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On April 19–20, the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) held its 10th annual conference in Washington DC. The key topics of discussion included the deteriorating political and human rights situation in Russia, and the prospects for EU visa sanctions against Russian human rights abusers modeled on the US Magnitsky Act. JBANC’s 10th annual conference brought together diplomats; government officials; political, business, and NGO leaders; journalists; and policy analysts from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Russia, and other countries. 

 

ERR News - The popular Ahhaa science center will permanently close the doors on its Tallinn branch this weekend but will open a new affiliate in Pärnu for the summer months. The exhibition center, which uses interactive methods to teach science to youngsters, is set to vacate its premises underneath Tallinn's Freedom Square due to the unsuitable nature of the space as well as a disagreement with the city government, which rents out the rooms.

 

ERR News - Starting in August, Estonian Air will begin charging customers for using their check-in service booths at airports. The announcement on April 19 is part of the most recent round of changes being implemented as part of the financially strugling airline's re-structuring plan. In a press release, Estonian Air said it is narrowing its ticket options from five to three. In August, the carrier will start charging a 10-euro service fee at check-in desks for the cheapest ticket class. Check-in through the company's website, via text message, or through a self-service station at the airport will still be free of charge. On a more positive note for customers, children between the ages of two and 11 will begin receiving a 25 percent discount off the basic passenger price.

 

The annual east coast Esto pilgrimage to snow country took place March 8 - 11th.  This year’s resort destination was Jay Peak Vermont. Over 100 skiers, snowboarders and snow bunnies made the trip and were treated to the most awesome conditions that could ever be imagined! While the crowd this year was a tad smaller than last year’s gathering to celebrated Esto Ski 50th anniversary, those who did attend were treated to 3-days of amazing snow, sunny skies and temperatures that had most shedding their parkas for lighter spring garb. 

 

National Siblings Day on April 10, is the brainchild of Estonian Claudia Evart, who thought up the day as a way for siblings to honor, recognize and celebrate each other. She is the founder and director of the Siblings Day Foundation. Evart, a freelance paralegal from Manhattan, lost her two siblings in separate accidents early in life. Evart chose April 10 as Siblings Day because it is the birthday of her late sister, Lisette. Evart has dedicated her life to commemorate National Siblings Day, which needs a presidential proclaim to officially establish National Siblings Day.

 

Researching and Archiving the Estonians in America.  A joint symposium of the Immigration History Research Center and Baltic Heritage Network. The symposium will bring interested parties together to share their experience, expertise and ideas as well as map and discuss future scenarios for growth, development and cooperation in researching and archiving the Estonians in America. Proposals are invited on (but not limited to) the following topics: archiving, history, cultural studies, literary studies, musicology, sociology.

 

Thatcher shaped modern Britain - that is undeniable - but she also shaped modern Estonia. Estonia owes its prosperity and even its liberty to Margaret Thatcher. There is a direct line between That-cher's foreign and economic policies and Estonia's current situation, writes British journa-list and political commentator in Estonia Abdul Turay. In 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, British territories in the South Atlantic. The military junta that cont-rolled Argentina assumed that the US would back them. The US was friends with both countries. 

 

As I am approaching the age that is expressed by a large round number, I must accept the fact that my productive years are behind me. That is what the statistics show. I also see that my friends are leaving the ranks of the living in increasing number. I call out: “Guys! Are you really leaving? We have not yet finished all our debates and our grand projects!” Reluctantly I have to reconcile myself with the knowledge that I might never see Machu Picchu with my own eyes. So all that remains for me is to look back and think how I got here. There is enough to be satisfied with: my peasant ancestors became merchants, which led to me having the education that allowed me to work on the team that developed the International Space Station. How cool is that? 

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