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Estonia swears in coalition government, including far-right party





The government, forged by the centre-left Centre Party of Prime Minister Juri Ratas, the conservative Pro Patria (Isamaa) party and the far-right Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), was appointed by President Kersti Kaljulaid recently.

It is the first time an anti-EU and anti-immigration party has been in government in the Baltic EU and NATO member.

The coalition holds 56 seats in the 101-member parliament, the Riigikogu, and each party will be handed five posts in the cabinet.

The Reform Party under leader Kaja Kallas would be the main opposition party.

The party won the most seats in the March 3 election, however failed to form a government.

Economic and socio-political issues dominated the campaign in the run-up to the elections, with the country still reeling from a money-laundering scandal that engulfed the Estonian branch of Danske Bank.

Estonia is a country in Northern Europe, which borders the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland. Including more than 1,500 islands, its diverse terrain spans rocky beaches, old-growth forest and many lakes.

It was formerly part of the Soviet Union and is dotted with castles, churches and hilltop fortresses.


Direct visibility between Finland, Estonia restored due to less pollution




People on the coast of the Finnish capital of Helsinki can now see the land of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, across the Gulf of Finland, if at a high enough ground, due to less pollution during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to newspaper Helsingin Sanomat on Friday.

Direct visibility between the two cities, some 80 kilometers away across the Gulf of Finland, has not been possible for decades.

Researchers in Finland were quoted by the newspaper as saying that the phenomenon is likely due to less transport exhaust gases in the air as a result of reduced passenger transport on the Gulf during the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the Finnish emergency legislation which was activated to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, Finland has prohibited passenger transport between Finland and Estonia and Sweden. This has reduced departures of large ferries from Helsinki by half. Ninety-seven scheduled weekly departures are down to 51, as some of the ferries continue carrying freight, the newspaper reported.

Jukka-Pekka Jalkanen, a researcher on air quality at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, told the newspaper that the decline in the amount of oxides of nitrogen is probably the main reason for the clarity. “They cause this smog,” Jalkanen explained.

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Estonia declares state of emergency over coronavirus outbreak



Estonia, on Friday declared a state of emergency as coronavirus continues to spread in the Baltic country.

The government in Tallin said that special measures would last until May 1.

Schools and other educational institutions would be closed from Monday.

The Estonian state chancellery is also banning all public events.

Health checks will be introduced at borders, airports and ports and visitors will be required to give details of their travel histories.

According to Estonia’s Prime Minister, Jueri Ratas, the absolute priority of the government is to protect the health of the people in Estonia in the developing situation.

“The state of emergency is necessary in order to combat the spread of coronavirus as efficiently as possible,” he said.

However, Estonia registered 10 new confirmed cases of the virus on Thursday, bringing the total number to 27.

Neighbouring Latvia and Lithuania are yet to take similar measures.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Emmanuel Yashim

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First coronavirus case registered in Estonia, says Social affairs minister



The first case of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been registered in Estonia, the country’s Social Affairs Minister Tanel Kiik said on Thursday.

“We have received information this morning that the first infected person has been detected in Estonia, as of the previous evening.

“This person resides in Estonia permanently despite not being its citizen.

“The department of health will provide more precise information,” Kiik said during ETV broadcaster’s Terevisioon show.

The infected person is an Iranian citizen, who returned to Estonia from Iran, where the coronavirus death toll has neared 20, late on Wednesday.

He has been isolated.

Apart from that, Danish broadcaster TV2 reported that the first case of the coronavirus disease had been registered in the country.

The infected man has recently returned from a ski resort in northern Italy, after spending time there with his family. He is believed to be a TV2 staffer.

His wife and son have not been infected, tests have shown.

Italy faces the largest coronavirus outbreak outside Asia.

The number of confirmed cases has reached 400 in the European country, while 12 people have died.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has climbed to 22, after one new case has been registered in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, ZDF broadcaster reported, citing information provided by a hospital in the state’s capital of Dusseldorf.

This is already the third coronavirus case in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The man has got infected after communicating with a couple, who have been previously hospitalized with COVID-19.

Over 300 participants of a carnival procession, in which the infected people have taken part, are now undergoing medical examination.

In the wake of these developments, Germany’s Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) has published a list of products one should have in case of a 10-day quarantine.

The products included in the list — water, grain, bread, potatoes, rice, spaghetti, milk, meat, fish, sugar, etc — are sufficient to provide an adult with 2,200 calories per day during 10 days.

Apart from that, the office recommends people to have at home necessary medication, candles, a gas-burner, an electric torch, batteries and disinfectants.


Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim

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Estonia to strengthen cyber security cooperation with Germany



(Xinhua/NAN) Estonian Prime Minister, Juri Ratas, on Friday said that his country expects to work together with Germany even more in the area of cyber security.

Ratas disclosed this while in a meeting with the visiting German Defense Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, in his office.

Ratas said, “Thinking of the future, we have very many similar interests regarding cyber security, and this is an area where we can work together even more. “

Ratas and Kramp-Karrenbauer, however, discussed the strong historical bonds as well as very close cooperation in the modern day, between the two countries as dedicated allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and EU.

“As partners, we both want our future Europe to be a safe and good place to live in.

“Bilateral economic cooperation is also on the agenda, the greatest growth potential lies in the cooperation of innovative start-up companies.

“We are certainly interested in Germany’s experience with high technology and innovative research and development activities,” Ratas said.

They also discussed Estonia’s role as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2020-2021, climate issues, as well as Germany’s presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2020.

Germany is a founding member of the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence, led a battle group of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Lithuania, and participated in NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission.

