Finance Minister Petteri Orpo told the Financial Times that Finland’s universal basic income trial led to people becoming “passive”.


The Finnish government’s decision to end their two-year basic income trial has been a major talking point over the last few weeks. Speaking in a recent interview with the Financial Times, Finance Minister Petteri Orpo told the newspaper that Finland’s current system was making people “passive”.

In other news, the Supreme Court of Finland decided to uphold the conviction of aggravated sexual abuse against a man who had sexual intercourse with a 10-year-old girl near Tampere in the autumn of 2016. Critics believe that the offence should be regarded as rape.

Finland's finance minister gives thumbs down to basic income pilot
Business Insider Nordic

Since the beginning of last year, the government has been giving roughly 2,000 Finns €560 a month in free money to spend however they want. But soon they will have to return to the job market.

The 2-year trial will come to an end this year as decision makers are scrapping plans to extend the project.

Finance minister Petteri Orpo, who is the leader of centre-right National Coalition party, says in an interview with Financial Times that he rejects the basic income experiment as a model for welfare reform.

He argues that the current system has made people “passive”.

“Working life has changed through globalisation, automation. We have to reform our society in order to activate people to reach a higher employment rate and to save the welfare state. This is what I call Nordic welfare model 2.0.”

His government has recently taken the welfare system away from basic income. A new ‘activation model’ law forces unemployed to work a minimum of 18 hours for three months, otherwise they will lose part of their benefits.

“When we look at our economy that is now growing, we have tens of thousands of free jobs that cannot be filled and more than 200,000 unemployed people. We have to look at the incentives to work,” says Orpo to Financial Times.

Original article was published by Business Insider Nordic on 09/05/2018 and can be found here.

Sex with 10-year-old not rape, Finnish court rules in migrant’s case

In a case that has triggered public outrage, a top Finnish court has upheld a ruling that sex between an asylum seeker and a 10-year-old girl didn’t constitute rape. Critics are calling for harsher sentences for child abuse.

Finland’s Supreme Court rejected a request from the prosecution to appeal a three-year jail term for a 23-year-old man on Thursday. Finnish media identify him as Juusuf Muhamed Abbudin, an asylum seeker, but don’t reveal his country of origin.

The man was convicted of aggravated sexual abuse, although the prosecution had sought a harsher sentence on charges of aggravated rape. However, the court left the original verdict unchanged.

The incident took place near the city of Tampere in southern Pirkanmaa in autumn 2016. The man had sexual intercourse with a girl, who was 10-years old at the time, in the yard of a deserted apartment block. He also exchanged sexually charged messages with her.

Both Pirkanmaa District Court and the Appeal Court in the city of Turku convicted the asylum seeker of aggravated sexual abuse and handed him a three-year prison sentence in 2017. The courts didn’t recognize the incident as rape, saying the girl wasn’t forced into the sexual act or overcome by fear. The judges also ordered the man to pay the child €3,000 ($3,600).

The decision fueled fierce debates across the country. Tuula Tamminen, professor of Child Psychiatry at the University of Tampere, insisted that the child simply couldn’t know what was happening in such a situation.

Original article was published by RT on 05/05/2018 and can be found here.

How Finland is using the blockchain to revolutionise financial services for refugees

Refugees and asylum seekers forced to leave their homes are often found without paperwork, posing problems for them and for legal authorities in proving their very existence.

Without paperwork, it's impossible to prove your date of birth, open a bank account, access government services, and even get a legal job. Blockchain technology offers an interesting solution here – being able to track an identity on a ledger via a unique, immutable and independently verified record provides new opportunities to tackle this problem.

The Finnish Immigration Service Migri first partnered with Helsinki-based startup MONI back in 2015, as part of a pilot project that offered refugees a prepaid Mastercard linked to their digital identity (provided by Migri). Blockchain technology, deployed via Ethereum, maintains a record of the financial transactions made with the card. This makes it easier for refugees to find employment and receive money from jobs, and also allows them to pay bills electronically – ultimately speeding up their process of becoming established in Finland. It's thought that there are now thousands of MONI users among Finland's refugee community.

Privacy concerns are valid, but the system is voluntary and Migri says that identities are always kept private.

Original article was published by ReliefWeb on 10/05/2018 and can be found here.

Sheffield girl's balloon found 1,500 miles away in Finland
The Yorkshire Post

A man in Finland was left astounded when he found a balloon believed to have been released some 1,500 miles away in Sheffield – and now hopes to trace its owner.

Arto Julkunen found the purple and blue balloon in woodlands Tampere, Finland on April 29 this year.

Written on the balloon on one side is the message: 'Lilly Butten, 9 years,' and written on the other side is: 'City of Sheffield'.

Mr Julkunen launched a Facebook appeal to see if he could find out whether the balloon was truly released in Sheffield.

The 56-year-old said: "My wife, my Labrador Retriever and I were having a normal Sunday walk in a forest when we found it. I first thought that 'Gosh, someone has thrown litter here again'.

"I decided to collect it. To my surprise I saw faint writing on it – barely visible. After reading it I couldn't believe that it was really saying 'City of Sheffield'. When I read the other side, I decided that – true or not – I have to put this on Facebook. If it travelling 1,500 miles is true, it really is a wonder."

Original article was published by The Yorkshire Post on 07/05/2018 and can be found here.

Eurovision 2018: the songs to look out for, from gay couples to toy camels
The Guardian

Look out for the other banging dance tune in the line-up: Finland’s Saara Aalto with Monsters. Sung by the former X Factor runner-up, Aalto’s guaranteed the fetish – and alt-right – votes thanks to her dancers’ leather-heavy uniforms, but she deserves a lot more because the tune is brilliant. She is this year’s best Scandinavian act, and also sings upside down at one point while strapped to a Catherine wheel, which is surely worth something.

Original article was published by The Guardian on 09/05/2018 and can be found here.

Dan Anderson – HT

Photo: Lehtikuva