Ian Savage – Professor, Northwestern University

During the past five years, a revolution has occurred that has upended the taxi industry in cities around the world. Is a similar revolution about to occur for urban buses?

Some argue that the main distinctive features of UberX and Lyft are smartphone-based ride hailing and the controversial relationship between the companies and drivers. I argue that the biggest change has been regulatory.

These new taxi services have sidestepped long-standing municipal regulations that had restricted the number of cabs and kept prices high. In many ways, this innovation has been friendly to transit, as taxis and transit complement each other for city dwellers who choose not to own a car.

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Ville Kohvakka, Swedish People's Party of Finland

Election Talk gives candidates running in the municipal elections a chance to discuss their views on the increasingly international aspect of Finnish society, as well as how this will affect their work if they are elected. Voting will take place on 9 April 2017, with advance voting between 29 March and 4 April.

In a global economy cities are becoming more and more important, both culturally and financially. Cities are truly global centers of encounter. As a candidate in the municipal elections, I see the connection between Helsinki and the rest of the world as one of the most important questions in our near future. Helsinki must be a city where people from overseas can move to as easily as possible. We need a labor force and skilled experts to strengthen the economy. In return, we must allow people to be part of Finnish society. Housing must be available for a reasonable price, and families should be able to find healthcare, daycare, primary schools and other forms of education with ease. This is a fair deal. Helsinki needs to be developed into a true international hub where everybody from everywhere is welcome.

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Megan Chapman: Co-Founder, Justice & Empowerment Initiatives – Nigeria

For more than a quarter century, people of Lagos have been forcibly evicted from their homes – a perverse ‘urban renewal’ that has seen upward of 400,000 residents displaced to make way for luxury developments. But the tide could be turning, after a judge ruled that these forced evictions are cruel and inhuman – and violate the right to dignity.

Just after midnight on Nov. 10, 2016, I received a phone call from Otodo Gbame, a fishing village on the edge of the Lagos Lagoon, located in one of the wealthiest areas of the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa. In panic-stricken tones, a resident and community paralegal named Paul told me that an excavator had just begun demolishing structures on the far side of the community and was rapidly closing in on his home. At least four police vehicles were working alongside the demolition team; I told him I would start making phone calls.

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Toni Alaranta, Finnish Institute of International Affairs

Turkey has played a major role in the Syrian conflict that started in 2011. It has armed and financed various Sunni Islamist and jihadi groups, with the Al Qaeda affiliate Ahrar al-Sham being the most significant Turkish proxy army fighting against the Syrian government forces. A new phase began in August 2016 with a direct military operation called ‘Operation Euphrates Shield’. At the start of the operation, Turkey had approximately 350 men stationed in Syria. With regard to international law, Turkey is now an occupying force in a sovereign neighbor country. Together with various groups under the Free Syrian Army banner, Turkey currently occupies around 2000 square kilometers of land in Syria.

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Hans Herren President and CEO of the Millennium Institute, USA

Abstract: Industrial agriculture is seriously damaging the environment, not to mention the health of citizens around the globe. With a limited window of time, reform is necessary if we want to continue to nourish, and not just feed, our people and our planet.

Despite the fact that we presently produce double the amount of food needed for a population of seven billion, there are still calls from the United Nations and national governments to double global food production in order to avoid future famines. These calls are misguided at best, misleading at worst.

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In 2015, 32,476 asylum seekers arrived in Finland, most of them from Iraq. What happened to them and where did they go? How did they experience the waiting period? What can be expected of them regarding their position in Finnish society and the labor market? A new study addresses some of those questions.

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Kazakh–Finnish friendship is based on solid pillars, encompassing a good political will, trust and openness, mutual respect, and interests. We have rich historical and cultural heritage, our substantive dialogue is motivated by long–term perspectives, and stems from similar approaches towards most acute issues of the international agenda. The ever-expanding bilateral cooperation between Astana and Helsinki represents an excellent example of combining efforts for the sake of our nations and the entire world community.

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ABSTRACT: The massive challenges faced by governments across Asia can be better addressed through cross-sectoral partnerships, but such relationships also come with distinct risks

Governments across Asia have to address massive challenges — climate change, rapidly aging populations, urbanization, and immigration — that often outpace their financial and human capabilities. Collaboration with other sectors is increasingly seen as a way to use additional financial resources, solicit innovative ideas, and tap into expertise that the government may be lacking. Governments aiming to get things done at all in today’s world benefit from engaging NGOs, businesses, charities, and social enterprises.

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Refugees and other distress migrants have been forced to leave their homes in exceedingly large numbers for the past 18 months. It has become commonplace to refer to the current situation as the worst refugee crisis since World War 2, with over 65 million people – a figure in excess of the entire population of many countries – forcibly displaced.

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A working democracy is based on an informed society. For that to work, the process is equally as important as its outcome and its recycling: 
I eat a sausage if it is tasty but I will not do so if I know it’s made out of rat meat, it involves cruelty, unfair trade, etc. The same applies to the plan to build a Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki, Finland. At first glance, anyone would love to have another cultural institution nearby. But this Foundation is the rat sausage we should be banning. Here is why:
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US President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to musician Bob Dylan during a ceremony on May 29, 2012 in the East Room of the White House in Washington. The award is the country's highest civilian honour. Dylan accepted the award.

There’s obviously been a lot written about Bob Dylan during the last couple of days, not all of which I have found to be very thoughtful. Insights from his fans about the personal importance of particular songs or lyrics have been a big plus, while articles that seek to categorize him in any number of genres that he separated himself from throughout his career have been a minus. So, feeling inspired by the former group, I’ve decided to mull over the moment that I fell in love with his music.

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