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NFE/5.0en-USnews-webmaster@google.com2019 Google Inc.Fri, 15 Feb 2019 18:13:17 GMTGoogle News
Latvian Snapshots: Mittens, Baltic Tribes, Pork and Butter  Eng.Lsm.lv

As part of Latvia's centenary celebrations, the Latvian Institute produced a book called Latvia 100 Snapshot Stories. Over the next few weeks we will be ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvia abandons "regional financial hub" aspiration  Eng.Lsm.lv

Latvia is officially giving up on its former ambitions to become a regional financial hub, after the government on February 12 discussed Finance Ministry ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Rinkevics voices support for memorandum to promote political dialogue between Latvia and Hungary  Baltic Times

RIGA - Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity). during a meeting with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto voiced support for the signing of ...

Baltic Times
Instant payments worth €494 million made in Latvia last year  Eng.Lsm.lv

Last year 2.4 million flash payments worth €494 million were made in Latvia last year, the Bank of Latvia reported.

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvia, Morocco see possibilities for expanding cooperation in education, culture, economy  Baltic Times

RIGA - On February 15, the Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Janis Mazeiks, welcomed a farewell visit from the Ambassador o...

Baltic Times
Baltic Countries Set up Single Grid  Natural Gas World

The gas transmission system operators (TSOs) of Finland, Estonia and Latvia have reached a new voluntary agreement on inter-TSO compensation system.

Natural Gas World
Constitution provides opportunity to develop Latvia as a strong and happy state - Vejonis  Baltic Times

RIGA - The Constitution provides the opportunity to develop Latvia as a strong and happy state, President Raimonds Vejonis said on the anniversary of the ...

Baltic Times
100 days until European elections  Eng.Lsm.lv

February 15 marks one hundred days until Latvians - and other European Union citizens resident in Latvia - get to vote in the next European parliamentary ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
4,141 Latvians Were Just Outed as K.G.B. Informants  The New York Times

KUKAS, Latvia — Back in Soviet times, Yuris Taskovs snitched to the K.G.B. about a neighbor watching German pornography and betrayed hundreds of ...

The New York Times
Latvians involved in alleged US auto scam  Eng.Lsm.lv

Police have taken action in Latvia as well as the United States, Finland and Lithuania to bust an international luxury car scam, according to the Bloomberg ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Baltic states: Beneath a Russian veil in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia  New Zealand Herald

Visiting charming old towns is as easy as one-two-three on an organised overland tour, writes Bob Wallace. If there is a single word germane to the Baltic states, ...

New Zealand Herald
Former communist concentration camp in Latvia now holds a playground  Eng.Lsm.lv

On February 13, 1919 the Revolutionary Military Council of Soviet Latvia decided to create a network of concentration camps in the territory of Latvia. They were ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvian government decides not to position Latvia as regional financial services center  Baltic Times

RIGA – The Cabinet of Ministers on Tuesday decided to cross out the decision on positioning Latvia as the regional financial *service* cente...

Baltic Times
Latvian business eyeing Belarus' market  Belarus News (BelTA)

MINSK, 15 February (BelTA) – More Latvian business people are launching operations in the Belarusian market, BelTA learned from Ambassador Extraordinary ...

Belarus News (BelTA)
Finnish, Latvian, Estonian TSOs agree on gas transportation without additional charges  Baltic Times

RIGA - The gas transmission system operators (TSO) of Finland, Latvia and Estonia on Thursday signed an agreement on a compensation mechanism enabling ...

Baltic Times
Latvia through to next round of Fed Cup | News  leta.lv

RIGA, Feb 10 (LETA) - In the third singles match of their Federation Cup World Group II match-up, Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova today defeated Slovakia's ...

leta.lv
5th call for proposals for Estonia-Latvia cooperation program announced  Baltic Times

TALLINN - The fifth call for proposals under the Estonia-Latvia cross-border cooperation program has been announced with funding available in th...

Baltic Times
Rumour File: Australian numbers bombarded with scam calls from Latvia + Luxembourg  3AW

THE RUMOUR FILE. Australian numbers are being bombarded with scam calls from Latvia and Luxembourg. First heard on The Rumour File this morning, the ...

