,000 Jews from what was then the German
Reich were deported to Latvia and killed at Bikirnieki.
Latvian Holocaust survivors came to the Bikirnieki
memorial to pay tribute to the victims of Nazi terror.
"I am happy that there is a monument for those
people who were killed here and that we together can remember them," said
79-year-old Riva Scheffer, who narrowly escaped being murdered at Rumbula in
Latvian President Vaira
Vike-Freiberga urged her country to study and understand the events of the
Holocaust -- a subject that was not discussed during the 50-year Soviet
occupation that followed the collapse of Nazi rule.
Vike-Freiberga, who was a child during the German
occupation, recalled her memories of the atrocities carried out by Nazis and
their local collaborators.
"We could smell the
smoke coming from Rumbula, where corpses were being dug up and burnt to erase
the evidence," she said.
In the past, Nazi hunters
have accused Latvia of dragging its feet in pursuing local people who
collaborated with the Nazis and later fled to the West, but Vike-Freiberga said
her country stands ready to prosecute them.
Russian military leader warns about admitting Baltics to
WorldStream Monday, 2001. December 3. 10:20:00
Copyright 2001 The Associated
By MARA BELLABY
Associated Press Writer
MOSCOW (AP) -- The commander of Russia's
Baltic Fleet warned Monday that despite Russia's improved relations with NATO,
admitting the former Soviet republics in the Baltics to the military alliance
would still be perceived as a significant threat by Moscow.
"The current military and political situation in
the area of the Baltic Fleet is stable and calm," said Vice Adm. Vladimir
Valuyev, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.
"It's worsening is possible, though, if the Baltic
countries are admitted to NATO, conduct anti-Russian policies, put forward
tougher territorial claims against Russia and press for the demilitarization of
the Kaliningrad region."
Russia and the 19-nation
North Atlantic Treaty Organization have been edging closer to a new partnership
since Moscow gave its strong backing to the United States after the Sept. 11
The former Cold War foes have
discussed ways that Russia and NATO could cooperate as equals, though neither
side has discussed the possibility of Russia joining NATO.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met NATO
Secretary-general Lord Robertson in Moscow last month, and said that the threat
of terrorism demands an end to the days when the two sides regarded one another
primarily with suspicion.
But officials on both
sides admit that stumbling blocks remain, including NATO's continued eastward
In Brussels in October, Putin told Robertson
that Russia's relationship with NATO should not be overshadowed by the issue of
expansion -- one of many signals that he believes Russia has more to gain by
cooperation with the West than by confrontation.
But the Russian military remains deeply suspicious
of NATO's movement into areas formerly dominated by the Soviet Union.
"With Poland's admission to NATO, the alliance's
armed forces have received a chance to promptly build up a powerful group on
the border of the Kaliningrad region," Valuyev said, according to ITAR-Tass.
He warned that if NATO moved further to embrace the
Baltic countries, the balance of power could dangerously shift in the region.
NATO is expected soon to offer admission to the
former Soviet republics in the Baltic region -- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
They would join Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary -- Russia's former
Warsaw Pact allies -- which were admitted two years ago.
UN: New Permanent Representative of Latvia presents
Newswire Thursday, 2001. December 6. 4:32:00
(C)1994-2001 M2 COMMUNICATIONS
Dec 06, 2001 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) --
(Based on information received from the Protocol and Liaison Service.)
Gints Jegermanis, the new Permanent Representative
of Latvia to the United Nations, presented his credentials today to the
Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.
Prior to his current
appointment, Mr. Jegermanis served from 1998 to 2001 as his country's
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Estonia. He joined his
country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1994 as the Counsellor for the
Division of Planning. He held that post until 1995 when he became Counsellor at
the Latvian Embassy in the Russian Federation, a position he held through 1998.
From 1987 to 1990, Mr. Jegermanis served as senior
technician and junior science associate at the Latvian Science Academy's
Institute of Language and Literature. At the newspaper Diena, from 1990 to
1994, he held several posts, including chief of the analyst division and vice
editor in chief.
Mr. Jegermanis received his degree
from the University of Latvia and studied at the International Relations
Institute of Geneva from 1990 to 1994.
