Biggest folk festival in Baltic's – Viljandi Folk takes place in Viljandi on July 28-31. More information at www.folk.ee.
Leigo Lake Music on 5th of August is a unique festival in whole Europe, which unites beautiful nature and lovely music to create rare and lasting impressions. More information at www.leigo.ee.
Song of Freedom in Tallinn on August 20. Estonia will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its regained independence with a special dedication to Iceland, the first country to recognize Estonia as an independent state. This massive event at Tallinn’s Song Festival Grounds will feature rock and pop musicians from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden and Russia and special guests from Iceland.
While overall in Estonia, the number of crimes fell on an annual basis, crime in Rakvere was up 11%. In Tallinn, 18% fewer crimes were registered in the first half.
According to local police, the fastest-growing types of crime are theft from stores which account for about half of all crimes committed in Rakvere.
Rakvere is sharing the top spot with Tallinn which also recorded 203 crimes per 10,000 inhabitants in the first half. Third was Narva with 175 crimes, followed by Kohtla-Järve (174), Maardu (166), Pärnu (163), Tartu (151), Sillamäe (138) and Viljandi (101).
Businesses in Estonia are not concerned about the slowdown of industrial production in the eurozone - for now at least.
People with an investment in Estonia have heard how much of the country's import and export dealings and outsourcing are done with countries like Sweden, which are not part of the euro set-up.
Despite news provider Postimees reporting that the Purchasing Managers Index fell to its lowest ebb for two years this month, analysts and business owners believe Estonia will not feel the full effects of the eurozone recession just yet.
Indeed, head of the board at Estonian electronics manufacturer IPA Koidu Kask said that orders from the eurozone were still positive, but he admitted that any further decline would possibly have an adverse impact on the firm's profitability.
The importance of Estonia's strong relationship with Scandinavia was outlined recently, when the prime ministers of each country met.
Estonian leader Andrus Ansip remarked: "Sweden is the country that has invested the most into the Estonian economy."
Latvia’s Economy Minister Artis Kampars said the country’s plan to build a regional liquefied natural gas terminal utilizing its existing underground gas storage unit won’t favor Russia’s Gazprom OAO (GAZP), seeking to allay Estonian fears over the proposed venture’s independence.
The natural gas storage infrastructure is publicly owned and “therefore there is no reason for concern about any privileges in Latvia’s gas market for Russia’s Gazprom and companies aligned with it,” Kampars said in a statement yesterday on the ministry’s website.
Gazprom, Russia’s gas export monopoly, is the sole supplier of natural gas to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, mainly through the Incukalns storage facility. The Baltic countries, which have uneasy political relations with their larger neighbor, are seeking European Union support for building an LNG terminal in the region, citing higher gas prices than in western Europe and security of supply risks. Still, they have not agreed on a single location.
Kampars’s statement came after his Estonian counterpart Juhan Parts sent a letter last week that raised concerns about Latvian plans to build an LNG terminal in Riga that would use the Incukalns facility. Latvijas Gaze AS, which is 34 percent owned by Gazprom, has an exclusive contract to use the facility until 2017.
Security of Supply
Latvia has geological formations that allow for the creation of natural-gas storage facilities with an estimated total capacity of up to 50 billion cubic meters, according to Latvijas Gaze’s website. This is about 10 percent of the European Union’s annual consumption, and almost equal to the EU’s total storage capacity, it said.
“From Estonia’s perspective the planned LNG terminal in Riga working together with underground storage would not increase the security of gas supplies in Estonia: we would still be dependent in our gas supplies only from underground storage as we are today,” Parts said in a letter dated July 22 and forwarded to Bloomberg by Estonia’s Economy Ministry.
A feasibility study carried out by a consortium of British companies GL Noble Denton and Energy Contract Company suggested building one LNG terminal in the Baltic countries to be located in Latvia to use its infrastructure, according to the Latvian Economy Ministry.
