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At a service of recognition of volunteers held in Tallinn’s Dome Church (Toomkirik) on June 12, 2011, recognition was given for the project to restore St. Martin’s Lutheran Church in Martna, Estonia.  Miriam Lind Lagus of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin received award for the project she started in 1998 in memory of her father, Pastor S. Eduard Lind, who served the congregation in Martna from 1937 to 1944.  Bishop Einar Soone presented the awards.

Ambassador Michael C. Polt announced on July 4 at the U.S. Embassy’s Independence Day Reception the creation of a new Estonian American Innovation Award to highlight innovation in Estonia and collaboration between Estonia and America toward this end.  
The new award is being sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn, the American Chamber of Commerce in Estonia (AmCham) and the Baltic American Freedom Foundation (BAFF).  The three sponsors expect to make this an annual initiative.
Ambassador Polt encouraged “active participation and spirited competition.”

At his meeting in Vilnius on July 1,  with Secretary of State of the United States of America Hillary Clinton, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet expressed his satisfaction over the mutually supportive, exceptionally friendly, and very unique relations between Estonia and the USA. “Twenty years ago, after overcoming totalitarianism, we promised both our people and our partners a democratic society and security. The United States has constantly advised and helped us is making that happen,” Paet said. “The USA has played an essential role in helping with Estonia’s international achievements,” he added.

ERR News - "World and Land," Tallinn's Nokia Concert Hall, June 30. Tengku Ahmad Irfan (piano), Arvo Leibur (violin), Estonian National Male Choir, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Neeme Järvi.
Strolling through Tallin
n Thursday night on the way to Nokia Concert Hall, it seemed almost a sin to duck into a dark auditorium for a program of music. The city was abuzz, everyone was out in their shorts eating ice cream or drinking something cold; it was a perfect warm summer evening. But those who eschewed the corporeal pleasures of cool refreshments and warm air were rewarded with the ethereal joys of two and a half hours of beautifully crafted sounds.

ERR News - A last vestigial trace of the 1990s Estonian success story Hansapank is no more.
The Latvian and Lithuanian subsidiaries of Swedbank Estonia were sold to the parent Swedbank AB on June 28, in a straightforward financial transaction that had some sentimental significance because of its history. The units were established in 1993 and 1999 respectively, back when the bank was a 100 percent Estonian-owned entity called Hansapank. Hansa-pank was acquired by Swedbank in 2004.

ERR News -A rail project linking the Baltics from Tallinn to the Polish border is a realistic possibility, but will require 4,000 passengers a day, 440 million euros in state backing and 2 billion euros from the EU, according to a new feasibility study.
Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts said on June 29 that the project, which could cut ground travel time to Riga and Poland in half, would require six things to happen.
Besides the passenger numbers and EU and national money, the project would be justified by annual freight volume of 9 million tons.

ERR News - President of Lebanon Michel Sulayman assured Foreign Minister Paet in Beirut that, to his knowledge, the seven Estonian cyclists kidnapped in Bekaa Valley on March 23 are alive.
"The president just now told me at our meeting that, according to his sources, it is very clear that the kidnapped Estonian citizens are alive and that various Lebanese agencies are continuing to do their utmost to solve the situation," Paet told ERR radio in a phone interview from Beirut.
Paet said that President of Lebanon has been in contact with Syrian authorities over the last few days, also bringing up the issue of the liberation of Estonian citizens and has requested every possible assistance from Syria.

Võidupüha or Victory Day is an Estonian public holiday, which has been celebrated on 23 June every year since 1934 until 1939 and after the restoration of Estonian independence from 1992.
Victory Day recalls the decisive battle during the War of Independence in which the Estonian military forces and their allies defeated the German forces who sought to re-assert Baltic-German control over the region. Today, Võidupüha also marks the contributions of all Estonians in their fight to regain and retain their independence.


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