Eesti in brief - 2011-03-10

  • 2011-03-09

The economic crisis has had a negative impact on Estonia’s cultural sphere, with fewer people visiting theaters and the printing of Estonian-authored books declining, reports ERR, referring to a new survey by the Estonian Ministry of Culture. The ministry’s data show that theater attendance dropped by 110,000 visits between 2008 and 2009. A lack of money also had a negative influence on publishing, with the number of books and brochures per citizen falling from 3,818 in 2008 to 3,611 in 2009. However, the number of visits to libraries rose by more than 800,000 over the last two years, the survey found. Movies, however, have grown in popularity, as fierce competition between cinema houses has cut the price of movie tickets by half. Last year 2.1 million tickets were sold, 300,000 more than in the prior year.

A researcher at the University of Tartu and the University of Helsinki, Triin Vahisalu, has been awarded the title of ‘Future Talent of Science’ in the Women in Science competition, reports ERR. The competition is organized by L’Oreal and UNESCO. Two other young researchers - one from Israel and one from Russia - received the honor for the European and North American region, said University of Tartu spokeswoman Anneli Miljan. The award comes with a two-year scholarship designed to allow the scientists to carry out their studies in the research centers of their choice. In the competition’s 13-year history, this marks the first time a scientist from the Baltic States has won the title, Miljan added. In cooperation with scientists at the University of Tartu, Vahisalu managed to map a gene that increases the stress tolerance of plants, said Miljan. Vahisalu carried out her doctoral studies at both the University of Tartu and the University of Helsinki. She defended her doctoral thesis in Helsinki, where she is currently finishing her post-doctoral work.

The Estonian National Election Committee intends to demand damage compensation in the amount of 8,500 euros from its IT partner Helmes because in the evening of March 6, the display of parliament election results was “disturbed” for 1.5 hours - the busiest time, reports National Broadcasting. Helmes has been the Election Committee’s partner three times. National Election Committee Chairman Heiki Sibul said that not just Helmes, but also independent experts should analyze the matter before making future decisions. A delay of around 1.5 hours emerged in displaying the results of vote counting at the Riigikogu elections on the Web page of the National Elections Committee on election night. Helmes claimed that the problem was caused by a freeware database engine that did not handle a surge in the amount of requests properly, and there was no indication during preliminary tests that such a problem could emerge. The company’s representative, Evelin Lang, said that freeware was used at the state’s request in order to save taxpayer money.