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On Friday, 9 September, Marina Kaljurand, the new Estonian Ambassador to the United States, presented her credentials to U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House.
In a conversation that followed the presentation ceremony, President Obama welcomed Marina Kaljurand as the first female Estonian ambassador in Washington. He also expressed his satisfaction that relations between Estonia and the U.S. are very good and that the countries are cooperating in many important fields of activity. Obama expressed his hope that this cooperation will continue and asked to have his greeting forwarded to President Ilves.

For the second edition of stillspotting nyc, composer Arvo Pärt (b. 1935, Paide, Estonia) and the New York City and Oslo-based architectural firm Snøhetta collaborate on a series of stillspots around Lower Manhattan that explore the special relationship between space and sound.
stillspotting nyc, a two-year multidisciplinary project by the  Guggenheim Museum that takes the museum’s Architecture and Urban Studies programming out into the streets of the New York City’s five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island.

On Thursday, September 8, the Department of State hosted a gathering of Baltic Americans and representatives of those countries to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the re-establishment of full diplomatic relations between the United States and Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.  The theme of the reception was “Together Again.”  Photos portraying events during, before and after the struggle for independence lined the Exhibition Hall and were on display there for a week.


A major festival of Estonian culture, Estonie tonique, will take place in Paris in October and November; it is so far the biggest cultural cooperation project between the two countries. The aim of the festival is to give a better idea of Estonia through the medium of culture and development of bilateral relations in the cultural sphere and in wider terms, Katrin Arvisto, spokeswoman for the Culture Ministry told BNS. The festival has a versatile program, including examples from nearly all areas of culture, but with music represented the best. There will be more than 200 performers taking part in the festival program of more than fifty cultural events in Paris, its suburbs and in Amiens.


ERR News - Continuing population loss due to declining birth rates and emigration are the most significant problem facing the Baltic states, according to the authors of the newly-released Estonian Human Development Report. The report, presented in Tallinn on September 5, noted that the collective populations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had dropped by 1.5 million, or 15 percent, from 1990 to 2010, the fastest decline seen in Europe during that period. The worse news is that the number of young people will continue to decline in all three countries, the report predicted, with the most serious losses in Latvia.


"Those are seljakotid!" – backpacks, is what I would have said once upon a time, since while living in Canada I had never heard of the term ranits. A ranits is a type of backpack used by young kids as schoolbags. They usually have sturdier sides and some older ones used to look like a little attaché case – you could either carry it by its single handle on top, or use the straps in behind to wear it on your back. Nifty! Lahe!


ERR News - The paltry 278 euros per month, before taxes, that marks the legal minimum wage in Estonia comes in at 38 percent of the EU average, statistics from Eurostat show. Äripäev reported that  the minimum wage earners in Bulgaria are the worst off in the bloc, making just 123 euros per month, or 17 percent of the average. Luxem-bourg residents occupy the other end of the scale with a 1,758-euro minimum wage, which is 252 percent of the average.  Despite its economic troubles, Greece has a minimum wage of 877 euros per month, higher than the EU average of 726 euros. Likewise, Spain and Slovenia beat the average with 748 euros. Eurostat's numbers, however, cover only 20 of the 27 EU member states since seven of them - Denmark, Germany, Italy, Cyprus, Austria, Finland and Sweden - have no minimum wage mandated at the national level.  

ERR News - Although Estonia is popular among Finnish tourists for its cheap alcohol, there is no reason for the northern neighbors to buy ice cream or butter here, since it costs about twice as much as back home.
While at a local Alepa grocery store in Finland a liter of Ingman vanilla ice cream costs 1.45 euros, in Estonia the same product goes for 2.87, which is almost double the sum, wrote Postimees.
More expensive ice cream brands that sell for 2.29 euros per liter in Finland can cost up to 0.80 euros more in Estonia.


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