Republic of Latvia Latvijas Republika
CAPITAL : Riga
FLAG : The flag consists of a single white horizontal stripe on a maroon field.
ANTHEM : Dievs, sveti Latviju! (God bless Latvia!)
MONETARY UNIT : The lat was introduced as the official currency in May 1993; $1 = Ls0.57; as of May 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is in force.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Good Friday (movable); Midsummer Festival, 23–24 June; National Day, Proclamation of the Republic, 18 November; Christmas, 25–26 December; New Year's Eve, 31 December.
TIME : 2 PM = noon GMT.
The topography of Latvia consists mainly of a lowland plain with a few areas of uplands consisting of moderate-sized hills.
Latvia was admitted to the UN on 17 September 1991. The country is a member of EBRD, ECE, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, the IMF, OSCE, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, and the WTO. Latvia was formally invited to join the EU and NATO in 2002, with accession to each body planned for 2004. It is not a member of the CIS.
The total catch in 2000 was 136,403 tons, down from 416,197 tons in 1991. Nearly all the landings are from marine fishing. Principal species include sprat, herring, sardines, cod, and mackerel. Fish packing is an important industry in Latvia; in 2000, fisheries exports amounted to nearly $33 million.
Guntis Ulmanis has been president of Latvia since July 1993, and was reelected in 1996. Turis Alumans was Latvia's first poet. He started a school of poetry that produced the poets Krisjanis Barons (1823–1923) and Atis Kronvalds in the 19th century. Romantic literature in the 20th century was symbolized by Janis Rainis's Fire and Night .
Latvia has no territories or colonies.
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