Finnish Customs check a car at the Vaalimaa border check point between Finland and Russia in Virolahti, Finland on September 28, 2022 as traffic from Russia enters to Finland and Europe's open-borders Schengen area. LEHTIKUVA

As the Ukraine war marks its two-year anniversary on February 24, 2024, Finnish Customs reports significant strides in enforcing EU sanctions against Russia, highlighting its active role in international compliance efforts. Over the past two years, Finnish Customs has detected approximately 29,000 discrepancies in goods traffic, conducted 2,800 targeted controls, and initiated over 740 preliminary investigations into breaches against sanctions.

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The guidebook "Monikielisen työyhteisön opas" was written by Salla Kurhila, Eveliina Korpela, Inkeri Lehtimaja, Johanna Komppa, and Lari Kotilainen. Photo by: Meeri Utti

A recent publication titled "Multilingual Workplace Guide" delves into the challenges faced by foreign experts in Finland, challenging the myth that the Finnish language's complexity is the primary barrier. The book, based on extensive research and interviews with both Finnish and foreign workers in Finland, provides insights into the real reasons behind the difficulties in learning Finnish and assimilating into Finnish society.

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The Consumer Association investigated how common it is for products to gradually shrink without a corresponding decrease in the selling price. "Shrinkflation" is the term often used when the content of a product decreases without a similar reduction in its price. Over 700 consumers reported their observations of reduced product sizes through a survey on the Consumer Association's website. Certain products and product categories were repeatedly mentioned in the responses.

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urbine and generator at the Teollisuuden Voima Olkiluoto 3 power plant. LEHTIKUVA

The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority of Finland (STUK) has joined forces with the nuclear safety authorities of France and the Czech Republic (SÚJB and ASN) to evaluate the safety solutions designed for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). This assessment was conducted in anticipation of future licensing procedures and was not related to any specific reactor's licensing in Finland or elsewhere.

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LEHTIKUVA

The Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) Joint Authority Board has discussed the preparation of the 2024 budget and outlined the next steps in the process. The guiding principle for next year's budget will be a break-even outcome, implying a need to balance approximately 52 million euros. Despite the challenging financial situation, staff benefits will be maintained at the 2023 level. Similarly, HUS's own research funding will remain at the same level as 2023.

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Photo: Jussi Hellsten / Helsinki Partners

The majority of young Helsinki residents transition directly from comprehensive school to secondary education. More young people are now primarily applying to upper secondary education, while certain vocational programs remain popular. However, there are socioeconomic and regional disparities in the educational paths of young people in Helsinki. These findings are based on the new statistical publication "Youth Education in Helsinki - Path from Comprehensive School Forward" by the City Executive Office.

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Customer heading to the acute reception at Kivela health center. LEHTIKUVA

The crisis in primary health care in Finland is leading to an increase in the use of private health insurance, particularly in the last year. A recent report shows that the use of private health insurance in the country has reached pre-pandemic levels, with a growth rate of over 90% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, especially in relation to flu-related health expenses.

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Alpha-synuclein accumulation in a nerve cell. (Image: Timo Myöhänen's research group.)

Parkinson's disease is a debilitating disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. While the disease has been studied for over 200 years, its cause remains unknown. However, researchers at the University of Helsinki have made a significant breakthrough by identifying certain strains of Desulfovibrio bacteria as the probable cause of Parkinson's disease in most cases.

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A female and male coworker at a meeting.

The EU Council has adopted new rules to combat pay discrimination and help close the gender pay gap in the EU.

Under the pay transparency directive, EU companies will be required to share information about how much they pay women and men for work of equal value and take action if their gender pay gap exceeds 5 per cent.

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A customer going into an unemployment office in Pasila, in Helsinki. LEHTIKUVA

According to a recent survey by OP Financial Group's Taloustutkimus, almost half of Finnish people consider unemployment highly unlikely in the next year, with over 70% of respondents considering it either highly or somewhat unlikely. The survey was conducted during a period of economic uncertainty, and the positive outlook towards employment is a welcome surprise. However, 44% of respondents say they are not prepared for unemployment, with a further 13% unsure if they are prepared or not.

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