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Letter from Riga

The financial crisis has hit Latvia hard. But its medical care remains excellent—it's just a shame there are so few Latvians to benefit

By Tom Chatfield   April 2009

As one of my friends has just found out, being sick in Europe’s sickest country—as Latvia was recently dubbed, thanks to half a year of economic decline that has been precipitous even by current standards—is a surprisingly painless business. At least, it is if you’re British and have travel insurance. We were there to make our contributions to one of the few still-booming games in town: that of the foreign stag night, a British industry now worth over £0.5bn thanks to the 70 per cent of pre-marital bonding/self-harming celebrations that now take place outside of Britain. In Latvia, as elsewhere,…

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