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Politics
Chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and one of the owners of construction group Nordecon, Toomas Luman, finds that a prime ministerial candidate should first and foremost be able to answer the question of what will become of the demographic crisis in Estonia. The businessman sees controlled introduction of foreign labor as the solution. A digital construction cluster was created in Estonia a few years back to bring innovation to the s...
Society
Last year saw 27,125 registered offenses, up 0.5 percent from the year before. Violent crime was up by 12 percent to 8,249 offenses. PHOTO: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire / Press Association Images / Scanpix Growth was biggest for domestic violence – the police launched criminal proceedings in 3,607 cases that constitutes an increase of more than one-third – annual growth of 37 percent from 2,632 cases in 2017. At the same time, reports of domestic violence we...
Society
TALLINN - Ahead of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, tens of thousands of British citizens have chosen the citizenship of some other country, but only one Brit has recently chosen an Estonian citizenship. Spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior told BNS that only one British citizen submitted an application for Estonian citizenship last year and the applicant was also granted the citizenship. Before that, no Brits had soug...
Society
TALLINN - Experts from Finland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands highlighted the importance of decentralization and granting local governments greater decision-making powers at a conference titled "Strong local government -- strong state?" in Tallinn on Wednesday.  All Nordic countries have chosen a model granting local governments significant decision-making powers, thus the central government does not prescribe how local governments are to fulfill the...
Society
The language learning application Drops by game developer Planb Labs, established in Estonia by Hungarian founders, was named Google Play's best app of 2018. With the number of downloads surpassing 10 million, Drops was named Google's app of the year as the revenue of Planb Labs, a company registered in Estonia, increased fivefold, CNBC said. The developer's revenue grew from €335,000 in 2017 to €1.7 million in 2018. The company's shareholders include Hung...
Society
TALLINN - The Estonian Health Board has banned the distribution of chlorine dioxide, also marketed as the Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), the A-component of an unused product, meaning the sodium chlorite solution, must be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility. Ester Opik, head of the Health Board's North regional department, said that the banning of the distribution of the product was caused by the fact that MMS, distributed as a cosmetics produ...
Society
Nature cannot abide a vacancy, as the saying goes. If just one year ago, Estonia was battling the sale of MMS and the practice of giving it to children, a new “miracle cure” called Advanced TRS has appeared on the market now. Even though the make-up of the substance is different, the promise to cure autism and cleanse the body of heavy metals, which kind of extreme detox is accompanied by severe side-effects, sounds all too familiar. TRS is recommended to...
Society
Allied NATO battalions will soon mark two years serving in the Baltics. They have worked better than expected but would need prepositioned heavy weaponry and a functional contingency plan in case of a crisis, a report by the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) finds. “We do not know how Russia would have acted had we not welcomed allies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in 2017. I’m afraid they would have tested our resolve,” one of...
Society
The time of filing income tax returns is nearly upon us. The new income tax system, in effect since last year, will obligate many women who went on maternity leave toward the end of the year to make additional income tax payments, while those who give birth in the middle or at the beginning of the year have no such obligation. What this means is that some women will owe the state simply for giving birth “at the wrong time”. Laura Roop, who went on maternit...
Society
Estonia has heeded complaints by several interest groups and wants to hold ridesharing platforms Taxify, Uber and Yandex accountable for their drivers having stellar backgrounds, vehicles in good repair and tidy insurance payments. “One possible consequence is the killing off of a necessary and innovative mode of transport accompanied by considerable social side-effects. In its current form, the amendment could lead to the disappearance of hobby drivers an...
Crime
Estonian businessmen stole over four million euros from the Finnish state and used shell companies in Estonia to launder the money. The scheme benefited its puppet masters at the expense of cash-strapped construction workers who were sent to do the dirty work. Leo Valli is a seemingly successful and enterprising Estonian living in Finland. Valli founded a construction company called Staadi OY that generated millions in annual sales revenue at its peak. The...
Society
TALLINN – Technology leaders from Google, Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, Nvidia, Taxify, Microsoft and Starship are about to meet the president of Estonia during a conference in Tallinn in March to talk about data and adoption of artificial intelligence in Europe.  President Kersti Kaljulaid will open the international North Star AI applied machine learning and data conference on March 7 in Tallinn, that will specifically focus on data skills and AI adoption in...
