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  • The phantom of separatism in Latgale
    vision in which Russia allegedly initiates a hybrid war in Latvia While showing some fictional scenes of unrest and military action it focused on a debate about the possible reaction of the United Kingdom and NATO allied forces following possible invocation of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty in the event of a Russian military intervention in Latvia The programme has drawn attention in the UK and all over Europe but the reaction was especially strong in Latgale t The article you requested can be accessed only by subscribing to the online version of The Baltic Times If you are already subscribed to The Baltic Times please authorize yourself Log In In case you don t have a subscription yet please visit our SUBSCRIPTION section Comments Related Articles What refugees are running from What changes lie in store for Poland Five perspectives on Latvia s refugee question Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles EDITORIAL The Baltic Security Question Baltics 2015 The long march to Paris Rhetoric at the Riga Conference what we talk about when we talk about war with Russia Subscribe A subscription to The Baltic Times is a cost effective way of staying in touch with the latest Baltic news and views enabling you full access from anywhere with an Internet connection Subscribe Now About The Baltic Times The Baltic Times is an independent monthly newspaper that covers latest political economic business and cultural events in Estonia Latvia and Lithuania Born of a merger between The Baltic Independent and The Baltic Observer in 1996 The Baltic Times continues to bring objective comprehensive and timely information to those with an interest in this rapidly developing area of the Baltic Sea region Read more Our news analysis and commentaries

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/the_phantom_of_separatism_in_latgale/ (2016-02-13)
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  • EDITORIAL: The Baltic Security Question
    face of a nuclear attack Yet despite being a useful and democratic thought exercise in how civil servants would make decisions in the event of sudden conflict the BBC s producers were reckless insensitive and ill informed by giving needless credibility to a phantom movement such as the Latgale People s Republic See Saeima MP Juris Viljum s piece in Commentary If it was a fictional War Game they should have used a fictional name rather than one that caused jitters when the rumours of its existence first surfaced here in Latvia back in 2014 When it comes to any prospect of Russia invading one consolation should not be forgotten the economic military political and diplomatic costs of any Russian invasion clearly outweigh any benefits Just think an invasion of these flat lands that would in themselves offer little by way of spoils of war In fact the Russians would be wrecking their own interests in the Baltics which were all quite well established long before Russia s annexation of Crimea Traditionally the Baltics offer little but freight transit tourism financial services and dairy products to Russia which the country could obtain without having to invade though of course sanctions now prevent that somewhat By this thinking if Estonia discovered vast new reserves of shale oil or Lithuania found gas offshore there might be cause to strike for a Russian government that fills its budget largely from its oil and gas revenues Only a miniscule fraction of Russia s budget comes from its energy exports to the Baltics unlike with Russia s supplies to Ukraine Some point to NATO reassurance and deterrence for what is really holding Russia back surely such a risk would escalate quickly beyond anyone s ability to control or gain from Others say the opposite it is exactly this NATO membership combined with a lack of permanent stationing of NATO troops which make the Baltics a tempting place to have a jab at the alliance to see if this relic of the Cold War still cuts the mustard and to prevent what Moscow sees as Russia s encirclement by NATO This newspaper veers towards the position that it is always good to be informed of the ominous rather than to live in the bliss of complacency and to rely on any of these explanations above as a guarantee That is why the RAND report is useful rather than any cause for alarm As the Latvian Defence Minister Raimonds Bergmanis pointed out last week the report contained little that defence planners in the region did not already know and were not already addressing Marc Champion a columnist for Bloomberg View believes that to address this security challenge in the wake of the RAND report the Baltics should start thinking a little more like Israel Opting for conscription and far higher defence spending Israel is able to fend for itself in a hostile region He suggests the Baltics should be bulking up their own armies and pushing for