3AW
Latvian exports of goods rise 7.2%, imports up 10.1% in 2018 | News  leta.lv

RIGA, Feb 12 (LETA) - In 2018, Latvia exported EUR 12.341 billion worth of goods, up 7.2 percent against a year before, while imports rose 10.1 percent ...

leta.lv
Facebook Shuts Down Private Page of Head of Sputnik Latvia  Sputnik International

RIGA (Sputnik) - Facebook has deleted a private account of Sputnik Latvia editor-in-chief Valentins Rozencovs after it broadcast a pro-Riga mayor rally.

Sputnik International
Knicks cancel Latvian Heritage Night at Madison Square Garden following Kristaps Porzingis trade, report says  CBS Sports

The Knicks apparently no longer see the need to celebrate Latvian Heritage night after dealing Porzingis.

CBS Sports
Latvia halts $206 million armored vehicle contract amid controversy  DefenseNews.com

WARSAW, Poland — Latvia's public procurement watchdog IUB has stopped the defense ministry from signing a contract worth about €181 million ($206 ...

DefenseNews.com
Three for the Weekend: Art and music  Eng.Lsm.lv

A selection of events for this weekend in Latvia includes art and music in the capital and at your home.

Eng.Lsm.lv
Watch: US Black Hawks rotate into Latvia  Eng.Lsm.lv

Thirteen UH-60 and HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters have arrived in Latvia, the Defense Ministry told the press February 8.

Eng.Lsm.lv
Saremaa-Latvia ferry link not coming in 2019  ERR News

The plan of the local government of Saaremaa to open a ferry connection between the ports of Montu on the island and the port of Ventspils on the Latvian ...

ERR News
Latvia gets 5-party govt nearly 4 months after election  New Jersey Herald

Latvia's parliament approves the Baltic country's new five-party, center-right coalition government nearly four months after general election, breaking a deadlock ...

New Jersey Herald
Funding solution found for English and Russian-language services of Latvia's public media | News  leta.lv

RIGA, Feb 7 (LETA) - The government coalition has found a solution enabling the further operation of Latvian Radio 4 (LR 4) and lsm.lv's English and Russian ...

leta.lv
Russia to play against Swiss, French, Latvian squads at 2019 Euro Ice Hockey Challenge  TASS

The games between Russia and Switzerland will be played in Sochi on April 18 and 20.

TASS
Poet takes over at highbrow literary magazine  Eng.Lsm.lv

Latvia's infamous introverted writers are quaking in their suede loafers at the news that the most terrifying of existential concepts - change - is taking place at one ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Global Bobcats: Latvia’s Strautmane, Ireland’s Thornton have found a home at Quinnipiac  New Haven Register

HAMDEN — News of the triumphs of the Quinnipiac women's basketball program was beginning to extend beyond New England and the tri-state area thanks to ...

New Haven Register
Latvian government moves to ensure British citizens keep post-Brexit healthcare  Eng.Lsm.lv

On February 12, the Cabinet of Ministers approved amendments to the Health Care Financing Law prepared by the Ministry of Health which envisage that even ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Japanese ratings agency R&I affirms Latvia's credit rating at A-  Eng.Lsm.lv

Japanese credit ratings agency R&I announced it has affirmed Latvia's credit rating at A-. The outlook remains stable.

Eng.Lsm.lv
Three for the Weekend in Latvia: Robot music, ice sculpture and skiing  Eng.Lsm.lv

Every week we suggest three things you might like to get up to over the weekend. And this weekend is no exception with plenty of options both indoors and out.

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvia: Who should win Supernova 2019?  ESC United

Latvia's selection process culminates this weekend as Supeenova 2019 draws to a close. Eight acts have made it through to the final of the competition, but only ...

ESC United
As long as it lasts: Latvia's new coalition government  Open Democracy

The rapid emergence of KPV hints at the growing relevance of economic Euroscepticism for a new generation of ambitious, anti-establishment, parties in the ...

Open Democracy
Latvia should prepare now for tough times in the future, urges Dombrovskis  Eng.Lsm.lv

Latvia will likely continue to be among the European Union's fastest-growing economies in 2019, but at a slower rate than recently, European Commission ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Number of nights spent by tourists in Latvia's tourist accommodations up 8.5% in 11 months  Baltic Times

RIGA - In the first 11 months of 2018, the number of nights spent by tourists in Latvia's hotels and other tourist accommodations rose by 8.5 percent against the ...

