Eesti in brief - 2005-03-30

  • 2005-03-30
German journalist Jutta Rabe criticized the commission recently created to investigate details involving the transportation of military equipment onboard the Estonia ferry that sank in 1994. In an open letter sent to President Arnold Ruutel, Legal Chancellor Allar Joks, former President Lennart Meri and leaders of political parties, Rabe stated that the commission did not possess enough expertise to deal with the matter. He added that the group should consist of people from countries that were not affected by the tragedy in order to provide unbiased results. Rabe had earlier carried out an independent investigation of the ferry disaster and made a documentary about it.

A group of 22 children who suffered through the hostage drama in Beslan, Northern Ossetia, arrived at a Haapsalu spa in western Estonia last week. Accompanied by 25 parents and teachers, the children will spend three weeks in the Baltic state. The funds, gathered by the Estonian Red Cross and other charities, were spent on rehabilitation and spa services for the children.

About 531,000 residents aged 15 to 74 use the Internet, a TNS Emor pollster survey revealed. The Internet audience has grown by about 52,000 people compared to 2004. About 44 percent of Internet users surf the Web every day, an increase of 5 percent compared with last year. The Internet audience also includes more females, people aged 25 to 49 and residents of smaller towns and villages.

Starting this year, the money-laundering bureau will carry out raids to discover if companies are following the Money Laundering and Terrorism Funding Prevention Act. Raids carried out in January and February revealed two companies that offered currency exchange services without respective license; both were fined. In three cases, employees did not verify the identity of a person during a transaction of over 6,400 euros, which contradicts the act. Police will first focus on companies involved in cash transactions of over 6,400 euros and non-cash transactions of over 12,800 euros.

In order to reduce hospital waiting periods, the National Health Insurance Fund will recommend that some patients attend medical institutions outside their hometowns. One example is the Tartu University clinic, which will have the opportunity to redirect patients to hospitals in Tallinn. Hospitals that receive extra patients will be compensated by the National Health Insurance Fund, which will also cover part of the clients' transportation costs.

Finnish custom officials last year confiscated a record amount of narcotics 's a total of nearly 2,300 kilograms valuing more than 4.9 million euros. The STT news agency reported that 92 percent of the drugs were discovered in the southern customs area. The amount confiscated included nearly 29 kilograms of amphetamine and more than 6,500 ecstasy pills. The amphetamine was smuggled into the country by Estonian drug traffickers, whose courier transported the illegal substance to Finland by truck, hiding the narcotics in different locations in the southern part of the country. Investigator Mika Lopmeri told STT that EU accession had made life busier for custom officials.