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Eesti in brief - 2006-07-26

Jul 26, 2006

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso gave his support to the idea of introducing the title of Green Capital of Europe. The expression of support came in a letter to Tallinn Mayor Juri Ratas, who devised the proposal for a Green Capital competition to encourage cleaner cities. Barroso said the excellent initiative should encourage local governments even more to improve the environment of towns and cities and aspire toward healthier and more sustainable cities. Barroso said the proposal complemented the EU's "Thematic Strategy on the Urban Environment." Ratas, a member of the Center Party, said the letter from Barroso was enormous recognition for Tallinn and all Estonia. Ratas earlier made the proposal of Green Capital of Europe, which would be awarded annually to the European city that has excelled the most in protection of the environment. So far, 40 cities have thrown their weight behind the concept, which needs the full approval of the European Commission to come into effect.

Chairman of Estonian Oil Shale Mati Jostov, 47, died when his four-wheel drive veered off the road early on July 25, police said. The accident occurred at 6:45 a.m. on the Johvi-Tartu road. Jostov was driving alone and not wearing a seatbelt. Police said the accident could have been the result of fatigue or illness. There were no signs that Jostov attempted to brake before veering off the road, a usual indicator when accidents are caused by sleep. A spokesman for Estonian Oil Shale said Jostov, who lived in Tartu with his wife and three children, was on his way to work in Johvi in the northeast. He had just ended a month's vacation, and this was supposed to be his first day back at work. Jostov is the latest in a string of horrific accidents on Estonian roads. Earlier this month the driver of a sports car was killed when he spun out of control while traveling at 230 kilometers per hour along a narrow highway.

Estonians believe they need at least 10,000 kroons, or 640 euros, per month to live a "normal life." While the gross monthly pay averaged about 9,000 kroons, many believe this is not enough to live normally, according to a poll published in the daily Postimees. Estonians are finding it more difficult to afford household items, as costs increase to match European standards, while wages remain relatively stagnant. The survey commissioned by the paper was carried out by TNS Emor pollsters, with the aim of finding out Estonians' opinion on how big one's monthly net wages should be to be able to lead a "normal life." It was up to each respondent to decide what "normal life" constituted, the paper observed. Some 28 percent of the more than 500 respondents aged 15-74 found one needs a net monthly income of 10,000 kroons. In the opinion of 24 percent of the polled, it is sufficient to pocket between 5,001 and 9,999 kroons a month, and 16 percent think one cannot manage well with an income below 15,000 kroons.
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