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  • Saeima elections and Latvia’s political challenges
    face about the military establishment It s difficult to get accurate numbers but best estimates of the military establishment are anywhere from 300 to 1 500 personnel in the army and roughly 5 000 to 11 000 in the Zemessargi or the national guard and somewhere around 3 000 in the Ministry of Defense as a whole The problem with these numbers is that the Ministry can only at the most field one combat effective force about the size of a company One company alone cannot possibly defend Latvia from any aggression Add to that no effective air force or navy and what you come up with is a military force consisting of smoke and mirrors only To this day the military has too many different and confusing nonstandardized small arms weapons and no large effective weapons for any kind of defense The 5 000 force of border guards could be some help but no serious coordination nor planning has taken place on their integration into the military defense structure The Zemessargi is primarily a volunteer organization that is poorly equipped undertrained and often their members double as private security guards to earn extra money In spite of all this the Ministry of Defense has general officer ranks in their organization who when based on unit strength can only be justified at the level of a lieutenant colonel My question is why has the Saeima let all this happen and what will the new Saeima do to correct all this For the past 23 years the Saeima has watched the population of the country dwindle According to the Latvian statistical bureau Latvia in 1991 the year of re independence had a population of 2 658 164 By the first quarter of 2014 the population had shrunk to below two million for the first time to 1 997 500 Since independence Latvia has lost approximately 660 000 persons to emigration In perspective that s roughly the population of Riga today As more and more Latvians emigrate the current population gets older and the death rate is higher than the birthrate In the long run Latvia cannot sustain these kinds of figures and remain a viable nation The lack of decent paying jobs in Latvia has often been cited as a reason for so many citizens leaving Others argue that that is not a great problem because these emigres often send money home to Latvia and that as the Latvian economy improves they will return to their homeland Current statistics however don t point to this happening Unemployment in Latvia is currently running around 12 percent emigration has not slowed and indications are that more and more emigres are establishing permanent households in countries other than Latvia In spite of all these statistics Saeima continues to make it easy for foreigners to buy property in Latvia and then in addition provides them liberal resident policies The irony to all this is that the majority of foreign investment comes from Russia a country

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/35084/ (2016-02-13)
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  • LITHUANIA’S STAUNCH SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE
    small their country is in comparison to Russia Lithuania could easily have sheltered under the umbrella of NATO and done little to help Ukraine But instead there have been volunteers from Lithuania right from the beginning of EuroMaidan back in the winter of 2013 as well as a number of Lithuanian volunteers involved in the Ukrainian government s counter insurgency operation in Eastern Ukraine According to data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine the Lithuanian government has allocated 150 thousand litas 43 thousand euros for the delivery of free care to Ukrainians affected during the Maidan events and counter insurgency operation in Eastern Ukraine There were also people who received medical treatment in Lithuania Ruta Rudinskaite attache at the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Ukraine says that such a substantial amount of interest in Ukrainian events can be explained easily Lithuania strongly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine We believe that no other country can dictate policy choices of a sovereign state The people of Ukraine and its government have chosen the path of European integration It is our task to help and support Ukraine in this path As per preliminary data of Lithuanian Official Development Assistance in 2014 the humanitarian aid to Ukraine from the Government of Lithuania exceeded 310 thousand euros and this appears set to rise in 2015 if the conflict continues Zhavoronkova is also impressed by the extent of the Lithuanian government s commitment to the Ukrainian cause In Vilnius there was a story that Lithuania received casualties of the government s counter insurgency operation in Eastern Ukraine informed Zhavoronkova Though she herself has little money to give she remains generous with her time whenever she can While I can t provide these people with any financial aid my four year old son Ivan and I tried to visit them in hospitals she said We cooked fried fish or syrniki small fried cheese cakes for them We wanted to entertain them somehow because when you are in your native country there are always lots of your relatives and friends who come to visit you but here in Lithuania they were alone It may seem harder for Zhavoronkova to keep supporting people from the eastern regions online She says despite living abroad it has turned out to be even easier for her to provide emotional support than it was in Lugansk even though she now cannot help anyone physically Though there are a number of charities and NGOs that have formed throughout Ukraine Zhavoronkova appears to prefer not to rely on organisations for help She prefers to go it alone There are people from different parts of the world even Russia who trust me and send money so that I could help families in Lugansk that are still there or have moved to other cities she says Mostly I don t work with any NGOs I try to help people on my own and when I m not able to help