Baltic Times
23.3% of Latvia's population at risk of poverty | News  leta.lv

RIGA, Jan 17 (LETA) - In 2017, the share of Latvia's population exposed to the risk of poverty grew by 1.2 percentage points from a year before to 446,000 ...

leta.lv
ERC Junior champion Gryazin revs up for world debut with Latvia podium  fiaerc.com

Nikolay Gryazin will make his world championship debut on Rally Sweden on the back of a strong run of practice events, which concluded in Latvia yesterday ...

fiaerc.com
Small-town Latvia shares views on new government  Eng.Lsm.lv

Just before the new cabinet was installed, LTV's People's Panorama visited the Līvbērze parish, central Latvia, to learn the locals' thoughts about the new ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Foreign policy debate at Saeima stresses Latvia's Euro-Atlantic path  Eng.Lsm.lv

The annual foreign policy debate is taking place at the Latvian Saeima on January 24.

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvia to maintain troop presence in Afghanistan and Iraq  Eng.Lsm.lv

Despite US forces' expected withdrawal from Syria and reduction of their mission in Afghanistan, Latvia's National Armed Forces will continue its mission in Iraq ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvia and the UK agree over status of citizens arriving before Brexit  Eng.Lsm.lv

Latvia and the UK have agreed that the status of Latvians who will have arrived in the UK before March 29 won't change after Brexit even in the case of a ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvia's procurement watchdog blocks purchase of new trains  Emerging Europe

Latvia's Procurement Monitoring Bureau (IUB) has blocked the country's state-run railway company Pasažieru Vilciens (PV) from closing a 225 million-euro deal.

Emerging Europe
Latvian unemployment rises to 6.7% in January | News  leta.lv

RIGA, Feb 11 (LETA) - The registered unemployment rate in Latvia was 6.7 percent of the economically active population in January 2019, up 0.3 percentage ...

leta.lv
More than 126,400 dogs and 4,500 cats in Latvia have microchip implants  Baltic Times

RIGA - 126437 dogs, 4529 cats and 91 ferrets in Latvia have microchip implants, according to the Agricultural Data Center. &...

Baltic Times
Programmer, physiotherapist and pilot – top professions on Latvian Job Shadow Day  bnn-news.com

The Job Shadow Day 2019 was held on February 13 in Latvia and the professions of programmer, physiotherapist and pilot were the most attractive as 1 545 ...

bnn-news.com
Staffing crisis at Latvia's Emergency Medical Service stopped  Eng.Lsm.lv

The "mass outflow" of Emergency Medical *Service* (NMPD) staff has been stopped, Raita Krišjāne, deputy head of the NMPD Rīga regional center told the press ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Free spirit of early 20th-century theater showcased in native Latvia  Eng.Lsm.lv

On January 31, the National Library of Latvia is unveiling an exhibition decided to the avant-garde theater adept Asja Lācis. For the occasion, Latvian Radio ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvia gets a new government led by Krišjānis Kariņš  Eng.Lsm.lv

Nearly four months after parliamentary elections held on October 6, 2018, the Latvian parliament or Saeima on January 23 finally approved a new government.

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvia's strong growth continued at end of 2018  Eng.Lsm.lv

A flash estimate from the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) released January 30 showed that, compared to the 4th quarter of 2017, in the 4th quarter of 2018 ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvia lifts citizenship from fugitive after Russian court goes soft on him  Eng.Lsm.lv

Latvian institutions have given up on trying to obtain a prison sentence for Germans Milušs, a man accused of bribery, as a Russian court has convicted him, ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Annual Latvian-Estonian language award announced  Eng.Lsm.lv

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Latvia and Estonia announced January 28 the contest for the annual Latvian and Estonian Language Promotion Award ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvia calls on Russia to take constructive steps in retaining missile treaty  Baltic Times

RIGA - In a statement, the Latvian Foreign Ministry points out that NATO Foreign Ministers adopted a statement on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear...

Baltic Times
Latvia maintains position in Corruption Perceptions Index  Eng.Lsm.lv

The perception of corruption levels in Latvia remained unchanged in 2018 compared with 2017, according to the annual Corruption Perceptions Index published ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
New ambassador to Latvian diaspora appointed  Eng.Lsm.lv

A new "Ambassador-at-Large for the Diaspora" has been appointed, with a brief to communicate with Latvia's large overseas population - and perhaps persuade ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Number of Internet users in Latvia increases by 27,000 people over year  Baltic Times

RIGA - The total number of Internet users in Latvia increased by 27000 over the past year, according to a new Gemius survey on Internet usage t...

