BNN summary of the week. Problems with Lukashenko. Up in mortality. The end for New Generation

After a month of tight restrictions, Latvia’s government decided to ease restrictions – especially for the people who have undergone Covid-19 vaccination. The number of people who end up hospitalized with Covid-19 and the spread of the infection are both down. However, mortality caused by Covid-19 remains very high.
Latvia’s Central Statistical Bureau reports that 17% more people died in the first nine months of 2021 when compared to the same period of 2020.
Meanwhile the situation on the Belarusian-Polish border continues escalating. The UN has voiced public condemnation of the regime in Belarus for the situation with migrants. Aleksandr Lukashenko, however, makes no effort to stifle the flow of migrants and expresses shock over EU’s plans to impose tighter sanctions.
BNN gives you a summery of the most relevant events of the past week in the following topics: Mortality; Symbols; Ušakovs; New Generation; Covid-19 in Latvia; Migration crisis; Wave of murders in Mexico.
Mortality rate in Latvia up 17% this year
Photo: Ivars Soikāns/LETAThis year, 24 103 thousand deaths have been recorded up to September, which is 3.5 thousand or 17 % more than in the first nine months of last year.
The Covid-19 pandemic led to an increase in mortality, and the number of deaths in each month this year exceeded the figures for the same months last year, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.
The number of deaths was highest at the end of last year and the beginning of this year and has been rising rapidly in recent weeks. Although there has been an increase in deaths in almost all age groups, the number of deaths in the 60+ age group is 20 % higher this year than in weeks 1-42 last year.
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Latvian parliament official bans the use of Ribbon of St.George at public events
Photo: Evija Trifanova/LETAOn Thursday, 11 November, Latvia’s Saeima passed in the third reading amendments to the Law on Meetings, Processions, and Pickets and Law on the Safety of Public Entertainment and Festivity Events, banning the use of the Ribbon of St.George at public, entertainment and memorial events, as well as meetings, processions and pickets, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.
«Considering Russia’s expansion in Ukraine and its totalitarian ideology in relation to former USSR republics, Latvia has reason to believe there is sufficient threat to its democratic order and security. The meaning of the Ribbon of St.George as a symbol has changed over the course of time. By banning it, we would be able to limit the signs of the aforementioned ideology,» said chairman of Saeima’s Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee Artuss Kaimiņš at a previous meeting.
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Latvian MEP Nils Ušakovs stripped of immunity
Latvian MEP Nils Ušakovs. Photo: Zane Bitere/LETAOn Thursday, 11 November, the European Parliament decided to strip Latvian MEP and former mayor of Riga Nils Ušakovs of his immunity.
Commenting on this decision by the European Parliament, the politician said he has nothing to fear. Ušakovs said he invited other MEPs to vote in favour of stripping him of the immunity and he voted in favour as well.
«The investigation has continued since June 2019. Removal of MEP immunity will help speed up and finish this process. Then I will be able to prove the comical accusations against me are nothing but a bad joke,» said the MEP.
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Latvia’s prosecutor general requests shutting down the New Generation religious organisation
Latvia’s Prosecutor General Juris Stukāns. Photo: Zane Bitere/LETALatvia’s Prosecutor General Juris Stukāns has submitted to court a request to shut down the religious organisation known as New Generation.
The office of the prosecutor reports that on Wednesday, 10 November, Riga City Pārdaugava Court received a request from the prosecutor general on shutting down activities of two organisations: the New Generation Christian Evangelical Church and New Generation community in Riga.
In the request the prosecutor general also asks the court to apply a temporary measure – prohibition for those organisations to perform certain activities and engage in public events in person, church service included, regardless of the event’s location.
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Latvia’s government to lift part of Covid-19 restrictions, including late evening curfew
Photo: Zane Bitere/LETAFrom next Monday onward –15 November – Latvia will lift several existing Covid-19 restrictions, as decided by the government on Tuesday, 9 November.
The Cabinet of Ministers has added amendments to the order on the state of emergency provide for the preservation of the requirement for all face-to-face services to be provided only in «green regime». This does not apply to critically important services, however.
The government has also decided to lift the curfew.
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Part of UN Security Council criticises Belarus for migration crisis
Migrants from the Middle East and elsewhere gather to illegally enter the European Union at the Belarus-Poland border near Grodno, Belarus. Photo: AP/SCANPIXThe UN Security Council has discussed the migration crisis on the border of Belarus and the EU. Western and EU member states have condemned the actions of Minsk, while Russia has sought to blame Lithuania and Poland, British public broadcaster BBC reports.
In an emergency meeting on Thursday, November 11, Western member states issued a joint statement, accusing Belarus of putting migrants’ lives in danger «for political purposes». The countries – Estonia, Albania, France, Ireland, the UK and the US – also noted that Belarus was trying to divert «attention away from its own increasing human rights violations».
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People in Mexico protest against rising femicide problem
Relatives and friends of victims of femicide in a march in memory of their loved ones and to demand justice in Mexico City, Mexico, November 3. Photo: REUTERS/SCANPIXIn the streets of Mexico City, several hundred people have gathered in a protest to raise awareness of the femicide issue in Mexico, as hundreds of women are killed in the Latin American country per year, BBC reports.
As many as 975 women were killed in Mexico in 2020, and 762 deaths have occurred in the country from January to September this year. Femicide, which means the deliberate killing of women because of their gender, is increasingly a cause for concern in Mexico.
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