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A record number of songs - 159 - were submitted to the contest Estonian Song 2012 by the deadline on Monday, and one of them will be chosen as Estonia’s entrant to the Eurovision Song Contest next year, reports National Broadcasting. A jury of music experts will select 20 semi-finalists from all the songs submitted, and those will be declared on the Dec. 15 ETV evening show “Ringvaade.” Last year, 140 songs were submitted. “If things progress this way, selecting 20 finalists might soon not be enough,” ETV’s entertainment programs manager Mart Normet exclaimed. In semi-finals on Feb. 18 and 25, ten songs will be selected by the people and a jury, which will go to the final concert on March 3 at the Nokia concert hall in Tallinn.
General Ants Laaneots, who just ended his term of office as Commander-in-Chief of the Estonian Defense Forces last week, started work as Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip’s adviser on state defense and security issues, reports National Broadcasting. Ansip expressed gladness over the general’s decision to accept the job. “Ants Laaneots’ extensive experience and military expertise is highly valued and helps strengthen Estonian state defense further,” said Ansip. Laaneots was Commander-in-Chief of Estonian Defense Forces from December 2006 to December 2011.
The Estonian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) decided, after cooperation talks and consultations with party members, to launch merger talks with the Russian Party in Estonia (RPE), reports Postimees Online. “We discussed the coinciding parts of programs and found that it was sufficient,” said ESDP chairman Sven Mikser. Mikser said that the aim is to reach a common agreement by the middle of January. Congresses of both parties have to approve it. ESDP’s congress convenes on Feb. 19. Mikser said that RPE will merge with ESDP and the name of the united party will be the Social Democratic Party. “We definitely discussed all possible fears – also the reactions voiced in the media – but the general understanding is that the future of Estonia’s politics lies in the reduction of opposition of communities,” said Mikser.