Baltic Times
18 Latvian startups "graduate" to next level of funding  Eng.Lsm.lv

The first 18 startups financed by ALTUM accelerator programs have "graduated" to the next level of their business lives, a release from ALTUM said February 12.

Eng.Lsm.lv
Baltic defense ministers sign memorandum on creation of new NATO HQ  Baltic Times

RIGA / TALLINN - The ministers of defense of Estonia, Latvia and Denmark during a meeting in Brussels on Thursday signed a memorandum of underst...

Baltic Times
Printful to open new logistics center in Latvia  Ecommerce News

Printing and fulfillment *service* Printful will open a new fulfillment center in Riga, Latvia. The company has outgrown its current facility, which is located in the ...

Ecommerce News
ERC title winners head to Latvia  fiaerc.com

Three reigning FIA European Rally champions will be competing in Latvia this weekend when Tibor Érdi Jr, Nikolay Gryazin and Mārtiņš Sesks tackle Rallijs ...

fiaerc.com
Object Number 100: Latvian railways' atomic shelter comes in from the cold  Eng.Lsm.lv

Not far from Rīga's busy Central Railway Station is a bunker. Built during the Soviet occupation years, it was known by a suitably anonymous and sinister name: ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Kariņš: policy of Latvia's new government to surface during 2020 budget talks  bnn-news.com

It is planned that the next government will start working immediately after approval in order to continue the work started by the last government and start tackling ...

bnn-news.com
Navalny associate: Putin's worst mistake was not leaving in 2008  Eng.Lsm.lv

Leonid Volkov, the man who managed the headquarters of Russian opposition frontman Alexei Navalny ahead of the Russian presidential election, spoke with ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvia picks first four finalists in semi-final 1 of 'Supernova'  Eurovision.tv

Tonight's Latvian qualifiers: Samanta Tina, Edgars Kreilis, Aivo Oskis and Laime Pilnīga. We will see them again on the 16th of February during the final of ...

Eurovision.tv
14% of Latvian residents think antisemitism is a problem  Eng.Lsm.lv

Latvians believe antisemitism is far less of a problem than does the average European Union resident, according to a public opinion survey carried out by ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvia seeks international treaty after ill-fated missile pact  Yahoo News

Latvia's foreign minister called Tuesday for long-term diplomacy to reach a new international agreement on intermediate-range missiles after the collapse of a ...

Yahoo News
Number of residents of Latvia's Valka after Estonian child allowances subsidies  Baltic Times

TALLINN - Many people living in the Latvian border town Valka have registered as residents of the neighboring Estonian town of Valga despite nev...

Baltic Times
Minister: Azerbaijan - important partner for Latvia  AzerNews

Azerbaijan is an important partner for Latvia, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said in a congratulatory letter on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of ...

AzerNews
Finance Ministry expects 3.2% growth this year, 3.0% next year  Eng.Lsm.lv

The Latvian Finance Ministry said February 14 it expects to see economic growth of 3.2% in 2019 and 3.0% in 2020. After that, growth rates are likely to tail off ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
National Library to recount fabulous story of Latvian pioneer of the avant-garde  Eng.Lsm.lv

She was an underrated cultural icon and forerunner of the dramatic avant-garde, perhaps better known outside her native land. The story of Asja Lācis, one of ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
KÉSZ Group wins big Latvia tender  Budapest Business Journal

Hungaryʼs KÉSZ Group has won a major state tender in Latvia, with the construction company set to manufacture and assemble the steel structure of Rigaʼs ...

Budapest Business Journal
Knicks Morning News (2019.02.14)  KnickerBlogger

By Mike Kurylo - Published: 02/14/2019 - No Comments; [NYDN] SHOCKER: Knicks lose again. There is no culture building (Wednesday, February 13, 2019 ...

KnickerBlogger
Latvia shows less than average rise in new commercial auto registration in 2018 - ACEA  Baltic Times

RIGA - In 2018, registration of new commercial transport vehicles (trucks and buses) in Latvia grew at a slower rate than on average in Europe, ...

