Eesti in brief - 2010-08-05

  • 2010-08-04

Estonia is prepared to send equipment to the Russian Federation to help put out forest fires, says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reports LETA. Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet stated that dozens of individuals have died and hundreds have lost their homes as a result of the most extensive forest fires in the past decades in Russia. “Estonian authorities are prepared to discuss the need for assistance and details for putting out forest fires with the Russian authorities,” noted Paet. Erkki Koort, deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in charge of internal security matters, stated that “Although there is no rescue agreement between Estonia and Russia, this cannot be a reason not to give a helping hand,” he explained.

A youth mobility agreement between Estonia and Canada went into effect on Aug. 1. Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet says the agreement gives people more opportunities to pursue academic or vocational education, gain work experience and develop a better understanding of the other country’s languages, cultures and society. “The agreement lays a foundation for improving the competitiveness of the two countries’ educational institutions and entrepreneurs,” said Paet. Young adults aged 18-35 will be able, for a period of up to 1 year, to work and pursue studies in the host country on the basis of a previously agreed employment contract.

In the first half of 2010, the Tax and Customs Board has initiated 472 criminal proceedings, reports LETA. This is 86 percent more than during the same period last year. The number of cases regarding smuggling and illegal handling of goods subject to excise tax has grown the most. The surge in criminal cases lies in the fact that from July 1 last year, the number of cigarettes that can be brought across the border from third countries without having to pay excise taxes was lowered to 40. Hence the cases of repeat misdemeanors that, according to the current legislation, are viewed as criminal offenses have grown. Pre-trial investigations have identified 118.3 million kroons (7.5 million euros) of unpaid taxes.