Statistical Yearbook describes the life of Estonia in figures Statistics Estonia presents today, on 29 July, the publication “Eesti statistika aastaraamat. 2011. Statistical Yearbook of Estonia“, which gives an overview of the life in Estonia last year in comparison with earlier years and other European Union countries.
In June the slowdown in the growth of industrial production continued According to Statistics Estonia, in June 2011 the production of industrial enterprises grew 24% compared to June of the previous year. If at the beginning of the year the production grew around 30%, then in May and June the growth of industrial production slightly slowed down compared to the same month of the previous year.
Producer price indices increased in June According to Statistics Estonia, in June 2011 the producer price index of industrial output changed by 0.5% compared to May and by 5.4% compared to June of the previous year.
The Paljassaare bird sanctuary on an isolated peninsula is perhaps the pride and joy, 81 species of protected birds represented.
The paper is by the institute's project manager Meelis Uustal, who found among other things that there is no consistent monitoring.
"Certainly studies must be conducted as the data gained in the course of the studies help the city government and regional environmental authority make better decisions in planning and giving out permits," Uustal told ETV.
The data he gathered held surprises in store. Kadriorg Park has plentiful bat populations and Tallinn is home to a population of the natterjack toad, which is threatened by habitat loss across Europe.
"One of the most exciting areas studied is eastern Tallinn - Suur-Sõjamäe and Väo - which still looks like brownfield and vacant lots. Actually this signals that the area could be very species-rich," said Uustal.
For example a whole 663 million EUR has been invested from Estonia to Italy while investments to Greece amount to some 28 mln EUR.
Eesti Pank’s statistics show that debt crisis has not made Estonian investors flee from problematic states. As compared to the time right before the debt crisis, the end of 2009, investments of Estonians to PIIGS states have increased by 58% while the growth of all Estonian foreign investments was 33%.
Investments to all PIIGS states except Greece grew. Investments to Greece have decreased by a half as compared to the end of 2009. Although the debt crisis is becoming more intense, investments to all PIIGS states grew as compared to the end of last year too.
Two examples of companies that have not been scared by the debt crisis are Bigbank and Admiral Markets. Bigbank opened a branch office in Madrid, Spain at the beginning of the year. Bigbank’s Board Member Targo Raus said that the decision in favour of Spain was made among other things because of the big population figure of the state and the local banking that was affected by the crisis.
Admiral Markets is preparing to expand to Spain and Italy. In long term perceptive the firm plans to expand to Latin America and it is easier to do that via Spain, said the firm’s sales and marketing manager Milana Reinson.
Katrin Rahe, Swedbank Investment Funds Fund Manager, said that PIIGS states face different problems and thus they have to be looked at separately when investing. Two simple aspects that help investors to get an idea of the market are interest levels of the states’ short and long-term bonds and the exchange rate of the euro.
Estonian economy and communications ministry does not call Estonian investors to flee from the debt-crisis ridden states either. “It might offer good entrance possibilities for more risk-favouring investors when they can evaluate their risks reasonably,” said the ministry economic analysis service expert Karel Lember.
There is one exception: the road that starts at Stroomi beach on the west side of town. Cyclists can ride all the way to Muraste on the northwestern coast almost without worrying about (deranged) drivers.
And promise is bright for several other projects. Another bike route that continues beyond city limits is in progress - one in the Nõmme district that could be completed next year.
City official Peep Koppel told Postimees that in a few years it should be possible to cycle around the sizable Lake Ülemiste, the city's reservoir, without crossing any roads.
But within town, the situation is still far from that of the Scandinavian capitals, with their segregated, marked paths. Some of Tallinn's routes are only identifiable on maps. The bicycle routes often follow sidewalks, which are shared with others - even cars, which are allowed to park two wheels on the pavement in some places.
Cyclists are still plagued by areas where the bike path simply comes to an abrupt end or where they have to start sharing limited road pavement with motorists. One such place is Liivalaia, a particularly busy street in the center with three lanes of traffic in each direction. The bike lane along Liivalaia is superb until the intersection with another arterial route, Pärnu maantee. The newspaper noted that while locals are used to it, it may be perplexing for tourists.