Baltic Times
All coalition-forming parties in Latvia affirm participation in Kariņš's government  bnn-news.com

All parties forming the coalition in Latvia have made official decisions on participation in prime minister candidate Krišjāņis Kariņš's government.

bnn-news.com
Latvian roots of world-renowned clown “Coco the Clown”  Baltic Times

Latvia's second largest city hosts an impressive list of distinguished luminaries in their field who were born in Daugavpils (formerly known as Dvinsk). The list ...

Baltic Times
Latvians have fewer "healthy life years" than rest of EU  Eng.Lsm.lv

Latvian residents enjoy fewer "healthy life years" than any other European Union country, according to latest data from Eurostat released February 4.

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvian dispatcher featured in #HumansOf112 campaign  Eng.Lsm.lv

This year, the organization is using the opportunity to highlight the work of all the people working in the emergency services chain, using the hashtag ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvia supports engagement in Crimea of Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights  Baltic Times

RIGA - On January 17 in Geneva, Switzerland, the Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Janis Mazeiks, together with his counterparts from ...

Baltic Times
Point-to-point cameras arriving on Latvian roads starting April  Eng.Lsm.lv

Point-to-point speed as well as traffic light cameras are to appear on Latvia's roads starting April, the State Police said.

Eng.Lsm.lv
Uldis Streips, member of legendary Latvian exile band, passes away  Eng.Lsm.lv

Uldis Streips (1942-2019), a member of the famous Latvian exile band Čikāgas piecīši (The Chicago Five) passed away on January 30.

Eng.Lsm.lv
Latvia expects 20% rise in fruit and veg prices  FreshPlaza.com

FreshPlaza is the number one portal for the *fresh* produce industry, offering the latest news, job advertisements, pricewatching, and photo reports.

FreshPlaza.com
Latvian gasoline imports drop 5.7%, diesel fuel imports down 10.3% in 11 months  Baltic Times

RIGA - During the first 11 months of 2018, Latvian gasoline imports dropped 5.7 percent from the respective period a year ago, while diesel fuel imports fell 10.3 ...

Baltic Times
10 Latvian startups to look out for in 2019  EU-Startups

Latvia has a budding startup ecosystem, with the word “startup” having become an everyday term. A low cost of living, fast Internet, and new laws lowering ...

EU-Startups
NTV Mir Baltic might also be sanctioned for breaching impartiality rules - NEPLP  Baltic Times

RIGA - NTV Mir Baltic, a Russian television channel of the UK-registered Baltic Media Alliance Ltd, might be penalized for breaching impartiality rules in its ...

Baltic Times
US company acquires Latvia's Funderful  Eng.Lsm.lv

Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a US higher education company, has bought Latvia's Funderful for an undisclosed amount, Funderful founder and CEO Raimonds Kulbergs ...

Eng.Lsm.lv
Canadian soldiers' nightmare in Latvia  Modern Diplomacy

Latvia's Defense Ministry reported that January 9 a change in the top brass of NATO's enhanced forward presence in Latvia took place. Lieutenant-Colonel ...

Modern Diplomacy
Bite Latvija will not suspend its partnership with Huawei  Baltic Times

RIGA - Despite the security scandals involving Chinese technology company Huawei in recent months, Latvian mobile phone operator Bite Latvija wi...

Baltic Times
Elektrum starts selling natural gas to Latvian households  GlobeNewswire

Since the opening of the natural gas market in 2017, traders have been competing in the segment of business customers, whereas the *service* for households ...

GlobeNewswire
Tax inflows on target, excise duty receipts lower than projected in 2018  ERR News

While the inflow of tax money into the Estonian state budget in 2018 was consistent with the Ministry of Finance's expectations, receipts of excise duty on alcohol, ...

ERR News
New Latvian premier makes Estonia his first official foreign destination  ERR News

New Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (Unity) is making his first ever official foreign visit, with Estonia the destination.

ERR News
Latvian ambassador says UK ‘achieved more than it should’ in Brexit deal and EU WON’T move  Express

Baiba Braze, the Latvian ambassador to the UK, claimed Britain “achieved more than you ever should have” in Brexit negotiations with the EU. The European ...

