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While Krišjānis Kariņš has resigned from the post of foreign minister after mounting criticism over his use of private jets while prime minister and the announcement of criminal proceedings for those involved with arranging them, Mayor of Jelgava District Madars Lasmanis hangs onto his position despite a widely spread video of seemingly indecent be…
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Otto and Joe explain the difference between the Latvian words "degt" and "dedzināt," especially in the context of one dangerous tradition, before discussing major stories of the week such as the rapid approval and beginning of border defense construction, a major resignation in the wake of passenger rail difficulties, criminal proceedings for a for…
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On a gloomy day that marks two years since Russia's unprovoked wide-scale invasion of Ukraine, Otto and Joe discuss major stories of the week such as Latvia's massive assistance to Ukraine, a new depth to Rēzekne's financial governance troubles, a farewell to one of Latvia's most controversial members of parliament, and much more!Photo: Valsts kanc…
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With temperatures fluctuating between around -30 and +5 degrees Celsius throughout Latvia over the past week, Otto and Joe discuss the effects on infrastructure as well as a number of other news stories from the week.Photo: Emilian Robert Vicol, used with a Creative Commons BY 2.0 DEED Attribution 2.0 Generic licenseTheme song "Mēs esam ārzemnieki"…
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After briefly discussing the bitter cold that's caused more than a few problems for Latvia's new electric trains, Otto and Joe count down the top 10 biggest stories of 2023 and announce the Latvia Weekly person of the year."Auld Lang Syne" performed by Starlifter and Roots in Blue of the United States Air Force Band of Mid-America. Track 11 from th…
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It's an exciting time for Latvian passenger rail, as not only long promised new electric trains are finally in service, but daily train service to Vilnius has finally been reestablished! Joe discusses the exciting news along with a number of other news stories from the past month while he was recovering from illness including the ratification of th…
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Every Saturday until December 23rd, German musician Jöran Steinhauer will be playing a series of free holiday season concerts at St. Peter's Church in Riga that all are welcome to attend. Joe sits down with Jöran to discuss German, Latvian, and American holiday traditions, the internationalization of the holiday season, and much more!Music: Jingle …
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Joe sits down with Eamonn Shanahan (IE) and Katrīna Tračuma (LV), artists of the international "Nua Collective" which will be opening an exhibition called "Blackout" about climate change and the energy crisis on December 9 in the Jelgava Old Town House. To find out more about the exhibition, you can visit their website here!https://nuacollective.ie…
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As temperatures drop to -10 Celsius in parts of Latvia, Otto and Joe discuss major stories such as Sigulda's renewed Olympic dreams, President Rinkēvičs' trip to Israel and the West Bank, the strangest police confiscation of white powder imaginable, and much more!Theme song "Mēs esam ārzemnieki" by Aarzemnieki, used with permissionClosing theme son…
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Otto and Joe sit discuss the meaning of the 18th of November in Latvia along with some major stories from the previous week, such as the passing and then pausing of new amendments to the civil partnership laws, the announcement of major new transit infrastructure projects in Riga, sentencing for two badly behaved former parliamentarians, and much m…
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Otto is back with Joe to discuss commemoration of Latvia's most important military victory in its history, as well as other stories such as controversy over a new sign for Riga Central Station, Major new legislation projects over hot button issues, the dismissal of Rezekne's mayor, good news for regional train service, and much more!With Otto in Am…
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With Otto in America, Joe takes a look at some of the biggest stories of the week including new survey results regarding language, the opening of a new high speed road, troubles with teacher salary calculations, the shelving of a chaotic income declaration proposal, help from Estonia for Latvia's border situation, and much more!Theme song "Mēs esam…
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With the first snow having fallen in Latvia as part of a weekend storm, Otto and Joe discuss seasonal issues such as the lowering of speed limits throughout the country along with other major stories like bomb threats to schools and kindergartens Latvia's support for Israel following Hamas' attacks, and more expensive alcohol taxes over the next fe…
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Otto and Joe look back on the biggest stories of the last few weeks, including the surprise election of Daiga Mieriņa as the new Speaker of Parliament, major developments in the criminal processes for two long-controversial politicians, harsh new penalties for intoxicated drivers, a major honor for the town of Kuldiga, and much more!heme song "Mēs …
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"Jauns" is the Latvian word of the week as Otto and Joe discuss the newly agreed upon coalition before taking a look at a number of important stories from regions all over Latvia, such as Valmiera's local government under investigation for corruption, an eye-raising 1.7 million euro playground in Ogre, a requirement for all municipalities to have t…
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The first of September is "Zīnibu diena" (Knowledge day) in Latvia, and Otto and Joe are back in Jelgava for not just the beginning of a new school year, but also to discuss stories such as the formation of a new three-party coalition, Latvia's jaw-dropping performance at the FIBA World Cup, the planned resumption of rail service between Latvia and…
