When I was a boy Finnish winters used to be cold and snowy. A white Christmas was more of a rule than an exception. Today, things have turned the other way around, at least in the Helsinki region: winters have gradually become rainy and warmer than before. However, globally we are among the very fortunate ones – it can be annoying to walk dark and rainy streets for months but that is nothing compared to the extreme weather conditions caused by climate change in other parts of the world.

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That the rich and powerful have gained control of Washington is clear. Their plutocratic rule – geared to the interests of a tiny elite – is eroding U.S. democratic institutions, values and global influence. Now is the time for all good Americans to come to the aid of their democracy.

In the year since President Donald Trump took office, cries of kleptocracy have grown louder.
Consider the evidence: Lobbyists buy $100,000 memberships at his golf clubs for face time. Foreign regimes redirect business to his hotels, such as the $270,000 spending spree by Saudi Arabia at Trump’s DC outpost. Business deals in endemically corrupt countries, such as the Philippines, bind his empire (held not in a blind trust, but by his sons) to questionable foreign entanglements.

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APEC family photo 2017


“Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future”. This is theme for APEC 2017 in Viet Nam.
More than 21,000 delegates took part in 243 activities held during the APEC Year 2017 in Vietnam. The APEC Economic Leaders’ Week from November 6 to 11 attracted about 11,000 delegates and leaders of all 21 member economies. Eight major documents were passed, particularly the Da Nang Declaration and the joint statement of the APEC Ministerial Meeting.
The most important outcome is that APEC continues its economic cooperation and connection impetus, brings into play its role as the leading economic connection mechanism of the region, keeps its core value of trade and investment liberalisation, and supports multilateral trade.

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Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta.

 

Although many jobs are at risk of upheaval due to automation, humans still possess valuable skills unmatched by robots. As long as educational institutions adapt traditional curriculum, and stay ahead of the curve, people will always be able to find something to do.

Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you will be aware that the world is going through another bout of soul-searching about how robots could take our jobs.

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19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China

Where is China heading for? What does China’s rapid development mean to itself and the world? The most accurate answer may lie in the outcome of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The congress elected a new leadership with Xi Jinping as the core, defined its new historic juncture in China’s development, and blueprinted the overall plan for securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and embarking on a journey to fully build a modern socialist China.

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Richard Caplan, Professor of International Relations at Oxford University.

 

The recent inauguration of a new U.N. Secretary-General, António Guterres, is an appropriate moment to reflect on how well the United Nations is performing its primary responsibility — ”to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” in the words of the U.N. Charter — and how it might up its game.

Peacekeeping is at the centre of U.N. efforts to maintain international peace and security.

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Robert Hathaway, Director Emeritus of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, D.C.

 

Donald Trump hopes to leverage American power when he meets with foreign leaders on his trip through Asia this month. While threats and ultimatums may win him support at home, strong-arming other countries often produces a response opposite to the one hoped for.

President Donald Trump believes in American power. Specifically, he believes that America’s great strength gives him leverage to persuade or compel others to behave as he thinks they should.

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Mireya Solís, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

 

The administration’s single-minded pursuit of unilateralism in trade policy – as seen in the withdrawal from the TPP and seeking to rewrite NAFTA – is a recipe for disaster. The world is moving on and, ultimately, Americans will be the losers.

The Trump administration’s opening salvo in launching its “America First” trade policy was to pull out from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a move that many assumed effectively killed this 12-nation trade agreement comprising 40 percent of world GDP.

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Jaron Lubin, Principal at Safdie Architects.

 

The stakes are high when it comes to adapting to rapid urban densification. Innovation is happening all over the world, but the most effective developments are realized when design and policy come together, as they have in Singapore.

Hip-hop supergroup De La Soul’s fourth album title, “Stakes is High,” may be an appropriate message to officials, architects and urban design professionals responsible for designing and building the cities of today and tomorrow.

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Marina Gorbis, Executive Director at the Institute for the Future.

 

There was a time in America when spreading the wealth was instrumental in the nation becoming an economic powerhouse. In this age that sees money and assets tightly controlled in the hands of the few, it’s time to revisit that philosophy. The road map for finding that equilibrium on the new economic frontier? Universal Basic Assets.

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Petri Honkonen, Member of Parliament for the Centre Party.

 

MP Talk gives members of parliament the opportunity to share their views on Finnish society with an international audience. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Helsinki Times.

Finland has had forest policy longer than it has been an independent country. In the late 19th century, the slash-and-burn agricultural policy became illegal.

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