Eesti in brief - 2005-11-16

  • 2005-11-16
The Tallinn City Council elected Centrist Juri Ratas (photo) as mayor, with 32 votes 's all belonging to the Center Party 's in favor. Ratas, 27, was the deputy mayor responsible for municipal engineering, road building, environmental protection and crisis regulation in the previous city government. Previously he worked as economic adviser of the municipal office from February 2000 until April 2003.

The education and culture ministers of Estonia, Finland and Hungary want to step up three-way kindred peoples' cooperation. At a meeting in Brussels, the ministers discussed support for the Finno-Ugric peoples of Russia and subsidies from the European Union's educational and cultural programs. Education and Science Minister Mailis Reps said that Finno-Ugric peoples' activities should be organized in the kindred peoples' communities for as wide a circle of people as possible.

The water level in Parnu, Estonia's resort town, rose to 130 centimeters above normal levels and 20 centimeters short of the critical point where rescuers must start evacuating people from coastal areas. Parnu County has more than 400 people on alert - men from the Parnu Single Infantry Battalion, the Defense League, the police and the Rescue Service. According to the weather service, strong southwesterly winds were to blame for the water-rise. Stormy weather was also recorded in Riga, and along the coast of Latvia.

Edgar Savisaar, leader of the ruling Centrists, forecast that the capitals of Helsinki and Tallinn would have a joint city council in 10 years. In an interview with Helsingin Sanomat, a Finnish daily, the economy minister said that rapprochement between the two cities was an objective process, adding that the two countries' capitals were on the way to becoming a "twin city." He said ordinary citizens were the reason for rapprochement between the two capitals, as Finns were moving to Tallinn and people from Tallinn were going to work in Helsinki.

The government decided not to raise the rate of value-added tax on performance and concert tickets to the uniform level of 18 percent. But the government turned down a proposal to apply the 5-percent VAT level to movie, museum, art exhibition and sporting event tickets. Legal Chancellor Allar Joks found that the different value-added tax rate to concert tickets contradicted the Constitution and European Union law.

Estonia registered its 5,000th person testing positive for HIV on Nov. 11, the National Health Inspectorate said. During the first 11 days of this month, 11 new carriers of the virus were found, most of them in the northeastern Ida-Viru County and in Tallinn. The virus continues to be the most widespread among young people aged 15-24, but there are also infants and people above middle age among the patients.