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Joe sits down with Alan Anstead, a former British diplomat who lived in Latvia in the 1990s and returned to live in Latvia last year and start producing the "An Englishman in Latvia" podcast. The two discuss connections between the UK and Latvia, how things have changed since the 1990s, some of the best places to visit in the country, and much more…
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After years of climbing the ladder of Rīga city government, Jaunā Vienotība's Vilnis Ķirsis gets his turn in the big chair as the new chair, or priekšsēdētājs, of city council — but how long will he able to manage a rowdy coalition of factions already sharpening their knives ahead of the 2025 municipal elections? Otto and Joe break discuss his pros…
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After making history as the first ever Latvian prime minister to last from one regularly scheduled election to another, Krisjānis Kariņš has finally announced his resignation while his party has put forward Minister for Welfare Evika Siliņa as their nominee to replace him. Otto and Joe break down the dramatic developments as well as the possible el…
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As much of Zemgale and Latgale starts cleaning up after an unusually powerful and devastating storm, Otto and Joe discuss the impact on residents, nature, and the agriculture sector along with a few other major stories from throughout the week.Theme song "Mēs esam ārzemnieki" by Aarzemnieki, used with permissionClosing theme song: Think Tank by Aud…
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"Kaimiņš" is the Latvian word of the week as Latvia's neighboring countries of Russia and Belarus continue to make life difficult for Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland with the arrival of Wagner Group militants close to the EU border. Otto breaks down the security threat and discusses a number of other important stories with Joe such as amendments to a…
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Otto and Joe celebrate 200 numbered episodes by getting back to the first topic they ever discussed on the podcast — a messy and complicated coalition building process, this time on Rīga City Council. They also discuss issues related to energy and food security, new scooter regulations, a proposal to unify high school entry requirements, the latest…
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With Otto away in Argentina, Joe looks through some transit-related stories in Latvia such as the reestablishment of daily passenger train service between Rīga and Liepāja, the seizure of drunk drivers' vehicles, delay in implementing "average speed" cameras, penalties for reckless scooter drivers, and much more!Theme song "Mēs esam ārzemnieki" by …
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As tens of thousands of Latvians perform impressive songs and dances in Rīga's capital and many tens of thousands more spectators take in the experience, Otto and Joe break down the biggest happenings of the XXVII Nationwide Latvian Song and XVII Dance Festival and other major stories from the previous week such as the inauguration of President Edg…
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Joe checks in with ENGtegrationForUkraine head teacher Kris Akenfelds as they prepare for a sixth round of free English courses for Ukrainian refugees in Latvia. Please help spread the word about our project, and share the donation link. Every bit helps. Thank you so much to everyone who has helped!https://gogetfunding.com/help-ukrainian-refugees-i…
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While much of the world was reeling from events in Russia that took place on the 23rd and 24th of June, Latvia celebrated midsummer Līgo/Jāņi festival — some more responsibly than others, unfortunately. With Otto away in Naples, Joe breaks down the biggest stories of the week here in Latvia including the latest developments in coalition talks, a fa…
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As murky coalition negotiations drag on, Otto and Joe evaluate the overall situation and look at a number of other important stories such as increasing pain for the agriculture sector, a chronic lack of teachers, the return of the #11 tram, a larger footprint for Latvia in European Parliament, training Ukrainian soldiers in Latvia, and much more!Th…
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The election of Edgars Rinkēvičš as president has led to questions about the current coalition and whether or not it will stay as is, invite in opposition parties, or be replaced with a new alliance of parties that voted for the president-elect. Otto and Joe break down this political puzzle along with other major stories such as the largest ever pr…
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"Beigas" is the word of the week as the end of the school year coincides with not just the presidential election, but the dramatic end of the IIHF Championships in which Latvia's National Men Hockey Team won their first even bronze metal. Joe discusses these stories along with a number of other important happenings from throughout the week.Theme so…
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With the presidential election campaign season having begun in earnest, Otto is back in Latvia to discuss with Joe the latest developments both in the election and throughout Latvia!Theme song "Mēs esam ārzemnieki" by Aarzemnieki, used with permissionClosing theme song: Think Tank by Audionautix audionautix.com​ Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 U…
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With Otto on a trip for his work with the Baltic Security Foundation, the Latvian word of the week is "vientuļš" as Joe covers the major events of the week by himself — including President Levits' dramatic decision to not run for a second term after all, harsher sentences planning on being introduced for stalkers in the wake of the tragic murder in…
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"Sašutums" is the word of the week as outrage is expressed by teachers during a three-day strike, protesters picketing a perceived lack of action by police in preventing a murder, and government officials in response to controversial comments by a Chinese diplomat questioning the Baltic countries' sovereignty. Otto and Joe sit down to discuss these…
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"Saule" is the word of the day as the weather becomes sunnier and as Otto heads off to the sunny city of Rome for a conference before sitting down with Joe to discuss the looming teachers' strike, political drama in Ogre, the upcoming presidential election, and more!Theme song "Mēs esam ārzemnieki" by Aarzemnieki, used with permissionClosing theme …
