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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.

 

ERR News - A 12-strong group of adventurers set off this week on a month-long journey to northern Siberia, where thousands of Estonians were deported during the Soviet era. The team will drive four specially built off-road vehicles first to Norilsk, then to Yamal Peninsula and the mining town of Vorkuta, reported ETV.

 

ERR News - Eesti Energia's Chairman of the Board, Sandor Liive, spoke on ETV  defending the energy giant's Utah venture after attacks from opposition members of Parliament. Liive said that Eesti Energia, or Enefit as it is known internationally, is on track in Utah and the project will take as long to complete as was first intended. “We are preparing the necessary measures for environmental licenses, we are conducting geological studies, we have done the first tests on the oil shale [found in Utah], so in reality we are doing great,” added Liive.

 

ERR News - Last week, the news broke that Scott Diel, a contributing editor for ERR News, and composer Eugene Birman are creating what has been called a "financial opera," recounting last year's Twitter duel between Estonia's president and economist Paul Krugman. ERR News interviewed Diel, the librettist, who is an American writer and lives in Estonia; and Birman, a Latvian-born, Juilliard and Columbia-educated composer whose works have been performed across the United States, Europe and Asia.

 

ERR News - The largest negative net migration of the past decade helped push Estonia's population down by another 7,915 people last year, according to preliminary figures released on January 18, by Statistics Estonia. Based on registered births, deaths and migration figures for the year, the agency put the nation's population figure at 1,286,540 as of January 1. The recent Population and Housing Census, which used December 31, 2011 as its reference date, had come up with a result of 1,294,455.

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