Vol 2, No 6
14 February 2000
C E N T R A L E U R O P E A N
N E W S:
News Review for Estonia
All the important news from Estonia
since 5 February 2000
Politics and foreign affairs
The ruling Pro Patria Union has announced they will put up Tunne Kelam as their presidential candidate next year. Kelam is the deputy chairman of the party and also deputy Riigikogu speaker. However, the three parties in the ruling coalition have also said they will co-ordinate their efforts and come up with a single candidate in the coming weeks. Many analysts have predicted that the issue of the presidency would create tension in the coalition, as each party has its own favourite candidate.
The Riigikogu adopted a law on telecommunications, which aims to open the market and bring it up to EU standards. Some argue it fails to do that, despite the issue being argued over for about a year now.
Aleksei Paal was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison for the murder of his father, Anatoli Paal. The elder Paal was a well-known figure in Narva, at one time the deputy mayor of the city and was the head of the Narva Power Plant when he was killed in his home last year. The younger Paal confessed to the crime at first, but recanted when the trial began last week.
Officials from Russia and Estonia initialled an agreement on the prevention of double taxation concerning capital and income taxes.
US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and Economics Minister Mihkel Pärnoja signed an oil shale research agreement, in which funding could rise to USD one million over three years.
The Finance Ministry announced that the state's assets total EEK (Estonian kroons) 78 billion, with EEK 35 billion of it in the nation's forests.
Economics and Business
Inflation in January was 0.5 per cent, the lowest in the region (both Latvia and Lithuania posted price hikes of over one per cent). However, prices may continue to rise due to import tariffs on various items from certain countries, as well as a planned rise in telephone tariffs.
The government ruled to extend the validity of privatisation vouchers until the middle of 2002, in order to enable more people to utilise them for land sales. Originally, the vouchers were to expire at the end of this year.
Social and Local Interest
Anatomy students at Tartu University have been forced to pursue their study only theoretically, as the labs are short of cadavers for dissection. Some questions have arisen about the legality of some of the cadaver acquisitions.
The annual Tartu Ski Marathon was cancelled due to the horrendously warm weather in Estonia – and the fact that nearly all the snow has melted. To their dismay, many participants from around the world had arrived to find Estonia already green in early February.
Eighteen-year old Eda-Ines Etti will represent Estonia at the upcoming Eurovision song contest in Stockholm. The young star will perform "Once in a Lifetime," though there has been some concern about her lack of experience in performing on large stages. She beat out several challengers with such experience, including last year's sixth-place contestant, Evelyn Samuel.
The magazine Cruise European News listed Tallinn as the second most popular cruise ship port-of-call in 1999 throughout Europe, with a total of 190 cruise ships, behind only the 230 registered by Lisbon. Just behind Estonia were St Petersburg (187), Cadiz (182) and Helsinki (168).
Connoisseurs of Belõi Aist cognac are dismayed over the ruling in Estonia that the drink has to be labelled as a "brandy," as the term "cognac" is tied into EU trademarks and more...
[Up to date Estonian exchange rates can be found here]
Prepared by Mel Huang, 11 February 2000
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