US President Donald Trump meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, January 27, 2020. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

Since US President Donald Trump took office, the US and its allies have reached consensus less often than before, while the US has agreed with Isreal almost on all issues. This is the result of the ifo Institute’s calculations after studying the voting behaviour of the US and its allies in the UN General Assembly. 

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European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell gives a press conference following a EU Foreign Affairs ministers meeting on the situation in Lybia and Iran at the EU headquarters in Brussels on February 7, 2020.

Leading European figures call for stepped-up European de-escalation efforts in the Middle East, following a series of attacks in Iraq that have culminated in the killing of  Major General Qassem Suleimani and missile attacks against US airbases.

Today, the award-winning foreign policy think-tank, the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), published a statement calling on European governments to step up pro-active efforts aimed at de-escalating tensions in the Middle East.

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THE PRESIDENT OF KAZAKHSTAN has opened the parliamentary season of his country on September 2nd, 2019 with the State of the Nation Address. 

Mr. Tokayev was elected on June 9 with 70,96 % of the votes. He has extensive experience having served as Chairman of the Senate, Prime Minister and State Secretary of Kazakhstan. He has been also holding international posts such as the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN and Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva and Personal Representative of the UN Secretary-General at the Conference on Disarmament. 

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Rinne and his new government leaving a press conference on Thursday (Image: Lehtikuva)

MUCH OF THIS WEEK’S international coverage of Finland concerned the formation of the national government, which will be bringing the first left-wing prime minister in over 20 years into power. 

Much of the coverage from major publications concerned the progressive and ambitious policy proposals of the incoming government, as well as the fact that the majority of the cabinet is female.  

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The President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced a new set of reforms at the Second Meeting of the National Council of Public Trust on December 20, 2019.

After taking office, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has put particular emphasis on structural and institutional reforms, human rights and the quality of life. 

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A satellite image dated 21 August 2019 shows several fires burning in the Brazilian states of Amazonas, Para, Mato Grosso and Rondonia. (Handout – NOAA/AFP/Lehtikuva)

THE EUROPEAN UNION must take action to fight the wildfires raging in the Amazon, Brazil, demand both Ville Niinistö (Greens), a Member of the European Parliament, and Petteri Orpo, the chairperson of the National Coalition.

Almost 73,000 wildfires have been detected in what is the largest rainforest in the world between January and August, representing an 84 per cent increase from the corresponding period in 2018.

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Late May in Almaty Kazakhstan, a crowd of international participants form 50 different countries is pouring in to the Ritz Carlton for a 3 day intellectual feast. This is the 2019 Eurasian Media Forum and the audience, at least those who have been here before, are not to be easily surprised by what the event may have to offer. The forum has been prominent and unique in hosting debates between representatives of a wide spectrum of opinion and conduct, but the panel discussion most expected this year was definitely the one opening the final day

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In 2013 Edward Snowden exposed a system of mass global surveillance. Six years later, he says not much has changed and will not change until the internet is restructured. In a live interview over a video link, Edward Snowdens shared his views with 70 000 Web Summit attendees listening in Lisbon’s Altice Arena last week.

“The law is not the only thing that can protect you. Technology is not the only thing that can protect you. We are the only thing that can protect us and the only way to protect anyone is to protect everyone,” Said Snowden who recently published his memoir, resulting in CIA and NSA trying to sue him to stop the publication.

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The Amazon wildfires can be seen from space. Image: NASA

Our biggest rainforest, Amazon, is on fire right now for the 19th day. The wildfires - roaring in an area of around 2254 sq. kilometres - are so big that columns of smoke can be seen from space. The Sky in São Paulo went dark on Monday at around 3 pm as the smoke from the fires reached the city. Residents have not experienced a similar phenomenon before; not even in the darkest days of the rainy season.

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An action shot from the recent World Hockey Championships, where Finland took first place (Image: Lehtikuva)

FINLAND CAPTURED THE ATTENTION of sports desks around the world this week following their stunning victory at the world hockey championship finals in Bratislava. Much of the focus was on how Finland managed to beat firm favourites Canada despite not having a single NHL player on their roster, something which has only happened once before in the history of the tournament.  

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In a panel discussion in the 17th Dialogue of Civilisations Rhodes Forum where relations of Africa, Europe and China were discussed, Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger expressed his disappointment with Europe regarding involvement and co-operation with African nations and the African Union. As an example, he mentioned that although Niger is the neighbouring country of Libya and any disorder has significant effects on his country, The European nations and the United States did not inform Niger about their plans to intervene in Libya.

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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (R) pose for a photograph before talks at Bute House in Edinburgh during his visit to Scotland on July 29, 2019. - New British Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes his first official visit to Scotland on Monday in an attempt to bolster the union in the face of warnings over a no-deal Brexit. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

The UK’s post-study work offer, part of the new post-Brexit immigration system, compares poorly with international competitors, a new review has found.

The review found countries are increasingly developing competitive migration policies aimed at attracting and retaining international students.

The key findings of the analysis, commissioned by the Scottish Government, and undertaken by Dr Paulina Trevena of the University of Glasgow, conclude:

• The UK Government should introduce a more competitive post-study work offer taking into consideration ease of application and application timescales, programme length, work entitlement and opportunities for applying to the programme after leaving the UK.

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Deforestation in Eastern Finland (Image: Lehtikuva)

ONE WIDELY-SHARED ARTICLE in the world press this week came from a popular science magazine which revealed that despite Finland’s efforts to fight climate change, the country is actually warming up at double the global average rate. They also interviewed Finland’s former environment minister to get her thoughts on the looming ecological catastrophe.  

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A new study conducted by Oxford in Berlin and the WZB - Berlin Social Science Center has revealed that the number of Brits receiving German citizenship has risen by over 1000% since the Brexit referendum in 2016: While 622 British citizens received German citizenship in 2015, numbers jumped dramatically to 7,493 ‘naturalisations’ in 2017 and predictions for 2019 are higher than all previous years. 

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A unique expedition vehicle will participate in many ecological projects happening and planned for the future in northwestern Russia that are part of the big Kolarctic CBC 2014-2020 EU program, which supports cross-border cooperation between Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia.

In particular, the eco-mobile will be used in the ReARK project, the aim of which is to monitor the Paz, Indem and Vyala rivers in the above-mentioned countries in order to form a plan of action for ecological improvement and sustaining biodiversity.

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Elderly people in Helsinki (Image: Lehtikuva)

IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE ELECTIONS intense coverage has been afforded to the issues that Finland’s incoming government faces. While many publications have highlighted the falling birth rate as a major concern, this week one international outlet went as far as describing Finland as ‘Europe’s Japan’, stressing that decades of ‘stagflation’ and decline lie ahead if current trends continue. 

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