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/lithuania___s_staunch_support_for_ukraine/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Want your children to have happier and more successful lives? Turn them over to us!
    and the potentially disruptive student all learn to use their energies in ways that are more constructive rewarding and meaningful Indeed motivation is one of the most challenging yet most important aspects of teaching The students learn to the extent to which they are motivated Of course the students who are not motivated will start to mentally and physically withdraw and this is when the problem of disruption occurs Thus teachers are actually very good motivators and ultimately teach children how to be self motivated In this sense motivation plays a part in teaching children that the basis of a happy and successful life is learning to be less directed by external force and authority rewards and punishments and more self motivated Thus teachers motivate students by helping them to make the best use of vitality playfulness and their natural desire to socially interact with classmates they soon learn that their natural drives are developed and expressed best when tempered by intelligence They soon begin to realize that without learning this lesson they will not grow to become mature and independent but will continue to show signs of immaturity and dependence The learning experience is not without structure and discipline thus the teacher cannot allow for disruptive disturbances However the teacher s ability to manage his or her classroom can never be harsh or demanding this will actually distract from the learning experience A good teacher prefers to keep the students focused by planning the learning experience so that it is creative engaging and interesting The teacher structures the classroom atmosphere in a way that it is peaceful safe inviting and stimulating This actually not only calls for a high degree of wisdom but an enormous amount of creativity In the process children are also socialized enculturated in that they learn to prefer engaging others in a positive appropriate respectful intelligent and socially constructive manner In fact the most famous experts in child growth and development and child psychology have stressed that this is the best way for the child to learn grow shape character and find his or her place in society For example world famous Russian psychologist and educational philosopher Lev Vygotsky proposed that because humans are social beings education is society s means of teaching children that their wants and desires are best satisfied by learning to have cooperative relationships with peers and respect for elders Education teaches them that this maximizes the chance of experiencing a satisfying and good life For Vygotsky good teachers engage children in a way that helps them to learn how to develop effective Mental Tools But mental or intellectual development is not just for the sake of obtaining and storing information In Vygotsky s own words found in Pedagogy of the Adolescent The child and the society are learning and growing together As the society teaches the child how to Holistically develop his or her full potential the society is maximizing the chances of achieving its full potential Thus the teacher

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/35643/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Visa issues hold up Ukrainians swapping Crimean vacations for Lithuania
    whole larger overwhelming Lithuanian strategy to focus on the Russian speaking regions the association head said modestly I really believe that Ukraine has the potential of becoming one of the top 10 of Lithuania s incoming tourism markets Having coped with the upheaval the country has been through Ukrainians are likely to go further than their usual holiday destinations the LSTD director said On average overall 17 percent more foreigners and 14 1 percent more Lithuanians have chosen Lithuania for their getaway during the first quarter of the year Interestingly the flow of Polish tourist has remained almost on the same level up 1 percent during 2014 s first quarter over the previous year Meanwhile the influx of Brits has dwindled by 5 percent Lithuanians set to newly discover Lithuania A rise in the numbers of Lithuanians getting on local roads and highways in search of local new Americas also is a pleasant surprise of the year for both tourism sector executives Well this is the aftermath of an improving infrastructure and new traditions said Balniene As many compatriots have already travelled outside the country now they are eager to see what Lithuania has better or best the LSTD director said Over one million Lithuanians are expected to get on the road and seek local accommodation for a quick local getaway this year shows an estimate by the Tourism Department Regional disparities But the disparities of regional development are just too high to have the regions enjoying a similar piece of the cake As for example Vilnius welcomed 20 2 percent of the locals on the road during the year s first quarter only 11 percent of Lithuanians chose other domestic locations for their escape Major Lithuanian resorts were also among the top five picks for holiday destinations both for foreigners and locals but none has been a rival for Birstonas а booming and expanding resort near Kaunas which saw a 39 percent increase in visitor numbers Interestingly the flows in most popular local destinations are spreading out quite evenly lately This is a sign that the problem of seasonality will perhaps be gradually diminishing Balniene noted Ramped up consular workforce in Belarus Targeting specific Belarus and Russia tourism markets may soon lead to new Lithuania bound tourism heights she believes The more the situation in the region remains unstable the more Russians and Ukrainians will ponder spending their vacation in an environment similar to the one they were used to in the Crimea I mean the language and climate In that sense Lithuania really suits them Balniene said To boost the Slavs trips to the Baltics the State Tourism Department agreed with the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry to expedite visa granting procedures for holiday minded Belarusians Lithuania has sent some extra consular workers to Minsk and Grodno The neighbors are an important force in driving the Vilnius economy said a representative of the Vilnius Tourism Information Center And sure they are welcome everywhere in the country Most of the Slavic

