Eesti in brief - 2004-08-19

  • 2004-08-19
A group of U.S. congressmen led by Senator John McCain will arrive in Estonia on Aug. 21. McCain, accompanied by senators Hillary Clinton, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and John Sununu, will meet Prime Minister Juhan Parts, Foreign Affairs Minister Kristiina Ojuland and Defense Minister Margus Hanson. The visit will focus on further development of Estonian-U.S. partnership in bilateral relations and international organizations.

BALTSQN-10, the largest Estonian peacekeeping unit, reached Kosovo and started with its mission Aug. 17. The 95-strong unit will be involved with patrol missions, lookout manning and other assignments in the Mitrovica district. BALTSQN-10 replaced Latvia's BALTSQN-9, which has been in Mitrovica since February.

An Estonian citizen permanently residing in Pechory, Russia, and identified as 34-year-old Igor, was detained on the Estonian-Russian border last week during an attempt to smuggle over 46,000 cigarettes to Estonia. Estonian customs officials discovered a secret compartment in Igor's car.

The Tallinn population hit the 400,000 threshold on Aug. 12 when the birth of Amanda-Matilda Puri was registered. The capital's population has been increasing mostly due to employment-caused immigration from other parts of Estonia and since more people have been registering themselves as Tallinn residents in order to receive municipal benefits.

The number of daily traffic accidents in Tallinn grows from 15 to about 37 - or over 100 percent - in hot weather, according to the traffic police. About 40 percent of drivers who commit a fault leading to a traffic accident try to flee the scene. Police manage to catch about half of those.

Population Affairs Minister Paul-Eerik Rummo (photo) discussed minority integration issues with his Latvian colleague Nils Muiznieks on Aug. 16 in Tallinn. Rummo expressed his support of Latvia's attempts to make Latvian language classes in Russian schools more efficient. Rummo said that "the attempts of the Russia's revanchist forces to twist the situation in the Baltic states by playing on the national feelings of the Russian people living in our countries are doomed as they contradict the actual interests of those people."

It took Parnu residents less than three hours to snatch all 40 brand new sofas put near public transport stops on Aug. 12 as part of a furniture store's advertising gimmick, the Parnu Postimees reported. The store initially planned to leave the sofas at bus stops for one week for the convenience of Parnu residents.

A large amount of World War II ammunition was recovered and destroyed in Kilingi-Nomme, Parnu county, on Aug. 15. According to the rescue department, all explosive material from the 134 50-millimeter trench mortar shells of Russian origin recovered was in good condition.