Eesti in brief - 2004-05-13

  • 2004-05-13
The recent referendum in Tallinn on alcohol sales restrictions resulted in a strong 64-percent "yes" vote in favor of the restrictions. A total of 21,688 registered Tallinn residents, or about 5 percent of the capital's population, cast their votes during the referendum held on May 3-9. The outcome of the referendum is binding to the City Council, which announced it would soon introduce concrete restrictions. The Tallinn municipality will not be the first to restrict alcohol sales in shops during the late evening and night. Towns such as Parnu, Haapsalu and others also banned retail alcohol sales at night, and from May 15 the town of Rakvere will follow their example.

Estonia lost about 180,000 people, or nearly 18 percent of the population, during the occupations before and after World War II, according to the White Book, a state commission report that calculated the damage sustained by the country. About half of this number died and the others went missing. A previous report assessed costs of fixing environmental damage caused by the Soviet military presence at $4 billion.

Four people died and three were severely injured during a fire in Tallinn on May 8. The fire in an old two-story wooden house was eventually extinguished with the help of five fire fighting crews. Because the fire spread quickly in one wing of the building, it was impossible to save three women and one man, according to the rescue department. About half of the building was destroyed. Police are investigating the case as experts believe it could have been arson.

A number of universities, the Estonian Film Foundation and Estonian Television signed an agreement last week on the creation of the Baltic Film and Media College, a new university that will focus on film and media education. Other partners from the film industry will have the opportunity to join later. Film and electronic media programs are available at five Estonian universities today and will be united by the new school to increase both academic and administrative efficiency.

UK police arrested 12 individuals from Eastern Europe, including several Estonians, in connection with a bank fraud, The Guardian reported last week. Suspects from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and Ukraine reportedly lured people into revealing Internet bank account user information. The con artists reportedly used a popular scheme called "phishing" - when e-mails lure recipients to visit fraudulent Web sites and divulge personal financial data such as credit card numbers, account usernames and passwords.