GOVERNMENT SPOKESPEOPLE have again reiterated the importance of exercising caution when it comes to using fireworks, ahead of one of the busiest nights of the year for emergency services in Finland.

The divisional officer of the Länsi-Uudenman Rescue Services, Riku Rantala, has warned New Year’s Eve revelers to avoid using fireworks if intoxicated, saying that “if you’re too drunk to read the instructions on a packet of fireworks, you shouldn’t be using them at all”. 

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The Finferries autonomous ferry, 'Falco', docked near Turku (Image: Lehtikuva)

AS PART OF A COLLABORATION BETWEEN STATE-OWNED FINFERRIES AND ENGINEERING GIANT ROLLS ROYCE, the world’s first successful autonomous ferry ride was completed in the waters of the Turku archipelago recently.

In a press statement from Rolls Royce, the company has claimed that the voyage, which was attended by 80 VIP guests, marks the “most significant milestone” so far for autonomous shipping.

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The Washington Post has reported that US military chief Gen. Joseph Dunford, left, will meet his Russian counterpart in Helsinki to discuss “current issues between the countries.”

 

As was reported last month, interest from non-EU students towards Finnish universities has hit an “all-time low”. Study International takes a closer look at just why this is the case.

This week also saw the story of Afghan migrant Mojtaba Hassani cause a stir in the international media. TOLOnews has reported that the 21-year-old is due to be deported by the Finnish police, despite the fact he has a full-time job.

In other news, Helsinki will play host to an important military meeting, Chinese money is being sought to fund the Helsinki-Estonia tunnel, and Finnish startup Space Nation has designed the world’s first astronaut training app.

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Finance Minister Petteri Orpo told the Financial Times that Finland’s universal basic income trial led to people becoming “passive”.

 

The Finnish government’s decision to end their two-year basic income trial has been a major talking point over the last few weeks. Speaking in a recent interview with the Financial Times, Finance Minister Petteri Orpo told the newspaper that Finland’s current system was making people “passive”.

In other news, the Supreme Court of Finland decided to uphold the conviction of aggravated sexual abuse against a man who had sexual intercourse with a 10-year-old girl near Tampere in the autumn of 2016. Critics believe that the offence should be regarded as rape.

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Otso departing from Helsinki in 2013.

One of Finland’s most famous seafaring vessels, the titanic icebreaker Otso, was deployed on its first mission of the winter season last night, keeping sea routes open for the 22nd year in a row.

Late in the evening of Christmas Day, Otso, the crowning glory of Arctia Oy’s extensive fleet, departed from Helsinki’s Katajanokka Harbour, heading north to the Bay of Bothnia.

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The Daily Mail has reported that more than £2.5 million of fur items have been imported into the UK from Finland over the last five years.

 

Although campaigners have been calling for fur farming to be banned from Finland, the country was responsible for around 2.4 million foxes being farmed for their fur in 2016. Images taken last year by Justice for Animals, a Finnish animal rights group, show the price that Arctic foxes have to pay to fuel Finland’s fur industry.

In other news, Finland is ranked as having the best education system in the world relative to GDP per capita, while Glamour magazine celebrates the Finnish “wellness trend” of Päntsdrunk.

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A new study has claimed that supporters of populist and far-right parties, such as Finland First, are more likely to be bitter and resentful than supporters of mainstream parties.

 

Bitter people who feel that they have not received what they deserve in life worry more about immigration, according to a forthcoming study from the European Journal of Political Economy. “This relationship holds for respondents with different levels of skills, job security, concerns about crime, the general economic situation, or their own economic situation,” says Panu Poutvaara, Director of the ifo Center for International Institutional Comparisons and Migration Research.

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Following the announcement that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are to meet in Helsinki in July, The Atlantic takes a look at the history of the Finnish capital as a site of pivotal encounters between the United States and Russia.

 

Starting during the Cold War, Helsinki has a long history of playing host to important meetings between American and Russian presidents. The Atlantic places Trump and Putin’s upcoming summit in its historical context.

Despite not qualifying for the tournament, the World Cup has also brought some international news to Finland. The Telegraph has reported that prospective asylum seekers have bought tickets in order to attempt to cross the border from Russia to Finland.

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Following US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, Sauli Niinistö said the fallout could badly hurt transatlantic relations.

 While Finland always seems to rank highly in international polls related to education, happiness and healthcare, apparently Finns are more interested in pointing out their failures than celebrating their successes. Mother Nature Network wonders why Finland is so indifferent about being called the best.

In other news, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö is concerned about transatlantic relations after the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, while the BBC wonders why a Finnish father of six has decided to give his children total freedom.

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Kela has challenged claims made by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that baby boxes can reduce infant mortality.

 

Although it was recently reported that Finland has decided to “scrap” its experiment with universal basic income, The Economist has reported that the truth is not quite so simple. According to the weekly news magazine, the trial is not necessarily viewed by Kela as a failure and was always due to finish after two years.

Elsewhere, Kela has refuted claims made by the Scottish government that baby boxes can help to reduce infant mortality, while The Times has reported that Finland is set to share its citizens’ private data with professionals, researchers and pharmaceutical companies in order to offer more personalised healthcare.

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