Weekly News Update: July 16-22nd, 2018

  • A massive forest / peat bog fire that burned all last week has been contained but still continues to burn in Valdgales pagasts not far from Talsi. Over 1000 hectares of forest and bog have burned so far, and international assistance is being sought from EU members. Residents have been evacuated from surrounding areas, but thankfully there have been no reported serious injuries so far. https://eng.lsm.lv/…/crisis-meeting-called-over-long-burni…/

  • The above-mentioned fire was made possible due to historically high temperatures all throughout the country, with many towns breaking various heat records on days throughout the week. The heatwave is expected to continue into next week, so all the people complaining that Latvia hasn't had a "real summer" in ages should be happy. https://eng.lsm.lv/…/heat-likely-to-continue-next-week.a28…/

  • Speaking of heat, the parliamentary election is heating up as the different parties have begun to announce their candidate lists, including their candidates for prime minister. As of current polling, the Russia-backed "Saskaņa" (Harmony) party is expected to remain the largest party in Saeima (parliament) with about a third of the vote, but the governing coalition is is expected to be led by the second-place "Zaļo un zemnieku savienība" (Union of Greens and Farmers) who are polling at around one fifth of the vote. Other parties expected to clear the 5% barrier for inclusion in Saeima are "Nacionālā Apvienība" (National Alliance), "Attīstībai/Par!" (Development/For!), "KPV LV" (Who Owns the State LV), and "Jaunā konservatīvā partija" (The New Conservative Party). Current coalition leader Vienotība (Unity) is polling at only 4.8% and is not expected to be included in the next Saeima. https://www.lsm.lv/…/junija-palielinajies-atbalsts-saskana…/

  • Finally, this weekend was a great one for music lovers! The 12th annual Positivus festival took place in Salacgrīva over the weekend, headlined by The Prodigy on Saturday and Nick Cave on Sunday. Over here in their hometown of Jelgava, Latvia's most famous rock band Prāta Vētra (Brainstorm) kicked off their new tour in support of their new album "Par to zēnu kas sit skārda bungas." If you'll be in Rīga on August 17th, you should definitely check out the concluding concert for their tour! You can see the video for the title track of the album here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MF6cDl_m_Y