Eesti in brief - 2006-02-15
Vice Admiral Tarmo Kouts, commander of the nation's defense forces, left for Iraq to meet with Estonian officers currently serving in the war. Kouts was scheduled to meet with members of the multinational coalition. The commander is accompanied by acting commander of the Estonian Army Lt. Col. Meelis Kiili and chief of the general staff's operations unit Major Sten Reimann. There are currently 38 Estonian soldiers serving in Iraq.
The Supreme Court discussed the restitution or compensation of property to people who resettled in Germany in 1941 and said it would pass a ruling on the matter in April. A court spokesperson said the Supreme Court handling the matter in a full session would pass a ruling in two months, whereas usually it rules in one month. Parties reclaiming their property and tenants' representatives attended the court session, as well as representatives of Parliament, the government, the legal chancellor and Justice Minister Rein Lang.
Parliament scrapped a bill that would have given Estonians an extra day-off if a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday. The bill, which was a second-attempt, was removed from Parliament's agenda with 47 votes against, seven in favor and one abstention. Speaking on behalf of Parliament's social affairs committee, which opposed the bill, Reform Party MP Leino Magi cited the government's opinion that the explanatory letter accompanying the bill did not analyze the proposal's economic impact, nor did it include word from the employers' central association. The government also said that, while the proposal would help improve the well-being of employees and uphold social values, the matter should be solved between the employee and employer.
The number of brothels in Tallinn has declined substantially over the past couple of years, the Linnaleht newspaper reported. If as recently as a few years ago there were a little over 40 so-called "clubs" where intimate services could be bought, then there are less than 10 now. "And even of these, many are on the verge of extinction," North Prefecture spokesperson Tuuli Harson was quoted as saying. She added that the number of so-called apartment brothels had declined as well. In 2004, 43 criminal investigations were launched into alleged cases of pimping, and 37 investigations in 2005. Prostitution is not illegal, but pimping is a criminal offense punishable by up to five years' imprisonment.
Parliament's national defense committee discussed whether the presidential residence needed a fence around it. Kalev Timberg, the interior ministry general secretary, and Police Chief Raivo Aeg briefed the committee on the outcome of a disciplinary probe conducted at the Police Board, as well as on planned security measures for the presidential palace. According to the evaluation, a barrier should surround the square in front of the palace since as it is now anyone can approach the premises unhindered. But MPs said that a security fence would not complement the historic Kadriorg park, and that instead options that would better suit the park's environment should be weighed.