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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.

The principle music study institution of the Catholic church, the Pontificio Istituto di Musica Sacra (The Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music) is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The anniversary festivities will last for a little over a month, and started on 26 May with a major international theological and sacred music conference with musicians and music researchers from many different countries.
One of the key events of the anniversary celebrations came on 28 May when the institute awarded honorary doctorates Laurea Honoris Causa di Musica Sacra to three prominent figures in the music world.

On June 9, a day with record breaking 102-degree temperatures, representatives of embassies and ethnic organizations gathered at the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, DC.  While the focus of the event was to remember the more than 100 million victims of communism, speakers also stressed that many parts of the world today are still under the communist yoke.
Ambassador Aldona Vos, former ambassador to Estonia, spoke of her own family’s experiences under communism in Poland.  She also stated that “shades of communism are apparent in many countries.

ERR News - This summer, the National Heritage Board will hunt ancient shipwrecked sailboats with the help of an underwater robot and sonar.
Historical relics lying on the seafloor have been less explored in Estonia than the castle walls and spiritual groves on dry land, reported the newspaper Meie Maa. Sea-based cultural heritage structures were placed under protection in 1999, but work to preserve them has only been underway for about five years.

ERR News - On June 9, European Union ministers approved a compromise made by the European Parliament and Council of the EU to establish the headquarters of the EU's IT-agency in Tallinn.
Estonia and France had been tussling over the rights to host the new agency until they reached a sharing agreement last year. The body will be inaugurated in 2012.
Media outlets had earlier reported that Tallinn's bid to host the agency's headquarters was a done deal, however the June 9 decision made at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg makes it official.


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