Eesti in brief - 2006-09-13

  • 2006-09-13
The Netherlands dispatched a new ambassador to Tallinn to replace Hans Glaubitz, who controversially quit his post in June. Glaubitz left Estonia in mid-August, citing racist and homophobic abuse directed toward his partner, Raul Garcia Lao. At the time, Glaubitz said Estonia was not yet ready to accept the idea of a relationship between two men of mixed race. A Dutch diplomatic representative said a new ambassador, Henk Van Der Zwan, has been appointed. Van Der Zwan has already begun working at the embassy complex.

A government study found that 76 percent of Finnish people had visited Estonia, confirming the northern nation's obsession with its cheaper southern sister country. Calculations by the Finance Ministry showed that 73 percent of Latvians, 5 percent of Germans and 4 percent of Britons had also visited Estonia. The Finance Minister said the calculations highlight how important tourism is for the country, as it accounts for 8 percent of the gross national product and employs 8 percent of the workforce.

Tartu University's rector, Jaak Aaviksoo, announced he would agree to run for prime minister as a candidate for the opposition party, the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica. Aaviksoo was one of four public figures shortlisted for the position of the parliamentary presidential candidate but was overlooked in favor of Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Ene Ergma. Aaviksoo said he now believed he could take on the position of prime minister. "The situation calls for people who so far have taken no part in politics to join the game," he said. Aaviksoo is one of three names being considered to lead the party to the general elections in March next year.

A 74-year old man opened fire at government workers in an office in Tallinn shortly before closing time on Sept. 11. Police said the man, a pensioner, shot the chief and deputy chief of the social welfare department of Haabersti city district. One of his victims was shot in the head and chest and remains in critical condition. The second victim was shot in the leg and is also currently in the hospital. The man was reportedly wearing a T-shirt depicting the faces of Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler. A criminal investigation into the shooting is underway.