Estonia in brief

  • 2004-02-12
The J. Sibelius' "Cantatas" performed by the Ellerhein Choir, the Estonian Men Choir and the Estonian National Symphonic Orchestra conducted by Paavo Jarvi, and released by Virgin Classics won a Grammy on Feb. 8 in the Best Choral Performance category. It was the first time Estonian musicians have won a Grammy.

The audience rating of the bilingual talk-show "Unetus" (Insomnia) and the language-training TV series "A ja O" among Estonia's ethnic Russians, for whom the shows are primarily targeted, is close to zero, according to the Emor pollster. At the end of January some 400 people, or 0.4 percent of the country's TV audience, watched the two shows broadcast weekly by the state-owned ETV. Ainar Ruusaar, program director at the channel, said the overall rating of "Unetus" reaches 5 percent among native Estonians.

President Arnold Ruutel will decorate 447 people with Estonian orders and medals in connection with the 86th anniversary of the Estonian Republic. Among the award receivers are U.S. senators George Allen and Joseph R. Biden, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Korbel Albright, famous Russian journalist Evgeny Kiselyov, Estonian skiing star Kristina Shmigun and many others. Last year Ruutel dispensed 293 orders and medals.

The government last week approved Foreign Affairs Minister Kristiina Ojuland's candidacy for the position of secretary general of the Council of Europe. The government praised her international experience and qualities required for high-profile work in a major Pan-European organization. Ojuland previously represented Estonia in the Council of Europe from 1992 to 1994 and served as the vice president of the Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe from 1996 to 2002.

The union of Estonian student councils suggested amending the current academic grading system in public schools. According to the union, there are few positive marks (from 3 to 5) in today's 1 to 5 mark system which does not allow for the proper assessment of students' proficiency. The union suggested to use the six-point grade system similar to that recently adopted by Estonian universities, where only 0 is a negative grade.