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ERR News - Two Estonian-owned companies have bought the Palace Hotel, a landmark institution on one corner of Tallinn's Freedom Square, from Sweden's Scandic Hotels. EfTEN Capital's real estate fund and Esraven AS each now own 50 percent of a new company set up to own and manage the hotel, EfTEN Capital said in a press release today. EfTEN Capital is owned by a group of Estonian businessmen that includes Hannes Tamjärv and the company's current CEO, Viljar Arakas, reported Postimees. Vello Kunman owns Esraven.


Most likely the first thing that comes to mind when you read mao is Communist China's late Chairman Mao Zedong. He would no doubt be celebrating right now as well, especially since he was born in a mao/aasta (year of the snake). Is that how he got his name?!... According to Chine-se astrology, people born on the year of the snake are said to be keen and determined. They know how to maneuver themselves toward their own destinies and destinations. (Mao tee (written as two words) also happens to mean the path of the snake. Tee is thereby a true-blue homonym, meaning both tea and road/path.) People born in this year are also said to be sophisticated, calm and not outwardly emotional, but they might have a touch of paranoia at times.


On March 27th, Estonia’s post-war independence exceeds the length of the pre-war one. Toomas Kiho, adviser to Prime Minister and editor of the Akadeemia magazine, has based his calculations on the fact that Republic of Estonia was founded on February 24th, 1918 and managed to last for one day, as on February 25th 1918 the German occupation set in. Authority of the Estonian state was re-established on the day the occupation ended – being November 11th 1918. From then on, Republic of Estonia, according to Mr Kiho’s calculations, lasted until occupied by the Soviet Union. As we know, the Soviet troops massively entered Estonia in the morning of June 17th 1940, the USSR’s corresponding ultimatum having come on June 16th.


The Tartu Christian Adolescents’ Home was founded in 2000 to educate and rear children who are orphans, homeless, or lack a functional family. TCAH is located in Tartu, in a rented villa that predates WWI, at Era Street No, 2.  It shelters 50 young people from age 6 to 23.  What sets TCAH apart from other institutions is that it offers a home also to those young people who have aged out. Mrs. Külli Kool, board chairman and a founder of the Home, explains that TCAH youths are interested in completing their education or vocational training. The idea is to enable  young persons  become  responsible citizens as well as successful members of community. That’s in contrast  to  the experience of most other institutions where young people leave when they reach  legal maturity at 18,  and  also drop their studies. 


Bread is a basic food in Estonia that no one skimps on and many in fact survive on. It accompanies almost every meal in all circumstances and often without butter or any other kind of spread. Sales of bread, which must not ever dip (lange) substantially, see a surge (tõus) around the anni-versary of Estonian independence 24. veebruaril, when the hors d'oeuvres (suupisted) du jour are usually something on dark rye, such as kilu (sprats), heeringas, tursamaksasalat (cod liver salad)...


A tiny Estonian outfit offers a way out of the credit crunch and, possibly, a way to rebuild banking. I have started making loans to total strangers – scores of them. I am not mad, rich or philanthropic. The loans are tiny. The safeguards are good. So far, the borrowers are paying me back and I am turning a handy profit. Even nicer, I feel I am part of a revolution which could save Western capitalism. It is all happening in Estonia.  Banking is the economy's biggest weakness. It offers stingy, fee-ridden savings products and over-priced loans with nasty hidden costs. Intermediaries gain colossal profits, especially when they are greedy and reckless. When things go wrong, as they inevitably do, the taxpayer picks up the bill. Apart from that, it works fine.


"I wonder how deep that pothole (löök/auk) is and whether my ratas (wheel) will fit in it?" Actually, rarely do you have time for such prolonged reflection on a dark, wet, slick thoroughfare. You simply clutch the rool (wheel), keep your eyes peeled for any darker patches and do your best to avoid them. Luckily not all winter, just in times of sula (thaw) and there have been two such periods this winter in Eesti; perfect for breeding potholes nagu seeni pärast vihma – like mushrooms after the rain. Did you know that holes yawn? (Nad haigutavad.) They do in Estonian. If I had not witnessed it myself, I would never believe it was possible for löökaugud to yawn in such numbers and seemingly overnight on the streets of Tallinn. 


(Washington, DC) -  The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC), representing the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian communities in the United States, welcomes California Rep. Adam Schiff as the new co-chair of the House Baltic Caucus. Congressman Schiff joins Rep. John Shimkus, from Illinois, in the leadership of the Caucus. Serving in Congress since 2001, Mr. Schiff  has been a House Baltic Caucus member for the past decade. As Caucus co-chair, he replaces Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who was not re-elected in 2012.


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