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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 ( .  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.  


More than ten members of the Estonian Society of Central Florida (Kesk Florida Eesti Selts) spent the weekend of December 10-11, 2011, making preparations for Christmas. On Saturday, December 10, Leena and Väino Aare of Bradenton, Florida, once again very generously hosted the verivorst-making party. Seven pairs of workers working serially made nearly 100 sausages in just under 4 hours.


It's not too late to write to Jõuluvana in Estonian, you just have to know what and how to ask. If you want something traditional like sokid, vitamiinid or flanell-pidžaamad, the requests are straightforward enough. But I'm sure a lot of you are yearning for gadgets your grandparents never even dreamed of.    You could text Santa from your mobiiltelefon aka mobiil aka mobla. Just like the British say mobile and not cell. In Estonian that's called sending an SMS or sõnum (message). Or you could e-mail him –saada talle e-post. Hey, if you're an upfront sort of person, call him! He'll surely take your call hands-free, as a vaba/käe/kõne with the phone firmly in his autohoidik. Or make that saani/hoidik (sleigh phone holder), with the flying vehicle set on kiirus/hoidik (cruise control).


Since 1961, the Estonian Students Fund in the USA (ESF) has provided scholarships and grants to students of Estonian descent.    While the scholarships were initially given to recent émigré students, the Fund now is giving scholarships to 2nd and 3rd generation Estonian-Ame-ricans.   Like any organization, the Fund has evolved and adapted to changing times.  In the mid-1990s, the Fund started supporting students living in Estonia.   During the past 4-5 years, the Fund has provided scholarships for Estonian-American students who wish to study in Tartu or Tallinn.  Last year, the Fund provided assistance to 79 students: 17 in the USA, 28 in Estonia and 34 studying in other countries.


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