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Artists impression of LUMI, HPE's Cray EX - supercomputer / image: Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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Finland received attention from international news outlets this week when the parliament debated whether to make unsolicited sexting an offense punishable by law. Finnish lawmakers claimed that sending someone explicit photos without their permission constitutes sexual harassment and is comparable to unwanted physical contact. 

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin was also the subject of speculation this week,

garnering praise for her ambitious goals and decisive leadership in light of the recent controversy surrounding a photoshoot that featured her wearing a low-cut top.    

In other news, Finland has been chosen as the location for a $160 million supercomputer by Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The project will be funded by the European Joint Undertaking EuroHPC, a joint initiative between the EU, European countries and private partners  dedicated to supercomputing.

The country also came into the international limelight for a science experiment which involved daycares using mini-forests to bolster children’s immunity. The study found that kids who played in the greenery planted by these daycares developed healthy microbes in their guts. 

Meanwhile, travel restrictions will result in a bleak Christmas for Northern Finland this year, with tourism in Rovaniemi’s Santa Claus Village expected to hit an all-time low.  


Sexting could become illegal in Finland

Finnish legislators are currently debating whether unsolicited sexting should be made an offense punishable by upto six months in prison. The reform would reclassify the act of sending sexual content without permission, equating it with unwanted physical contacta crime currently punishable by a fine or jail time. 

Lawmakers have argued that in the wake of the “MeToo” movement, legislation needs to evolve alongside technology to combat sexual harassment more effectively. Teenagers are often the target of uninvited, explicit pictures in Finland, and some welcome the added security that prosecution could provide, hoping it would act as a deterrent. 

Original article was published by DW on 27.10.2020 and can be found here.     


Sanna Marin taking a stand against sexism 

The Finnish Prime Minister recently made international headlines for a photoshoot that sparked debates about sexism and double standards in politics. Since taking office in 2019, Marin has quickly become the face of a new breed of female politicians, earning international praise for, among other things, her efficient handling of the pandemic in Finland.

Among Marin’s more ambitious objectives are the commitment to make Finland carb

on neutral by 2035 and a pledge to close the gender wage gap. She has also extended male parental leave to match that of women. 

Original article was published by NewStatesman on 24.10.2020 and can be found here.


Hewlett Packard to build a supercomputer in Finland

Hewlett Packard Enterprise will assemble a $160 million supercomputer in Finland. The supercomputer will be named LUMI and is expected to reach a peak performance of over 550 petaflops, beating the current top-performing computer. 

The project is funded by the European Joint Undertaking EuroHPC, a collaboration between the EU and national governments dedicated to high-performance computing. It will be located at the CSC IT Center for Science in Kajaani, Finland.

Original article was published by VentureBeat on 21.10.2020 and can be found here.  


Finnish daycares discover forests can boost immunity

In a new experiment, daycare workers in Finland created mini-forests by planting undergrowth and enabled kids to grow crops in planters. The children in these daycare centres were found to have improved immune markers such as increased T-cells in just under a month.

The children (aged 3–5) who were exposed to greenery had healthier intestinal microbiota compared to kids in standard city daycare centres who play on concrete, tile and gravel. 

Original article was published by Science Alert on 22.10.2020 and can be found here.


Grim Christmas for Santa this year as tourism plummets

Finland’s rigid travel restrictions have led to a steep drop in the number of tourists that usually frequent Rovaniemi, official home of Santa Claus, this time of year.  

Several businesses rely on tourism in Northern Finland, and many have already begun lay-offs, expecting booking numbers to drop even further. Few believe that the Christmas season can be revived this year without the government easing restrictions. 

Original article was published by Hindustan Times on 16.10.2020 and can be found here.

 

Tahira Sequeira - Helsinki Times 

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