The week in pictures: November 10-16
The word of the past week was “tax” - banker Indrek Neivelt launched a debate on tax reform which has drawn a response from politicians and experts alike while the environmental tax hike, publicly criticized by the industry, was approved by the government.
New Reform Party recruit, retired General Ants Laaneots was welcomed into politics with an uproar against him criticizing the defense development plan and current Commander in Chief, Maj. Gen. Riho Terras, who Laaneots called an IRL puppet. Defense Minister Sven Mikser said it was an attempt to undermine the authority of the Defense Forces while IRL Chairman Urmas Reinsalu said the nation's defense should not be politicized.
ISS, the Internal Security Service, said that one person previously residing in Estonia, citizenship and ethnicity withheld, has traveled to Syria to fight for the Jihadist militant group the ISIS. KAPO said in general, the tiny Muslim community of Estonia is peaceful and well integrated into society.
Good news for the economy as GDP rose by 2.1 percent in 3Q of 2014 compared to the same time last year. Growth was led by manufacturing. Export of good increased by 6.6 percent while imports increased by 3.5 percent.
Estonian company Alfred & Partners was named as a CES 2015 Best of Innovation Awards Honoree in the audio and video category for high-quality two-meter high loudspeakers.
Indrek Neivelt, a former CEO of Hansabank, said that Estonia has basked on the glory of its tax system for too long and reform is needed to modernize it. He proposed cutting health insurance tax by more than half, introducing a tax on corporate profits, a land tax on homes and pegging oil shale tax prices to world market petroleum prices. He also said that the tax free minimum should be near tripled to 400 euros per month. Politicians and experts also joined the debate.
Government will increase tax on oil shale rock mining by 3 percent per year, but from 2016 to 2025. Viru Keemia Grupp, the largest private company in the industry, cried foul, saying it could lead to bankruptcy and 24,000 lost jobs in Ida-Viru County. The company also petitioned the government for more mining rights, saying the new shale oil plant is working too well and it needs more oil shale rock.
Police Chief Elmar Vaher said on Thursday that the police are powerless to investigate all crimes, and some cases are left untouched due to a lack of manpower.
PÖFF, the Black Nights Film Festival, began on Friday. The festival, which was recently named as one of the top 15 in the world, has hundreds of films on show, read here for tips on what to watch. The festival will run until November 30.
The Reform Party turned 20 last week, having been in government for 16 years. Not everyone is impressed.