The Kela service point in Kamppi, Helsinki/Lehtikuva

Helsingin Sanomat reports that approximately 4.4 million Finns—amounting to roughly 80 percent of the population—received some kind of financial support from the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) last year.

The figure first came to light when the Managing Director of the Finnish Centre for Pensions (Eläketurvakeskus) Mikko Kautto criticised the country’s current social welfare model in an interview with the paper earlier this month. 

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According to the latest statistics, an average of 38 children are abducted in Finland and taken to other countries every year. Finnish tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports that several abduction cases currently under investigation involve parents who are divorced and share custody of the child.

Tarja Räisänen, the executive director of Abducted Children Finland NGO (Kaapatut Lapset), told Ilta-Sanomat that children are often kidnapped as a result of a custody dispute. 

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A medical professional tended to a patient receiving respiratory assistance due to a coronavirus infection at the intensive care unit of a university hospital in Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe, a French region in the Caribbean. (Carla Bernhardt – AFP/Lehtikuva)

HOSPITAL STAFF in Finland have voiced their frustration with the fact that most patients in intensive care with a coronavirus infection have not been vaccinated against the virus, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

“We’ve continued treating coronavirus patients this autumn, and practically everyone of them has been unvaccinated,” said Tero Varpula, the head of intensive care at Jorvi Hospital in Espoo.

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Customers at Sello Shopping Centre in Espoo on 27 July 2021. Danske Bank says private consumption will push economic growth to 3.3 per cent in 2021 and 3.0 per cent in 2022 in Finland. (Mikko Stig – Lehtikuva)

THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic is no longer casting a massive dark cloud over economic growth in Finland.

Danske Bank on Wednesday reported that it expects the national economy to expand this year by 3.3 per cent, instead of the 2.6 per cent it forecast earlier, driven primarily by pent-up demand from households. It also revised up its growth forecast for next year – by 0.1 percentage points to 3.0 per cent.

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Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Centre) on Wednesday commented on the ongoing preparatory work on a new national climate and energy strategy. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

THE CLIMATE ACTIONS of Finland in the emissions trading sector are founded on stricter emissions trading, reforms in domestic energy taxation and investments in sustainable growth, says Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Centre).

Lintilä on Wednesday held a press conference to shed light on the actions and the preparatory work on a national climate and energy strategy that is to be unveiled by year-end.

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Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen (left) and Minister of Social Affairs and Health Hanna Sarkkinen commented on the government’s family leave reform in a presser in Helsinki on Friday, 17 September 2021. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

FAMILY LEAVES in Finland are to become longer and more flexible under a reform unveiled by the government of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) on Thursday.

The objective of the proposal is to foster the well-being of children and families, and promote equality and non-discrimination in both working life and the everyday life of families with children, according to a press release from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

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An eight-grader studying remotely at home in Espoo on 27 April 2020. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

THE COVID-19 epidemic has taken a greater toll on the well-being of girls than boys, suggests a national student health survey conducted by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

Girls, the biennial survey found, have experienced more anxiety and loneliness, been less satisfied with their life, and perceived their health as average or poor more often than boys in the unusual circumstances.

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Morning road traffic in Helsinki on 22 October 2019. Etla Economic Research is forecasting that emissions from private road traffic will decrease by 81 per cent – and probably even more – between 2005 and 2045. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

ETLA ECONOMIC Research is forecasting that greenhouse gas emissions from private road traffic will decline almost 50 per cent between 2005 and 2030, supporting the government-adopted goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2035.

The Finnish government has adopted the objective of halving emissions from road traffic between 2005 and 2030 and eliminating them entirely by 2045.

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Nepal's Living Goddess 'Kumari' peeps from a window during a procession on the main day of the Indra Jatra festival at the Durbar Square in Kathmandu on September 19, 2021. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

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

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Victims of human trafficking have started receiving training that focuses on working life. The training courses aim to develop the working life skills of victims of human trafficking and of exploitation related to human trafficking, and give them information about the working life in Finland. They will also get support with entering employment on fair terms.

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Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo (Greens) spoke at the party conference of the Green League in Helsinki on Saturday, 11 September. She secured her second, two-year term at the helm of the ruling party after running unopposed. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

THE GREEN LEAGUE has lost more than 50 members but added almost 20 new ones in the aftermath of its widely discussed decision to support the legalisation of cannabis use, reports Uutissuomalainen.

Both of the numbers are higher than usual, Veli Liikanen, the party secretary of the Greens, stated to Uutissuomalainen on Wednesday.

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A distinctive lighthouse on Åland (Image: Lehtikuva)

ONE OF THE UNIQUE CULTURAL, SOCIAL, AND POLITICAL QUIRKS of Finland is its millennia-long links with its Western neighbour Sweden. Finland was a part of the Swedish Empire for more than 700 years, and today Swedish speakers form a significant and visible part of Finnish society.

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Finnish language newspaper Helsingin-Sanomat reports that Finland has witnessed an exceptionally high rise in birth rates during the COVID-19 crisis. A comparison of fertility rates around the world indicates an overall decline in the number of births globally since last October. 

Finland’s birth rate has increased the most compared to 29 other developed nations in the West, making it one of the few countries to see a baby boom during this period. 

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Medium-sized marijuana nursery found in Tuusula during a search.

Customs has completed the preliminary investigation into several aggravated narcotics offences, totalling eight suspected individuals. In addition to the narcotics offences, the investigation also covered a firearms offence. The investigation is connected to a major international operation (in Finnish).

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