Society
TALLINN - The weapons manufacturer EuroSpike GmBH has submitted a bid to the Estonian Center for Defense Investment in a tender to supply long-range antitank systems to the Estonian defense forces, the value of the framework contract to be concluded for seven years is approximately 40 million euros.  "EuroSpike submitted today [on Monday] at 1 p.m. an offer to the Center for Defense Investment for the procurement of long-range antitank systems," spokespers...
Society
The tender for new small arms for the army and police force suffered a setback last Thursday. The public procurement dispute committee invalidated the victory of a U.S. arms manufacturer as the state failed to challenge two claims by a company that made a competing bid, according to which Estonians turned a blind eye to mishaps during a test firing of the weapons in the United States. This means that the tender that was already in its finishing stages will...
Society
TALLINN - Experts in civil protection mechanisms from 15 states are to participate in a week-long training course organized by the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences.  The staff management course held by the Academy of Security Sciences as part of the EU civil protection mechanism training program is to run from Saturday to Friday and host 20 experts from 15 states, spokespeople for the academy said, adding that the purpose of the course is to level and...
Politics
Even though education is a matter close to the heart of Estonia 200 leader Kristina Kallas, she cannot imagine herself fighting for the post of education minister: ideas can also be realized by someone else. You just took away Postimees’ editor-in-chief. In your opinion, how is the editorial to feel? Lauri [Hussar] had to give the matter thought, and I presume he did. We talked about why he wants to go into politics. Still, to what extent do you imagine wh...
Society
TALLINN – Russia is seeking integration in Estonia only in words, Kalev Stoicescu, researcher at the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) who is running on the ticket of the Estonia 200 party in the March 3 general elections, said on Wednesday commenting on the words said on the subject by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.  "Russia is the only neighboring state which does not wish -- due to its own interests -- progress in integration...
Politics
Former top centrist Evelyn Sepp admitted that she donated money the origin of which was unknown to her to the Center Party in 2006. The former politician claimed other members also engaged in the practice but refused to name names. Sepp’s confession on ETV investigative journalism program «Pealtnägija» does not come as a total bombshell. She first said that such covert funding of parties is a widespread practice in the aftermath of the Silvergate scandal i...
Society
"In addition to our ongoing programme of passenger vessel renovations, we are also continuing to upgrade and modernise our cargo vessels to ensure that we continue to develop this important part of our business," he noted, adding that the relocation of the company's Estonia-Finland cargo route to Muuga on the Estonian side in October 2017 and the launch of the Smart Port solution in Tallinn's Old City Harbour in spring 2018 both contributed to improved ser...
Society
During the final week of 2018, a total of 2,524 patients with viral upper respiratory infections sought medical attention, 47.5% of whom were children. A total of 210 cases of influenza were laboratory confirmed, nearly twice as many as during the week before, according to Health Board data. Over the past two weeks, the number of flu cases has quadrupled. The majority of these cases were laboratory confirmed at emergency medical departments, from which pat...
Society
I actually think that B1 is too low of a bar for attaining citizenship. You still can't participate in Estonian society on anything other than a superficial level as noted above, so I'm not sure how you can constitute a "citizen" on that basis. Naturally there has to be a high degree of arbitrariness, and that's precisely the point — whilst B1 level might be sufficient in German or French (I understand that it is the benchmark level when applying for citiz...
Society
Following a white Christmas throughout most of Estonia, Wednesday will see sleet and even rain in parts of the country, and temperatures hovering around the freezing point will means slippery road conditions. Early Wednesday morning, many major highways were salted or wet, but some patches were still icy, the Estonian Road Administration said. Eastern parts of the country will see scattered rain or sleet. Temperatures throughout the day will remain around...
Society
Last weekend, Christmas Eve as well as Christmas Day and Boxing Day still ahead means that most chemist's shops are closed for five days in a row. Tallinners can still get hold of prescription as well as over-the-counter drugs in the 5 Tõnismägi St and 19 Vikerlase St shops. As doctors' practices are closed for the holidays as well, people will have to turn to the emergency room of a nearby hospital in case of any more serious health problems. In Tallinn,...
Society
Irene Ilves, the mother of former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, died on Tuesday aged 91. Irene Ilves was born on 6 January 1927. An Estonian refugee, she raised her family in New Jersey, on the US East Coast. She is survived by two sons, Andres Eerik and Toomas Hendrik, and four grandchildren, Juulia Kristiine, Luukas Kristjan, Kadri Keiu and Hans Hendrik, Mr Ilves wrote on social media on Wednesday, adding that she will be very missed by family and frie...
