Eesti in brief - 2005-02-09

  • 2005-02-09
About 44 percent of eligible voters have no clear political preferences, according to a January poll carried out by TNS Emor among 742 respondents. The share of the undecided has grown 15 percent compared with December 2004, which shows that voters have failed to distinguish between various political parties, experts concluded. Ratings of all major parties have plunged by several percent, compared with December. The Reform Party took the lead with 14 percent, while the Centrists were one percentage point behind. Res Publica and Pro Patria Union have 7 percent each.

A freight ship with an Estonian crew sank off the Faroe Islands on Feb. 7, the Estonian Maritime Board reported. One sailor died, and five were still missing as of Feb. 8. Five sailors were rescued, the board stated. The merchant ship Jokulfell registered in the Isle of Man went down about 60 nautical miles northeast of the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic. According to preliminary data by the Foreign Ministry, there were four Estonian nationals and a Russian citizen among the survivors. In total, seven seamen carrying Estonian passports were on board the ship.

The government will contribute about 16.7 million euros to restore property and infrastructure damaged by the record storm and flood that took place on Jan. 8 - 9. According to the Finance Ministry, the total damage amounts to about 44 million euros. Apart from governmental help, insurance companies and local municipalities will also provide compensation for damages.

Citizens could enjoy a visa-free travel regime with Canada starting this year if the country's immigration survey does not find Estonian visitors a threat, according to a group of MPs. Estonia dropped visa requirements for Canadian citizens on May 1, 2004, following EU accession.

Tax and Customs Board officials arrested a Dutch citizen who was charged with smuggling 350 kilograms of cocaine from Brazil into Belgium in May 2004. According to the board, the suspect has been living in southern Estonia since last summer.

A security guard captured a 35-year-old construction worker while trying to rob a bank in Tartu on Feb. 7. The robber, who carried an imitation explosive device along with a real home-made explosive, demanded 300,000 kroons (19,169 euros) from the teller.