Eesti in brief - 2005-01-06

  • 2005-01-06
Estonia will not use the U.S. modeled terror alert color system discussed last year, the Ministry of the Interior has announced. Rather, the ministry intends to further study the terror alert information systems used by other partner states.

About 14,000 children were born last year, or 800 more than in 2003, according to the office of the Population Affairs Minister. The natural population increase, or a combination of natural deaths and births, reached a positive balance in summer 2004 for the first time in the last several years. In Tallinn 4,805 babies were born last year, or about 500 more than in 2003.

The Family Doctors' Society reached a temporary agreement with the Estonian Healthcare Fund on Dec.30 and will not impose visit fees beginning January 2005, something that many feared last December. Family doctors, however, are pushing for even more money from the state budget and thus have approved only a three-month contract with the Estonian Healthcare Fund.

Four men wearing masks assaulted Madis Saretok, chairman of Viimsi county district council, and his family in what district officials believe was an act of revenge related to Saretok's job. The unidentified criminals broke into Saretok's house in Viimsi, a respectable suburb of Tallinn, on Dec.27, beat him up with rubber batons and tied his wife and two children with a phone cable. The police called the incident extraordinary and are investigating the case.

Former President Lennart Meri (photo) said it would be reasonable for Estonia to send a representative to Moscow in May for the Victory Day celebrations. In an interview to a local daily at the end of December, Meri said that Estonia and Latvia should sign the much anticipated border treaty with Russia but at the same time the Baltic countries should make it clear to everybody that World War II did not end for them on May 9. President Arnold Ruutel is yet to reject or accept his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin's invitation.

Mart Susi, former head of Concordia University, whose holding company went bankrupt in 2003, got a job with Tartu University's foreign student department. Tartu University rector Jaak Aaviksoo described Susi, who is currently a suspect in a criminal case, as the leading expert on attracting foreign students to Estonia.

Meri received the Grand Cross of the Knights Templar International O.S.M.T.H. at Kabelineeme on Jan. 4. Grand Chancellor of the order, Frederik S. Michelet, arrived in Tallinn to hand over the cross. Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani was established in 1804 in the sprit of the 12th century Knights Templar. After reorganization in 1995 the order began to serve the interests of soldiers retired from active service.