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A weekly podcast that discusses the latest happenings in Latvia, hosted by Otto Tabuns and Joe Horgan

A weekly podcast that discusses the latest happenings in Latvia, hosted by Otto Tabuns and Joe Horgan
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A weekly podcast that discusses the latest happenings in Latvia, hosted by Otto Tabuns and Joe Horgan




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LW #42: PNB (Norvik) Bank Shutdown and News from August 12th - 18th, 2019

Joe and Otto are back in Rīga to celebrate the annual city festival and discuss the ECB's sudden closure of PNB Bank (formerly Norvik) as well as major updates to long-running stories such as the road to a new Mayor of Rīga, a compromise in regional reform, increased heat in the showdown between the University of Latvia and Minister of Education Ilga Šuplinska, and much more! Opening and closing music by Anna Veisa Weather theme: Smooth Jazz (am) by Backing Track Ninja Source:...


LW Interviews: Latvian Holocaust Historian Richards Plavnieks

The Holocaust will always be one of the darkest chapters of Latvian history, and it is up to historians like Richards Plavnieks, Assistant Professor of History at Florida Southern College, to chronicle this painful period. Joe sits down with Dr. Plavnieks to discuss his work studying the infamous "Arājs Kommando" as well as his experiences growing up as a Latvian-American on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.


LW #41: City Council Countdown and News from August 6th - 11th, 2019

With time ticking before an August 20th deadline set by opposition parties, in which Rīga City Council must agree upon a new mayor or face extraordinary elections, former Mayor Nils Ušakovs phones in from Brussels with an offer that key independent councillors seem eager to refuse. Joe and Otto discuss potential stalemate-breaking scenarios as well as a scandal-plagued bridge, a showdown over the University of Latvia rector's election, a major win for Latvian beach volleyball, and a fake...


LW #40: Happy Birthday to Latvian Railways and News from July 30th - August 5th, 2019

Otto has returned to Latvia to celebrate a major anniversary with Joe! No, not the show's 40th episode, but the 100th birthday of Latvijas Dzelceļš, the country's rail authority! Other topics of discussion include major updates to the Kariņš government's plans, a drought in the south of Kurzeme, a new US ambassador to Latvia, and a bridge that belongs to no one in desperate need of repairs. Opening and closing music by Anna Veisa Weather theme: Smooth Jazz (am) by Backing Track Ninja Source:...


LW Presents: Akenfelds on the Road Pt. 2 — Cycling through Eastern Latvia

After 58 days and over 1500 km of cycling, Latvian-Australian Kris Akenfelds has brought his journey across Latvia to a close and joins Joe once again in Jelgava to tell stories from the eastern half of his journey as well as some of his major takeaways from spending summer all throughout the Latvian countryside. Photo Credit: Ivo Kruusamägi Opening and closing music: Bicycle - Reunited by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a...


LW #39: Public Radio Predicaments and News from July 23rd - 29th, 2019

With Otto and Olevs still away in America, recently returned cross-country cyclist and regular contributor Kris Akenfelds sits down with Joe to discuss more trouble at Latvijas Radio, the country-wide blocking of a Russian news portal, countryside residents' opinions of regional reform, and whether to regulate parking of the newly popular electric scooters.


LW Interviews: Latvian Debate Association Members Rasmuss Filips Geks and Edgars Klētnieks

With debate season in full swing back in his home country of America, Joe sat down this week with Latvian Debate Association "Quo Tu Domā?" board members Rasmuss Filips Geks and Edgars Klētnieks to discuss bringing critical thinking to the classroom, building logical arguments, evaluating information sources and much more. Take a break from arguing with your Facebook friends for an hour to listen in and improve your debating skills today! Opening and closing music by Austra Apsīte


LW #38: JKP's "Yellow Card" and News from July 15th - 22nd, 2019

As the New Conservative Party (JKP) signals that their willingness to cooperate with the rest of the Kariņš government coalition is running low, the government searches for a solution to the Latvian Radio funding crisis. Otto phones in from Washington DC to discuss these topics with Joe and much more, including a possible rise to minimum wage, a Latvian national being held captive by Iran, and great news for Latvia's rail network. All this, plus a final check-in from Latvian-Australian...


LW Interviews: Freelance Journalist Anna Ūdre

For the first interview episode in some time, Joe sat down with freelance journalist and voice of "The Baltic Reports" podcast Anna Ūdre to discuss a wide range of topics including the pros and cons of working as a freelancer in Latvia, the relationship between politicians and media, the role of advertising in funding public media, and much more!


LW #37: Bribes, Broken Bikes, and News from July 10th - 14th, 2019

Despite the short amount of time between episodes, there was plenty for Joe to discuss with Otto in his first time back on the show this month, with developments in the Baiba Broka bribery case, threats by Jaunā konservatīvā partija to sack Rīga city council altogether, major economic statistics released for the first half of 2019, and much more! They were even finally able to finally call Latvian-Australian cross-country cyclist Kris Akenfelds to hear about his latest adventures and...