Another area that may be intimidating, if not outright hazardous during rush hour, is the stretch of Kaarli puiestee, an avenue that skirts the Old Town near Freedom Square. Cyclists are allowed to make a left turn without dismounting under the new Traffic Act, but there the bicycle lane is on the right side, and many cars to the left of a cyclist turn right.
Estonian men are also below the European average, with their BMI at 25.1, reported Postimees.
Greece had the most overweight men with a BMI of 28, while Malta had the highest average for women - 28.3.
Despite data that seem to indicate a more fit society, Estonians still need to get on the treadmill more often - at least according to Minister of Social Affairs Hanno Pevkur. During a press conference on July 21, Pevkur said the problem of obesity in Estonia is getting worse: overweight people accounted for 32 percent of the nation's population in 2010, giving rise to accompanying worries, such as high cholesterol and heart disease.
In spite of turmoil in the monetary union, Estonia is benefitting from the currency, prime minsiter, Ansip said.
“It was really an important thing for Estonia to join the euro zone, and even knowing now what happened during the last year, I can say that, yes, this was a really good decision for Estonia,” Ansip said in an interview to Bloomberg in Washington. “We had expectations, and now I can say reality was even better than we expected.”
After enduring one of the deepest recessions in the European Union in 2008-09, Estonia had the bloc’s fastest growing economy in the first quarter and was the only member to post a budget surplus last year. Ansip said becoming the 17th euro member helped reassure investors, attracting capital, boosting exports and creating jobs.
“We don’t see ourselves as an economic model for the rest of the world, said Ansip, who also met with US Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner while in the U.S. One policy that served Estonia well was accumulating reserves before the global recession, when growth was strong, he said.
TALLINN - Estonia is planning to bolster monitoring of the Internet to track potential extremist plots in the wake of last week’s massacre in Norway.
"We’re waiting for the results of the investigation in Norway and after that will certainly look at whether we should make changes in legislation in Estonia," said Erkki Koort, in charge of internal security at the Estonian interior ministry.
"At the moment one thing is clear - as a preventive measure we plan to increase the capacity of Internet monitoring so we can pick up information from the Internet about possible attack plans or anything that can jeopardise internal security," he told AFP.
Anders Behring Breivik, who has admitted to Friday’s bombing and shooting spree in Norway that killed 76, was a member of a Swedish neo-Nazi Internet forum, according to monitors in Stockholm.
Behring Breivik also posted a 1,518-page manifesto on the Internet prior to his assault.
Estonia is at the cutting edge of the battle with online risks, due to its reliance on the Internet.
The nation of 1.3 million, where public services are accessible at a special state portal, has the label "E-stonia".
Since a politically-charged "cyber-war" in 2007 widely blamed on Russian hackers, the Baltic country has become a leader in tracking and fending off online attacks, and hosts NATO’s IT-defence facility.
On Monday, police in Estonia’s neighbour Finland said they would pay closer attention to fragmented pieces of information - known as "weak signals" - in case they connect to a credible terrorist threat.
Mob bosses in the Baltic state recruited junkies and debt-ridden chancers to carry out robberies across Europe.
Using budget airlines, they flew into Britain, Germany, Monte Carlo, Sweden, Italy and Finland to launch armed raids that netted gems and watches worth millions of pounds.
Then they hopped back to Estonia's capital Tallinn.
The gang - finally smashed by British cops - carried out up to 150 robberies over a number of years. Five raiders are already serving a total of 55 years in jail. And now fellow mob member Algo Toomits, a 31-year-old drug addict, has been given ten years by Leeds Crown Court.
He escaped with designer watches worth £650,000 in two gem store robberies in Leeds and Blackpool.
