This week, Latvia has been hit by high winds in more ways than one: extensive damage, emergencies, accidents and at least one confirmed death.
The massive wave of new Covid-19 infections has hit all Baltic states equally. Almost one in five test results came back positive. Although hospitals have so far managed to cope with the influx of new patients, the situation should become clearer in a few weeks.
This week the European Parliament has a new president – the Prime Minister of Malta, Roberta Metsoli. Latvian representative Roberts Zīle was elected vice-president.
Estonia announced this week that its officials also plan to boycott the upcoming Beijing Olympics. This means that Latvia is the only Baltic state that has not risen up against China in this way.
BNN brings you a summary of the most relevant events of the past week in the following topics: European Parliament; Unemployment; Position; Storm; Party collapsed; Olympic Games; Covid in Lithuania.
Maltese Roberta Metsola elected new President of the European Parliament
Malta’s Prime Minister Roberta Metsola has been elected as the new President of the European Parliament.
Metsola is the Maltese MEP representing the European People’s Party. Until now, she was the first vice-president of the European Parliament.
She got 458 votes in the first vote.
Real unemployment in Latvia would be 7.6% in 2021
In December 2021, the effective unemployment rate in Latvia was 7.6%, up 0.5 percentage points from November.
The unemployment rate for men rose 0.7 percentage points to 8.6% in December, while that of women rose 0.3 percentage points to 6.6%, survey data showed. on the labor force carried out by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CSP).
The unemployment rate registered with the National Employment Agency was 6.7%, 0.3 percentage points higher than in November.
The Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Latvia has a new director
On Thursday 20 January, the Saeima of Latvia elected Egils Zviedris as Director of the Constitution Protection Office (SAB).
Previously, 90 Saeima deputies had voted in favor of Zviedris’ appointment to the post and no one voted against or abstained in the vote.
As previously reported, the National Security Council previously agreed to choose Zviedris for the post of director of the SAB. Until now, he was deputy director of the SAB and head of the Intelligence Bureau.
Storm in Jurmala kills one, knocks down trees and damages buildings
The violent wind that was present in Latvia on Monday January 17 reached the force of a storm in many regions of the country, knocking down trees, breaking branches, tearing roofs and building facades.
The storm broke a tree branch, which fell and fatally injured a woman in Jurmala.
As of 9:30 p.m. Monday, emergency services received more than 300 calls, detailing situations involving broken tree branches and torn roof structures, as reported by state fire and rescue departments.
THE PARTY IN THE GRAVE
Corruption Watchdog: For a Humane Latvia Illegally Used Public Funds
The political party For a Humane Latvia (previously known as KPV LV) illegally used funding from the Latvian state budget and will therefore not receive EUR 646,303 from the state this year. On top of that, if the party does not return the money, the already thinned party risks being fired.
On 13 January, the Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) took the decision to postpone the payment of funding from the state budget of EUR 646,303 to the political party For a Humane Latvia for one year , as confirmed by the KNAB.
This decision was taken in accordance with the Law on the Financing of Political Organizations, as the KNAB found that in 2020 the party in question had illegally used financing from the state budget of more than EUR 300,000.
Estonian government officials in no mood to attend Beijing Olympics
Neither members of the Estonian government nor Estonian President Alar Karis will participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics events, reports the ERR.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not aware of any member of the Estonian government planning to participate in the Beijing Olympics,” Kristina Ots of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told ERR on Monday (January 17).
COVID IN LITHUANIA
BNN ANALYSIS | Lithuanian medical staff will not have mandatory vaccinations amid 7,057 new Covid-19 cases
Lithuania recorded a stunning new record of 7,057 daily coronavirus infections, as well as nine deaths from Covid-19 on Thursday, January 20, the country’s statistical office, Statistics Lithuania, announced. The day before, 6,257 cases had been reported.
The ruling conservative-liberal coalition, which some say has pinned all its hopes in the fight against the contagious virus on comprehensive vaccination, including compulsory vaccination of health and social sector workers, has suffered a Huge setback on Thursday, January 20, after the Seimas, the country’s legislative body, rejected the proposal on compulsory vaccination for all doctors, social workers and other contact service workers.
Sixty MPs voted in favor of compulsory vaccinations, 53 voted against and ten abstained.
“We have to use a whole series of measures to minimize the spread of the virus,” said Eugenijus Gentvilas, leader of the Liberal Movement political group in the Seimas, ahead of the vote. “Every life is worth the effort of MPs to take action. If we don’t take action, we have to take some responsibility for every death,” he added.