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/editorial__the_baltic_security_question/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Baltics: 2015
    less that our discerning tourist in either year is Russian In 2013 the numbers of Russian tourists were much higher But the numbers in 2014 are roughly the same as this year the rouble remains weak and so the prospect of shopping in the pricy euro zone has kept Russian visitors away Nationalists in the Baltic countries may be pleased Anyone working in the tourism sector may be far less so 2015 has therefore seen a continued search for more tourists from round the world and initial successes in 2014 have carried on through 2015 The same could be said with trade with Russia All three Baltic countries were hard hit by sanctions already in Dec 2014 particularly in the agriculture sector and companies working to transit goods The search for new trading partners was also already underway back then All the Baltics have gradually consolidated closer trading links with countries like China and Turkey by way of compensation for dampened trade with Russia over the last year Struggling airlines Another imagined change might be in the way our tourist arrived They still could not have taken Rail Baltica though 2015 has proved to be a year where the vision of a train line linking Berlin to Helsinki moved a few steps closer to reality Yet in 2014 they could have flown into Estonia via Estonian Air or into Lithuania via Air Lithuanica in 2015 they could not Both airlines have since gone bust in spectacular fashion Estonian Air has just about emerged like a feeble phoenix out of the ashes in the form of Nordic Aviation Group rather unfortunately nicknamed Nag while Air Lituanica has been unreplaced leaving the field open to budget airlines like WizzAir and Ryanair to dominate Vilnius Airport which in and of itself is not too much of a change Precious few passengers were flying with Air Lituanica anyway hence they went bust The man behind Air Lituanica was the Vilnius Mayor Zuokas If the tourist had asked the seller in Lithuania last year who the mayor of Vilnius was they would have replied that it was Zuokas perhaps making a joke about the man s extravagant plans of city council owned airlines Wi Fi taxis app based public transport and his remarkable publicity stunts that included running over cars with tanks to illustrate parking restrictions Zuokas certainly ran the capital with flair Yet flair ultimately did not pay the bills or keep the voters interested By Christmas 2015 after fresh mayoral elections in March the Lithuanian seller unless hopelessly out of touch would be referring to Mayor Simasius a man elected with the purpose of cutting away at Zuokas projects and bring a dose of austerity he would probably say reality to the Lithuanian capital In Riga however it would be business as usual with Nils Usakovs in charge the same this year as last Unsurprisingly his party the largest in the Latvian parliament the Saeima still has no chance of leading the country

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/baltics__2015/ (2016-02-13)
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  • The long march to Paris
    however the news is likely to be positive as world leaders come together to forge a meaningful agreement in the fight against climate change To be sure at first glance the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP21 taking place from Nov 30 to Dec 11 looks a lot like the 2009 conference in Copenhagen when negotiators were unable to agree on an effective accord And indeed the desired outcome remains unchanged an international deal that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and The article you requested can be accessed only by subscribing to the online version of The Baltic Times If you are already subscribed to The Baltic Times please authorize yourself Log In In case you don t have a subscription yet please visit our SUBSCRIPTION section Comments Related Articles What refugees are running from What changes lie in store for Poland Five perspectives on Latvia s refugee question Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles The phantom of separatism in Latgale EDITORIAL The Baltic Security Question Baltics 2015 Rhetoric at the Riga Conference what we talk about when we talk about war with Russia Subscribe A subscription to The Baltic Times is a cost effective way of staying in touch with the latest Baltic news and views enabling you full access from anywhere with an Internet connection Subscribe Now About The Baltic Times The Baltic Times is an independent monthly newspaper that covers latest political economic business and cultural events in Estonia Latvia and Lithuania Born of a merger between The Baltic Independent and The Baltic Observer in 1996 The Baltic Times continues to bring objective comprehensive and timely information to those with an interest in this rapidly developing area of the Baltic Sea region Read more Our news analysis