Express
Tariff agreement once the Balticconnector pipeline is running  World Pipelines

The interconnected natural gas markets of Finland, Estonia and Latvia will open to competition in the beginning of 2020 once the Balticconnector pipeline is up ...

World Pipelines
Latvian financial sector is strongly dominated by local deposits; banks will now focus on domestic markets  Baltic Times

RIGA - The Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) has collected the Q4 2018 data on the transformation process of Latvian banking sector...

Baltic Times
Gallery: New Latvian prime minister's first visit to Estonia  ERR News

Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, who took over as head of the Latvian government late last month, paid his first foreign visit to Estonia, meeting with Prime ...

ERR News
Latvian men's and women's national hockey teams take part in tournaments in Korea  ACROFAN USA

From 6 to 8 February, the Latvian men's national hockey team took part in a special tournament in South Korea's Olympic city Gangneung held to celebrate the ...

ACROFAN USA
From Paris to Riga to where else?  American Thinker

Over the last two months, we've seen the so called "yellow vest" riots underway in France. It's become so routine that the media have grown tired of reporting it, ...

American Thinker
New York Knicks Cancel "Latvian Heritage Night" After Trading Porzingis  HotNewHipHop

Latvian Night no more at MSG. The New York Knicks have officially cancelled 'Latvian Heritage Night,' which was scheduled to be held on February 24 when ...

HotNewHipHop
Weekend will be a Latvian chiller  Eng.Lsm.lv

Find that thermal underwear in a hurry, as the weekend of January 26-27 is going to be a cold one, according to forecasters.

Eng.Lsm.lv
Court rules EUR 200 thousand bail for criminal suspect of Riga transport firm  bnn-news.com

A court in the Latvian capital has set at 200 000 euros the bail money for ex-board chairman of the Riga public transport company Rīgas satiksme, who is a ...

bnn-news.com
 

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Latvia ( or (listen); Latvian: Latvija [ˈlatvija]), officially the Republic of Latvia (Latvian: Latvijas Republika), is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. Since its independence, Latvia has been referred to as one of the Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, and Belarus to the southeast, and shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. Latvia has 1,957,200 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi). The country has a temperate seasonal climate.After centuries of Swedish, Polish-Lithuanian and Russian rule, a rule mainly executed by the Baltic German aristocracy, the Republic of Latvia was established on 18 November 1918 when it broke away and declared independence in the aftermath of World War I. However, by the 1930s the country became increasingly autocratic after the coup in 1934 establishing an authoritarian regime under Kārlis Ulmanis. The country's de facto independence was interrupted at the outset of World War II, beginning with Latvia's forcible incorporation into the Soviet Union, followed by the invasion and occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941, and the re-occupation by the Soviets in 1944 (Courland Pocket in 1945) to form the Latvian SSR for the next 45 years.The peaceful Singing Revolution, starting in 1987, called for Baltic emancipation from Soviet rule and condemning the Communist regime's illegal takeover. It ended with the Declaration on the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia on 4 May 1990, and restoring de facto independence on 21 August 1991. Latvia is a democratic sovereign state, parliamentary republic and a very highly developed country according to the United Nations Human Development Index. Its capital Riga served as the European Capital of Culture in 2014. Latvian is the official language. Latvia is a unitary state, divided into 119 administrative divisions, of which 110 are municipalities and nine are cities. Latvians and Livonians are the indigenous people of Latvia. Latvian and Lithuanian are the only two surviving Baltic languages.Despite foreign rule from the 13th to 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations via the language and musical traditions. However, as a consequence of centuries of Russian rule (1710–1918) and later Soviet occupation, Latvia is home to a large number of ethnic Russians (26.9% in Latvia), some of whom (14.1% of Latvian residents) have not gained citizenship, leaving them with no citizenship at all. Until World War II, Latvia also had significant minorities of ethnic Germans and Jews. Latvia is historically predominantly Lutheran Protestant, except for the Latgale region in the southeast, which has historically been predominantly Roman Catholic. The Russian population are largely Eastern Orthodox Christians.Latvia is a member of the European Union, Eurozone, NATO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations, CBSS, the IMF, NB8, NIB, OECD, OSCE, and WTO. For 2014, the country was listed 46th on the Human Development Index and as a high income country on 1 July 2014. A full member of the Eurozone, it uses the euro as its currency since 1 January 2014, replacing the Latvian lats.