Two American F-15C Eagle -figther jets, three Finnish F/A-18C Hornet -fighter jets and a German Eurofighter Typhoon -figther jet in the air force practice common lap in Finnish air space on 17th of March 2021.

The choice concerns the fighter plane for Finland's future air defence. I am not competent to assess which criteria are most important in the selection, performance, or finances. Therefore, it is best to abstain, even if the price tag is something that any layperson can have opinions about.

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A picture shows a child's shoe amidst the rubble of buildings, destroyed by Israeli strikes, in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip on May 21, 2021. - A ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, controlled by Islamist group Hamas, came into effect after 11 days of airstrikes and rocket fire. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

So, it has happened again. Riots in Jerusalem. Random rocket fire and precision bombings, both with civilian casualties. The parties are involved in a spiral of revenge with the goal of exhausting the opponent. The pattern is repeated year after year. The outside world demands a cease fire; mediators sign up. This has been the case throughout my adult life. No lasting peace for Israel, no solution for the stateless Palestinians. Cease fire is fine, but for how long?

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Generous social benefits aren’t enough to change the life prospects of kids from low-income families.

Nordic nations are proud of their social policies—justifiably so. As we know, high taxes fund social security, education, disability, housing and unemployment benefits that reduce inequality and increase social mobility.

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Former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz gives a press conference in Vienna, on December 2, 2021. - Kurz, long hailed a political whizz kid until resigning after being implicated in a corruption investigation, announced he is leaving politics. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

In my experience, there are basically three reasons why people run for office: ego, power, and money. I don’t mean to say this in a cynical way. As Sebastian Kurz, former chancellor of Austria, said, we are all humans.

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An illustration of a Finnish womens prison in Hämeenlinna.

In my last column for the Helsinki Times I spoke about why an independent Scotland would be a good fit for the Nordic Council. Since then, the SNP have proposed adopting a Finnish approach to Scottish prisons, in one of several moves in the recent past to further align Scotland with the Nordic nations.

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Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Iran is serious, acts in good faith, and considers the practical and tangible result to be the removal of sanctions.

The path travelled

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The Finland - Russia border sign at Pelkola, Imatra on 12th of November 2021.

"It is unlikely that Russia, the inheritor of Soviet Union, would relentlessly and temporarily renounce a century-long border doctrine, unless the motive is a major political upheaval."

When there are concerns about the eastern border and the opposition demands action, a cold calculation is important.

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May 4, 2019 Pro-Scottish Independence activists march through the streets of Glasgow with Saltire- themed flags, banners and sunglasses during the All Under One Banner March for Independence. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

Dear Anthony Heron,

I was delighted to see your column in the Helsinki Times this past weekend, arguing that Scotland would be a good fit for the Nordic Council.

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Dr. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Minister of Foreign Affairs

The presence of U.S. troops and their allied forces in Afghanistan, as well as their embarrassing, catastrophic departure, has left in its wake an overwhelmingly disorganized country and an agitated and anguished nation, causing an ambiguous future for a country which suffered military invasion in a modern fashion under the clichéd slogan of democratic development.

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Tunisian security officers hold back protesters outside the parliament building in the capital Tunis on July 26, 2021, following a move by the president to suspend the country's parliament and dismiss the Prime Minister. - Tunisia was plunged deeper into crisis as President Kais Saied suspended parliament and dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi late July 25, prompting the country's biggest political party to decry a "coup d'etat". LEHTIKUVA / AFP

Since the 25th of July 2021, the eyes of many people are on Tunisia. That day, the President of the Republic, Kais Saied, invoked the emergency article of Tunisia’s constitution, dismissed the Prime Minister, froze the activity of the Parliament and lifted the immunity from its members.

A few hours before these decisions, many Tunisians took to the street under an excruciating 40°C midday sun and in violation of the COVID 19 restrictions to express their anger, dismay and dissatisfaction calling for the dissolution of the Parliament.

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