Eesti in brief - 2004-03-25

  • 2004-03-25
Parliament's Pro Patria Union faction stated that it did not support the land mine ban as it might weaken the defense capabilities of Estonia.

Anti-infantry mines are essential for protection of the border areas of a small country like Estonia, according to the Pro Patria Union MPs, who have seven seats in Parliament. These MPs referred to Finland's decision to abstain from joining the land mine ban.

A 24-year-old man died after being stabbed in the chest during a brawl near a restaurant located in a residential district of Tallinn on March 21. Another participant in the fight was stabbed in his leg, and others received knife wounds. Police believe that the massive fight was initiated to settle a score, as several of the six suspects who were detained had criminal records. It was the second fatality to take place in front of the restaurant within the past two years.

Estonia needs about 50 percent more blood donors to maintain the required blood reserve. The government started an ad campaign this week to increase the number of donors from 2.6 percent of the population to 2.9 percent by the end of the year. The number has been growing by roughly 0.3 percent every year since 2001, and today about 200 people a day donate their blood in Estonia. To maintain the necessary stock of blood, about 4 to 5 percent of the population must regularly donate.

Jorma Antero Toronen, 59, Estonia's honorary consul in Tampere, Finland, was killed by a sniper in Baghdad on March 22 on a business delegation visit. Unknown criminals opened fire on the car of a group of Finnish businesspeople wishing to restore previous connections in Iraq. Apart from Toronen, a Finn, another Finnish businessman was killed. These men were the first Finnish citizens to die in Iraq since the beginning of the military action against Saddam Hussein's regime.

Interior Minister Margus Leivo (photo) accused Russian auth-orities of providing misleading information to Rolf Ekeus, OSCE high commissioner on national minorities, regarding the relations between ethnic Russians and Estonians. Leivo said that Ekeus had been told about the street clashes between teenage groups in Tallinn three years ago, and that this old story should not be projected on the current situation. Ekeus visited Tallinn last week and was in Moscow three weeks ago.

Estonian teenagers are consuming more alcohol, the daily Eesti Paevaleht reported. The number of inebriated teenagers that police arrested last year was 30 percent higher than in 2002. Consumption of strong alcohol among girls has increased dramatically while boys still prefer beer. According to the Tallinn emergency aid center, the number of teenagers that overdose on heroin has remained stable but the number of youngsters drinking alcohol is on the rise.