Week in pictures: July 27-August 2
Last week was dominated by worries of the Estonian food industry, as African swine fever spread among thousands of pigs – the animals had to be exterminated. It was also a bad week for Estonian fish industry as Kazakhstan banned its products – Russia had done it previously. In good news, Tallinn University of Technology, one of the leading academic institutions, finally got a new rector.
It emerged on Monday that archeologists have marked around 40 sites on the proposed Rail Baltic high-speed rail track and are currently examining certain places to determine the archeological worth of the sites.
The government drew up a bill which will further limit where smoking is allowed. In 2007, smoking was banned indoors in bars and cafes, but the new bill, expected to come into effect in 2017, would get rid of designated smoking areas in buildings. Prisons would also become smoke free that year. However, according to the Chancellor of Justice, a plan by the Ministry of Social Affairs to completely ban smoking in prisons is unconstitutional. The Chancellor of Justice said that smoking undoubtedly has negative effects on the health of smokers and those close by, but the right to smoke is constitutionally protected.
Following in the footsteps of Russia, Kazakhstan banned imports of Estonian and Latvian fish products. Kazakhstan authorities said that Estonian and Latvian fish products do not meet sanitary requirements of the Eurasian Union, a counterweight to the European Union. The Eurasian Union has five members – Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
NATO fighter jets patrolling and protecting Baltic airspace had to respond 12 times on Tuesday in reaction to Russian military aircraft flying near the Latvian border. According to Latvian Defense Forces, three Russian transport planes An-76 and one Il-76, as well as four fighter jets MiG-31 and four attack aircraft Su-24, were detected flying near the Latvian outer sea border, above the Baltic Sea in international airspace.
The Veterinary and Food Board disclosed that the highly contagious African swine fever virus had been spreading among pigs. Over 2,000 animals have now been exterminated in Tartu, Järva and Valga counties.
Tallinn University of Technology (TUT) Board of Governors finally named Jaak Aaviksoo as the new rector, after months of bitter accusations and recounts. The saga began on May 22 when the TUT's Board of Governors elected Aaviksoo rector by 8 votes in favor, but four members, part of a 11-strong board, later said that they did not vote for the former government minister, meaning that at least one of the eight votes Aaviksoo received, could have been forged.
A prominent former government minister and academic Endel Lippmaa died on Thursday, aged 84. To an average Estonian, Lippmaa was one of the most visible Estonian scientists in the last 30 years, almost an epitomizing figure in science. In spring 1987, a year before the "Singing Revolution", Lippmaa was one of the main opponents of the Soviet plan to build new phosphate mines in Estonia, which would have caused environmental harm and brought in tens of thousands of Soviet immigrants. He later played a major part in getting the secret Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact made public and denounced by the Soviet parliament. In 1989, the Soviet authorities admitted the existence of the secret protocol of the Nazi–Soviet Pact, which divided territories of Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland into German and Soviet "spheres of influence".
Estonia's top rally driver Ott Tänak came fifth in the Finland stage of the World Rally Championships.