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/the_long_march_to_paris/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Final world tour: Jose Carreras’ life in music
    on the concert podium by the Irish soprano Celine Byrne whose compelling and thrilling performances have won her the universal acclaim of audiences and critics across the opera world It is a great honour for me to perform in Vilnius and Riga during my final World Tour Both are such wonderful cities full of cultural heritage and great musical traditions Carreras told The Baltic Times And I remember the warmth of the audience in Riga which welcomed me so heartfully My musical programme for my concert will consist of opera operetta and songs It is a very personal choice and I do hope that people will like it because the melodies are so wonderful In all these songs it is the passion the emotion a feeling in my heart and soul that I attempt to express with my voice It is my musical ode to life said Carreras Carreras will also present an aria from the opera El Juez The Judge by the Austrian composer Christian Kolonovits Carreras celebrated his highly acclaimed and triumphant return to the opera stage in this opera After performances at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg in Jan 2015 the star tenor will portray the role at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna on July 2 of this year A Life in Music endeavors to take the audience on a journey through Carreras illustrious operatic journey to tell his intimate story and his love for music Giant screens placed in the concert venues will be used to highlight parts of Carreras legendary and long career This is a complete new concert format especially designed for my Final World Tour said Carreras Regarding to Carreras forthcoming visit to Vilnius on Febr 14 and Riga on Febr 20 he said I am very curious to see at least a little bit of both these wonderful cities and I very much hope that it will not be too cold In any case I will bring a warm scarf laughs I am also a great fan of Art Deco era Apart from his opera and concert performances Carreras dedicates much of his time to the Jose Carreras Leukemia Foundation which he established after he was successfully treated for leukemia in 1988 To date the foundation has raised more than 250 million euros Carreras intends when he retires from performing to fully devote himself to his foundation and its work in the fight against leukemia to try to give some hope to people who are suffering from the disease Further information on the Jose Carreras Leukemia Foundation and ways to donate can be found at www fcarreras org But Carreras visit to both Vilnius and Riga will be about music and undoubtedly also his life s greatest key love affair his audiences I have great emotion every time I go on stage Nothing in life gives me the same satisfaction that my profession gives me Carreras has stated The orchestra has developed into versatile collective specializing in various genres

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/final_world_tour__jose_carreras____life_in_music/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Vilnius gets vision
    century grid to the medieval walled part of the city The concept has been inspired by the historic gates of the city and references the local architecture both in form and materials MAC will be dedicated to the exploration of visual art works by modernist Lithuanian artists and artists residing in Lithuania created beginning in the so called thaw approximately from 1960 until the restoration of Lithuanian independence up to the present day and will make the collection accessible to the broadest range of social cultural segments of society The collection which contains over 4 000 items is owned by philanthropists Viktoras Butkus and Danguole Butkiene who co founded in 2009 the non profit Modern Art Center MAC Vilnius The couple will be financing the construction costs of the centre The centre s collection represents 226 artists including paintings drawings prints sculpture photography and video works The MAC has assembled a significant collection of artworks from the Soviet period which at the time were ideologically unacceptable and therefore ignored by major Lithuanian art museums following official state policies on art Following the restoration of Lithuanian independence in 1990 public funds for acquiring contemporary art have been extremely limited The Butkus saw the urgent need to create a collection and today the MAC is regarded as one of the leading institutions collecting contemporary Lithuanian art What is unique about the MAC collection is the number of artworks by certain distinguished artists forming a collection within the collection for example Vincas Kisarauskas Kostas Dereskevicius Mikalojus Salkauskas Antanas Sutkus etc Also the fact that it contains artworks by artists of the young generation is also worth mentioning We wanted to create a museum for the people of Lithuania and also give this collection a home and an international audience This collection is about the cultural legacy of the country said Butkus former chairman and chief executive officer of the Lithuanian biotechnology company Fermentas Libeskind s work is expressive innovative and most importantly has the power to tell the story of the past while connecting to the future of the city added Butkus The Modern Art Center not only creates a home for this extraordinary collection but the design connects the galleries to the street and the urban fabric giving the citizens of Vilnius a new cultural centre infused with public space said Libeskind Studio Daniel Libeskind was established in Berlin Germany in 1989 after winning the competition to construct the Jewish Museum Berlin one of the largest Jewish Museums in Europe In Feb 2003 Studio Daniel Libeskind relocated its headquarters from Berlin to New York City when Libeskind was selected as the master planner for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center Every effort will be made for the centre to become a visible and visitor friendly space offering high quality exhibitions and rewarding experiences Though not that large in square metre size and budgets as compared to national public Lithuanian institutions the centre will function as a viable cultural place said Ivanauskiene

