President Hendrik Ilves, who is currently visiting the U.S. promoting Estonian IT enterprises, had the privilege of meeting U.S. President Barack Obama and senior aides in Washington. The main issues discussed at the White House included the global recession, trans-Atlantic relations and the visibility and credibility of NATO as an organization to protect its allies. This included the current situation in Afghanistan, now considered the most important foreign mission of the alliance. Cyber security was also on the agenda at the White House meeting, with the Estonian Head of State thanking the U.S. for its support in the establishment of the NATO Co-operative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence in Tallinn. "Cyber attacks are cross-border by nature and, therefore, demand an international counter-attack," he said Prior to visiting Washington Ilves lead a delegation of IT businessmen. He opened an event in Silicon Valley to introduce Estonian companies Fits.me, Fotki, BookingShark and MobileNow. Ilves said that he believed Estonia's success stories and innovative character will make its companies attractive for foreign venture capital. "Big things are made to happen in small places, this is confirmed by Estonia's success as a state and e-state," said Ilves. "I encourage entrepreneurs and foreign investors to become acquainted with the solutions we have created in Estonia at both corporate and governmental level," he added.
Choir singing is the most popular activity in Estonia, according to Statistics Estonia. In 2008 there were 73,000 persons in Estonia engaged in different cultural activities, with choir singing proving the top choice. Last year there were 41,000 persons in Estonia who were practicing singing, of whom 39,000 were engaged in choir singing, followed by 18,000 folk dancers. There are some 1,400 choirs, 300 other bands, 1,200 folk dance groups, about 200 folk music ensembles and 130 brass bands in Estonia. Nearly half of the people involved in different activities are children, while 71 percent of persons engaged in cultural activities are women. The share of men is bigger only among brass music players.