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Latvia's former president, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, is shown here at a NATO summit in 2006. During her presidency, Latvia joined both NATO and the European Union in 2004.
April 1, 2014 Latvia joined NATO and the European Union a decade ago. Its former president sees these strong ties to the West as vital to maintaining its security and independence.
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A column of Russian troops prepares to leave the checkpoint at a bridge over the Inguri River in Western Georgia, in October 2008, after securing the secession of Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region.
March 19, 2014 From the Baltic states to Central Asia, plenty of former Soviet satellites have large populations of ethnic Russians — and more than a few of them are yearning to be free.
Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis.
November 27, 2013 Valdis Dombrovskis is taking "political responsibility." More than 50 people died last week when when the store's roof collapsed. Corruption, design flaws and substandard work all may have played roles.
A view from above of what remains of the Maxima supermarket in a suburb of Riga, Latvia, after Thursday's roof collapse.
November 22, 2013 A massive hole opened up as much of a supermarket's roof fell down on shoppers and store employees. Several firefighters who responded to the scene were also killed by falling debris.
Soaring birches, waiting to be tapped for sap
May 21, 2012 Boiling maple sap down to maple syrup isn't going away anytime soon, but it's getting some new competition from the humble birch. The tapping of the birch trees is a spring tradition in Latvia, but it's starting to catch on elsewhere.
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