Posts tagged ‘Latvia’

April 1, 2011

Karaoke World Championships 2011 – Killarney, Ireland

Latvia‘s Andris Drozdovs is a legend of high-class Karaoke and the organiser of the World Karaoke Championship trials in Latvia. The final event will be held in  Killarney, Ireland between the 8th and 10th of September 2011.

In his home country, Latvia, Andris, popularly known as ‘Mr. Karaoke‘, has transformed what used to be a drunken shouting/ slurring contest for halfwits, into an art form with participants competently dispatching at world-class level, songs ranging from Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s classics to the more raunchy contemporary pieces of Blackeyed Peas and the like.

The trials for the 9th world competition of karaoke singers from all over the world will be held in the 30 or so participating countries and will take place from May until August 2011.  All participants need to be non-professional singers of 18 and over – participation is free. The international finals, this year will be held in Killarney, Ireland.

Karaoke at world championship level is in a league of its own as the talent displayed by the top singer participants is easily equivalent to some of the world greatest performing artists.

The previous World annual ‘KWC’ (Karaoke World Championships) which was held in Moscow, had proved to be the world’s largest and highest-quality musical, or karaoke event.  In 2011, the KWC event will bring in participants from different countries to the Emerald Isle in Killarney –  a must see event for music lovers.

[Music & Media Contributor]

March 29, 2011

United Kingdom’s Rape of Latvia

The Latvian timber sector is vital to its economic survival. However, the exploitation of its trees by the United Kingdom’s timber industry is proving fatal to the country’s economic and biological health.

The timber industry represents more than a third of Latvia‘s exports and earned Latvia around one billion euros last year. In that regard, Latvia’s timber export can be compared with Sweden’s and Austria‘s both in size and value.   With the UK as its most significant market to the tune of some EUR 400 million annually, eighty percent of Latvia’s trees are felled for other EU member states. Sawn timber is more than 90% of exported volume.

Whilst this is all good news for this nation struggling for survival in hard times, the European Union’s turning a blind eye to laws that prevent the exploitation of forests in member states coupled with the greed of UK and Latvian merchants are moving to reduce Latvia to a ghost nation in few years time bereft of its main source of income – timber exports.

A recent Aljazeera report outlines the dangers for this fragile state and asks the question of the EU and UK governments – why are you letting this happen?? Click on the picture to view the video.

[Andris Versenko, Baltics Contributor]

March 17, 2011

Latvia donates EUR 141,500 to Japan as emergency aid

Latvia, one of Europe‘s poorest countries, with more than 15,000 families in its capital, Riga, without a home, has agreed to donate EUR 141,500 from its emergency fund to assist Japan in its humanitarian crisis caused by the recent earthquake.

The aid was approved by the country’s cabinet of ministers during a closed meeting on March 15th. There is no information about how the funds will be used, but it seems that more, or less all of it will go towards assisting Latvia’s evacuation from Japan of 74, or so citizens who are caught up in the country’s current nuclear and natural disaster incidents.

The donation has been approved by the European Union of which Latvia is a member and participant of its austerity program resulting from the current global financial crisis.
The country’s people, whilst sympathetic to Japan’s problems, are saying that the aid package is ridiculous as Japan is the second richest country in the world, whilst Latvia, a country of some 2.2 million inhabitants, is one of the poorest.
[Baltics Contributor]
March 7, 2011

USA in love with Latvia

[Aldis Pasrosky, Baltics Contributor]

Latvians Online: With praise for Latvia‘s booming democracy and resilience in times of trouble from non-else than America‘s Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, ringing in their ears, Latvians have a lot to be proud of these days.

Mrs Clinton is reported to have said after a meeting with Latvia’s Foreign Minister, Girts Valdis Kristovkis: ‘….the sky is the limit’ now for Latvia…it is a democracy that is demonstrating by its actions how it can build a better future for its own people… The United States has maintained an unbroken friendship with Latvia throughout its modern history, when it was at war and under occupation and since it acquired its independence from the Soviet Union, and we have long admired the Latvian people’s resilience throughout very difficult times,” (transcript of the press conference as distributed by the State Department and reported by Latvians Online).

The minister had met with Mrs. Clinton during his recent visit to Washington, D.C. for discussions concerning economic development and world-wide security issues.  Latvia’s membership of NATO, its continuing support for America in the missions in Afghanistan, the diversification of its energy resources, its efforts to deal with the current economic crisis and its firm support for the democratic movement in Belarus had also been discussed.

While the meeting with Clinton may not have delivered any firm commitments regarding aid, or economic co-operation with Latvia, Mr. Kristovskis was hopeful of the United States’ interest in making investments in Latvia. He also said that the US-backed ‘Northern Distribution Network‘ – a project for the transport of supplies to Afghanistan which involves the port of Riga, would engage Latvian entrepreneurs.

Latvia is a country of around 2.2 million inhabitants. Its national langauge is Latvian, but Russian and English are widely spoken. It is in the Baltics and borders Estonia in the north and Lithuania in the south. The Russian border is in its east. In 2004, it became a member of the European Union and is currently one of EU countries hardest hit by the financial crisis. It’s capital, Riga, the largest city in the Baltic region, is a major transhipment port.

February 22, 2011

Shot to death for complaining to a noisy audience member at a cinema in Riga, Latvia!

On 19th February, at the Forum Cinema in central Riga, Latvia, during the screen showing  of the Oscar-nominated movie Black Swan, a man was shot dead. The sole reason for his murder was his complaining to a fellow member of the audience about the person’s behaviour and loud popcorn eating.

27 year old Nikolai Zykov, a graduate lawyer of the Police Academy of Latvia who had the gun illegally, had behaved badly in the cinema, talking loudly, rustling his popcorn bag and  ignoring comments of other viewers that he should behave more appropriately. He had then been approached by 42 year old banking expert, Aigars Egle, who told him off for his behaviour.  At that point, it is reported, Nikolai shot Aigars several times in front of his 14 year old daughter who was with the victim at the time.  Aigars had held a Master’s degree in finance from London University having studied at Riga Technical University and was a doctoral candidate in IT and computer sciences.

Whilst gun crime is still rare in Latvia, a country in the Baltics of some 2.2 million people, violent crime has always been the main, but hidden feature of this struggling post-Soviet state.  This sad event is being considered as the emerging tip of the iceberg of unrest in the nation’s population due to stress as Latvians continue to suffer from soaring prices and public service cut-backs as a result of the financial crisis.

Black Swan is a psychological thriller about a ballet dancer who goes mad over pressure to do better in her art.

[Crime Contributor]

February 9, 2011

Congratulations, Anna Sergijenko, MCIoJ

Contributing Editor & Moderator of International Times of Dominica, Anna Sergijenko, 23, has been admitted as a professional member (‘MCIoJ’) of the UK’s prestigious Chartered Institute of Journalists.  She is also a member of the UK Press Agency.

The Chartered Institute of Journalists is the oldest organisation of its kind in the world. It was established in 1884 as the Association of Journalists until it received a Royal Charter in 1890 and then was constituted as the Institute of Journalists. One hundred years later the Institute was given a supplemental Royal Charter and became the Chartered Institute of Journalists. It has been protecting and serving the interests of journalists worldwide for over 120 years.

Russian-born Anna, speaks 5 languages (French, German, Russian, English and Latvian) and gained a law degree from the University of Latvia and is authorised to practice law in Latvia.

She also works as a freelance contributing editor for Reuters and legal consultant for international firms and is currently undertaking studies leading to qualifications in Common Law.   She is also Registrar of the Online International Arbitration Court.

Well done Anna!