Finland in the world press
The BBC has reported that Finnish car dealers are more likely to encourage customers to buy electric vehicles than their Nordic neighbours.

 You may have heard that Finland has been rated as the happiest country in the world for 2018, so it might seem surprising that the World Health Organisation has also ranked Finland as the country with the second most depressive disorders per capita. Psychology Today takes a closer look at the relationship between happiness and depression.

In other news, the New York Times shines a spotlight on Finland’s Champions League-winning doctor, while the BBC reports that Finnish car dealers are less dismissive of electric vehicles than their Nordic counterparts.

Finland ranks highly in both happiness and depression
Psychology Today

The recently released World Happiness Report 2018 met with the usual flurry of questions and doubts about what exactly it measured, and how accurately. Amid all the discussion of life satisfaction and the various metrics used to assess it, though, much of the focus this year put wellbeing in the context of national rates of depression.

That emphasis should not surprise us. Researchers have long insisted on their correlation—that stress tied to financial insecurity and discrimination correlates closely with depression.

This year, Finland compelled greater reflection on the relationship between depression and happiness, because the country placed first among indices measuring wellbeing (including social stability and services; gross domestic product per capita; trust in government and institutions; levels of crime and corruption, and so on) while also ranking second, according to the World Health Organization, in per capita prevalence rates for depressive disorders.

To its citizens, happiness may mean more than the absence of depression. The forms of comparison that social media intensify may be a further complicating factor, especially if online platforms are used to exaggerate happiness through ostentatious displays of it (though Finns are not exactly known for this).

“While there are significant shortcomings in international comparisons of depression and while other research has estimated that the depression rates of Finland would be closer to the global average,” Frank Martela commented in Scientific American, “what is clear is that Finland is far from the top of the world in preventing depression.”

Original article was published by Psychology Today on 19/05/2018 and can be found here.

Finland in favour of electric vehicles

"Dismissive" car dealers are a major barrier to boosting sales of electric vehicles (EVs), according to a new study.

Researchers, who posed as car shoppers in Scandinavia and Iceland, found that sales personnel strongly pushed petrol and diesel powered cars.

Around 77% of dealerships that sold EV brands didn't discuss their existence with the potential customers.

However in Finland, a country with colder winters and spread out population centres that should be more difficult for electric cars, dealers were more supportive of EVs.

"Finland is a country that should be less attractive to EVs, but we found that dealers were still more willing to support sales of electric cars compared to Danish dealers," said Gerardo Zarazua de Rubens.

"The government said they want EVs in the country and set a target of 250,000 by 2030 which resonated downstream to the marketplace, whereas in Denmark you find the opposite – the government is sending other types of signals."

With carbon from the transport sector responsible for one quarter of energy-related global greenhouse gas emissions, governments are keen to see a rapid uptake of EVs.

"EVs will come faster than most people think,” said de Rubens. “Replacing the entire fleet will take a long time as we can't just get rid of all the cars but I think EVs will dominate new sales in the next decade, and not in 20 years."

Original article was published by the BBC on 24/05/2018 and can be found here.

Sakari Orava, the doctor that heals World Cup stars
The New York Times

Sakari Orava is among the very few Finnish citizens to own a Champions League's gold medal.

He didn't win it on the field, but on the operating table of his medical practice in Turku, a small city on the southwest coast of Finland.

Over the years, legions of top soccer players, including David Beckham, have made the trip to Finland to go under the skilled knife of the world renowned surgeon.

His long list of patients also includes former Serbia president Boris Tadic, who charted a private jet for Orava so he could come to Belgrade and repair his Achilles tendon a few years ago.

"Last year, I actually received a few shirts from Real Madrid. They also gave me a Champions League gold medal because I had operated on two guys from Real Madrid," the 72-year-old Orava told The Associated Press in an interview last week. "Two Finnish soccer players have received it. One from Liverpool, Sami Hyypiä, and the other from Ajax, Jari Litmanen, who both won the Champions League. So there are three people from Finland to have this medal."

Original article was published by The New York Times on 24/05/2018 and can be found here.

Liikanen says he won't campaign for European Central Bank presidency

Bank of Finland Governor Erkki Liikanen said there may be circumstances under which he would consider succeeding Mario Draghi as European Central Bank president, but that he won’t be campaigning for the job.

Asked in an interview on Finland’s YLE TV1 on Saturday whether he is available for the position when it opens in the second half of 2019, Liikanen, 67, said such discussions always begin too early.

“I’m not going to be campaigning for any task,” Liikanen said. “There may be situations where you get asked: ‘will you do your duty?’ And then one must consider.”

Liikanen is stepping down as Bank of Finland governor in July after serving two seven-year terms at the helm of the Helsinki-based central bank. Olli Rehn, deputy governor and former European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, was appointed his successor on Friday.

Original article was published by Bloomberg on 19/05/2018 and can be found here.

Bold new gold coins look forward to next hundred years of nationhood
Coin Update

The Mint of Finland has launched (23rd May) new gold coins which focus on the future of their country, which in 2017 held year-long celebrations of Finnish independence. As Finland looks back on last year’s celebrations on its century of independence, the coin’s concept and design ask the question, “What will the country’s next century be like?”

The new coin is the work of artist Hannu Veijalainen and is entitled “Blue Bio-Economy,” whose design highlights Finland’s current and future role as a country of clean and pristine waters and water sources. The coin’s design highlighting the water theme is significant to the country and region for several reasons.

First is the access to clean water, which is an increasingly important consideration worldwide. Second is the water’s sleek and smooth surface, which also functions as a mirror and is a symbolic reflection of the future. The theme represents growth, tinged with the playfulness and humour required for building the future.

A limited number of 100 coins are available, which are also individually numbered. The coin is officially released on the 12th June.

Original article was published by Coin Update on 24/05/2018 and can be found here.

Dan Anderson – HT

Photo: Lehtikuva