By a vote of 52-26, parliament approved a revised language law that, unlike an earlier vetoed version, does not mandate the use of Latvian in private contracts or other private documents that do not have a public purpose or public audience. The revisions, backed by President Vaira Vike-Freiberga, comply with recommendations of the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe. All three organizations and the U.S. Embassy applauded the new law, which is much more accommodating to Latvia’s large Russian-speaking minority.

Note: The Weekly now takes two weeks off and will return on January 10, 2000.