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Following the news that Finland was ranked as the country that does most to protect freedom of information, The Washington Post discussed how the Nordic country still lags behind the United States in some key areas.

On the other side of the pond, the Financial Times used Finland’s Olkiluoto power plant as an example in demonstrating how nuclear energy developments have been facing difficulties since the Fukushima disaster of 2011.

Elsewhere, Finns Party leadership candidate Jussi Halla-aho and Finnish Finance Minister Petteri Orpo both had words to say about the European Union, while American magazine The Advocate published a detailed feature on Tom of Finland’s relevance in the 2010s.

Finland leads the way in freedom of information, but still has room to improve
The Washington Post

“Every year, Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based organization, ranks every country in the world based on the degree to which it protects and defends freedom of information and freedom of the press. In 2016, the nation ranked as the most protective of these values was Finland. The decision came as no surprise. It was the sixth year in a row that Finland had been so honored.

Precisely because Finland is worthy of kudos for its protection of free expression over the years, it is all the more interesting what it does not protect.

In a 2012 case, right-wing Finnish political leader Jussi Kristian Halla-aho was convicted of the crime of “inciting hatred against an ethnic group” for allegedly defamatory statements he made about Islam. One was said to have mocked immigrants from Somalia for living off welfare and stealing; another compared Islam to pedophilia. In a ruling of the Supreme Court of Finland, Halla-aho was fined and ordered to remove the offending statements from his blog.”

Original article was published by on 22/05/2017 and can be found here.

Finnish nuclear power plant illustrates post-Fukushima difficulties
Financial Times

“Olkiluoto island on the west coast of Finland is a showcase for the best and the worst of nuclear power.

Perched on a shoreline with the Baltic Sea on one side and miles of pine forest on the other, two nuclear reactors have been churning out reliable and low-carbon electricity here for almost four decades.

Olkiluoto is one of the world’s most efficient power stations, operating at an average 93 per cent of its generating capacity in 2016, compared with 73 per cent for nuclear reactors globally and about 40 per cent for offshore wind farms.

Yet next door to Olkiluoto’s two working reactors is a reminder of why, for all the appeal of splitting atoms to produce electricity, the nuclear industry remains so deeply controversial.”

Original article was published by on 23/05/2017 and can be found here.

Finns Party should play bigger role in government, Halla-aho says
Reuters

“Finland's euroskeptic Finns party must push for stronger controls on immigration and not just play a supporting role in the ruling coalition, the frontrunner in the party's leadership race said.

Jussi Halla-aho, a member of the European Parliament and an anti-immigration hardliner, has become the favorite to replace the more moderate Timo Soini, the country's foreign minister, who will step down as party chief next month.

Halla-aho said he wants Finland to leave the European Union but that he would not call for a quick referendum on EU membership as most Finns were likely to vote to stay in the union. Leaving the EU should be a long-term goal, he said.”

Original article was published by on 24/05/2017 and can be found here.

Finnish Finance Minister cautions against deeper EU integration
Bloomberg

“The euro area should focus on implementing its banking union and consigning bailouts to the history books, rather than exploring ambitious ideas such as a common budget or shared liabilities, according to Finland’s finance minister.

“We’re willing to engage in a discussion on different scenarios on the future of European Monetary Union,” Petteri Orpo said in an emailed response to questions Wednesday. “I would be cautious about proposals that aren’t consistent with the current stage of political union in Europe, such as eurobonds.”

Finnish reticence toward the more profligate members of the bloc is understandable. On top of being a traditionally strict enforcer of the rules, the government recently pushed through unpopular measures designed to drive down labor costs and boost exports, now that devaluing the old markka is no longer an option.”

Original article was published by on 26/05/2017 and can be found here.

Why Tom of Finland matters today
The Advocate

“When Touko Valio Laaksonen — known by his artist's name, Tom of Finland — began drawing erotic images of men in 1940s Europe, such an act was illegal. Yet for decades, Laaksonen labored for his art, surviving shady dealers on the black market as well as threats from law enforcement, which considered not only his art but his very being as a gay man a threat to society.

A sweeping new biopic, Tom of Finland, shows Laaksonen's journey as well as the evolving acceptance of gay people throughout the latter half of the 20th century. From World War II to the AIDS crisis, Laaksonen subverts each era's agents of oppression through his art's embrace of sexuality without shame.

At the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Tom of Finland, The Advocate spoke with the film's director, Dome Karukoski, and star, Pekka Strang, about the significance of telling Laaksonen's story and illustrating his acts of resistance today.”

Original article was published by on 24/05/2017 and can be found here.

Dan Anderson – HT

Photo: Lehtikuva / Helsinki-filmi / Josef Persson

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