DONATIONS FOR KURSK RELATIVES: Estonian residents have donated 106,000 Estonian kroons ($6,109) in support of relatives of seamen who died on the sunken Russian submarine Kursk. The donations to the military fund for victims' relatives were transferred Aug. 25, a Russian Embassy spokesperson said. The embassy will continue to collect donations, however.
PEACE KEEPERS RETURN HOME: Estonian peace keepers will return to Tallinn on Aug. 27 after a six-month mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, leaving only two Estonian officers in the crisis area. The 75-strong reconnaissance squadron went to Bosnia-Herzegovina at the beginning of March after pre-mission training in Viborg, Denmark.
"RUSSIAN ROULETTE" ANGERS PARTY: MPs from Lithuania's opposition Democratic Labor Party (LDDP) faction asked the country's top law-enforcement institutions to investigate the computer game "Russian Roulette," in partnership with LDDP leader Ceslovas Jursenas, Aug. 22. Addressing the Prosecutor General's Office and the State Security Department the MPs called for an investigation into who has ordered the game which, they said, promotes violence. They called for immediate legal action to stop distribution of "Russian Roulette" and similar games. Punishment of those responsible for such games was also requested.
POLISH CITIZENS HONORED: Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus awarded the order of Grand Duke Gediminas to two Polish citizens for their active support for the Baltic states' independence, and development of Lithuanian-Polish relations, Aug. 24. Marek Jerzy Karp, director of the Eastern Studies Center in Warsaw was decorated with a 4th degree order, while Mariusz Maszkiewicz received a 5th degree order. As Poland's first diplomatic envoy to Vilnius Maszkiewicz established his country's embassy in Lithuania.
ROMA EDUCATION CENTER TO OPEN IN LITHUANIA: A public education center for Roma will open in Vilnius in September, as part of a program to promote Roma integration into Lithuanian society. The 2000 to 2004 program received government endorsement in June and is being funded from the state budget. The government will provide 450,000 litas ($112,500) towards the cost of constructing and equipping the center. The remaining 250,000 litas will be provided by Dutch non-governmental organizations. Land has been allocated for the center, said Ramigijus Motuzas, head of the Department of National Minorities and Lithuanians Living Abroad, Aug. 23.
MORE WRECKS ON LATVIAN ROADS: Latvia saw two major road accidents late on Aug. 28, with a total of 14 young people injured, a National Fire and Rescue Department representative said. The first accident took place after 8:00 p.m. in the northern town of Cesis. The Nissan, whose driver was accompanied by three young girls, crashed into a police car and then skidded into trees on the roadside. The other major accident took place two hours later near the central Latvian town of Sigulda where a car and a minibus collided, injuring 10 persons, three of them seriously.
NEW RECORD IN LATVIA: The Latvian National Environmental Health Center registered 36 new tick-bone encephalitis cases last week, the highest weekly total this year. 260 persons have fallen ill with tick-bone encephalitis in Latvia since the tick season began in the spring. A week earlier the Environment Health Center registered 21 new cases of tick-bone encephalitis in the country.
ACTOR FLIES HOME: Famous Swiss actor and film director Maximilian Schell, in Latvia for The Baltic Pearl Film Festival, was transported back to Germany late on Aug. 28. Schell chartered a flight to Germany to consult his family doctor on surgery that Latvian doctors had suggested to relieve the acute pancreatitis that caused Schell to collapse during the opening ceremony of the film festival on Aug. 25. Schell has suffered from diabetes for 12 years.