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A new report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has found that Estonians put in among the longest hours and have among the lowest life expectancy of those living in the OECD's 34 member states. The organization's "Society at a Glance" report on social indicators published on April 12 found that Estonians work eight hours and 36 minutes per day, the fifth highest of the member countries and well above the OECD average of eight hours and four minutes. Residents of Mexico put in the highest number of working hours per day – nine hours and 54 minutes -  followed by Japanese, Portuguese and Canadians. Belgians, Danes and Germans spent the least time working.

 

Freedom House, a New York-based watchdog organization for human rights, has rated Estonia the most free of 37 countries it surveyed in its "Freedom on the Net 2011" report. Using three criteria to measure freedom - obstacles to internet access, limits on content and violations of user rights - the survey put Estonia at the top of the list, noting the country's highly-developed online culture and the fact that content restrictions are among the lightest in the world.

14 March 2011- One of the world’s leading companies in oil shale development, Eesti Energia/Enefit of Estonia, purchased a 100% interest in Oil Shale Exploration Company (OSEC) of Alabama, which has significant oil shale interests in Utah. This puts Utah on the leading edge of development of oil shale resources.

ERR News - An Amur leopard named Darla, a member of one of the most rare cat species in the world, gave birth in the Tallinn Zoo during the early morning hours of April 14.
One of the two male cubs was stillborn, but the other so far appears to be in healthy condition, the zoo has announced.
The occasion marks the third litter for Darla, who made history in 2007 when she produced the first Amur leopards ever born in captivity.

ERR News - The world’s first Skype telephone booth, which enables people to make free worldwide calls to other users of the popular internet telephony application, was opened to the public at Tallinn Airport on March 18.
Skype is a computer application that allows users to make voice calls over the internet free of charge. It was launched by three Estonian software developers in 2003 and has been one of the most popular online telephone applications, with an estimated 663 million registered users by the end of 2010.

Enticed by the action and higher salaries offered by private security contractors, dozens of professional Navy officers are quitting the national force, leaving at least one ship unmanned.
"One of the main reasons that people leave is money," said a Navy officer, who wished to remain anonymous, to ETV. "Maybe also the monotony of it. For example, people from the Scouts Batallion, who go on missions, come back and again start learning how to pull a weapon apart and put it back together - that's not suitable for them."

I recall attending a Latvian Independence Day celebration in Los Angeles.  As Estonia’s honorary consul in California I had a front row seat, visible to everyone in attendance.  The program lasted longer than expected – almost three hours.  Except for our introduction by the emcee, my brief remarks and the remarks of the Lithuanian honorary consul general, the entire program was in Latvian.  The principal speaker was from the Latvian Foreign Ministry.  He delivered what perhaps was an interesting speech – at least I think it may have been interesting based on intermittent translations whispered by the Latvian sitting next to me.

ERR News - American mining company Molycorp has bought up a 90.023 percent share in Estonia's rare earth metals producer AS Silmet, taking control of one of very few sources of the much-sought materials outside China.

The Colorado-based firm paid approximately 62 million euros for its shares, buying 80 percent of the company from former majority holder Silmet Grupp, owned by former prime minister Tiit Vähi, and the remainder of its shares from Austrian firm Treibacher Industrie AG. The deal leaves Silmet Grupp with just under 10 percent ownership, according to a release from Molycorp.

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