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Eesti in brief - 2007-11-21

  • 2007-11-21
At Amari air base on Nov. 20 military, police and other state agencies took part in practice drills for handling a renegade aircraft situation, one in which terrorists have hijacked a civilian plane. The role of the renegade was played by a L-410 aircraft belonging to the Border Guard Aviation Unit and the terrorists on board were played by police officers. In addition to detecting a potential renegade and forcing it to land, several post-landing scenarios were covered including storming the aircraft, rendering an explosive device harmless, evacuating injured people, detaining criminals and firefighting.

In a sign of what's to come when the Baltic countries join the Schengen zone on Dec. 21, the Interior Ministry has announced is about to sell most of the border guard facilities on the Estonian-Latvian border. The first four properties are expected to be put up for auction next summer, Merle Kungas, vice secretary general of the Interior Ministry in charge of administrative affairs, told Eesti Paevaleht. The properties are those at the main road checkpoint at Ikla, at Jaarja, a village in Parnu County, and at Lilli and Holdre villages in Viljandi County.

A change in design has been made to the Freedom Monument that will be erected in Tallinn's Victory Square. The Estonian Cross of Liberty at the top of the monument's spire will be made of glass, not dolomite as originally planned. "Glass will rid the monument of the aura of a grave monument," said Rainer Sternfeld, one of the work's authors. The authors decided to change the initial design after it attracted criticism from a number of artists and politicians. The height of the monument also has been cut from 28 meters to 26 meters.

German customs officials have cracked an extensive worldwide chicken meat smuggling operation and suspect Estonian customs officers of being involved. Under the scheme 1,200 tons of Brazilian chicken meat are suspected of being brought into Europe via Hamburg over the last two years with documents showing they were moving out of the EU, while in reality the meat ended up in southern Germany, thereby saving importers two million euros in duties. Estonian customs officials are suspected of providing the false export stamps.