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Even if the Estonian population is used  having banknotes in their pockets, this custom is going to change by January, when the Euro will start filling (also) Estonian pockets with coins.

As published by the Estonian daily Eesti Päevaleht, this will also translate into a great loss for Estonian retailers.

Although banks expect that people are going to use more credit cards for payments, retailers are not sure about what is going to be better, and are unsure if they should recommend the payments with credit card or with cash.

In his address to the UN General Assembly in New York, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves emphasised Estonia’s role in rebuilding Afghanistan, Estonia’s unconditional support to the complete independence and territorial integrity of Georgia and called upon the countries of the world to join forces in the fight against cyber terrorism.

According to the President, Estonia sees its direct participation in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, above all, in the contribution to humanitarian operations ranging from Afgha-nistan to Haiti and in counselling emerging economies in the application of information technology solutions increasing the effectiveness of the state.

ERR News - A growing trend of parents giving up their children due to poverty has highlighted serious imbalances in how state aid in Estonia is allocated.

Parents are eligible for just 64 euros in state aid per month for their first child and 51 euros per month for every additional child, while orphanages receive 640 euros per child, 30 to 40 percent of which goes directly to child maintenance, Eesti Päevaleht reported.

Whereas earlier drug use and alcoholism were the main reason parents in Estonia handed their children over to state care, now more parents are doing so out of poverty.

Mare Välja, the director of an orphanage in Narva, said that their latest four arrivals had ended up at the institution simply because their parents couldn't afford to take care of them.

Estonian law does not allow parents to give up their children for economic reasons, however local officials often turn a blind eye to the practice in cases of real need.

The Ministry of Social Affairs said that 34,402 people received income support in the first quarter of the year, over ten thousand of them children.

ERR News - The government has approved the draft 2011 budget which it will send to parliament next week, with a deficit of 1.6% of GDP and with investments at an all-time high as a percentage of the budget.

Expenditure will be just over 6 billion euros - about 250 million euros more than this year - and it will be funded above all by sale of excess pollution allowances and external capital.

Revenue is planned at 5.73 billion euros, which means a deficit of 243 million euros - 1.6 percent of Estonian GDP.

The budget is expected to be in balance by 2013.

On September 11, 2010, Pillerkaar danced at the Salisbury University event sponsored by the Sister Cities Association of Salisbury/Wicomico County and the Salisbury Wicomico Arts Council.

His Excellency Väino Reinart, ambassador of Estonia to the United States, delivered a special greeting from Estonia and Salisbury’s sister city of Tartu during the presentation “Singing to My Sister”. Salisbury Mayor James Ireton, SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach, and guests from the Maryland Legislature brought local greetings from Salisbury to the residents of Tartu. The event was videotaped and will be offered as a special gift of goodwill from Salisbury to the Embassy of Estonia and the Office of the Mayor in Tartu.

Recent days have brought news articles pertaining to the "post-Soviet" condition that Estonia is said to be in.

An Estonian Public Broadcasting news item in English on August 20 was headed "Estonia Marks 19 Years of Post-Soviet Independence.” National Public Radio in the US followed with "Russian Minority Struggles In Post-Soviet Estonia" on August 23.

As a concept, "post-Soviet" is an evasive rascal. Encyc-lopedia Britannica, in an entry about post-Soviet Russia, notes that the "USSR legally ceased to exist on Dec. 31, 1991," and that Russia, "like most...other former Soviet republics...entered independence in a state of serious disorder and economic chaos."

Pillerkaar, the Estonian folk-dance group from the Washington, D.C. area, entertained an enthusiastic crowd at the annual Scanfest at Budd Lake, Hackettstown, N.J. on Sunday, September  5, 2010.

Scanfest is an outdoor festival of the Nordic nations - Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland, and Estonia - which draws thousands of people on Labor Day weekend each year.  The festival offers a full day of ethnic music, dance, gift shopping at some 100 booths, and food tents serving pea soup to pizza.

The lines at the Swedish pancake tent were especially long, since they reminded everyone of their own pankoogid.  "Kodune," one Estonian senior visitor commented.  Pillarkaar, which traditionally has anchored the dancing here, came with seven performers: Karen Heilman, Jyri Erik Kork, Mauno Kork, Age Landra Robinson, Laila Oinas, Priit Vesilind, and Jeff Zelek, as well as director/choreographer Anu Oinas and her grandson Hagan, three years old, who was also in Estonian national dress.  The riveting dances included the comedic "Polka burlesk" and "Kosjalugu"; the coquettish "Meie Mari"; a fast paced "Vigala reindlander" and "Tule aga tule"; as well as the graceful Austrian waltz from Sound of Music, "Laendler".

Priit Vesilind

ERR News - Estonia has climbed two places to reach 33rd place in the World Economic Forum's latest competitiveness rankings. The organization's newly-released Global Competitiveness Report ranked the country the highest among the ten nations that joined the EU in 2004.

Commenting on the report, Heido Vitsur, an economist for the Estonian Development Fund, said that the most significant change was in the country's macroeconomic situation.


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