Estonia leads the EU in the use of amphetamines by young people and holds second place after the Czech Republic for ecstasy use, the results of a fresh European study indicate. According to the report published Nov. 22 by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 5.5 percent of Estonian residents in the 15 - 24 age group had used amphetamines within the past year. This is the highest ratio in Europe, with Latvia reporting three and Lithuania a little over one percent, according to the results of the survey.
Former Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen questioned the wisdom of Estonia's support of the policies of Ukraine and Georgia, stressing the need to maintain good relations with Russia. "If this implies cooperation in the security area, this is not a very realistic approach, and, in my view, there is no need to pursue a policy that would complicate relations with Russia," Lipponen said in a Nov. 23 interview on ETV. Estonia's Foreign Minister Urmas Paet responded on Nov. 27 that deepening cooperation with Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova is not directed against Russia but serves everybody's interests.
The Estonian Confederation of Trade Unions and the Estonian Employers' Confederation on Nov. 21 agreed on an official minimum monthly salary of 4,350 kroons (278 euros) for 2008. The minimum hourly pay according to the agreement will be 27 kroons. The new figures mark a significant increase from this year's minimums of 3,600 kroons a month and 21.50 kroons an hour. Estimates of the number of employees working at minimum wage levels in Estonia vary between 15,000 and 70,000.
A bill drafted by the Estonian Interior Ministry would ban the use of ski masks and balaclavas at public rallies, the Eesti Ekspress weekly reported on Nov. 22. Since the use of a face cover increases anonymity, it may encourage individuals to commit unlawful and violent acts, the bill's cover letter reads. The ban is part of the so-called "Bronze Night" package of legislation by which the ministry, among other things, seeks to grant police the right to ban individuals from certain locations for a period of 12 hours, the newspaper said.