Latvia

Latvian teachers, Lithuanian police protest pay cuts

Latvian teachers, Lithuanian police protest pay cuts Riga  - The Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania on Thursday saw fresh demonstrations from workers affected by the sharp regional economic downturn and subsequent hard-hitting government spending cuts.

Teachers led the way in the Latvian capital, Riga, with around 8,000 arriving from across the country to stage a protest march in favour of better pay and working conditions and against cuts in education spending.

The numbers participating were larger than expected, causing several streets to be closed.

Baltic economic picture gets even grimmer

Baltic economic picture gets even grimmer Riga - The economic gloom afflicting the Baltic states got several shades darker Tuesday with a fresh forecasts revising expectations downwards.

Until mid-2007 the so-called 'Baltic Tigers' of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia recorded Europe's fastest growth rates, but their economies have stalled spectacularly in the wake of the global downturn.

According to a spring forecast from the Estonian Ministry of Finance, the economy in the smallest of the Baltic states will contract by 8.5 percent in 2009.

Latvia's bailed-out Parex Bank upbeat despite losses

Latvia's bailed-out Parex Bank upbeat despite losses Riga - Latvia's Parex Bank, which was nationalized in November to prevent its collapse, on Tuesday reported net losses of 124 million lats (232 million dollars) for
2008.

Chairman Nils Melngailis, who has helped stabilize the stricken lender since being appointed by the government, said he was optimistic about the bank's future prospects and that there was no need to rush to a sell-off of the bank's assets.

Latvia examines claim it was victim of Chinese cyber-spies

Latvia examines claim it was victim of Chinese cyber-spiesRiga - Latvia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday that it was investigating claims that it had fallen victim to a Chinese-based cyber-spying operation.

"There are threats at all times which we monitor and work to avoid," a ministry spokesman told the German press service dpa.

A co-cordinated cyber-spying operation, dubbed "GhostNet" by Canadian researchers who exposed the hi-tech spy ring, infected two computers belonging to the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to a new report.

IMF to open permanent office in Latvia soon

IMF to open permanent office in Latvia soon Riga  - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will open a permanent office in the Baltic state of Latvia "very shortly" officials confirmed Thursday in the capital, Riga.

The news came after the IMF's Mark Griffiths and Elena Flores met with Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, other members of his administration and officials from the Latvian central bank.

In response to a question from the German Press Agency dpa, Griffiths told reporters "We will be opening an office very shortly."

Latvian airline threatens move into taxi business

Latvian airline threatens move into taxi business Riga  - Latvian airline airBaltic confirmed Thursday it was "seriously considering" starting its own taxi company in response to passenger complaints about being ripped off by taxi firms as soon as they arrive in the Baltic state.

"Our primary goal is to have taxi services as transparent as possible in Riga," company spokesman Janis Vanags told the German Press Agency dpa

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