Society
Emergency services were called out on Wednesday morning after a man fell through ice at Lake Pühajärv, in South Estonia. The call was received by the Rescue Board at a little after 9.30, though by the time emergency personnel reached the scene, the man, who had walked on to the lake ice to go fishing, had extricated himself and reached dry land. The man stated that he had broken through the ice several times during his ordeal, after venturing about 50 m fr...
Society
The e-Residency programme introduced its new white paper on Tuesday, outlining the next steps to be taken in Estonia's extension of its state services to non-physical residents. While the paper itself is rather on the bland side, offering little new information, the implications are in fact considerable, as two of the programme's masterminds explained to ERR News. The e-Residency 2.0 White Paper itself doesn't offer much in terms of new insight. The target...
Society
US arms manufacturer Sig Sauer Inc. has challenged an automatic firearms procurement conducted by the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI) in which the tender submitted by US arms manufacturer Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT) was deemed successful. Sig Sauer was one of three companies whose offers were deemed as having met the minimum requirements of the procurement; the others were Germany's Heckler & Koch GmbH and the US' LMT. Sig Sauer conte...
Society
The European Commission has approved five large-scale infrastructure projects of the Estonia-Russia cross-border cooperation program, including the continuation of building restoration and road works along the border in the amount of more than €20 million. The projects include the further restoration of the citadel ensemble of Narva and Ivangorod, the renovation of both cities' riverside promenades and the Värska-Saatse-Ultina and Krupp-Kulje roads in the...
Society
Estonia's biggest banks are reminding their customers ahead of the upcoming holidays that interbank transfers will be significantly affected by the upcoming Christmas holidays — even beginning as soon as this weekend. Swedbank announced that if an interbank transfer has not been completed by the end of the business day on Friday, 21 December, the money sent will only be received by the other bank next Thursday, 27 December. SEB and LHV both noted that they...
Society
In a doctoral thesis successfully defended at Tallinn University (TLÜ) on Monday, Dr Maarja Merivoo-Parro examined what Estonian life was like in the Cold War-era United States and how this manifested in humor, music, education, recreation and academic mobility. Following the abolishment of serfdom, Estonians have been involved in a number of significant waves of migration, both voluntary and involuntary. It is due to this migration that Estonians have a w...
Society
At the Riigikogu sitting beginning at 10:00 EET on Tuesday, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) will provide an overview of the activities of the Estonian government in the implementation of EU policies. Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Toomas Vitsut (Centre) will also deliver a report, and representatives of the Riigikogu's parliamentary groups will present their positions, according to a Riigikogu press release. In his rep...
Society
Chairman of the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) Mart Helme has called on Helir-Valdor Seeder, chairman of junior coalition member Pro Patria to tie the latter's support for the state budget bill to a decision by the government not to support joining the UN Global Compact on Migration. "Pro Patria still has the chance to demand from its coalition partners [the Center Party and the Social Democratic Party (SDE)] that its stances be t...
Society
Political news portal Politico published its list of the most influential people in Europe next year last week, with fifth place going to Estonia’s cybersecurity ambassador Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar. Tiirmaa-Klaar takes her place in between well-known Europeans, after Secretary General of the European Commission Martin Selmayr and in front of Ukrainian presidential hopeful Yulia Tymoshenko. Politico believes Italy’s populist interior minister Matteo Salvini will...
Society
Representatives of the transport ministries of the Baltic states, Finland and Poland who met in Tallinn on Monday were of differing opinions regarding whether to remain in summer or winter time once the practice of changing the clocks twice per year comes to an end. A recent survey indicates that more than half of Estonians would prefer permanent summer time. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Poland jointly acknowledged that the agreement to end the...
Society
Ida-Viru Central Hospital is having trouble with patients not showing up to scheduled specialist appointments. To combat this issue, beginning next year, the hospital will start charging visit fees for no-show appointments as well. Last year, patients at Ida-Viru Central Hospital failed to show up for scheduled appointments a total of nearly 9,500 times, accounting for some 5% of all hospital visits, reported ETV news broadcast Aktuaalne kaamera. "Patients...
Society
Tallinn city government finds that it is not reasonable to relocate the Tallinn Bus Station to the Ülemiste district near Tallinn Airport and that it should be left in its current location on Lastekodu Street. In connection with the preparation of an architectural idea competition and the drawing up of a detailed plan for the Ülemiste terminal in the framework of the Rail Baltic railway project, the city is drawing the attention of the Ministry of Economic...
