Members of Estonian infantry company ESTCOY-6 and the logistical support element NSE-5, who ended a ten-day holiday late last week, continue their service in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, military spokespeople in Tallinn said. The unit's mission is to demonstrate the presence of international peacekeeping forces and inhibit operations by Taliban insurgents who use the Now Zad area for north-south transit to the Sangin Valley and to Musa Qala in the east.
The president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering, expressed his strong support for the Baltic countries in light of the Russian aggression against Georgia. "We say to the European Union citizens in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia: 'You are no longer alone! A threat to your country would constitute a threat to the European Union as a whole,'" spokespeople quoted Poettering as saying. The invocation by Moscow of peoples' right to self-determination, a right which Russia has been denying Chechen separatists, will certainly give other former Soviet republics cause for concern. He stressed the necessity for the EU to demonstrate to Russia that it is united and determined to reject unilateral changes to the map of Europe brought about by means of violence.
Soviet veterans living in Estonia have launched preparations for large-scale festivities in 2010 to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Vladimir Metelitsa, vice chairman of the presidium of the Estonian Union of Veterans Organizations, said to BNS that according to the endorsed program, the member organizations of the association will conduct explanatory work among the population aimed at preventing what he described as the application of double standards in the evaluation of World War II. The organization will also draw up a list of nominees for the Russian medal marking the 65th anniversary of the victory. Organizers hope for support from sponsors and from Russia.
German newspaper Kleine Zeitung has called Tallinn one of the top three of gambling Meccas in Europe Tallinn has 90 casinos which give it the number three spot after London and Dublin, cities which are much larger. Kleine Zeitung said that Tallinn has emerged ahead of even such traditionally popular destination for gamers as Monte Carlo. Tallinn this year hosted the Swedish Poker Championship. The newspaper said that casinos started opening in Tallinn in large numbers after 1991, when an atmosphere of radical liberalism took over after the end of the Soviet occupation. It further observed that problems caused by gambling addiction are now acknowledged by the authorities and that legislative measures to curb the effect are being drafted, which include mandatory registration of gamers by casinos and raising the minimum number of slot machines that any single gaming venue must provide to 40.