No swastika mittens for Nato leaders

Hundreds of Latvians knitting 4 500 pairs of woolen mittens as gifts for the November Nato summit have been told to avoid a folk symbol said to ward off evil since it looks like a Nazi swastika.

A spokesperson for the Nato leaders’ summit said the Latvian Thunder Cross, or Fire Cross, will not figure in the design of any of the thousands of unique pairs of mittens about 300 Latvians are producing for Nato delegates lest it be misinterpreted.

The Thunder Cross is a folklore symbol used as a charm against evil for Latvians. It quite commonly features on such mittens and other folk items in Latvian shops

The mittens will join a bottle of traditional Latvian spirits—Black Balzam—a CD of local folk music, a jar of honey and some Latvian tea in a gift bag for delegates.

Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga is expected to personally hand over the gift bag to the 26 heads of Nato member states, including United States President George Bush, who plans to visit Estonia as well during his Baltic stay. - Reuters

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