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What the papers say: Freshwater mussels and Estonians in the Gambia

Estonian newspapers (photo is illustrative).
Estonian newspapers (photo is illustrative). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Reaction to the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, Estonians breathing a breath of fresh air to schools in the Gambia, and the plight of a particular species of freshwater mussel were among the stories covered in Estonia's online and paper media on Monday, January 26. All links in Estonian unless otherwise noted.

Estonians giving Gambian schools a new lease of life

Piia Vilu, a vet and animal carer at an animal clinic in Viljandi, is spending her third winter in the west African country of The Gambia where, together with friends and following the example of Swedish people in the country, has been busy renovating and generally giving a lick of paint to schools, according to investigative weekly Eesti Ekspress.

Russia eases entry for citizens of over 50 states, if they come via Vladivostock

Russia has altered its visa system, making it easier for Estonian citizens, as well as those of over 50 other countries, to enter the far eastern port city of Vladivostock. The process involved completing an online visa application at least four days before planned entry, according to daily Postimees.

Other countries whose citizens are eligible for the scheme include Denmark, Ireland, Japan, Lithuania and Switzerland.

Remembering Kobe

The untimely death of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant on Sunday has touched people in Estonia. Not only the prime minister, who once met Bryant as a young man, while playing in a competition in Italy, but also coach and manager Riho Soonik, who made small talk with the great, and reminisced about the experience in daily Õhtuleht.

Freshwater pearl mussels endangered

Estonia's stock of Freshwater pearl mussels, confined to one river in the country, which cannot be named for protection purposes, is down to about 10,000 where once it was three times that number, and has seen no growth in half a century, according to daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL).

This makes the species in danger of dying out altogther, with changes in habitat, some of them man-made and which interfere with the species' reprodcutive cycle, in part to blame, with the future not looking very bright.

IT workers would exchange pay cut for shorter hours, at least in some cases

Whether it comes as a surprise or not, many IT workers in Estonia would choose a shorter working day even if it meant a pay cut, with a survey cited by news portal Geenius claiming nearly 30 percent of those polled would take a pay cut if they could have a six-hour working day. Among other sectors, haulage sees among the smallest level of demands for shorter shifts; the industrial sector among the highest, again, even if it meant being paid less.

Selver and the future after M.V.Wool

CEO of Estonian supermarket chain Selver Kristi Lomp gave an interview to Postimees (link in English), where she talked about the impact of the M.V.Wool listeria scandal, the possible return to smaller stores in Estonia, how important it is for Estonians to buy local, and even the possible emergence of German global discount supermarket chain Lidl on the local market.

Estonian FA ended security firm contract

The Estonian Football Association (Eesti Jalgpalli Liit) terminated its contract with security provider Meeskond Security, a few days before a European Championships qualifier, business daily Äripäev reports, at a cost of €50,000. The cause was one particularly unruly fan, the report says.

Rakvere goes ahead with LGBT+ film festival funding, despite opposition

Support for a minorities festival, called Festheart, caused some controversy at a Rakvere city government meeting last week, according to regional daily Virumaa teataja. The chamber ultimately decided to continue its support, as drawn up by its culture committee, without any changes.

Support of €2,000 is being granted to the Festheart film festival, an LGBT+ focussed event. Those who urged a rethink of how grants to cultural events would be made in general included EKRE MP Marti Kuusik.

Funding for minority campaigns has recently hit the headlines at the national level, following a poster and online media drive under the auspices of the social affairs ministry, which drew criticism from other government members.

Winter birds survey done and dusted

A winter birds survey held over the weekend yielded finds of more than 22,000 birds, covering 60 different species, with the data being sent to the ornithological society (Ornitoloogiaühing), regional daily Järva teataja reports. The unseasonably mild weather is seeing many birds which would normally migrate to warmer climes for winter, remaining in Estonia.

Of the above sources, EPL and Eesti Ekspress and Maaleht are owned by Ekspress Meedia, one of two major media companies in Estonia. Ekspress Meedia also operates the Delfi portal, and has a 50 percent stake in Õhtuleht, which it may be selling, according to some reports.

Postimees and its regional variants are owned by the other major media concern, Postimees Grupp (formerly Eesti Meedia), which also runs TV2 television channel, radio channels and other concerns.

Geenius is an indepedent portal; Äripäev is owned by Swedish family-owned media group Bonnier.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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