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You have already received, or will shortly receive, the Estonian American National Council’s fundraising letter, together with a new brochure about the EANC and its activities.  The printing company who handled the printing and mailing, and which we have used in the past, has mista-kenly included a wrong, old letter in this mailing. The correct letter is below.  EANC is working with the printer to see how it intends to correct its error.  We try to keep our fundrai-sing appeals to a minimum, but it is more than ever the case that we need your help in supporting the many activities that the members of the Estonian-American community expect of us. The brochure that accompanied the letter in question is timely, and describes the many ways we support our community.  We hope that you have a chance to look at it, as well as the letter that we intended to send below, and find it in your hearts to help us in this important work. Thank you!

 

Setting the record for attendance in the 21st Century, 150 participants responding to the invitation to share their love of Estonia and Estonian culture attended KLENK's annual sõpruspäevad and conference in St. Petersburg, Florida's Magnuson Hotel Marina Cove Conference Center, January 6 and 7, 2012.  Cohosted by the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) and the Estonian National Association of South Florida (Lõu-na Florida Eestlaste Koondis) and held outside its traditional Midwestern location at a new time of year, old and new friends came together from 15 states (from Florida to Washington and New York to California), Canada and Estonia, and students from Augsburg and Geislingen reunited. 

 

We again welcome in a new year.  Even though the traditions associated with its coming remain comfortingly fami-liar, with the start of each new year we can anticipate new initiatives, new challenges, and new achievements.  The Estonian American National Council wishes all of you a happy, productive, and prosperous year 2012! First of all, we want to thank all who have helped EANC during the past year, through your comments and suggestions, donations, and participation in our endeavors.  Your involvement is very important.  EANC anticipates a busy year, culminating in the celebration of its 60th anniversary in the second half of the year.  More information on this will be coming later.

 

The Birth of Estonian Film In 2012 Estonian film will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Photographer Johannes Pääsuke, who wandered across Estonia taking pictures of farm workers, purchased a film camera in 1912 and used it to record Utoshkin, a stunt pilot who was performing over Tartu in the province of Livonia. Soon after, in spring of that same year, Pääsuke completed the short political satire film "Bear Hunt in Pärnu County" ("Karujaht Pärnumaal"). It allegorically addressed the election battle between Estonians and Baltic Germans in the city of Pärnu. And with that, the first Estonian film was born.

 

What a venue for the finale! The "Õnnelik Lõpp" or Happy End(ing) of Tallinn as the 2011 European Capital of Culture was held on the evening of December 22 across the city. The official closing ceremony was an invitation-only event that took place in the newly renovated Lennu/sadama vesi/lennukite angaarid (Seaplane Harbor hangars), the new home of the Estonian Maritime Museum (www.meremuuseum.ee) .  Completed in 1917, the hangars are unique shell concrete structures considered to be feats of engineering 20 years ahead of their time and the first of their kind in the world. 

 

(Washington, DC) --- The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) has worked diligently this year to ensure the passage of the Belarus Democracy and Human Rights Act of 2011, supporting democracy in Belarus. On Tuesday, December 20, the final bill passed Congress and will now go to the White House for signature as Public Law.  On December 19 - the one-year anniversary of the renewed crackdown by the Lukashenka regime - Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), chairman of the Helsinki Commission, held a press conference at the U.S. Capitol, to draw attention to the situation in Belarus, and the legislation. JBANC Managing Director Karl Altau spoke at the press conference. JBANC’s statement for the record is given below.

 

ERR News - The new Traffic Act in Estonia requires all pedestrians to wear a reflector in conditions of inadequate visibility - theoretically enforced by a fine of up to 400 euros - but tourists may not be aware of the law. Britain's Foreign and Com0monwealth Office and the US Department of State both have included information on their respective webpages, but on the ground in Estonia,  no information is posted publicly - in the airport, port or street signs, Eesti Päevaleht reported.

 

It is a long time since Estonia was a subject, not an object in international affairs. I doubt anyone is alive today who has even the dimmest childhood memory of the Tartu Peace Treaty negotiations (though I would be delighted to be proved wrong if a precocious nine-year-old is now a lively centenarian). From the Anglo-German naval agreement of 1935 onwards (in which Britain withdrew from the Baltic, turning the small countries of the region into the playthings of Hitler and Stalin), Estonia has had to accept the hand that history dealt it.  

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