CCTV of the Leeds raid showed a woman cowering in a corner as Toomits brandished a fake gun while two accomplices smashed cabinets with hammers. He was trapped when cops found his distinctive jacket and shoes at his Estonian home.
Det Insp Lloyd Batley said: "The ringleaders recruited foot soldiers by getting them in debt. When they could not repay they were given jobs."
The 24-year-old came in second in the youth standings, 46 seconds behind Pierre Rolland from France.
Taarmaäe, who was on the Cofidis team, was 11 minutes, 29 seconds off the pace of the winner of the grueling two-week bicycle race, Australian Cadel Evans.
"Rolland and Taaramae, amongst others, are the great hopes of cycling," Cofidis team manager Eric Boyer was quoted as saying on cyclingnews.com.
Postimees reported that after the finish on Sunday, July 24, Rolland credited Taaramäe. Rolland said that the team's sports director had told him, "[The race] would be very hard as powerful contenders such Robert Gesink and Rein Taaramäe were on the course."
Veteran cyclist Jaan Kirsipuu, probably the best known Estonian cyclist internationally, has ridden in 10 Tours but has never finished. He has worn the yellow jersey four times, however.
The late Jaanus Kuum, who was active mainly during the Soviet era, finished 24th one year, which had been the best finish by an Estonian.
Consumption of poultry in Estonia in recent years has been constantly growing. Even in 2010, despite an overall decline in sales of food, consumption of poultry meat in Estonia grew by 5%.
Concurrently, production of poultry in Estonia is still modest, and the rate of self-sufficiency is only 54%. This means that there exists a potential for sales growth in Estonian broiler meat. Currently the Estonian poultry market is also very attractive in terms of exports for many neighbouring countries.
According to the country’s Minister of Agriculture, Helir-Valdor Seeder, in the next few years Estonia will develop a poultry industry in an effort to raise as much as possible self-sufficiency in the domestic market. “The consumption of poultry in the world is growing, and it is important to invest in the local poultry industry, so the structure of our agriculture in the future will better meet market demands." - the Minister said.
In particular within the program of industry development in Estonia, on July 15 a new poultry farm opened with a production capacity of 1.7 million heads of poultry per year and a total volume of investments, equal to 1.1 million euros. A distinctive feature of the new farm will be the fact that it will use only the most modern technologies of poultry meat production.
Tallinn- The Estonian prime minister said annual meetings of Waffen-SS veterans in his country have nothing to do with Nazi ideology, Estonia's Postimees daily reported on Friday.
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, who is currently on an official visit to the United States, said at a meeting with representatives of U.S. Jewish organizations that the meetings of Nazi veterans are held in remembrance of those killed in World War II.
The Estonian people, he said, suffered greatly both from Communism and Nazism and the gatherings of Waffen-SS veterans do not mean that Estonia reflects anti-Semitism at the state level.
Ansip also said he is seriously concerned that some countries are attempting to show Estonia as a country that supports and promotes neo-Nazism.
Since 2005, Russia has regularly introduced draft resolutions to the UN General Assembly condemning the glorification of Nazism. Every year, the resolutions are supported by an increasing number of countries.
The City of Tallinn bolstered its drive to bar the nation's much-touted e-voting system from local elections, holding a press conference where prominent US computer scientist Barbara Simons said that such systems are inherently vulnerable.
The University of California, Berkeley PhD and former Association for Computing Machinery president spoke about risks such as malware, attacks on the server managing the election, insider threats and false websites.
Speaking in general terms, not about Estonia's system in particular, she said that the nature of e-voting makes it impossible to audit or recount the votes. She also warned of the possibility of software viruses or worms that could infect a computer, casting votes without the user's knowledge.
Along with the technical information gleaned from Simons's presentation, those present at the press conference were also able to gain a clear sense of the agenda behind the event.
The conference was conducted in a tightly-controlled manner, ending as journalists were cut off after only three questions. A 158-page book entitled "Today's Internet is Not Ready for E-Voting," produced by the City Council, was also distributed to those in attendance.