The Justice Ministry is working on a bill that would reduce jail sentences for criminal official misconduct and raise the sum of embezzled money that qualifies as office-related crime. The bill would result in material damage surpassing 269,000 kroons (17,200 euros). Under the effective penal code, criminal misconduct is an act that causes material or nonmaterial damage of more than 206,900 kroons. The ministry finds that penal code articles on economic crimes need to be revised because of various Supreme Court rulings that acquitted suspects. "We affirm that the fight against organized crime will be stepped up under this bill, and the law will become tougher in this respect," a representative of the ministry said.
A joint secretariat to coordinate and provide technical support to cooperation projects of the Estonian and Latvian border cities Valga and Valka started work this week. The two-member secretariat was set up within the framework of a new project 's "Valga-Valka: 1 City, 2 States" 's in Valga Town Hall. One of the members of the secretariat comes from Estonia and the other from Latvia. Both are fluent in Estonian and Latvian, a Valga official said. The joint secretariat drafts and translates cooperation projects and other documents, coordinates cooperation between the two cities and provides support to joint events and projects.
Air Force servicemen will replace three personnel serving on the platform team of the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, the General Staff said. The first two specialists from the outgoing team are scheduled to return to Tallinn on Dec. 19 and the last member is due to arrive some time before Christmas. Previously, Estonian flight controllers and a meteorologist have served on missions at Kabul airport. Twenty-three Estonian personnel are serving in NATO's ISAF peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan. Estonian defense forces have been taking part in the NATO peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan since March 2003.
A commission of representatives from the Prosecutor's Office, security police and information board are looking into whether the passenger ferry Estonia that sank 11 years ago was carrying military equipment. It will submit its new report to the Estonian government next week. A government spokesman said the Cabinet would study the report in the coming weeks, and materials would later be made public. The commission was entrusted to find out whether there were any significant circumstances that have not been thoroughly investigated until now. The government set up the commission in March.
Soldiers of the ESTPLA-12 infantry platoon that flew to Iraq on Dec. 11 were issued uniforms of modern digital pattern camouflage, which so far has been introduced only in a few armed forces worldwide. The digital pixilated desert uniforms and uniforms in greenish color, designated for use in the Estonian climate, will gradually replace the present camouflage that has been used since 1992.