Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland said Estonia would continue meeting its obligations in Iraq even if an Estonian citizen ended up in the hands of terrorists. "Parliament has decided on extending the Estonian presence in Iraq, and we will certainly be there as long as the mandate is in force," she said, adding that the government had repeatedly discussed possible scenarios of action if a citizen were taken hostage and terrorists demanded that Estonia withdraw its units.
The interior ministers of Finland and Estonia have agreed on intensifying the fight against prostitution, Finland's Interior Minister Kari Rajamaki said. Finland could also involve Russia in these efforts, as most active prostitutes in Finland come from Estonia and Russia. Rajamaki could not specify how the cooperation might be arranged but said that the main efforts would be directed against pimping.
Between January and June of this year, 6,972 births were registered in Estonia, 491 more than the same period last year. Of the children born in the first half of 2004, 3,635 were boys and 3,337 girls. Last year, 6,481 children were born in the first six months (3,270 boys, 3,211 girls). Population Minister Paul-Eerik Rummo (photo) said that up to a thousand more births could be expected this year due to the parent's allowance law and in vitro fertilization.
In Tallinn, officers of the west police district uncovered the largest amount of pirated goods discovered so far this year. Police seized more than 6,000 pirated copies of film and music - most of Russian origin - in a Sole Street apartment in the capital. On the basis of agency information, economic crimes service members established that there was a pirated goods warehouse in the apartment.
The Estonian Jewish congregation wants the government to make public its official view on fascism. Head Rabbi Shmuel Kot and his congregation publicly stated that they were alarmed by events and undertakings connected with Estonians who had fought for the Germans in WWII. Jewish representatives, feeling this was a domestic affair, did not turn to either American or European parliaments. In June 2002, Parliament passed a statement on the crimes of occupation regimes in Estonia, saying that crimes of the National Socialist regime of Germany had been condemned on the international level, while comparable crimes of the Soviet Union had not.
Instead of 2008, Estonia may host the Chess Olympics as early as 2006, since Turin, Italy, has not met its obligations. This move was discussed at a meeting of Estonian Culture Minister Urmas Pet, World Chess Federation Vice President Morten Sand and Hendrik Olde, board chairman of the Estonian Chess Federation.