Estonia in brief

  • 2004-01-15
Tartu police arrested a 20-year-old man for wearing the Estonian police uniform in public without being a police officer. The man, Dmitri, was spotted on the night of Jan. 9 when he tried to run away after seeing a police patrol car and caught soon thereafter. The impostor could face a short arrest or over 1,000 euro fine for illegal use of the uniform.

Prime Minister Juhan Parts urged Estonia to invest its 96 million euro budget revenue surplus in education, science and innovation. The Parliament will discuss the fate of the surplus in the first half of the year. The substantial and unexpected sum appeared because of too conservative forecasts done last year when the year 2003 budget was planned.

The Public Understanding Agreement Foundation, the institution managing the president-sponsored long-term development strategy by a similar name, owes about 8,000 euros in rent money and is looking for cheaper office space. Criticized earlier last year for living large, the institution is about to leave its luxurious 110-square-meter office in the business center of Tallinn. The Public Understanding Agreement launched in October 2003 went ignored by the country's leading political parties.

The Social Affairs Ministry plans to implement more active measures this year to fight unemployment. Minister Marko Pomerants said alcohol addiction treatment courses should also be focused on putting people back to work. By the end of the year the ministry hopes to increase the number of working people in Estonia from 63 percent to 65 percent of the population.

Through cooperative efforts, Estonian sport and governmental organizations could set the strategic goal of hosting the Skiing World Cup in a decade. Alar Arukuusk, director of the FIS Skiing World Cup stage held in Otepaa last weekend, said the country could qualify if it had a contemporary skiing center - which would cost up to 16 million euros. The existing facilities in Otepaa, the winter capital of Estonia, lack a ski jump course, artificial snow system and related infrastructure.