The Estonian infantry company ESTCOY-E, which was dispatched to provide security during the elections in Afghanistan, together with the logistical support group NSE-E, arrived home to Estonia on Nov. 23, reports vm.ee. Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo met the arriving personnel handing out International Peace Operations medals. The defense chief gave the Defense Forces’ Distinguished Service Decoration to three members of the returning contingent, and the Defense Forces’ Meritorious Service Decoration to five others. Six officers and soldiers were decorated with the Decoration by Commander from Army Colonel Indrek Sirel. The 134-strong ESTOCOY-E, which ended its operations on Nov. 15, operated with the 2nd Battalion of the 8th Regiment of the 2nd U.S. Marine Brigade, in the Garmshir area in the southern part of Helmand province. Brigadier General Lawrence D. Nicholson, commander of the marines, decorated the commander of the Estonian company, Major Ain Tiidrus, with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps service medal.
Several surveys show that consumption of alcohol costs the Estonian society each year up to 2 billion kroons (128.2 million euros) more than is collected in excise tax revenue, reports LETA. This is equal to 1,661 kroons for every single resident of the country. Indrek Saar, member of the teaching staff at the Estonian Public Service Academy, conducted a survey on the financial costs of consumption of alcohol last year, saying that the financial costs may amount to 3 - 4.5 billion kroons per year. Direct costs of drinking include financial costs - spending on health care services - while indirect costs are spending on internal security - police work, prosecutors, rescue work, courts and prisons. Indirect costs also include items such as premature deaths, lost productivity, etc.