Latvia Weekly Podcast #37: Bribes, Broken Bikes, and News from July 10th - 14th, 2019


Despite the short amount of time between episodes, there was plenty for Joe to discuss with Otto in his first time back on the show this month, with developments in the Baiba Broka bribery case, threats by Jaunā konservatīvā partija to sack Rīga city council altogether, major economic statistics released for the first half of 2019, and much more! They were even finally able to finally call Latvian-Australian cross-country cyclist Kris Akenfelds to hear about his latest adventures and misadventures throughout Eastern Latvia. This is one transatlantic discussion you won't want to miss!



Stories discussed this week include:
  • Former Nacionālā apvienība mayoral candidate Baiba Broka suspends party activities in the midst of an alleged €60,000 bribery scandal
    Source: LSM
  • Jaunā konservatīvā partija proposes to dissolve Rīga city government by the end of August amid an ongoing stalemate in selecting a long-term successor to former Mayor Nils Ušakovs (Saskaņa)
    Source: jauns.lv
  • The State Chancellery announces a competition for the replacement of former financial regulator FKTK chair Pēters Putniņš
    Source: LETA
  • Latvijas Radio staff express frustration with the current financial situation of the public broadcaster, with staff sending an open letter to the NEPLP media watchdog asking to sack the current radio board
    Source: LSM
  • Eurostat reports that Latvia had the EU's fastest-shrinking population in 2018
    Source: LSM
  • The European Commission predicts a 3% rise in Latvian GDP in 2019
    Source: Baltic Course
  • Unemployment levels are down to 6% throughout the country, with the lowest levels in and around Rīga and the highest in the eastern region of Latgale
    Source: LETA
  • 10,911 have applied for undergraduate programs at Latvian universities, the highest level of enrollment in half a decade
    Source: LSM
  • Consumer prices have risen 3% between June 2018 and June 2019
    Source: Baltic Course
  • A survey conducted by the Nature Conservation Agency has found that freshwater quality is decreasing, putting various species of plants at risk of disappearing
    Source: LSM
  • The government plans to double the amount of traffic cameras throughout the country, including ones at intersections designed to catch motorists speeding through red lights
    Source: LSM
  • Balvi's regional government will pay out €7525 to farms damaged by whirlwinds last week
    Source: LSM
  • Police have shut down two illegal marijuana-growing operations in the regions of Dobele and Ķegums
    Source: LSM
  • The Ministry of Agriculture announces a new mobile app system to help prevent damage by wild animals to local agriculture
    Source: LSM
  • Over 50,000 attend an Ed Sheeran concert on the island of Lucavsala in Rīga, the British pop star's only performance in the Baltic States in his current tour
    Source: LSM
  • A Russian fireworks display to celebrate the "liberation" of the Baltic capitals at the end of WWII, which is considered by most of the world community to mark the beginning of a half-century illegal occupation, causes a diplomatic spar between the Baltic states and Moscow
    Source: LSM
  • Newly-elected President Egils Levits makes his first foreign trip to Estonia
    Source: LSM
  • Runner Sindija Bukša wins gold in the 200 meter event at the U-23 European Championship
    Source: LSM
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