Latvia Weekly Podcast #34: City Council Confusion and News from June 20th - 26th, 2019

While Rīga City Council might be quickly running out of ways to avoid a messy early election, Otto and Joe certainly aren't in danger of running out of issues to discuss, with major topics such as the final 2026 Olympic decision, the rejection of a civil partnership bill, and the dismissal of the entire Latvenergo energy utility's board all happening throughout what was expected to be a slow news week following Latvian midsummer celebrations.

Stories covered in this week's episode:

Weekly News Update: June 20th - 27th, 2019 Hey everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic midsummer. Although Otto, Olevs and I were expecting it to be a slow news week, it was certainly anything but. Here's some of the major stories we covered in this week's podcast episode:
  • Mayor of Rīga Dainis Turlais loses a vote of no confidence just weeks after taking over as mayor, becoming the shortest-serving elected mayor since the Latvian War of Independence in 1919. Source: LSM
  • Two recently expelled Jaunā konservatīvā partija Rīga City Council members join with former Latvijas attīstībai councillor Oskars Putnins to form a brand new faction, with 8 seperate groups now existing among a highly fragmented 60-seat council. Source: LETA
  • Funds meant for Rīga's Vermanes Darzs park were improperly spent on the city's beleaguered public transit authority. Source: LSM
  • The Olympic International Committee chooses Milan as the host of the 2026 Winter Olympics over Stockholm, dashing Latvia's hopes for hosting the Baltic States' first ever winter olympic events in Sigulda. Source: LSM
  • Saeima overwhelmingly rejects a proposal by Attīstībai/Par! to recognize civil partnerships, with just 23 of 100 members voting in favor of the proposal. Source: LSM
  • The entire supervisory board of energy provider Latvenergo is sacked by Economic Minister Ralfs Nemiro (KPV LV) in a controversial, unexpected move. Source: LSM
  • Catholic Archbishop Zbignevs Stankevics says there is "no grounds" for an internal review of church finances weeks after the state revenue service confiscates tens of thousands of euro worth of donations. Source: Baltic Times
  • Saeima moves rapidly to lower excise taxes on alcohol in response to a similar move by Estonia to curb sales of cheaper spirits on the Latvian border. Source: LETA
  • A 2 million euro passenger terminal is announced as part of a development plan for Liepāja's airport. Source: LSM
  • In closing arguments, prosecutors request the maximum possible sentences for defendants found responsible for the deadly 2014 collapse of a Maxima supermarket in Rīga's Zolitūde neighborhood. Source: LSM

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