Eesti in brief - 2012-03-29

  • 2012-03-28

Public transport in Estonia’s capital Tallinn will be free of charge from 2013, mayor of Tallinn Edgar Savisaar said, commenting on the 75.5 percent support for the idea given at the referendum that ended on Sunday, reports Aripaev Online. “If they say that there are around 100,000 people in Tallinn who use the public transport daily, we can say that two thirds of them are for free public transport,” Savisaar said. A total of 68,059 people participated in the poll. “Tallinn is an innovative city. With this step, the first capital where such an idea in such a scope will be implemented,” Savisaar added, referring to those demanding a free ride. The referendum in Tallinn was previously criticized for its high cost, as the city opened 40 polling stations for it, as well as the advertising campaign that called people to vote for free public transport, not over it. According to plans, public transport would be free for city residents only, and city officials said that hopefully the number of the city’s official residents would also grow now.

Estonia received 50 asylum applications per one million residents last year, reports National Broadcasting. According to Eurostat, among all EU countries only Portugal had a smaller ratio of asylum applications to the population. Malta received the highest share of asylum applications per one million residents, ranking second was Luxembourg. Malta received 4,525 applications per one million residents and Luxembourg 4,200. Ranking third was Sweden with 3,150 applications per a million residents, and Belgium with 2,952. Portugal received 25 applications per million residents. The EU average was 600 applications per a million residents. In terms of the total number of asylum applications received in 2011, Estonia was the last among all EU countries, having received 65 applications.

On Friday, the body of nine-year-old Varvara Ivanova, who had been missing since Sunday, was found, reports Postimees Online. Police representatives stated that the girl’s body was found at 10:51 on Friday near the Narva Ice Hall, under the snow, and the body displayed signs of violence. Sergey Andreyev, the chief of the Narva Police Department, said that no suspects have as yet been identified. More than 100 volunteers took part in the search for the child. The search also gained  the attention of the national media. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Speaker of Riigikogu Ene Ergma expressed their condolences to the loved ones of the girl. “I would like to pass my condolences to the parents and loved ones of the little Varvara in Narva, although I know that it would not ease their pain from the loss in any way,” wrote Ilves on his Facebook page. “It is intolerable to resign oneself to the knowledge that there is such inhumanity, cruelty and evil among us. I am convinced that the police and the prosecutor’s office will do everything in their power to catch the killer. I thank all those who helped search for Varvara during the past five days,” wrote the president.