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/34939/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Latvia has most negative attitude towards refugees in EU
    National Alliance and the centrist Greens and Farmers Union ZZS do not support the decision Unity the leading partner in Latvia s centre right coalition has warned that the refusal to admit more refugees might have negative implications for Latvia s economy and security Rinkevics also said Latvia has ended up in an international isolation because of its failure to agree on the resettlement of additional refugees Janis Urbanovics the head of the opposition Harmony party said after the meeting with the president on September 14 that the government should explain the refugees admission process the society in more detail otherwise ignorance may lead to fear and unrests Solvita Aboltina the leader of the ruling center right Unity party indicated that the refugee issue has led to a constitutional crisis and this matter can threaten the stability of Latvia s current government President Vejonis said on September 11 that political parties are invited for talks on the refugee issue on Monday and Tuesday The Latvian government agreed earlier to voluntarily accept 250 refugees but in line with the new Juncker s plan Latvia might have to admit additional 526 refugees Vejonis said that political parties are invited for talks on the refugee issue on Monday and Tuesday The Latvian government agreed earlier to voluntarily accept 250 refugees but in line with the new Juncker s plan Latvia might have to admit additional 526 refugees The use of the Baltic News Service information for commercial purposes is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of JSC BNS Comments Related Articles U S heavy weaponry to be deployed in Latvia from autumn 2015 Latvia Lumbers Towards Higher Spending on Defence Russia Today requests permission to establish Latvian subsidiary Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/latvia_has_most_negative_attitude_towards_refugees_in_eu/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Latvia will object European Commission’s refugee quota
    to the Soviet occupations of Latvia from 1940 1941 and 1944 to 1991 the number of ethnic Latvians living in the country is just over 60 percent and pointed out there is no integration program in place for refugees at present It also outlined should the situation in Eastern Ukraine continue to deteriorate other Eastern European countries will need assistance from other European Union countries to take in refugees from the region The European Commission has proposed taking in 20 000 refugees by 2017 and distributing them across EU member states However the Kingdom Ireland and Denmark has opted out of accepting According to the EC s proposed quota Latvia could have to take in 737 refugees The issue will be decided by European leaders at summit at the end of June On June 12 Silina also announced Latvia s only refugee centre Mucenieki would only be able to accept 50 refugees Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite recently revealed despite an initial objection to the quota Lithuania could take in up to 250 refugees by 2017 Estonia s Prime Minister Taavi Roivas announced the number of 1 064 refugees allocated to the country is too high From 1941 1944 Latvia was occupied by Nazi Germany Comments Related Articles U S heavy weaponry to be deployed in Latvia from autumn 2015 Latvia Lumbers Towards Higher Spending on Defence Russia Today requests permission to establish Latvian subsidiary Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles Latvian government reaches for guns over health care Crude oil leaks from Latvia s VNT terminal Latvia and China discuss bilateral cooperation Drunk AirBaltic crew sentenced to jail in Norwegian court Subscribe A subscription to The Baltic Times is a cost effective way of staying in touch with the latest

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/latvia_will_object_european_commission___s_refugee_quota/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Latvia’s ruling coalition cuts refugee benefits
    on Oct 19 Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma told the press after the meeting of the ruling coalition parties on Monday She said there was a consensus among the ruling parties that the refugee benefit currently at 256 euros a month should be reduced but so far the parties had not agreed on the new size of the benefit The Interior Ministry is to draft the Cabinet regulations that will be presented to the rulin 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 U S heavy weaponry to be deployed in Latvia from autumn 2015 Latvia Lumbers Towards Higher Spending on Defence Russia Today requests permission to establish Latvian subsidiary Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles Latvian government reaches for guns over health care Crude oil leaks from Latvia s VNT terminal Latvia and China discuss bilateral cooperation Drunk AirBaltic crew sentenced to jail in Norwegian court 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

    Original URL path: http://www.baltictimes.com/latvia___s_ruling_coalition_cuts_refugee_benefits/ (2016-02-13)
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  • Finnish MPs: Finland would respond if Estonia needed military help
    some way if it should need military help the Finnish news website Ilkka fi reports Estonian Defense Minister Hannes Hanso said in an interview published on Wednesday Jan 21 in Lannen Media that he believes that Finland would help Estonia with military power if such help is ever needed Of course if our neighbouring country a European Union member state and our comrade country Estonia is facing a difficulty Finland can rsqu 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 Concept of foreign policy has changed for Estonia Medieval ships uncovered beneath Tallinn building sites Go Rail ends Tallinn Moscow service for economic reasons Subscribe Advertise Log In Please enter your username and password Forgot your password Login Related Articles Japan follows Estonia s lead with electronic ID cards Right wing parties launch 24 hour anti migrant rally Right wing parties launch 24 hour anti migrant rally in Tallinn The battle for the Estonian coastline 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

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