New data collected by the police suggests that sex crimes, including sexual harassment, rape and sexual abuse of minors, are on the rise in Finland. According to a press release, authorities registered nearly 2,500 cases of sex crimes between January and June 2021—a 25 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.

Helsingin Sanomat reports that Helsinki police received a whopping 60 per cent more reports of sexual offences in the first half of this year compared to last year. Sexual harassment made up the majority of the reported offences. 

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A transition to low-emission transport requires a comprehensive distribution network for alternative transport fuels. The EU is providing funding for the construction of the network during the second period of the Connecting Europe Facility transport programme, which starts in September. Developing the distribution network is also one of the key measures set out in Finland’s roadmap for fossil-free transport.

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A medical professional administered a dose of a coronavirus vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site in Vuosaari, Helsinki, on 22 July 2021. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH INSTITUTE for Health and Welfare (THL) on Monday revealed it will review its written instructions in the wake of a reprimand it received from Deputy Parliamentary Ombudsman Maija Sakslin on Friday.

Markku Tervahauta, the director general at THL, stated in a press release that a thorough assessment of the necessary adjustments has already been launched.

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Instructions from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) on using the AstraZeneca vaccine were insufficient and misleading, according to Deputy Parliamentary Ombudsman Maija Sakslin. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

DEPUTY PARLIAMENTARY OMBUDSMAN Maija Sakslin has reprimanded the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) over instructions to vaccinate 65–69-year-olds with the Covid-19 vaccine of AstraZeneca, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

A reprimand is one of the strongest measures at the disposal of the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

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A residential building under construction in Tampere on 15 July 2021. (Timo Jaakonaho – Lehtikuva)

RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION continued at a brisk pace in Finland between March and May.

Statistics Finland reported last week that the constant-price value of ongoing residential building construction projects crept up by over two per cent year-on-year in the second quarter of the year. The cubic volume of the projects, meanwhile, increased by 20 per cent and the number of projects launched by almost 45 per cent from the previous year.

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A woman has her health passport checked before gaining entry to a cinema in Paris, France, on 21 July 2021. In France, people are required to demonstrate they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus to enter places such as cinemas, museums and sports venues. (Alain Jocard – AFP/Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH government is set to make key decisions regarding its strategy to combat the coronavirus epidemic in an unprecedented epidemiological situation.

The number of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus infections has not decreased in the summer months despite the ongoing vaccinations, with the virus spreading rapidly especially among young adults. The effect of vaccinations is nevertheless evident in how the infections translate to demand for special health care services.

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A hot-air balloon flies over Chambley-Bussieres airbase, northeastern France, on July 23, 2021, during the 17th international hot air balloon meeting "Grand-Est Mondial Air Ballons" in Hageville. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

Here are the most eye-catching news images of this week, from all around the world.

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Jussi Halla-aho, the outgoing chairperson of the Finns Party, participated in a panel discussion held as part of SuomiAreena, the largest societal discussion event in Finland, in Helsinki on 13 July 2021. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

THE NATIONAL COALITION has emerged as the most popular political party in Finland, reveals a poll commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat.

Almost one-fifth (19.9%) of the over 2,500 poll respondents voiced their backing for the right-wing opposition party, representing an increase of 2.9 percentage points from the final poll conducted before the municipal elections, in May.

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A new study by the Human Rights Centre and the Ministry of Justice, which examined the attitudes of Finns towards minorities, confirmed the prevalence of negative stereotypes and prejudices against groups such as Muslims, Somalians and the Roma community. 

The study, which is part of the Fundamental Rights Barometer project, collected information from various population groups through questionnaires that were based on an online survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

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The Parliament House in Helsinki/Lehtikuva

According to a report by MTV, the National Coalition Party is proposing several changes to Finland’s current immigration policy. The party has a list of nine items that it will present to the parliament in a bid to reform the country’s integration programme. 

These include making language training mandatory and reducing social security benefits for immigrants. The changes are reportedly modelled on immigration policies followed by other European countries. 

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A total of 13 patients, aged 22–55 years, were hospitalised with a coronavirus infection in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) on Monday. (Silja-Riikka Seppälä – Lehtikuva)

EEVA RUOTSALAINEN, a deputy chief physician at the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), has voiced her concern about the impact the delta variant of the new coronavirus has had on the epidemiological situation in Finland.

The number of infections has spiked, leading to an up-tick also in the number of hospitalised patients: from 24 at the end of June to 42 on Monday.

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Instagram’s logo on a smartphone screen in Toulouse, France, on 28 September 2020. (Lionel Bonaventure – AFP/Lehtikuva)

TAMPERE UNIVERSITY of Applied Sciences (TAMK) has announced the launch a degree programme offering professional training for social media influencers and content producers under the brand Influencers Academy.

The English-language programme is scheduled to launch in January 2022.

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"Kastehelmi," which refers to the drops of moisture that form on leaves, was voted the second most beautiful word in the Finnish language

The results of a poll conducted by Finnish language magazine Me Naiset revealed that a majority of Finns believe “äiti” (mother) is the most beautiful word in the Finnish language.

The magazine provided readers with a list of 75 “beautiful” words to choose from, requesting them to consider how the words sound as well as what they mean when selecting their top pick. Around 21,500 people participated in the poll.  

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Power lines criss-crossing outside Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Eurajoki, Finland. The plant’s third reactor is scheduled to start commercial energy production in 2022, over 10 years behind the original timetable. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

THE PROBLEMS at Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong, China, have to be taken into account also when commissioning the third reactor at Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Eurajoki, Finland, says Tomi Routamo, the deputy director of Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).

“Of course we’d like to see the problems and the underlying causes solved. So that the same problems won’t recur at Olkiluoto,” he commented to Helsingin Sanomat on Friday.

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Ministers Mika Lintilä (left), Tytti Tuppurainen and Krista Mikkonen in a press conference on 14 July 2021. The Finnish government is expected to convene to re-examine its so-called hybrid strategy for managing the coronavirus epidemic in early August, writes Helsingin Sanomat. (Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH INSTITUTE for Health and Welfare (THL) on Thursday reported that the weekly number of coronavirus infections has quadrupled in the past month, with a total of 2,210 infections detected in Finland between 12 and 18 July.

The number of laboratory-confirmed infections increased by 453 on Thursday.

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