Estonian interior minister announces resignation for health reasons

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Estonia’s Interior Minister Andres Anvelt announced on Tuesday that he is resigning as minister for reasons of health and will not run in the Riigikogu elections next spring.

The Social Democrat minister said that he was resigning for deeply personal reasons — health. He said he will continue performing the duties of interior minister until a new minister is appointed.

“I have had my health checked frequently and have understood that to live successfully and happily for many more years I have to change environment, and politics definitely is not the environment where putting your heart in what you do should done at the expense of your heart,” Anvelt said.

“Health is a relatively personal thing. At one moment you sense that different choices should be made in order for health to last longer,” Anvelt said. “I will go on doing my work calmly and in a statesmanly manner until a substitute is found for me, and then I will definitely take a rest.”

Anvelt said that he will leave politics altogether and will not take up a seat in the parliament for the slightly more than three months left until the elections.

“I have been in politics for ten years, five of them in the Riigikogu and three in government. I definitely had a plan to also take part in the work of the next Riigikogu, but in the past couple of days the most important alarm bell that there is, health, has been ringing for me. Ignoring this warning and going on working until something very serious happens is something that I cannot afford to myself or do to the people close to me,” Anvelt said.

“These have been very interesting years,” Anvelt said, extending his gratitude to Prime Minister Juri Ratas, leader of the Social democratic Party (SDE) Jevgeni Ossinovski and member of the government for cooperation, and political partners and opponents for cooperation and disputes to make life in Estonia better.

“I wish to them a sober mind, good ideas, and discussions with a view to securing the best future for Estonia,” Anvelt said, also offering his gratitude to the people working in the Interior Ministry’s area of government.

Anvelt informed the leader of SDE, Jevgeni Ossinovski, about his decision to resign earlier on Tuesday.

“I received Andres’ wish to leave politics with a very heavy heart. I understand of course that we all have only one life and there is nothing more important than health. But it’s painful all the same, as Andres is more to me than just a political battle buddy. Andres is my friend. Estonian politics is losing a statesman with a big heart. Thank you, my friend, for your contribution. Take care of yourself.”

Anvelt, who is aged 49, made the announcement during a press briefing he had called for 4 p.m. on Tuesday.


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Two Hundred Take Part in UN Women’s Candle Light March

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UN Women candlelight walk

Photo: UN Women Iceland/Facebook

The annual UN Women’s Candle Light March took place in downtown Reykjavík on Sunday, RÚV reports. Two hundred people took part in the march, which is held in observance of the Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and marks the start of “16 days of activism, a global campaign to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.”

This year’s march was led by Sigrún Sif Jóelsdóttir, one of the participants in the “Gender-Based Violence is Closer Than You Think” video campaign which UN Women Iceland debuted earlier this year, and was dedicated to all victims of gender-based violence. “…[T]his year, the emphasis is on listening to the voices of victims,” said Arna Grímsdóttir, director of UN Women in Iceland. “Listening and being patient with them. Believing them and giving them room to breathe.”


Source : Iceland Review

The emptying of KNM Helge Ingstad continues

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KNM Helge Ingstad
Wreck at sunrise. KNM Helge Ingstad is emptied of fuel before attempted salvage. Photo: Marit Hommedal / NTB scanpix

Since Friday afternoon, around 50 cubic metres of fuel has been pumped out of the wrecked frigate, KNM Helge Ingstad. Drainage continues as planned.

The vessel has been quiet throughout the night, and measurements of movements are analysed continuously the Navy said.

The emptying of fuel tanks started at around 14.00 on Friday and has been going on throughout the night. It is estimated that there are now around 385 cubic metres of marine diesel left inside.

A computer was taken from the bridge after the accident last Friday by divers from the ‘Minedykkerkommandoen’ (Minedivers Command). The machine disk hard drive was then handed over to the police. The content will be reviewed by the Norwegian Accident Commission.

The first part of the chain launcher to be used for lifting the vessel was picked up on Saturday at Sotra.

It is currently unclear when the actual lifting of the frigate will start, as the draining of fuel must be completed first, but from the middle of next week, there may be a small storm in the area.


Source : Norway Today

Niinistö signs initiative calling for more ambitious climate measures

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Finnish President Sauli Niinistö is one of 16 heads of state to sign an initiative calling for determined and swift action to stop climate change and adapt to its adverse effects. (Credit: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö is one of 16 heads of state to sign an initiative calling for determined and swift action to stop climate change and adapt to its adverse effects. (Credit: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)


President Sauli Niinistö and 15 of his fellow heads of state have signed an initiative for more climate ambition.

Spearheaded by Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, the initiative urges all parties to the Paris Agreement, an agreement within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to take joint, decisive and swift action to stop the global climate crisis.

“Current measures taken by the international community […] are not sufficient to reach the long-term goals set out in the Paris Agreement. More has to be done – and action needs to be quick, decisive and joint,” it reads.

“We, the heads of state and governments signing this declaration, are convinced that effective measures to combat climate change are not only necessary in their own right, but will bring about additional co-benefits and new opportunities for our economies and societies. We are confident that substantial measures will help us lead our planet into a safe, peaceful and prosperous future.”

The other signatories include the presidents of Germany, Iceland, Italy and Switzerland, and the prime ministers of Sweden and the Netherlands.

The initiative was launched on the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, which according to the signatories is of particular significance as it will determine implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement.

Its signatories urge all parties to the agreement to formulate and communicate by 2020 their respective strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the long-term goals of the agreement. Global average temperatures, they highlight, have already risen by roughly 1ºC above pre-industrial levels, signalling an unprecedented increase in the history of humankind.

“The climate crisis is a concern to all of us. Global warming impedes the global economy. It threatens various sectors including agriculture, forestry, tourism, energy and water supplies and, inevitably, it is a serious threat to peace and stability around the globe,” they emphasise.


Source : Helsinki Times