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The Thomas Keller Medal committee is delighted to announce that the 2011 Thomas Keller Medal, rowing's highest distinction, will this year be awarded to Estonian rowing legend Jueri Jaanson. The 18-carat gold medal shall be awarded on Sunday 10 July on the medal pontoon of the Samsung World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Throughout his long career Jaanson took part in no less than six Olympic Games. He holds five World Champion-ship medals, including one gold from 1990 in Lake Barrington, Australia and a silver which he won when racing in Finland in 1995. Driven by his urge to win an Olympic medal, Jaanson had to keep rowing until 2004 before reaching the Olympic podium, taking silver first in Athens in the single scull and four years later, in Beijing in 2008 in the men's double sculls.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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