Latvian Midsummer - maypoles, merrymaking and a bit of the unusual

The Jāņi (Midsummer) festival, observed throughout the country from the night of June 23 through June 24, offers non-stop merrymaking, drinking beer, eating cheese, making wreaths and otherwise marking the summer solstice. Those visiting now are going to witness Latvia at its most traditional, or some say craziest. 

Wild flowers of Latvia: Valerian

Latvia's colorful meadows are home to a great number of wild flowers that would be the envy of many other countries, and there's no better time of the year to explore them than the time leading to the midsummer celebration. 

All eyes on butterflies

Residents of Latvia are being asked to help record the state of the national butterfly population by noting any fragile flutterings they spot until June 25. 

Hazardous waste found at dump blaze site

Hazardous waste has been found at the recycling site where a large fire blazed over the weekend in Jūrmala, reported LSM's Latvian-language service on June 21.

Wild flowers of Latvia: Yellow-rattle

Latvia's colorful meadows are home to a great number of wild flowers that would be the envy of many other countries, and there's no better time of the year to explore them than the time leading to the midsummer celebration. Over the course of the next few weeks, we'll publish a Latvian Radio strand dedicated to Latvia's wild flowers.

Case against whistleblower likely to be dropped

Despite attempts by the Security Police to secure the criminal prosecution of Juris Jurass, the former head of the Criminal Intelligence Process Division at the Latvian Corruption Prevention Bureau (KNAB), the prosecutor has decided to close the criminal probe that had been launched against him over disclosure of state secrets, the prosecutor’s decision obtained by LETA suggests.

ZAPAD risk is "low" say Kucinskis, Stoltenberg

Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis met with NATO General secretary Jens Stoltenberg on June 19, in Riga, receiving a briefing on the launch of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) and the forthcoming Zapad exercises due to take place in Russia and Belarus, and which have set some security analysts and military personnel speculating about possible incursions. 

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Arson possible cause of toxic blaze

Prima M, the company which owns the territory in the Latvian sea-side resort-rown Jurmala where a major fire occurred June 18 to 19, suspects arson to be the cause, LETA reports.

Magazine releases 'oligarch case' transcripts

Conversations recorded by anti-graft authorities in 2009-2011 reveal the influence of so-called oligarchs within the Riga Commercial Port, airBaltic and other prominent companies, painting a picture of political power subverted to serve the business interests of the few, reported the Ir news weekly that released transcripts of the conversations on June 15.

Please keep it in your pants, gents

Riga's municipal police pounced on a public penis June 16, slapping said errant appendage with a hefty 250 euro fine for petty (or perhaps petit) hooliganism.

Want healthcare? Pay your taxes! says government

After the Latvian health sector’s reform, patients not making social security contributions (paying labor taxes) will only be entitled to family physicians’ services, emergency care and treatment of some specific conditions, information released by the Health Ministry suggests.

Wild flowers of Latvia: Cow-wheat

Latvia's colorful meadows are home to a great number of wild flowers that would be the envy of many other countries, and there's no better time of the year to explore them than the time leading to the midsummer celebration. Over the course of the next few weeks, we'll publish a Latvian Radio strand dedicated to Latvia's wild flowers.

New anti-corruption chief approved

Latvia's parliament, the Saeima, on June 15 approved the appointment of a new head of the national anti-corruption bureau, a position that has been fraught with problems for the last decade.

Axed teacher academy doles out €1.4m in bonuses after liquidation

Employees of the state-owned Riga Teacher Training and Education Management Academy were paid €1.4 million in premiums and bonuses shortly after the government’s decision to reorganize the academy by merging it with the University of Latvia. The Education Ministry has asked prosecutors and anti-graft officials to start a probe.

One released in 'Trasta' graft probe

Jorens Raitums, one of the persons detained in the so-called Trasta Komercbanka case, has been released from custody, the LETA newswire reported June 13.

Canadian media reports on Latvia deployment

With the arrival of the first main contingent of Canadian troops in Latvia as part of the NATO enhanced forward presence (eFP), Canadian media has been reporting extensively on the mission.

Doctors to strike on July 3

The Latvian Family Practitioners Association has announced strike action starting July 3, the head of the association Sarmīte Veide told LSM.

Jelgava Orphanage head steps down

The head of the Jelgava City Orphanage has stepped down on June 8 following allegations of violence and abuse against children as part of an investigation into state-provided childcare by Latvian Radio.