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/vilnius_gets_vision/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Gingerbread Mania 2015
    when they were introduced to Europe in 999 A D by Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis Gingerbread biscuits were first documented as being sold in the 17th century to monasteries pharmacies and town square farmers markets In the Baltics and Scandinavian countries gingerbreads are traditionally quite thin and fragile and in Estonia they are called piparkoogid They are associated strongly with Christmas For Gingerbread Mania each exhibitor is given the same dough mixture to give everybody the same starting point and keep costs down Ideas are submitted beforehand but the end results are not seen until the day before the exhibition when the show is set up It is always a surprise for us to see what people bring said Kalmo And over the past decade they have gotten more and more extreme For 2013 s Art History themed exhibition there was a life size version of Van Gogh s Sunflowers in a vase and last year for Toy Shop there was a 3D rocking horse which rocked back and forth It s really funny to see how each group approaches their design Laanemaa laughed We have architects who make 3D models on the computer before they start building and we ve even had a group of product designers who used a laser to cut their pieces The first year Laanemaa and Kalmo were taken aback by how much interest there was in the exhibition from visitors and have since had to move to a bigger venue Last year over 16 000 people came to see the tempting treats It s proved so popular that one year the door broke due to being opened and closed so often Kalmo said visitors come from Russia Finland and Latvia but the exhibition is not really known internationally At Gingerbread Mania designs are on show without any protective cases around because Laanemaa said that one of the most important aspects is the smell It is just so comforting and we don t want to take that away she said However this has caused problems in the past They now have to charge a small entrance fee to deter drunks from stumbling in They would try and eat and lick the displays Laanemaa recalled But children and the elderly can still visit for free There have also been cases of people accidentally pushing the models over which sees the thin gingerbread crumble into a million pieces which Laanemaa describes as a tragedy Speaking about his love of piparkoogid she said In Soviet times you couldn t get hold of the spices in Estonia and usually people bought them from Finland It was a very special thing to get good quality gingerbread dough and spices The biggest casualty of their commitment to the exhibition is that Laanemaa barely has time to bake the biscuits at home with their three children Each year Gingerbread Mania runs for three weeks in December and Christmas gets lost in the preparation It s a bit sad really she said

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/gingerbread_mania_2015/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Latvian State Choir launches ambitious project for nation’s centenary
    a belt like technique native to the region of Latgale Laura Jekabsone well known in Latvian musical circles as leader of the women s a cappella group Latvian Voices offered the most cohesive and skilled piece employing extended techniques her work was compelling and made ample use of the chorus noteworthy power One of the most prominent composers on the program Pauls Dambis attempted to depict the Latvian character in a piece that unsuccessfully merged spoken effects with stale choral writing Similarly disappointing were works by Emils Rusovs and Gundega Smite The use of extended techniques is in vogue at the moment in Latvia with composers like Eriks Esenvalds and Santa Ratniece leading the way with fresh ideas and innovative pieces However the novelty is beginning to wear off as pieces lack structural integrity and sensible harmonic progressions in favor of piecemeal ideas and flashy tricks The standout piece of the night was Ansis Sauka s Ar zvaigznu kluso gaismu a straightforward and beautiful setting of the words of influential Latvian poet Ojars Vacietis Sauka is the longtime vocal pedagogue for the State Choir and his intimate knowledge of the choir s capabilities was obvious as he wrote lush harmonies that were perfectly voiced for the ensemble Other highlights came from two composers born in the 1970s Andris Kontauts and Andris Dzenitis Dzenitis work sustained powerful energy throughout a broad middle section few choirs in the world can match the State Choir Latvija s powerful exciting tone and the best works of the evening were those that took advantage of the incredible instrument at their disposal Kontauts work featured an extended solo from mezzo soprano Lauma Malnace who delivered the part with a beautiful timbre and emotional honesty As always the choir was guided through every nuance by Maris Sirmais Sirmais should be commended for stewarding this significant project in recent years he has led similar commissioning efforts for the State Choir and the renowned Youth Choir Kamer an ensemble that he founded and conducted until 2012 His efforts to champion the works of Latvian composers at home and abroad have launched several international careers To find 70 composers to write new works would be a tall order in countries several times larger than Latvia and it should be noted that each piece on the program had some degree of merit There is no scraping the bottom of the barrel for this endeavor The choir itself demonstrated throughout the evening why it is considered one of the best choruses in the world Each chord is well balanced and perfectly tuned a composer couldn t ask for a more faithful rendition of their work Riga s citizens should look forward to the next concerts in this project as they will serve as an interesting barometer for the compositional atmosphere in Latvia over the next three years Comments Related Articles Vilnius gets vision Gingerbread Mania 2015 Latvian Radio Choir Celebrates Rainis and Aspazija in Nationalist Concert Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/latvian_state_choir_launches_ambitious_project_for_nation___s_centenary/ (2016-02-13)
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