Eesti in brief - 2005-04-20

  • 2005-04-20
Tonis Lukas was elected chairman of the right-wing Pro Patria Union over the weekend. A former education minister, he said he was convinced the party would again come to power after the next general elections in two years' time. He even predicted that the Pro Patria Union would be one of the parties forming the next government. "It is likely, because being in the opposition and remaining there we have enough power left to return to the government," he was quoted as saying. Lukas justified the party's recent refusal to join a coalition with Res Publica and the Center Party by saying that Pro Patria's opportunities to ensure change would have been close to zero in such a coalition.

Heili Sepp, a prosecutor from the south regional office, sent an indictment of former Defense Minister Margus Hanson to the lower-level Tartu County Court. Sepp is accusing Hanson of disclosing state secrets through negligent behavior. According to the indictment, on Oct. 31 Hanson enabled illegal access to classified information, causing a loss of this information through carelessness. The current penal code entitles the court to imprison the defendant up to one year. Unidentified criminals broke into Hanson's house in Tartu and left with the defense minister's briefcase. Hanson had been in the house at the time, sleeping upstairs with his family.

Raivo Palmaru, the new culture minister, said he wants to revise the broadcasting regulation system. "We need a new independent regulator to control all broadcasting activities, from frequencies to content analysis, to an extent where effective laws are observed," said the minister, a member of the Center Party. Jaak Allik, member of Parliament's culture committee and of the broadcasting council from the People's Union, said he was aware of plans to set up a body dealing with broadcasting issues, adding that such a structure already operates in Latvia.

A forum of ethnic Russian and minority organizations gathered in Tartu to introduce the Council of Estonia's Russian Community. "We're talking about creating an advisory body for the Russian-speaking organizations active in Estonia based on the principle 'one organization 's one voice,'" Valeri Ivanov, chairman of the Union of Russian Citizens, Veterans and Compatriots, told the Baltic News Service.

The Hilton international hotel chain may relocate its call center from Paris to Tallinn. Hilton Reservations Worldwide director for Central and North Europe, Rombout Van Kuijk, said this week that the center, which is staffed with 30 French-speaking employees, would start work on June 1. The firm is hiring 15 to 20 extra staff members who can speak French. The Tallinn branch of Hilton Reservations Worldwide started work in 2001. At present, the call center has more than 150 employees who answer calls in 12 different languages.