Born on 5
April 1964 in Latvia, Mr. Jegermanis is married and has two children.
M2 Communications Ltd disclaims all liability for
information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties.
Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at http://www.presswire.net
on the world wide web. Inquiries to infom2.com.
INTERVIEW-Latvia seeks simultaneous Baltic EU
World Report Friday, 2001. December 7. 12:14:00
Copyright 2001 Reuters
By Burton Frierson
RIGA, Dec 7 (Reuters) -- Latvia proposed on
Friday that all three Baltic countries should hold national votes on European
Union membership on the same day.
Indulis Berzins told Reuters in an interview that, when the time comes to
decide, this would minimise the chances of one country's vote influencing the
outcome of a referendum of its neighbour.
reforms have made it hard to keep public support for EU membership safely above
50 percent in the three states -- Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.
"With your voting you do something not just for you
or your people or for the citizens of Latvia but you are a part of something
which is much bigger," he said.
responsibility is not just here in Latvia first of all, but second is your
responsibility towards your neighbours, towards the region. They (the results)
will influence the whole thing."
Latvia and its
Baltic neighbours have been striving for EU membership since breaking free from
half a century of Soviet occupation in 1991.
they are on track to complete accession negotiations next year, meaning they
could join around 2004 -- if the move is approved in national referendums
expected in 2003.
Along with NATO membership -- a
goal of all three countries -- many here see the EU as a way to cement ties to
But polls show that, just 10 years after
leaving the Soviet Union, many people in the Baltics are reluctant to give up
sovereignty to another, although different, union.
Berzins said his country is up to tough tasks such
as reforming the country's administrative and judicial systems -- among areas
where the EU says improvement must be made to guarantee Latvia will be able to
translate EU law into reality.
"Corruption is the
third point (to work on)," Berzins said.
he said he was worried his country and other EU candidates would not be given
sufficient voice in an upcoming debate on the future shape of the bloc.
The EU will hold a summit in Laeken, Belgium, next
week that will set up a year-long advisory convention on reform of the EU. The
candidates are likely to get only observer status.
"We hope that everyone will be equal in the
convention...and if voting takes place we will have a chance to vote," Berzins
Baltic countries ban import of Finnish beef
Newswire Monday, 2001. December 10. 4:19:00
(C)1998-2001 M2 COMMUNICATIONS
Dec 10, 2001 (NORDIC BUSINESS REPORT via
COMTEX) -- Estonian authorities have imposed a five-year ban on imports of
live cattle and beef from Finland after the first case of mad cow disease (BSE)
was found in the country last week.
As part of the
ban, which is said to be required by Estonian law, all licences issued to
import Finnish cattle and beef have been annulled.
Latvia and Lithuania have also introduced a
temporary ban on beef and live cattle imports from Finland, reports Reuters.
Latvian police hold Russian in synagogue blast
World Report Tuesday, 2001. December 11. 6:17:00
Copyright 2001 Reuters
RIGA, Dec 11 (Reuters) -- Latvian police
said on Tuesday they had detained a Russian -- a former member of an elite
Soviet paramilitary force -- in connection with the 1998 bombing of a Riga
The 1998 bombing was at the height of a
row between Latvia and Russia. It caused no deaths or injuries but was
condemned by the United States and Jewish groups and Latvian leaders.
It was considered a blemish on Latvia's image when
the Baltic country was seeking, as now, to join the European Union and NATO.
Police said the detained man was a resident of the
Russian city St Petersburg and had served in the Soviet Union's OMON
"We found out that this person
is in Latvia and we detained him. He is a former OMON fighter," Didzis Smitins,
deputy head of the Latvian security police, told Reuters.
Police identified the detainee only as "Dmitry" and
said they picked him up during a visit to Latvia. Smitins said the suspect, who
has not been charged, was born in 1971 and used to live in Latvia.