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"Mainīt" (to change) is the word of the week as Otto and Joe discuss major stories related to the changing of seasons and other important changes such as the re-introduction of mandatory military service, amendments to language requirements for Russian nationals living in Latvia with residence permits, the expansion of NATO, and much more!…
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With the fourth round of the ENGtegrationForUkraine project's English lessons for Ukrainian refugees underway thanks to generous donors like you, it's time for Joe to check in with head teacher Kris Akenfelds to see how the courses are going and the overall situation in Latvia's Ukrainian refugee community.Opening and closing music: courtesy of Aus…
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Spring has returned, and so has the dangerous time-honored tradition of burning old grass (kūla). Otto and Joe remind people of why this is not only dangerous but illegal, and discuss major stories from the previous week such as an emergency in Latvia's spruce forests, a statue vandalized in Bauska, controversy over public media reorganization, a p…
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After a contentious budget process, questions remain about funding for the health and education sectors in Latvia, with potential protests on the horizon. Otto and Joe discuss the latest developments in the government's attempts to address these concerns, along with updates to a number of other important stories from the last few weeks.Theme song "…
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In honor of St. Patrick's Day, Joe sits down with Noel Lyons and Skarleta Feierabends, authors of the poetry collection "Voices on the Bridge", for a wide-ranging conversation about the pains of immigration, parallels between the difficult situations in Latvia's and Ireland's countrysides, translating cultural ideas, and the value of poetry in both…
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"Gads" is the word of the week as Otto and Joe discuss Latvia's commemoration of one year of Russia's illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine, along with other important stories of the week.If you would like to help Otto and Joe's project ENGtegrationForUkraine continue providing free English lessons to Ukrainian refugees in Latvia, you can do so he…
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"Bīstams" is the word of the week as Otto and Joe sit down to discuss major issues of the week, such as the partial closing of K. Valdemāra iela in Rīga due to buildings in dangerous condition, the conceptual approval of mandatory military service by Saeima, the postponement of mandatory eID cards until 2031, Joe Biden's surprise visit to Ukraine, …
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"Iesniegt" is the word of the day as the 2023 budget is submitted by the ministry of finance for discussion and approval by Saeima. Otto and Joe discuss the new coalition's very first budget creation process along with a number of other important stories such as the troubling spread of beetles lethal to Latvia's spruce trees, potential conscription…
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"Saskaņa", or "harmony", is the word of the week, and something that Daugavpils now lacks as Mayor Andrejs Elksniņš and the rest of the Saskaņa party's city council members quit the faction. Otto and Joe discuss the latest drama for the fragmenting political force along with other major stories like alleged embezzlement at Daugavpils University, cr…
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Otto and Joe discuss some of the biggest stories of the previous week such as a hefty fine levied on badly behaving bus operators, the downgrading of diplomatic relations between Russia and Latvia, more defections from a Conservative party on life support, potential new language requirements for political campaigns, stabilizing water levels in Jēka…
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As floodwaters finally recede in Jēkabpils, Otto and Joe sit down to discuss the biggest stories of the last week and a half.If you would like to donate to the ENGtegration for Ukraine project, you can do it here at the Baltic Security Foundation's webpage here: balticsecurity.eu/support/Theme song "Mēs esam ārzemnieki" by Aarzemnieki, used with pe…
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Otto and Joe take a look back on the top 10 biggest stories of 2022 and name the Latvia Weekly person of the year, as well as their runners up.Music: Auld Lang Syne, performed by the U.S. Navy Band Ceremonial Band https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Auld_Lang_Syne_-_U.S._Navy_Band.oggPicture credit: Marco Verch, used with a Creative Commons Attribut…
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"Agri" and "vēlu" are the words of the week as this first episode of 2022 comes later than expected. Joe and Otto take a look back on some of the biggest happenings of the last month, such as the swearing in of the new cabinet, the lack of support for a proposed civil union law, the acquittal of former Mayor Ušakovs in lower court, the changing of …
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Australian-born Latvian Kris Akenfelds joins the show once again, this time to discuss his experience as head teacher of the ENGtegration for Ukraine project that provides free English lessons to Ukrainian refugees in Latvia, a project organized by Otto and Joe that's administered by the Baltic Security Foundation and generously funded with a grant…
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As Latvia hunkers down for an early winter blizzard, Joe and Otto take a look back on the almost complete coalition formation process and a number of other important stories from the previous month, including the de-licensing of a Russian language TV channel, more heating aid to Latvian households, the potential end of Russian language as a "second…
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Joe takes a look back through the first half of October including significant potholes in the road to a coalition, major changes to Riga's public transit ticketing system, a shortage of antibiotics, ever-increasing energy prices, and more!To donate to the ENGtegration for Ukraine project: https://gogetfunding.com/my-dashboard/Theme song "Mēs esam ā…
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