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Sunday 01.02.2015 | Name days: Indars, Indra, Brigita, Indris

This week the world celebrates the birthday of vodka

January 31st is considered the unofficial birthday of vodka, because it was on this day in 1865 that famous Russian scientist Dmitry Mendeleev defended his work «A Discourse on the combination of alcohol and water». It is believed that he was the one to discover the ideal proportion of water and spirit, which forms the definition for vodka. Nowadays, vodka is the most popularly sold alcoholic drink in the world.

EU extends sanctions against Russia until September

European Union (EU) foreign ministers on Thursday, January 29, agreed to extend until September sanctions imposed on Russia. The 28-nation bloc also made a unanimous decision to include new names in EU’s asset freeze and travel ban black list.

Islamic State and Jordan organise hostage-prisoner swap

The Middle East terrorist group Islamic State on Wednesday, January 28, released on the internet a voice recording in which it seemingly extended the deadline for Jordan to hand a prisoner linked to al-Qaida in exchange for a Jordanian pilot held captive by Islamic State.

Facebook increases profits, continues to attract millions of active users

The web’s leading social network Facebook has released its latest quarterly data, indicating that in the last quarter of 2014 it earned USD 701 million, which is a 34% increase from the respective period in 2013.

EU foreign ministers to blame Russia for Mariupol attacks and hatred-inciting media campaign

Foreign ministers of European Union member states plan to blacklist more persons and entities engaged in Russia’s war against Ukraine and to react to Russia’s desinformation campaign – read the draft conclusions of Thursday's emergency meeting as seen by EU Observer news site. The conclusions must be adopted unanimously.

Greece forms new anti-austerity government willing to renegotiate bailout conditions

The Greek Parliament on Tuesday, January 27, approved the country’s new government formed by the Coalition of the Radical Left, right-wing anti-austerity party Independent Greeks and the Greek Green ecologist political party.

Latvian President will not attend in May 9th festivities in Moscow

President of Latvia Andris Berzins does not see it possible to travel to Moscow to attend festivities dedicated to Victory Day.

Pabriks: USA and Europe will have to be creative in increase of pressure on Russia

Recent events in Eastern Ukraine have put an end to the possibility of discussions in regard to reduction or cancellation of sanctions imposed against Russia, believes MEP Artis Pabriks.

Russia’s credit rating reduced to speculative level for first time in decade

U.S. rating’s agency Standard&Poor’s has for the first time in a decade reduced Russia’s credit rating to junk – meaning a level below investment grade.

Pabriks: election results in Greece are a dangerous turn for Europe’s future development

The victory of left-wing extremist Syriza in the recent elections in Greece is a dangerous turn for EU’s future development, because this could pave the way for left and right-wing extremists on the south of Europe as well, believes MEP Artis Pabriks.

Latvian embassy in Ukraine has no information on allegedly killed militant from Latvia

According to press-secretary of Latvian Interior Ministry Karlis Eihenbaums, Latvian embassy in Ukraine has no information about the allegedly killed militant from Latvia.

Oil price falls one percent as leftists win Greece’s parliamentary election

Oil prices globally fell more than one percent on Monday, January 26, with markets reacting to the results of Greek parliamentary election, where nearly half of seats were won by SYRIZA party that intends to renegotiate Greece’s massive bailout with its international lenders.

Anti-austerity party wins nearly half of seats in Greece’s snap parliamentary election

In Greece’s snap parliamentay election held on Sunday, January 25, the anti-austery Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) is likely to have won 149 out of 300 seats in the Greek parliament.

Photos of the week, 23.01.2015

BNN offers you to take a look at topical, interesting and simply beautiful pictures of this week.

The first militant with ties to Latvia may have been killed in Ukraine

According to information posted on a website dedicated to the conflict in Ukraine, the first Latvian citizen who decided to join the ranks of Ukrainian separatists may have been killed.