LW #36: Levits Inaugurated, Broka in Custody, and News from July 3rd - 10th, 2019

After more than a month as "president-elect," Mr. Egils Levits was finally handed the keys to Rīga castle by outgoing President Raimonds Vējonis. On the other side of town, former Nacionālā apvienība mayoral candidate Baiba Broka spent time in very different accommodation — a jail cell in Čiekurkalns after being detained by KNAB agents over bribery allegations. Join Olevs and Joe as they break down these developments and others including major passenger rail contracts, new initiative...


LW #35: Ušakovs Under Investigation and News from June 27th - July 2nd, 2019

As if there wasn't enough political drama this week with KNAB announcing a status of "suspect" for former Mayor Nils Ušakovs just days before assuming his duties as an EU parliamentarian, the resignation of the entire temporary supervisory board of Latvenergo as well as major developments in the ongoing green energy subsidy corruption debacle certainly kept things interesting. Join Joe and Olevs as they take you through these stories and more, including yet another pothole in the road...


LW #34: City Council Confusion and News from June 20th - 26th, 2019

While Rīga City Council might be quickly running out of ways to avoid a messy early election, Otto and Joe certainly aren't in danger of running out of issues to discuss, with major topics such as the final 2026 Olympic decision, the rejection of a civil partnership bill, and the dismissal of the entire Latvenergo energy utility's board all happening throughout what was expected to be a slow news week following Latvian midsummer celebrations. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this episode...


LW Presents: Akenfelds on the Road — Cycling through Western Latvia

Join Joe as he sits down with Latvian-Australian Kris Akenfelds, who is halfway through a 2-month cycling journey along Latvia's entire border and a few places off the track. Kris recounts some of the most interesting places he's been to and people he's met, as well as a brush with the supernatural and a few life-changing moments along the way. Photo credit: Bhavishya Goel Opening and closing music: Bicycle - Reunited by Kevin MacLeod...


LW Presents: The 2019 Līgo/Jāņi Midsummer Special with Austra Apsīte

Līgo, Līgo, visiem! In honor of this year’s quickly approaching midsummer celebration, Joe sat down with 2x2 Latvian youth camp volunteer Austra Apsīte to discuss Jāņi traditions, clear up midsummer myths, and even share some traditional Līgo music. Whether you're a midsummer newbie or a lifelong "Jāņa bērns," you're likely to learn something interesting about this important time of the year for Latvian culture! Opening music by Austra Apsīte Photo courtesy of Austra Apsīte


LW #33: Coalition Cracks and News from June 12th - 19th, 2019

With small cracks starting to appear in Attistibai/Par! and giants fissures widening in KPV LV, Joe and Olevs discuss the stability of both parties as well as the coalition as a whole. Other major topics include updates in health and financial reforms, an increase to teachers' salaries, a knockout performance by Briedis, and a sad day of remembrance for all Latvian people.


LW Interviews: Archaeology Assistant Jānis Tomašuns

In this next installment of the summer interview series, Joe sits down with local archaeology assistant Jānis Tomašuns to talk about some of the surprises hidden throughout Latvia just a few centimeters below the ground as well as his experience going on digs throughout the country.


LW #32: Tropical Troubles and News from June 5th - 11th, 2019

What began as Joe and Olevs' going away party for Otto ended in disaster thanks to the abnormally tropical weather overheating Joe's laptop and erasing the first ever episode all three had recorded together. Sadly, the loss of a podcast episode was far from the most serious consequence of the heatwave, with severe thunderstorms, hail damage, and drownings being reported throughout the country. Join Joe as he tries his best to recount the major domestic happenings of the week solo before...


LW Interviews: Latvian Bible Society Gen. Secretary Valdis Tēraudkalns and Editor Ņikita Andrejevs

This week, Joe returns to the University of Latvia's Theology Faculty to sit down with Professor Valdis Tēraudkalns and lecturer Ņikita Andrejevs to discuss their work with the Latvian Bible Society in editing the most recent translation of the Bible to Latvian and the challenges of producing a work that can satisfy Latvia's diverse Christian community, as well as why theology is worth studying in the 21st century. Intro and outro music: Chill Day by LAKEY INSPIRED is licensed under a...


LW Presents: End Of An Era — The Tenures of President Vējonis and Mayor Ušakovs

Now that the book has been closed on the presidency of Raimonds Vējonis and the mayoralty of Nils Ušakovs, it's time for Otto and Joe to look back and evaluate the time these men spent in two of the three most high-profile jobs in Latvian politics and what their legacies will likely be. Opening and closing music "Pane in the Glass" by Lee Rosevere is used with a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution license.