Let me tell you a story.

Last January, my back started to act up. I had just landed in San Francisco, having spent six hours in a lawn chair that United calls coach class, when the pain began. Despite physical therapy and acupuncture, the pain got worse, and my doctor ordered an MRI.

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Covid drive-in tests at the Malmi hospital. LEHTIKUVA

COVID is back — is Finland ready?

On a recent trip to Venice, my husband Niko and I tried to board a vaporettos, one of the boats that plies the city’s canals. We were stopped on the gangplank, forbidden from boarding because we were not wearing masks.

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Participants pose for photos prior to the 2022 New York Pride Parade in New York City on June 26, 2022. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

When it comes to gay rights, the contrast between Finland and the US could not be clearer.

During Gay Pride Week, a giant rainbow flag was draped across the front of Helsinki’s city hall. That flag could be seen everywhere — painted on benches, hung in the windows of shops and restaurants, and displayed on the side of corporate towers.

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The nation is rocked by—the Prime Minister’s allowance?

It’s the scoop du jour—Italehti has revealed that Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s family breakfast benefit is 850 euros a month!

What a scandal—taxpayers are shelling out for a 27 euro daily breakfast splurge. Is the Marin household eating gourmet granola and downing fresh-squeezed orange juice (six euros a bottle at my local K-Market)?

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Does Finland’s toxic online political culture pose a threat to democracy?

“What’s new in Finnish politics?”

Having recently returned from the United States, I asked a friend to give me an update. His answer was short and sweet: “Nothing.”

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Japanese doll maker Kyugetsu displays "hina" dolls of US President Joe Biden and US Vice President Kamala Harris attached with a face mask at the company's showroom in Tokyo on January 28, 2021. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

Joe Biden’s election has profound implications, not just for the US but for the world.

DONALD TRUMP’S kicking-and-screaming exit from the White House was monumentally good news for the US. It was also terrible news for Jussi Halla-Aho, the leader of the True Finns, Nigel Farrage in Britain and Marine Le Pen in France.

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What would you do if the most intimate details of your life were posted on the internet?

Jukka-Pekka Puro’s life, as recounted in Wired magazine, was a nightmare. In 2017, when his wife divorced the University of Turko lecturer, he slipped into depression. When his doctors told him that he had inoperable cancer and had only a few years to live, he contemplated suicide. 

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"Don't tell my wife," a trump clone told bystanders back in July 2018.

“Could you imagine if I lose? I’m not going to feel so good. Maybe I’ll have to leave the country, I don’t know.”

            Donald Trump, at an October 16th rally

“WELL, it actually happened—despite doing everything in my power to finagle my way back to the White House, Sleepy Joe won the election. What were the voters thinking!

Since the U.S. doesn’t want me, I don’t want the U.S. That’s why I’ve picked up my marbles and moved to Finland.

Why Finland? You might be wondering.

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MIKA SALMINEN, the director of health security at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and Kirsi Varhila, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health had both publicly questioned the usefulness of face masks.

What politician dares to explain the true rationale for Finland’s feckless COVID policy?

“Now is the time to pull up your socks”—this was Prime Minister Sanni Marin’s recent counsel to the nation, as Finland confronts the second, far more deadly, wave of the COVID pandemic. Maybe this phrase loses something in translation, but it hardly conveys a sense of crisis.  

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A man walks past a mural depicting US President Donald Trump, painted on a wall in Sydney on November 9, 2020. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

How do you spell “failed state”?

THE “I-can-breathe-again” good news: the protracted agony of counting absentee ballots has ended and, barring a lightning strike, Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States. Donald John Trump’s four-year reign of error—all too often his reign of terror—has ended. 

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Screenshot of video depicting the arrest of David Gill

Returning home from a basketball tournament in Tampere last August, David Gill and his fifteen-year-old son Max boarded a train. Although they did not realise it, they didn’t have valid tickets, and this innocent mistake turned into a nightmare. 

As soon as they boarded the train, they were accosted by railway inspectors, manhandled, kicked off the train and arrested.

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