Eesti in brief - 2007-07-11

  • 2007-07-11
Estonians won first and second place at the annual world wife-carrying championships, held in Sonkajarvi, Finland, on July 7. The quirky race attracted 44 couples from 12 countries. Estonian Madis Uusorg, who ran the course with his wife Inga Klauson upside down on his back, won the event in a time of 61.7 seconds. He narrowly missed breaking the world record time of 56.9 seconds, which was set by his brother Margo last year. The two brothers have dominated the race in recent years 's Madis has won two races and Margo five 's but now say they will retire from the competition. Uusorg's prize was a plasma television and his wife's weight in beer.

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip has called on the nation to curb its borrowing binge after credit rating agency Standard and Poor's downgraded Estonia's outlook from stable to negative. "If borrowing and consumption continue at previous rates we'll apparently be facing a downgrade of the actual sovereign rating and not just the rating outlook," Ansip said. "Our loan interest rates might go up. Even if they rise by just half a percentage point, it will translate into a billion kroons annually for our borrowers." consumers have embraced easy credit in recent years, and instant loans are even available via SMS-messages. Economists have warned that the high rate of credit could overheat the economy.

A controversial Estonian film has won two awards at a film festival for Eastern European cinema. Director Ilmar Raag's film "Klass" ("The Class") scooped up the prizes at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic, which is considered by some to be the most respected film event in Eastern Europe. The film, which follows the tragic reaction of two classmates who are relentlessly bullied by their peers, won the Europa Cinemas Label award and a special mention in the festival's East of the West program. "Klass" has also signed a worldwide distribution deal, and plans are underway to turn the film into a television series.

Police in Tartu are hunting a man who robbed more than 100,000 kroons from a casino in that city. Police said the man entered the casino at 2:30 a.m. on July 9 and escaped with the cash. Nobody was injured during the robbery.