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Eesti in brief - 2005-09-28

  • 2005-09-28
Five people were hospitalized after 20-25 tourists fell ill with an unknown viral infection at the Viimsi Tervis spa hotel near Tallinn. The tourists' main symptoms were diarrhoea, nausea, head and muscle pain. In most cases, the symptoms disappeared after 12 hours. The five whose chronic illnesses took an acute form were sent to a local hospital for monitoring. The city's health protection authority has been informed, and samples have been sent to a virology lab for testing.

Parliament's constitutional committee has approved a government bill that would raise the defence force commander's monthly pay by more than 6,000 kroons (383 euros). The defence force chief, Vice Admiral Tarmo Kouts, currently earns 36,450 kroons per month, including benefits. If the amendment is approved, the defence commander's base remuneration will be five times the national average pay. Defense Minister Jaak Joeruut, who tendered his resignation this week (see story on Page 1), said that the system of remuneration no longer corresponded to the commander's importance in office. Joeruut added that the discrepancy in remuneration had resulted in a situation where many top and medium-level leaders were paid more than the top military commander.

The Tallinn City Council will discuss the possibility of launching a network of emergency sirens in public places. There are many companies situated in the city's territory that pose an increased risk for accidents, the analysis found, adding that the system would be vital in the case of a natural disaster or other crisis. Arvo Sirel, deputy departmental head at the Harju County Rescue Service, said that while the public media could inform people of potential risks, problems would arise if residents had to be alarmed immediately before or after an emergency. The survey suggested that a system made up of sirens working in interaction with the mass media would be efficient in informing residents about emergencies. The project would cost 300,000 kroons.

The small helicopter that crashed in the Lappland region of north Finland was piloted by an Estonian, the daily Postimees reported. Rannel Vassiljev, a pilot from the border service's aviation group, was navigating the Schweizer 300C aircraft when it came down near the village of Vuotso. According to the North-Finnish news portal Kaleva, the accident happened while Vassiljev was using the helicopter to herd reindeer. Flying low above a herd, the helicopter hit the top of a tree with its rotor blade and crashed. Reindeer farmer Mika Keskitalo, who was on the scene of the accident, said the herding went as planned until the chopper's rotor blade hit a tall pine-tree. The pilot, who is currently on leave, is believed to be in good health.

Tallink's passenger ferry, Regina Baltica, ran aground due to a technical failure while en route from Stockholm to Tallinn. None of the passengers on board were injured. After the ship worked itself loose from the reef, it proceeded to Sweden's Kappelskar Port, about 90 kilometers north of Stockholm.