According to fresh calculations, protected bird species and wolves, lynx, bears and seals caused Estonian farmers and fishermen damages last year that the state has to compensate for nearly 197,000 euros, reports Eesti Paevaleht. Environmental Board nature protection biologist Tonu Talvi said that traditionally, nearly half of the damage was caused by damage to grain fields by migrating birds, geese and cranes, this for nearly 91,000 euros. Wolves and lynx raiding sheep herds and bears raiding bee farms caused damage amounting to nearly 82,000 euros. The biggest one-time compensation was for wolves killing 67 sheep in one herd in Voru county, damages estimated at 5,541 euros. Seals damaged nets of fishermen for nearly 8,220 euros and eagles stole fish from fish farms for nearly 16,000 euros. According to the law, farmers are paid up to 3,195 euros per year, but not more than 7,500 euros over three years to compensate for damage done by animals and birds.
The recent decree by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on land in border areas will not deprive Petchory Estonians of their property, Russian Ambassador to Estonia Juri Merzlyakov said, reported National Broadcasting. Merzlyakov said at a meeting with Estonian Foreign Ministry representatives on Jan. 18 that the decree will not worsen the legal status of citizens of foreign states, including Estonia. The ambassador said that the Russian president’s Jan. 9 decree, “Determining border areas where citizens of foreign states, persons without citizenship and corporate persons of foreign origin cannot acquire ownership rights for land units,” determined a list of administrative units with a special regime, which also includes the Pechory region of the Pskov oblast, among others. He said that the decree does not concern the status of property located on land with the special regime; this is still subject to Russian civilian and inheritance law that has not been changed. The decree is not retroactive, either.
Estonian National Election Committee Chairman Heiki Sibul said that at the Riigikogu elections this year, a record number of independent candidates will compete, while the total number of candidates is smaller than in the previous elections, reports National Broadcasting. Registration of candidates for elections ended in the evening of Jan. 20. “A total of 794 candidates were submitted. Party lists include 760, meaning that among parliament parties everyone posted a full list of 125 candidates, except for the People’s Union, which had 88 candidates. Nine parties altogether will participate in the elections,” said Sibiul. “There are 34 independent candidates, this is a record of all time; the previous record was posted in 1992, then there were 25 independent candidates. In 2007 there were just 7 independent candidates,” Sibul said. In 2007, 11 parties participated in the elections, versus 9 now. The number of candidates in 2007 was 975, versus the current 794. The final lists will be clear on Jan. 28.