The week in pictures, November 24-30 ({{commentsTotal}})

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Photo: People from all over Estonia celebrated the first Advent on Sunday. Candles and Christmas trees were lit up in all larger cities. Author: (Martin Dremljuga/ERR)

The week kicked off with the news that the Lutheran Archbishop, who had celebrated his 65th birthday over the weekend, was set to retire due to age restrictions. On Wednesday, the 57-member General Synod of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church elected 41-year-old Urmas Viilma as his successor.

Eerik-Niiles Kross's defection saga from the IRL to Reform Party got a sequel, when it emerged that not all Reform Party top ranking members welcomed him with open arms. The party board convened on Wednesday evening to discuss what bearing his entry ban to the US and arrest warrant from Russia had on his party membership. It was decided that until the matter with the US is solved, Kross will not hold a position of power in the government or the Parliament.

On Thursday it was announced that the UNESCO had decided to add the smoke sauna tradition in Võromaa, southern Estonia, to its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. A smoke sauna is an old-fashioned rural sauna, which has no chimney, so the smoke circulates and warms the room during the heating process, before being released through a window, a door or a whole in the wall. "The fact that the smoke sauna tradition of the Võro people was added to the UNESCO Representative List contributes to the continuity of the tradition and attracts international attention,” said Minister of Culture Urve Tiidus.

Later that day, the government approved the plan to buy 44 combat vehicles from Holland in what is the country's largest defense procurement so far. The CV90s will enter the service from 2016 and are expected to remain in use for at least 20 years. The vehicles have been used by the Dutch, but are relatively new.

President Ilves proclaimed general elections on Friday. The ad campaigns had kicked off with multiple scandals the week before.

The Black Nights Film Festival, which was recently named among the 15 most important film festivals in the world, came to an end this weekend. The winner of the grand prix for the best film was announced on Friday evening. The award went to Belgian director Gust van den Berghe for "Lucifer".

On Sunday, Estonia celebrated the first Advent by lighting advent candles and turning on the lights on public Christmas trees.



Opinion
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In a recent opinion piece in Postimees, small business-owner and Reform Party member Vootele Päi responded to criticism sparked by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' plans to attend a commemorative concert-service at the Estonian church in Saint Petersburg next month.

Kallas, Kasemets, Maasikas: EU is strong, no upside to losing the euro

Speaking on Vikerraadio's "Reporteritund" ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, Siim Kallas, Keit Kasemets and Matti Maasikas agreed that despite its prblems, the EU remained strong as a union.