Eesti in brief - 2008-07-30

  • 2008-07-30
During the past five years drug abuse has increased among schoolboys, but slightly decreased among schoolgirls. Today 23.4 percent of schoolboys use narcotics, when five year ago that number was 16.8, said the municipal press service. Among schoolgirls the percentage has fallen from 10.8 percent in 2003 to 8.4 in 2008. Although the amount of smokers has decreased, more than one third of schoolchildren smoke, 14.2 percent of them smoke daily. Consumption of sweetened beverages and sweets has grown, while children eat less whole and rye bread. 45 percent of children said they eat fast food several times a week to daily. Five year ago the figure was 31 percent. Sports have become more popular -- only 25 percent of interviewed boys and 29 percent of girls did no sport regularly outside of school.

 Skinheads and activists of the pro-Russian movement Night Vigil accompanied the veterans of Estonian Waffen SS who had taken part in battles in World War II, but no incidents were registered by the police. In total there were around 200 people, including about 10 skinheads and 10 members of Night Vigil. Members of Night Vigil did not carry any posters or banners, but they had ribbons around their hand, indicating their membership. All SS veterans wore civilian clothes. On Saturday the police dispatched additional patrols to Vaivara rural community to provide security to the Waffen SS veterans. The event itself took place in Sinimaed. This is the place where one of the fiercest battles in World War II took place. On July 29, 1944 one unit under Capt. Paul Maitla's command managed to thwart the Red Army men's attempt to take over Grenadier Hill.

Tartu University's Russian studies have attracted great interest and there were 24 applications to 10 places. The University did not dare to hope for such interest, since their experience with master's degree programs of Baltic studies showed that it takes a couple of years for information about it to absorb outside Estonia. The university accepted seven foreign students and three Estonians. Foreign students come from United States, Holland, Sweden, Italy, Finland and one from Russia as well. The reason could be students see Estonia as a safe place to study about Russia. The program is interdisciplinary, which means it focuses on more than just a couple of fields of study. Separate courses are on law, economy, politics, culture and history. The two-year program ends with a Master's thesis and a degree in social sciences.

Estonia is to give nearly  1,400,000 kroons (89,500 euros) in support training to Georgian public servants and specialists of nonprofit organization in the sphere of social work. The money comes from Foreign Ministry's development aid and humanitarian relief budget. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet's said that Georgia lacks at present a systemized social welfare system and therefore needs first and foremost general knowledge of social work. A hundred specialists will be trained in social work and shaping of social policy and also practical work in Estonian public sector and nonprofit institutions.  The Project is implemented by the Institute of Social Work of Tallinn University and nonprofit organization Youth to Youth.