In the middle of April, I got the impression that many Latvians have stopped living their lives and started living the lives of white-tailed eagles, constantly following the changes in bird partners, laying eggs, food supply, etc. It began to remind me somewhat of how many parents at some point stop living their lives and start living their children's lives, or even worse, they sink into the lives of some soap opera characters instead of their own lives.
Today marks a year since Neatkarīgā stopped coming out in a paper format and switched to purely digital format. During the year, 1,549,438 readers read Neatkarīgā's articles in Latvian, of which 88 percent live in Latvia. Neatkarīgā is also read by Latvians living in the USA, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, etc. In total, during the year, Neatkarīgā's articles have been read 11,405,899 times.
On April 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual speech on the situation in the country, issued a fundamental warning to every country to refrain from crossing the "red line" that is drawn outlining Russia's interests: "Some countries have taken up an unseemly routine where they pick on Russia for any reason, most often, for no reason at all. It is some kind of new sport of who shouts the loudest.”
On 12 April, the European Council issued a statement on additional sanctions against Iran: “The Council today decided to extend its restrictive measures responding to serious human rights violations in Iran until 13 April 2022. These measures consist of a travel ban and an asset freeze, and a ban on exports to Iran of equipment which might be used for internal repression and of equipment for monitoring telecommunications. In addition, EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities." Sanctions were imposed on eight Iranians for their actions in November 2019, when demonstrations escalated into violence.
Uz Neatkarīgās jautājumiem atbild Ķīnas Tautas Republikas vēstnieks Lians Dzjaņcjuaņs
Ambassador of the People's Republic of China Liang Jianquan answers Neatkarīgā's questions.
According to the statistics compiled by the Bank of Latvia, during the Covid-19 pandemic, on average, the economic conditions of Latvian individuals (households) have not deteriorated, on the contrary – they have significantly improved.
At the beginning of March, the annual session of China's National People's Congress took place. The National People's Congress is the country's highest legislator. Draft decisions prepared by the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party formally become law when approved by the National People's Congress.
On March 5 of this year, the Financial Intelligence Unit published their self-made summary “National Money Laundering, Terrorism and Proliferation Financing Risk Assessment Report for 2017-2019". In this report, the FIU itself assessed its (Latvia's) ability to manage money laundering risks and the sustainability of the established anti-money laundering prevention and control system as high.
Uz Neatkarīgās jautājumiem atbild Ķīnas vēstnieks Lians Dzjaņcjuaņs.
Chinese Ambassador Liang Jianquan answers Neatkarīgā's questions.
According to information compiled by the EU's statistical authority, Eurostat, in 2020 there has been a significant shift in the distribution of economic interests between the EU, the US and China. 2020 is the first year in which the European Union's economic relations with China have become more important than its economic relations with the United States. Until 2020, total foreign trade turnover between the EU and the US was higher than between the EU and China, but now this balance has shifted in favor of China.
February this year has been one of the coldest of the last twenty years. The data compiled by the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre show that in the first ten days of February the average air temperature in Latvia was -8.8 degrees Celsius, i.e. five degrees lower than the climate normal (in Bauska at the beginning of February the average air temperature was even 7.8 degrees lower than the climate normal).
The sales bans imposed by the government must be seen as inhuman treatment of the most vulnerable part of Latvia's population - single elderly people. Such government policies are tantamount to torture.
Yesterday, the Society for Transparency - Delna, which is the Latvian branch of the international anti-corruption organization Transparency International, disseminated the 2020 results of the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) developed by Transparency International.
Mid-January this year surprised Latvia with a cold snap that hasn't been experienced in a long time. On the morning of January 17 in Staļģene, the thermometer bar dropped to minus 31 degrees Celsius. Outside my window in Ozolnieki municipality, shortly before nine in the morning, the thermometer bar dropped to minus 26.5 degrees. It was a little warmer in Riga - around minus 20 degrees.
After the government crisis in Estonia, the second most internationally significant event in the Baltics was the proposal of the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis to the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language to evaluate the possibility of giving up the traditional Belarusian state name in Lithuanian.
The Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia has published the Statistical Yearbook of Latvia 2020. It compiles statistics for 2019 and compares them with previous years.
On 30 December last year, at a time when most people were looking forward to the New Year in the face of Covid constraints and were not interested in foreign policy, it was announced that the EU and China had agreed to negotiate a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment between the EU and China. The agreement was finalized after a video conference between Chinese President Xi Jinping, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel representing the EU Council Presidency, and French President Emmanuel Macron.
The year 2021 has begun, with Britain already completely separate from the European Union. Britain joined the EU in 1973 and has been a member of the EU for almost half a century. However, even as an EU Member State, Britain refrained from very close integration into all common systems.
During last year, the habits of Latvian readers continued to change, increasingly abandoning traditional mass media in favor of Internet publications and social networks. It is likely that the Covid-19 pandemic was one of the main factors for crossing an important line last year. Already 55.3% of all surveyed readers who use the Latvian language on a daily basis read printed newspapers less than once a month or do not read them at all. This is evidenced by the results of the most recent survey (1008 respondents) of the research center SKDS (Trust in state and public institutions, evaluation of the activities of politicians and public officials and sources of information used, results of the Latvian population survey, December 2020).
I offered many educated Latvian people the chance to read a prophecy - a vision of the future - and invited them to express about which era, in their opinion, is this depiction of the future: