Wednesday, 31 August 2016

New Estonian comedy 'Ameerika Suvi' (American Summer) hits cinemas on September 9

A new Estonian film based on a true story and filmed entirely in the United States is due for cinema release in Estonia on 9th September 2016. The film 'American Summer' tells the story of three Estonian students who sold books door-to-door in the USA during their summer break. The comedy was written and directed by Rain Rannu who himself has previously sold books in America.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Profile of a President: Toomas Hendrik Ilves

With the new presidential election currently underway in Estonia, it will soon be time to say goodbye to our current president Toomas Hendrik Ilves.  During his two five-year terms in office, President Ilves has raised Estonia's profile in the world making the country an attractive place for business and investment. Estonia has achieved renown for its tech-savvy innovation and is now a world leader in cyber security and e-governance. 
President Ilves will be remembered for many things. Firstly, he shares a history with many Estonian families who fled the country during the Soviet occupation. His Estonian parents first sought refuge in Sweden where he was born in 1953 and from where they emigrated to the United States a few years later. Ilves grew up bilingual speaking both Estonian and English as first languages and later learned German and Spanish. He was educated at Columbia University where he graduated with a psychology degree in 1976 and worked as a teacher and journalist for Radio Free Europe before catching the attention of high-profile Estonian politicians. Former president Lennart Meri saw his potential and invited him to live in Estonia to become more active in politics. He made a good judgement call.   

Toomas Hendrik Ilves has made a significant contribution to the development of Estonia and has won the respect of leaders the world over. As the fourth president of Estonia, Ilves will be remembered as the man who navigated Estonia through the global financial crisis, his strong presence on social media, his straight-forward talking and colourful collection of bow ties - a tradition he continues in honour of his father.

Today's election in Estonia failed to produce the next president but in the coming days, the victor will be announced. That person, whoever he or she may be, has big shoes to fill and carries the responsibility of leading Estonia through the next period of economic growth and prosperity.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Estonian school year to include five breaks beginning autumn 2017 I ERR News

The Minister of Education and Research has signed a regulation which will add an additional school break to the spring schedule, beginning in the 2017/2018 school year. This will allow for periods of study to be broken up into more more manageable, health-promoting and learning-friendly semesters.

"Spring terms are currently ten to fifteen days longer than those of the beginning of the school year and serve to worsen students' and teachers' spring fatigue," explained Minister of Education and Research Jürgen Ligi. "An extra break during winter will be beneficial and provide the opportunity to hear more about the joys of spring rather than fatigue."

The minister noted that the system has already been able to prove itself. "Feedback from schools that have already tested out the five-break schedule has been almost exclusively positive," explained Ligi. "Since this change will affect the schedules of hundreds of thousands of parents and children, we highly value the experiences of schools and local governments that took advantage of the exclusive right."

The proposal to switch to a five-break school year schedule was supported by students, school directors and local government representative organisations alike.

The breaks in the 2017/2018 school year, the first to follow the five-break schedule, will be scheduled as follows:

1. Autumn break: Oct. 21-29, 2017

2. Winter break: Dec. 23 2017-Jan. 7, 2018

3. Ski break: Feb. 24-Mar. 4, 2018

4. Spring break: Apr. 21-May 1, 2018

5. Summer break (excluding seniors): Jun. 12 - Aug. 31.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Estonia chosen as one of the best countries in the world for film production based on incentives

The No Film School have put together a comprehensive list of the world's best countries to make films based on government incentives and rebates. Estonia was ranked number one in the Eastern European category.  Here's why:

Film commission: Estonian Film Institute

Financial incentive: Up to 30% cash rebate for film productions. There are also hefty sums available for development, pre-production, post-production, and distribution

Requirements: The amount of aid is calculated as a percentage of the costs done in Estonia (up to 30%) and paid out retroactively after all the expenses are audited. The maximum grant can be applied if the film production uses Estonian-based filmmakers, actors, and other production crew. It can also be applied if the story is set in Estonia.

To read the complete list, please click here:
The Best Countries in the World to Film Your Movie, Based on Production Incentives

Rasmus Mägi Wins Men's 400m Hurdle Race in Lausanne - Diamond League 2016

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A Look at the Estonian WWII Refugee Camp Geislingen

Geislingen Displaced Persons camp was the largest refugee camp for Estonians after World War Two. It was located near Stuttgart in southern Germany and housed over 2000 Estonians in repossessed German houses and other buildings. Despite the fact that Estonian refugees faced a bleak and uncertain future after WWII, (they lived in daily fear of being repatriated to Soviet-occupied Estonia) life went on in the camps and Estonian culture continued to thrive.

Many of the larger camps including Geislingen produced their own newspaper and many handicraft, dance, drama, choir and sports groups were formed. 

If your parents or grandparents were Estonian WWII refugees, you might find this booklet about Geislingen DP camp most interesting.

Poem about Geislingen written by Karl Torro.

School life

Saturday, 20 August 2016

A look at the Estonian national team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro

While the Estonia team may not be bringing home as many medals as they did in previous years, many of the athletes have surpassed their personal bests and set new Estonian records. On Thursday Rasmus Mägi did just that by completing the men's 400m hurdle race in just 48.40 seconds! Great effort!

Here are some of the other results of Team Estonia:

3rd place - Men's rowing - Kaspar Taimsoo, Tonu Endrekson, Allar Raja, & Andrei Jamsa.
4th place - Epee women's fencing - Irina Embrich, Erika Kirpu, Julia Beljajeva, & Kristina Kuusk.
4th place - discus - Martin Kupper
5th place. - discus - Gerd Kanter
5th place- wrestling - Heiki Nabi
6th place  - long jump - Ksenija Balta
6th place - hurdling - Rasmus Mägi
7th place - weight lifting - Mart Seim
8th place - fencing -  Nikolai Novosjolov
9th place - cycling - Tanel Kanger
10th place - fencing - Irina Embrich
11th place - sailing -Ingrid Puusta
12th place - fencing - Erika Kirpu

Then there are the Luik sisters who made history by being the first set of triples to ever compete at the Olympic Games in the marathon. Their names will forever be etched in history in the Guinness World History book. Luik sisters

Estonia celebrates the 25th anniversary of the restoration of independence

Today we can be grateful that 25 years ago, on 20 August 1991, the Republic of Estonia restored its independence. Since this time Estonia has gone from strength to strength and is one of the few countries in the Euro Zone enjoying strong economic growth.

Head taasiseseisvumispäeva! Happy re-independence day! 

The national flag looks particularly beautiful flying atop Pikk Hermann Tower on this day.

Estonian Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand reaches out to Estonians at home and abroad, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the restoration of Estonian independence. You can watch her video message here:

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Olympic update: Ksenija Balta placed 6th in the women's long jump

It was a night of heightened emotion in Rio last night. Athletes gave their best in the women's long jump final. Estonia's Ksenija Balta came 6th place with a jump of 6.79 metres. The winner, Tianna Bartoletta from the United States scored 7.17.

Ksenija and her coach Andrei Nazarov have made Estonia proud!

To read more about the Estonian national team at the Olympics, please click here.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Ksenija Balta proceeds to final at the Olympics

Good result for Ksenija Balta at the Olympics last night. She jumped 6.71 metres and came 4th in the women's long jump event thus securing her a place in the final. Estonian hurdler Rasmus Mägi also proceeds to the next round. Best of luck to them both! 

Ksenija Balta with coach Andrei Nazarov


Monday, 15 August 2016

Winning design for victims of communism memorial in Tallinn announced I ERR News

In March this year, a design competition was announced to build a memorial to the victims of communism and officers of the Republic of Estonia. Today, the design "Teekond" (Estonian for "Journey") was chosen as the winner of the design competition.

Architects of the winning design are Kalle Vellevoog, Jaan Tiidemann, Tiiu Truus, Martin Prommik and Lidia Zarudnaja from the firm Arhitektuuriburoo JVR OÜ.

The space in which the memorial is slated to be built is situated at Maarjamäe, Tallinn, located between the districts of Kadriorg and Pirita. Inscribed on the memorial will be the names of approximately 20,000 people who lost their lives as a result of the actions of the communist regime, many of whom died far from home and were buried in graves the locations of which remain unknown today.

To read more about the upcoming  memorial, please click here: Victims of communism memorial

The 25th Anniversary of Restoration of Independence in Estonia

20th August is an important date on the Estonian calendar. On this day Estonians across the globe celebrate the restoration of independence of their beloved country after 50 years of occupation by the Soviet Union. This year is a time for extra celebration as it marks the 25th anniversary since Estonia's independence was restored. 

Many events are due to take place at this year's celebration. To find out more, please click here.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Displaced Persons Exhibition to Take Place in NYC 15 - 26 August 2016

If you are Estonian or have an interest in the history of the Baltic peoples post World War Two, then you might find the upcoming exhibition from the United Nations most interesting. Entitled 'No home to go to', the Baltic Displaced Persons exhibition will run from the 15th - 26th August 2016 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. 

Here's an excerpt from the website;

Fleeing battle fronts and fearing persecution, thousands of civilians continue to seek asylum in neighbouring countries.  Families, many with small children, seek safety and a better life.  They languish in makeshift communities where food and accommodations are minimal and relief is hard to come by.  Their plight is creating an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

For more information, please click here: United Nations DP Exhibition

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Estonia wins first medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio!

They finally did it!  Day six of the competition and Estonia is officially up on the Olympic tally board. Congratulations to Andrei Jämsä, Allar Raja, Tõnu Endrekson and Kaspar Taimsoo who won Bronze today in the Men's Quadruple Sculls. You've made Estonia proud!

To view the official Olympic medal tally board, please click here; Medal count

Nearly 90 foreign youth with Estonian roots take part in Estonian language and culture camp

This year, a total of 88 youth from abroad boasting Estonian roots took part in a summer camp dedicated to Estonian language and culture organised by the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA).

To read the full ERR News article, please click here: Estonian language and culture camp

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Estonia off to a good start at the Olympics

It's been an eventful few days for Team Estonia at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 19-year-old  Maria Romanjuk made her Olympic debut and won the second heat in the women's 100 metre breaststroke. The men's rowing team also achieved victory in their heat today and Tanel Kangert came ninth place in men's cycling.  Now it's just a waiting game to see who is awarded their first medal! 

Maria Romanjuk

Tõnu Endrekson, Andrei Jämsä, Kaspar Taimsoo '& Allar Raja.

Tanel Kangert