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Latvian report Latvian report
by Euro Reporter
2008-11-04 07:23:19
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New coin marks Latvia’s 90th anniversary

A new commemorative coin featuring a stylized drawing of two children holding a national flag has been released by the Bank of Latvia to mark the 90th anniversary of the country’s declaration of independence. The 1-lat silver proof coin on its front shows Latvia’s first coat of arms, which was designed by Burkards Dzenis (1879-1966), the bank announced in an Oct. 9 press release. On the coin, the red-white-red Latvian flag is presented in color. The coin’s reverse has a drawing of a boy and girl—symbolizing the country’s future—holding a Latvian flag, which also is in color.

The coin was designed by Aigars Bikše. The coin, which is legal tender but will appeal most likely to collectors, is minted by the Finnish company Rahapaja Oy. Circulation will not exceed 5,000. Cost of the coin if purchased at the Bank of Latvia is LVL 22.50. It should also be available in souvenir and jewelry shops in Latvia.

A nice idea for a noble anniversary.



Latvia has reached a milestone in its annual ranking in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) prepared by the anti-graft organization Transparency International, but has a long way to go if it wants to catch up with its neighbor to the north. CPI data released Sept. 23 in Berlin show Latvia’s overall ranking has dropped, but its index score has improved. Out of 180 countries in the 2008 survey, Latvia ranks 52nd, slipping from its ranking of 51st last year.

But the 2008 index score of 5.0 means that Latvia for the first time is not viewed as having a serious problem with corruption. Last year, Latvia had a score of 4.8. The index uses a combination of 13 research surveys to measure perception of public sector corruption. Nations are given a score from zero, meaning the country is viewed as highly corrupt, to 10, signifying highly clean. Countries that score below five are considered to have a serious corruption problem in the public sector.

Ten years ago, Latvia ranked 71st in the CPI with a score of 2.7, sharing its spot with Pakistan. Latvia’s northern neighbor, Estonia, ranks 27th in the 2008 index with a score of 6.6, while Lithuania ranks 58th with a score of 4.6. Topping the 2008 rankings are Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand, each with a score of 9.3. The United States is 18th with a score of 7.3, putting it on par with Japan and Belgium. Russia, with a score of 2.1, ranks 147th and is placed alongside Syria, Bangladesh and Kenya.

Hopefully the EU can help and radically influence the country.


Honoring Latvia

After a lobbying effort by Chicago-area Latvians, U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama has become a co-sponsor of a proposed Senate resolution honoring Latvia on the 90th anniversary of its independence. Obama, a Democrat who is one of two senators from Illinois, added his name Sept. 8. The resolution, S.Con.Res.87, also calls on the president to ask Russia to acknowledge that the Soviet occupation of the Baltic States was illegal.

Obama added his name after Jānis Vilciņš and Artis Inka of the United Latvian Associations of Chicago sent the senator a letter asking that he consider becoming a cosponsor, Inka said in a Sept. 12 press release. The senator also received a petition signed by Illinois Latvians and friends of Latvia. Obama’s representatives also met with Valdis Pavlovskis, public affairs director for the American Latvian Association.  The resolution was introduced June 9 by Republican Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon and Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois. It was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations on the same day, but has seen no action since.

The blessing of a future president!

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