PRIVATE RAILWAY: Estonian railway's privatization, which was one of the points of the coalition agreement of the present government, became a long-lasting front page topic in Estonia. At last, at the end of December, the Estonian Privatization Agency chose the preferred bidder, Eesti Raudtee, out of three contenders.
GENOME RESEARCH: The law on genome research, approved recently by the government, will take effect next February. The success of Estonian genetics specialists received their colleagues' approval all over the world.
FOREST BROTHERS: The two Voitka brothers who had lived outside the law for 14 years were at last captured. For all that time they lived in the forest and earned their bread by robbing local villagers. One of the brothers, Ulo, supposedly intends to write a book about their uneasy life.
PATRIARCH'S VISIT: Constantinople-based Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Bartholomeos visited Estonia at the end of October and met the top officials including the nation's president and prime minister. The patriarch also suggested to replace the head of the Moscow-subordinated Orthodox Church.
MAYOR SURVIVES: Tallinn Mayor Juri Mois got a tricky present for his 44th birthday: Opposition leader Edgar Savisaar filed a no-confidence vote against Mois on Oct. 25. Luckily for the mayor, the vote didn't succeed. What will Savisaar save for Mois' anniversary next year?
IDEE FIXE: Estonian Foreign Minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who loves to discuss Estonia's Scandinavian roots, faced bitter criticism in October from major Estonian businessmen with a single and clear message: By blabbering too much about Scandinavia and rejecting Baltic matters, the minister seriously damages the Baltic business of Estonian entrepreneurs.
MONOPOLY ENDS: The main event, though, will happen on Jan. 1, 2001, when "freedom of communication" starts its existence in Estonia. It'll be quite a challenge for common people to choose out of a dozen of new telecommunication operators with new prices and new dial codes.
BEAST DOGS: Two cases of stray dogs killing people have been registered in Estonia this year, and the last one spoiled the overall Christmas atmosphere. Earlier in the fall, a bear apparently brought up by humans terrified a remote southern village. Fortunately, there were no victims.
NICE SUMMIT: Estonian Euro-skeptics probably were annoyed by the results of the last EU summit in Nice, France. Estonian President Lennart Meri and Foreign Affairs Minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves did their best to provide a positive political lobby for Estonia and promised to get the country 100 percent EU-compatible in two years.