The OMON was a special unit of the Soviet interior
ministry. It was used against independence movements that sprang up in Latvia
and the other Baltic states in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Latvia regained independence in 1991 after a
50-year Soviet occupation but its post-Soviet relations with Russia were marked
by tension, which surged in 1998 when Moscow accused it of descriminating
against its Russian-speaking minority.
synagogue blast followed a controversial reunion of Latvian veterans who fought
for the Germans in World War Two and a demonstration by mainly Russian-speaking
pensioners in Riga during which Latvian police were accused of using excessive
World ballet stars to commemorate Maris Liepa at
Newswire Tuesday, 2001. December 11. 7:47:00
By Yelena Dorofeyeva
MOSCOW, Dec 11, 2001 (Itar-Tass via COMTEX)
-- World ballet stars from Russia, France and Italy will take part in a Bolshoi
concert Tuesday to commemorate the legendary dancer Maris Liepa who would have
turned 65 on this day.
Liepa, who was born in
Latvia, came to Moscow soon after graduation from a choreography school in
Riga. From the early 1960's through to the mid-1980's, he performed a host of
illustrious ballet parts at the Bolshoi. He was best known in the West as the
Roman military commander Crassus in Khachaturyan's Spartacus, a landmark in the
20th century choreography of masculine parts.
Tuesday concert is a brain-child of Maris's son Andris, himself a ballet
celebrity. He invited such well-acclaimed perfomers as Benjamin Peche from the
Grande Opera in Paris who will perform a fragment from Dvorak's Spring and
Carla Fracci from the opera of Rome, a
legend of the ballet world who danced together with Liepa, is one of the
Separate parts will be
performed by soloists of the Mariinski Theater in St. Petersburg where Andris
Liepa has been starring for the past several years. The Bolshoi stars Nikolai
Tsiskaridzre and Ilze Liepa, Maris Liepa's daughter, will dance in a fragment
from the Sheherazade, a sample of liberty art choreography that Andris Liepa
brought back to life recently.
At the culmination
point of the concert, the dancers will perform a renovated version of the
Triadic Ballet, first staged in 1922 by Oskar Schlemmer, a German pioneer of
Russia likely to react if Baltic countries enter
Newswire Tuesday, 2001. December 11. 8:19:00
By Andrei Kirillov, Diana
Rudakova, Vladimir Fedoruk
(c) 1996-2001 ITAR-TASS
BEIJING, Dec 11, 2001 (Itar-Tass via COMTEX)
-- Russia may react, and not at all by force, if Baltic countries enter NATO,
Speaker of the State Duma lower house of Russian parliament Gennady Seleznyov
said in Beijing on Tuesday.
The positions of the
State Duma and the Russian president on the matter do not differ, the speaker
said. Neither the Russian MPs nor President Putin see the reason why NATO
should spread further eastward, he said.
see what kind of protection and against whom Baltic countries wish to ensure
seeking the speedy entry into NATO," Seleznyov said. As regards Estonia and
Latvia, he said these countries "are not mature enough" to enter NATO and the
Council of Europe. Seleznyov suggested that the West should "bring pressure on
them so they should not infringe the rights of ethnic Russians and should not
treat Russians as 'second rate citizens'".
cannot prohibit Baltic countries to enter whatever organisation they wish to
enter," Seleznyov said. "But in this case Russia may react, and not at all by
force". He said this reaction may affect commercial, economic, cultural and
other ties of Russia with Baltic countries.
US Renews NATO Expansion Pledge to Balts
Online Service Tuesday, 2001. December 11. 13:28:00
Copyright 2001 Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The United States,
after talks with the three Baltic countries, renewed on Tuesday a pledge to
leave open the door to NATO membership.
States also thanked Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for financial and security
steps adopted to support the U.S. "war on terrorism", the State Department said
in a statement on the two days of meetings.
foreign ministers of the three countries -- Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia,
Indulis Berzins of Latvia and Antanas Valionis of Lithuania -- had meetings
with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in Washington in the fourth
annual meeting of the Baltic Partnership Commission.
"The Deputy Secretary reaffirmed our commitment to
President Bush's vision of a new round of enlargement at the 2002 Prague NATO
summit," the statement said.
In Warsaw in June,
President Bush said he believed in NATO membership for all European democracies
that are willing to share the responsibilities.
Baltic states are especially keen to join the alliance, mainly as an
affirmation of their independence from Russia.
A classic Riga scene from this summer just past.
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