Society
A criminal investigation has been launched into the Medita Clinic, one of the largest private sector bidders in public procurement tenders in the health sector in Estonia. The Northern District Prosecutor's Office initiated the investigation in accordance with the Penal Code section concerning the transmission of false information, according to ETV investigative show Pealtnägija. The Medita Clinic was the largest private provider of specialist medical care...
Society
The Tax and Customs Board (MTA) has signed an agreement with Online accommodation and hospitality marketplace Airbnb which enables hosts to automatically report earnings. The MTA and Airbnb held a joint press conference on Wednesday, announcing the agreement's signing as well as the new system and its rationale. The main premise, according to MTA deputy director Rivo Reitmann, is to keep things simple, meaning that Airbnb hosts who declare their income in...
Society
Luminor notified its clients that as of 1 January, the bank will be closing the accounts of Estonian e-residents that fail to fulfil due diligence. Hannes Oja, head of Anti-Money Laundering at Luminor Estonia, said that based on the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act, banks are required to update the data of all of their customers, writes daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL). As a result, all existing clients have to do so themselves on a regul...
Society
The Russian Embassy in Tallinn on Tuesday published a statement criticising the statement in support of Ukraine adopted by the Riigikogu on Monday. Commenting on the statement with which the Riigikogu on Monday condemned the attack on Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait, the Russian Embassy referenced the famous quote by Roman statesman Cato the Elder, who used to conclude his speeches in the Senate by saying, "Furthermore, I consider that Carthage must...
Society
A widely-read travel magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, has declared the Christmas market in Tallinn as one of the most charming in Europe. “Why we love it: In addition to Estonian Christmas dishes like black pudding and sour cabbage (it’s better than it sounds, we swear), Tallinn’s market in the Town Hall Square also has a Santa who arrives by reindeer-pulled sleigh,” the magazine says. “The highlight, though, is its Christmas tree, which the city has been pu...
Artist's impression of the proposed Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel
Dubai engineering solutions giant ARJ Holding Ltd is investing €100 million in the Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel project, tunnel designer Peter Vesterbacka announced at a press conference on Monday. Mr Vesterbacka, chief of FinEst Bay Area, the group behind the tunnel project, pointed out the total cost of the tunnel stands at €15 billion, with an investment period of 30 years; the tunnel itself has a projected life span of 120 years, he said. Finest Bay Area Le...
Society
Centre Party chairman and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas as well as Reform Party chairman Kaja Kallas have recently said that they won't consider working with the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) following next year's general election. EKRE was considered the potential kingmaker earlier on in the campaign, and both the Centre Party and the Reform Party took time to clarify where they stand in the issue of a potential coalition with the far-right pa...
Society
MEP Indrek Tarand, who has promised to run in the election list of the Social Democrat Party (SDE) in March, found himself in a tussle at a Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) protest meeting in front of the Riigikogu building yesterday. EKRE scheduled the protest to take place at the same time the Riigikogu was to vote on a declaration in support of the UN global compact on migration. “If you do not want hundreds of thousands of refugees to come here, vote...
Society
The police will be issuing the first new ID-cards from December 3. Because French manufacturer Idemia needs more time to fill the order, the cards will become publicly available a few weeks later. Unfortunately, Estonian companies are not ready to support the new cards. Only ISP Elisa and the tax and customs board (MTA) have updated their e-services to support the new digital IDs. Companies were given six months to adjust systems. The State Information Sys...
Society
On Monday the Riigikogu will debate and vote on its declaration of support for the UN Compact on Migration. Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) has announced that his next actions will depend on the outcome of the parliamentary vote, announcing that he is ready to have the coalition government vote on the Compact as well if needed. The Monday sitting starts at 10.00 EEST. The parliament will first debate and vote on proposed amendments to the text of the de...
Society
A look at the business register revels that a new party called Will of the People was registered in Tartu County yesterday the founding campaign of which was based on a smartphone raffle. While little is known about the new party’s founders, it has an operational website from September 9 this year. The party was founded by Tartu residents Madis and Eha Sütt who are busy trying to launch online television channel Entusiast TV. “We got around 500 members. Ye...
Society
The Estonian government sharply condemned Russia for its actions against Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait on Sunday. Russian forces first stopped, then fired on and seized two Ukrainian gunboats as well as a tug. Prime Minister Jüri Ratas called the actions a "serious breach of international law." "The incident in Kerch Strait is a serious breach of international law. I condemn Russia's seizure of Ukrainian naval vessels, blocking of the Kerch Strait...