Earlier, Kramp-Karrenbauer paid a visit to Lithuania to discuss bilateral cooperation and regional security, and visited German troops deployed in central Lithuania.(Xinhua/NAN)


Edited by Yahaya Isah/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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Lebanon, Estonia sign economic agreement



Lebanon and Estonia on Wednesday signed an economic agreement aimed at enhancing cooperation on private sectors, according to a statement by Beirut’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

The agreement was signed by Estonia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Andre Rondeau, and Nabil Fahed, Vice President of Beirut’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

The agreement is aimed at cooperating in the exchange of information, in addition to facilitating the work conducted by businessmen between Lebanon and Estonia.

Rondeau promised to facilitate the import of products from Lebanon to Estonia, while he hoped that Lebanon could also increase its imports.

Fahed noted that the trade volume between the two countries was still very low, promising to adopt measures to increase Lebanese exports to Estonia.

Edited by Yahaya Isah

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General news

Euro 2020 Qualifiers: Babel’s brace spurs Netherlands to 4-0 win in Estonia



Ryan Babel scored twice as a rampant Netherlands claimed a comfortable 4-0 victory over Estonia in their Euro 2020 Group C qualifier on Monday.

Memphis Depay added an excellent third to mark his 50th cap and Georginio Wijnaldum netted the fourth late on as the Dutch recorded back-to-back wins under manager Ronald Koeman for the first time following Friday’s 4-2 victory in Germany.

The Netherlands remain three points behind the top two in the pool, Germany and Northern Ireland, who have 12 points each. The Dutch have a game in hand.

Estonia slipped to a fifth successive loss in the qualifiers.

The home side started brightly though and created a few half-chances before the visitors took the lead in the 17th minute.

Daley Blind’s low cross from the left was prodded home by Babel, who had ghosted in between the Estonia central defenders and was left with the relatively simple task of placing the ball past goalkeeper Sergei Lepmets.

Wijnaldum saw his shot from the edge of the box saved by Lepmets and the Dutch, for all their domination of possession, failed to add to their tally before halftime.

They scored a second three minutes after the break as Babel rose to head home a Depay’s cross from the right in what was another easy finish.

Netherlands skipper Virgil Van Dijk headed just wide from a free kick, but the visitors got their reward for some adventurous attacking play.

This was when Depay controlled the ball on the edge of the box and place a left-footed shot into the corner.

Wijnaldum’s fourth was a gift from Lepmets when his header went under the goalkeeper in what should have been a routine save. (Reuters/NAN)

(Edited by Mufutau Ojo)

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Estonia coach resigns after record 0-8 loss to Germany



“Reim, who had coached the team since 2016, said he would stand down at an extraordinary meeting of the Estonian football federation,’’ the organisation said on Monday.

Germany humbled Estonia in Mainz on June 11 to leave the side bottom of qualifying Group C with three losses from as many games.

It was the heaviest competitive loss in their history.

Estonia next host Belarus in September.

Reim, a former professional player, was also Estonia’s most capped player of all time with 157 appearances.

He was the most capped European player from August 2007 until December 2009, when he was surpassed by Latvia’s Vitālijs Astafjevs.

(Edited by Abiodun Oluleye and Olawale Alabi)

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Germany overhaul on track, eye win over Estonia – Gnabry



Germany overhaul on track, eye win over Estonia – Gnabry


The Germans have won their two Euro qualifiers so far against the Dutch and Belarus on Saturday.

Coach Joachim Loew, has refreshed his team dropping former stalwarts, including Mats Hummels, Thomas Mueller and Jerome Boateng.

“We have a very youthful team.  We understand each other very well because we have known each other since the youth teams.

“This development of the team is a lot of fun,” the 23-year-old Gnabry told a news conference on Monday.

The Germans are on six points in Group C, three behind leaders, Northern Ireland, who beat Estonia 2-1 on Saturday for their third win in three qualifiers.

“We feel young, we trust each other. We are better this year. We have two wins (from our qualifiers) and hopefully tomorrow we will win again.

“The development is very positive and the fact that we know each other well makes things a lot easier. Now, we want to keep going down this path together,”Gnabry said.

The Germans beat Belarus 2-0 in Borisov, but they could have scored several more goals.

“We are obviously the favourites against Estonia. We will try to do our best to bag the three points again.

“We had many goal chances and should have scored more against Belarus,” he added.

Germany, four-time world champions, suffered a shock World Cup first-round exit in Russia before being relegated in the inaugural Nations League.

But recent positive results have gradually attracted fans back to the stadiums with the team expected to play in front of a sold-out crowd of 26,000 in Mainz on Tuesday.

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Estonian parliament rejects Reform’s Kallas as PM





While the president was expected instead to tap Center Party head Juri Ratas to lead the Baltic country.

Kallas, whose party won the largest number of seats in a March 3 parliamentary election, however fell short of a majority, won 45 votes in Monday’s vote.

She had needed 51 votes to become Estonia’s first female prime minister and form a government.

Former Prime Minister Ratas had blocked Reform’s path to power by agreeing a coalition between his left-leaning Center, the conservative Fatherland party and the far-right EKRE group, giving the three parties a majority in parliament.

“The values we built this country on are under threat,” Kallas told newsmen after the vote.

President Kersti Kaljulaid has to nominate a new candidate for prime minister within seven days.

The president is currently abroad and is only expected back in Estonia on Friday.

Earlier this month, Ratas, who served as prime minister from late 2016, agreed a three-party coalition including EKRE, whose fiercely anti-immigrant message helped it win 19 seats in the March election, over double its previous tally.

Ratas had said during the campaign he would not do a deal with EKRE.

The far-right party would secure the finance, interior, environment, rural affairs and foreign trade portfolios if the coalition wins parliamentary approval.

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