Eesti in brief - 2011-11-17

  • 2011-11-17

The Estonian Waterways board concluded a contract with Norwegian company Trans Viking Icebreaking & Offshore, which will provide a ship to help out Estonian icebreaker Tarmo in the Gulf of Finland this winter, reports Aripaev Online. Waterways’ board director general Andrus Maide said that the 48-year old Tarmo cannot provide icebreaking services at the required level in the Gulf of Finland, and one ship is not sufficient to service all of Estonia’s ports in this area. The chartered ship Tor Viking sails under the Swedish flag. The ship can be replaced with its sister ships Balder Viking or Vidar Viking if need be. The contract was concluded for Jan. 1 to March 31 next year and its cost is 3.4 million euros plus fuel cost. The contract can be extended by 14 days.

Scientists at the University of Tartu have created a glass surface that can be rendered opaque at the flick of a button, allowing it to be used as window shades, reports ETV. The secret of the new glass lies in a special spray-on gel, which forms a five to ten micrometer coating on glass on coming in contact with its surface. The glass can be used in the construction of office buildings and shopping malls. Upon encountering an electric field, the gel changes its optical properties. According to Ilmar Kink, head of the Nanotechnology Development Center at the university, one option is to develop a special spray booth which would apply the gel in an even coat.

Although Swedbank is considering a plan to move computer servers that do the work of its Baltic branches to Sweden by 2015, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is currently drafting a legislative proposal that would force banks to guarantee circulation of cash and operability of payments within Estonia, reports National Broadcasting. In an interview with the radio station Vikerraadio, the deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Erkki Koort stated that the state is taking steps towards ensuring that vital bank services be guaranteed. The legislative proposal would give the Estonian Information System’s Authority the necessary levers to prevent banks from moving away from Estonia the parts of servers that guarantee the possibility of withdrawing cash from ATMs and bank offices,” assured Koort. At the same time, he understands that banks base their decisions on the need to optimize costs, but from the point of view of the state, this is a matter of security.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that developments in Tunisia have reached the point where the European Union can give the country comprehensive support for the rapid initiation of reforms, while at the same time the situation in Syria continues to worsen and requires unified pressure from the international community, reports LETA. Paet said that in the case of Syria, first and foremost the Arab League, also Turkey, play a vital role in resolving the conflict. “The leaders of Syria must be called upon to keep their promises and include the opposition in all the political changes in society,” he continued. Paet stated that the European Union is prepared to expand sanctions if the situation does not improve.