According to a draft law that the Estonian Justice Ministry has compiled, the ban on consumption of alcoholic beverages in public places would be eased while in certain places consuming alcohol would still remain forbidden, reports Public Broadcasting. According to the current alcohol law, there is in principle a ban on consuming alcohol in public places. Justice Ministry public law service head Illimar Parnamae said that in the future, consuming alcohol in public places is in principle allowed, but in certain limits – for example it won’t be allowed in schools, children’s institutions, public transport, hospitals, at children’s events. The new law is in parliament proceedings and likely to come in force on July 1, 2014. Interior Ministry law enforcement and criminal policy department head Priit Heinsoo said that a person has to be punished when consumption of alcohol in a public place is accompanied by violation of public order. But “If people sit on a park bench in the hot summer weather and consume an alcoholic beverage /.../, such an act should not be punishable,” said Heinsoo.
While downloading and distributing child porn is punishable by law in Estonia, the Estonian government approved on Aug. 29 a bill that criminalizes also entering Web pages containing child porn via the Internet, reports Ohtuleht. The bill brings Estonian laws in line with EU directives. “The cause for compiling the bill was primarily to bring Estonian laws in line with the European Parliament and Council directive on the fight against sexual abuse and taking advantage of children, and against child porn, but naturally the wish to more effectively protect children from sexual abuse too,” said Justice Ministry spokeswoman Maria-Elisa Tuulik. The directive came in force in the European Parliament and Council at the end of 2011 and Estonian laws have to be brought in line with it by Dec. 18 this year. The draft law also criminalizes buying sex from minors, and toughens punishments for sexual crimes.
According to the Education and Science Ministry data, 3,228 pupils will study the Estonian language abroad in the 2013/2014 academic year, of whom 455 will start first grade, reports Postimees Online. In Finland, 184 pupils will start studying Estonian, in Latvia 40, in Sweden 35, in Luxembourg 34 and in the USA 28. “Our data comes from institutions that teach the Estonian language abroad, that is general, Sunday, supplementary schools, societies and kindergartens but the number of pupils known to the ministry is in reality certainly bigger since people don’t have the obligation of registering at the local municipality when going abroad,” said Education and Science Ministry language department chief expert Andero Adamson. Thus this data concerns only 63 teaching venues abroad, where it is possible to study the Estonian language and culture now.