Eesti in brief - 2007-03-14

  • 2007-03-14
The Tallink-owned Silja ship Serenade narrowly averted a collision with a cargo tanker that had lost power and drifted into the path of the passenger liner on March 9. The incident happened at 5:30 a.m. near Finland's Arland archipelago as the ship was steaming between Stockholm and Helsinki with 1,850 passengers on board. The ship's watch spotted the drifting tanker Baltic Bright, which had no signal lights or engine power due to a blackout on board. The company said the Serenade stopped some 200 meters from the tanker, although other media reports said the distance to collision was 70 meters.

Jordanian officials have backed down from a plan to force single Estonian women to apply for special entry visas. The Interior Ministry issued a directive ordering that women aged between 17 and 40 traveling alone from several eastern European and African nations only be granted entry under a restricted visa. The plan was seen as an attempt to crack down on prostitution, but tourism operators quickly protested that the directive would offend many potential tourists.

The Estonian drug squad said they made a major seizure of narcotics during two separate raids on March 12. Police seized 245 grams of the opioid drug known as "white Persian" in the Lasnamae apartment of a 31-year-old man. In another raid on the same night, police arrested a 25-year-old man and found 97 grams of cocaine in his Kopli apartment. A police spokesman said the drugs had a street value of nearly one million kroons.

A US-prepared human rights report found there were no serious problems within Estonia, but called attention to its poor prison conditions and domestic violence issues. The 2006 U.S. Human Rights Report said there were reports of police and prison officials using excessive force during interviews. It also called attention to jailhouse overcrowding, the statistics on spousal abuse and child abuse, and aired complaints about Estonia's enforcement of its language policy.