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  • Originally published 06/21/2013

    Latvia’s medieval Riga Castle, a museum and presidential residence, damaged by fire

    RIGA, Latvia — A major fire has caused extensive damage to Riga Castle, the medieval fortress that houses the National History Museum of Latvia.Viktorija Sembele, a spokeswoman for the State Fire and Rescue Service, said Friday that the overnight fire damaged the roof and the second and third floors of the castle.She says some significant items in the museum suffered water damage but none was destroyed....

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    Latvia commemorates Waffen-SS

    RIGA, Latvia — Over a thousand Latvians on Saturday commemorated Nazi-allied World War II soldiers while police used force to prevent violence from erupting between participants and ethnic Russians, who are a minority in the country.Many Latvians consider March 16, or Legionnaires Day, an opportunity to commemorate war veterans, while Russians see it as an attempt to glorify fascism and whitewash a black chapter in Latvia’s history.Latvia, which gained its independence after World War I, was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940, then by Nazi Germany a year later, and again by the Soviets in 1944. During the Nazi occupation thousands of Latvians were forcibly conscripted into the Waffen SS divisions, and many Latvians consider them to be heroes who fought for independence from communism.Some 250,000 Latvians fought alongside either the Germans or the Soviets, with approximately 150,000 eventually dying in battles....