Weekend Digest: Day 2 of UN Sec'y General Visit, Robotex Sets Visitor Records

11/18/2013 8:55 AM
Category: news

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's two-day visit to Estonia continued on Saturday with a speech delivered at Tallinn University in which he warned about climate change and talked about the UN's plans.

Sounding a message of involvement, Ban said that there "is only a plan A" and that everyone in the world had to do their part to, if not reverse global warning, keep temperatures from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius.

He also touched on the NSA leaks in the context of confidentiality in general, and spoke about  poverty, polio and malaria eradication - all planks in the UN's future plans.

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Robotex, a Tallinn University hosted robotics and technology expo, set audience attendance records, with more than 7,000 visiting on Saturday and Sunday, including Secretary General Ban.

Over 230 robots and 500 robot builders participated. Robots went head to head in ten competitive events, and visitors could take part in six workshops.

A team of Latvians from the Riga University of Technology won the sumo final.

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The Social Democrats issued a statement on Saturday in which they saw the shakeup at a state-funded culture weekly, Sirp, as part of a bigger trend including, what they called the government's attempts to ridicule recent critical National Audit Office findings and increase state control of public broadcaster ERR.

Social media also continued to buzz about the Sirp affair, where, in what has been called a heavy-handed reform or even a political power play, writer and ad executive Kaur Kender was appointed interim editor of the government-funded culture weekly.

Some of Kender's proposed reforms, such as including video game reviews in what has up to now been a decorous, slightly stuffy publication, have been seized on by intellectuals as examples of lowbrow trend. Others expressed discomfort with premature criticism, noting that Kender's first day at work is only today and said it could bring a change for the better. 

Writer Jan Kaus is the latest to pen a scathing column, for kultuur.err.ee, in which he criticizes Kender's perceived lack of literary credentials and says he would consider a run at the permanent editor position himself.

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Despite not meriting a warning from the weather service, Eino, the region's second significant fall storm, ended up grazing the north coast with close to 100 kph winds. With higher wind speed in Norway than the St. Jude storm, Eino mainly did its damage in the Nordics, but 13,000 households were without power in northern Estonia this morning, and rescue services got 50 calls. 


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