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On Monday, 4 June, Foreign Ministry Secretary General Alar Streimann randomly selected the winners of the Foreign Ministry’s Estonia-themed web-based quiz. The grand prizes of the Foreign Ministry’s web-based quiz were trips to Estonia, which went to the Netherlands and Russia. The goal of the Foreign Ministry Estonia quiz is to introduce Estonia to citizens of other countries by offering participants new and interesting facts in the hopes of inspiring them to do further research into Estonia and visit the country.

 

Tribute To Donald Rumsfeld And Gulag Exhibit Preview Washington, DC – Donald Rumsfeld, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense, and Annette Lantos, Chairman of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, will headline a list of speakers and guests from Capitol Hill and Washington’s diplomatic corps at a June 12, 2012 10:00 a.m. EDT wreath laying ceremony at the Victims of Communism Memorial (located on Capitol Hill, see victimsofcommunism.org for map and directions).

 

ERR News - In a recently published survey by the Institute of Economic -Research, 75 percent of respondents said Estonians drink too much alcohol.  Eighty-one percent of res-pondents found it necessary to reduce alcohol consumption in the nation. But only 2 percent of those polled admitted to drinking too much themselves.  The poll also suggested that consumption habits have become more similar to other Nordic countries, as Estonians have started consuming beverages with lower alcohol content.  In total, 10.2 liters of pure alcohol was consumed per person last year. In Finland, the figure was 10.1 liters. Compared to 2010, alcohol consumption in Estonia rose by 5.7 percent. The Ministry of Social Affairs aims to reduce the annual consumption of alcohol to eight liters of pure alcohol per person. 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, First of all, let me welcome you all to Estonia.  Not only do I have the honor to host for the first time the NATO Parliamentary Assembly here in my country, it is also the first time anarchists from over Europe have gathered in Estonia to protest the presence of democratically elected parliamentarians from the Alliance.  Eight years after joining the Alliance, this was the one aspect of NATO membership we had not yet experienced. More seriously, I want to thank you for coming because your presence here raises NATO’s visibility, makes NATO less an abstraction and reinforces the commitment we share in the Alliance.  NATO has an overwhelmingly positive image here, it is regarded highly and seen as one of the most relevant of international organizations. 

 

ERR News - A riddle in the dark: what has eight legs, is bigger than a coin, and haunts one of Tallinn's most popular medieval attractions? Besides the presumable ghosts of the past, one of Tallinn's most popular medieval attractions turned out to be home to a colony of cave-dwelling spiders a few years ago, and they are still there, reported Eesti Päevaleht. The arachnids in the underground bastion passageways in the Old Town's ring of fortifications are not just any spiders – they are Estonia's biggest species, the European cave spider, widespread worldwide but discovered in Estonia for the first time only in the 1990s.

 

French railway operator SNCF, the engineering and consultancy firm Systra, and the energy and transport company Alstom have expressed interest in investing into Rail Baltic, a planned railway that would link the Baltic states with Western Europe, the Lithuanian Minister of Trans-port, Eligijus Masiulis, said in a statement on May 23. At the meeting with the minister, a representative of SNCFL, Le Roux said that, as Rail Baltic will combine a number of international transport corridors, participation in the project is a historic opportunity and must not be missed. A well-organized rail network is necessary in order to ensure attractiveness of this form of transportation, said Le Roux. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have so far signed an agreement to establish a joint company that will be responsible for carrying out the project. A working group of the three nations will meet this week in Tallinn to clarify conditions.        VES/ERR  

 

ERR News – Homeowners are reaping some rewards from the EU's efforts to staunch the debt crisis as interest rates have dropped to a ten-year low. The Bank of Estonia said the average interest rate on home loans was 3.1 percent in April, due mainly to a drop in the Euribor reference rate at which banks in the Eurozone offer each other term deposits. A month ago, the six-month Euribor reached the 1 percent mark for the first time in nearly two years, and it has continued to drop since then. The decrease is attributed primarily to the European Central Bank's (ECB) decision to flood the market with 1 trillion euros in three-year loans. The ECB has also cut interest rates, which have stayed at a record-low 1 percent since November.                        

 

ERR News - Tartu Science Park opened the doors of a new demo center for mobile application software. The idea is to give mobile application developers a place to share and market their ideas, as well as to receive assistance from experts. The demo center will provide technical support, but initially developers must bring their own programming skills. "We will hold open houses and events where very competent and knowledgeable people share their knowledge with others,” said the project's manager, Vaido Mikheim. "We do not yet offer in-house training.” “This technology base is created on the principle that it be as flexible and diverse as possible to use smartphones and tablet PCs with all the different operating systems and, to create a wide selection of possibilities for available ideas,” Mikheim said.

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