Eesti in brief - 2005-02-16

  • 2005-02-16
According to unofficial information, Reform Party Chairman Andrus Ansip has offered the seat of foreign minister to diplomat Margus Laidre. Laidre, general director of the Foreign Ministry political department, had not yet given a firm reply as of Feb. 15. The ETV television news station reported that Laidre, a graduate from Tartu University as a historian, was one candidate for minister. Laidre has been ambassador to Sweden, Germany and Vatican City. He is unaffiliated.

A commission under the auspices of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications said it considers pilots' poor discipline and mistakes to be the main reasons behind an increase in aviation accidents. In 2004, 32 minor incidents and six major accidents were registered, taking two lives and leaving one injured. In a report released this week, the commission recommended that the government re-introduce the implementation of license suspension or termination as a regulatory measure for private pilots.

The number of women with higher education has increased twofold in the last decade, which could put pressure on Estonian men due to possible female domination in the labor market, sociologists told the Postimees daily. Experts said that male students dropped out of high school and university more often to focus on money-making and take up business challenges, resulting in a higher share of women with diplomas.

A group of Swedish MPs visited Estonia to find support for a new investigation into the Estonia ferry disaster, which now takes into account the recently confirmed information that military equipment had been onboard the ship on two previous tours that month. The MPs pointed out a number of questionable aspects revealed by independent experts in the previous official investigation.

Parliament will discuss amendments to the Law on Elections in March, one of which will establish direct presidential elections 's one of the ruling coalition's key promises. The amendments also include a new impeachment procedure that can be initiated by a simple majority of parliamentary votes and approved by two-thirds of the MPs.

BALTSQN-10, the reconnaissance unit of 99 soldiers, returned home from its peacekeeping mission in Kosovo last week. The unit has been serving in the northeaster region of Mitrovica as part of a larger Danish unit. The Estonians were responsible for humanitarian projects, escort of civilian experts and control of vehicles. A Lithuanian unit will replace BALTSQN-10, while an Estonian military police unit and three senior officers continue to serve in Kosovo.

Harju County Court in Tallinn held a unique video session on Feb. 10 when a number of convicts in a suburban prison presented their appeals. The Justice Ministry plans to first test the new system, which keeps convicts from being transported to the courtroom. The ministry is also hoping to use video-conference technology to interrogate suspects and witnesses during Estonian-Finnish investigations.