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There are lots of relevant political discussions and interviews in the newspapers, on the radio and television lately defining the differences between the party platforms. Winter is always a good time for country people to visit, get together and discuss what is happening.  Naturally prior to an election, it is important for everyone to know what the issues are.  Who deserves or does not deserve our support.  Most of the local people I have talked with, feel …you don’t change horses in midstream.

In 2001, approximately 86 percent of the world's energy was obtained from fossil fuels. While fuel reserves are sufficient to support an energy demand expected to triple by 2100, the more immediate problem lies in stabilizing excess atmospheric carbon dioxide -a key contributor to global warming -by adopting and developing more carbon neutral power sources. Our sun's vast energy is the ultimate and ideal power source.
 I remember a prominent politician comment to me last summer when I asked him about the future of solar energy in Estonia. 

The Estonian Students Fund in USA was founded in 1961 to provide scholarships and grants to students of Estonian heritage.   While we gladly support Estonian students no matter what part of the world they live in, we are hoping to reach greater number of 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation Estonian-Americans in the coming years.  

Have you ever noticed that in movies where someone suddenly comes into a large fortune, whether a lottery win or a fabulous unexpected inheritance, the rest of the storyline centers on the disappointment good fortune brings and the attempt to restore the previous pecuniary circumstances? Orson Welles’ Citizen Cane has the world’s richest man longing most for a simple gift from his childhood, a snow sleigh he had named “Rosebud”. A singer who suddenly gets famous overnight writes a song about how unhappy a famous entertainer really is and longs for his former simpler life.

ERR News - Estonian Parliament confirmed the final version of the 2011 national budget with a 55- 32 vote, increasing revenue by 2 percent to 5.7 billion euros.
A priority of the budget is education, for which expenditure rose by 8 percent. Costs for defense grew to 1.9 percent of GDP.
A government mandate to reestablish pension fund payments, made optional during the recession to relieve financial burden, as well as a growing population of old-age pensioners, also increased the costs.

ERR News - Estonia's first and only food bank-type NGO to feed those in need, founded in March of this year, expanded throughout the country on December 9, when the towns of Narva, Pärnu, Rakvere, Tartu and Jõhvi signed contracts.
The Food Bank, run by volunteers, was established by the Sunflower Foundation, a cooperative Estonian and Dutch effort to coordinate donations from stores, suppliers and private individuals, reported ETV.
The group's organizers creatively made use of the euro transition with a widely advertised call for citizens to give their remaining kroon coins to dropoff buckets in stores, instead of exchanging the otherwise small sums at banks.

ERR News - In coming months, a project of the Central Union of Farmers will introduce organic milk vending machines in shopping centers so that Estonians can fill reusable bottles with unpasteurized milk for a 20 percent price increase.
Lithuania is already using similar machines, which originated from Italy and have proved a success, reported ETV.
"We have mapped out all of the country's organic milk producers that are interested in selling their product through vending machines," said the farmers' association representative, Indrek Rohtma.
The first vending machines will be installed in January or February. Organizers hope to install around 10 to 20 machines in bigger towns by July.

Dec 2, 2010 - While visiting the US Cyber Comand on December 1, Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo stated that Estonia can contribute a lot more to the security of NATO and its allies in the field of cyber security than its size suggests.
In Ft. George Meade Aaviksoo met with the Commander of US Cyber Command General Keith Alexander and was given an overview of the cyber defence organization in the US.


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