Finland in the world press

This article on the recommended overhaul of police training across Canada, citing Finland as a potential model, was published in CBC on May 2. The article provides details of the inquiry into a mass shooting that left 22 people dead in Nova Scotia, Canada in 2020.

The Mass Casualty Commission’s final report called for all of Canada’s police forces to require a three-year degree for officers, as Finland does.

Currently, RCMP recruits spend six months at a training facility followed by six months of on-the-job training, a model deemed “inadequate” by the commission. The article states that the commission's report called this model "inadequate to prepare RCMP members for the complex demands of contemporary policing."

On policing in Finland, Lotta Parjanen, the head of education for Finland’s Police University College, told CBC that there is a “big difference” between the two countries. “Certain countries have very short [programs], that they can shoot, maybe wrestle, they don’t know how to give fines,” Parjanen said.

“But our education is based on the idea that we have a motto that police officers are civilized. We put a lot of effort into communication. The reputation of Finland’s police is very good, and the trust. So when there is police, there is also respect involved,” Parjanen added.

The article also highlights that a thorough vetting of candidates is needed, as per the report.  The commission report quoted Kimmo Himberg, former rector of the Finnish police college, who said modern policing requires a complicated mix of skills and knowledge.

Original story was published by CBC on 02.05.2023 and can be found here.

Finland’s missing millions show traders are still exploiting tax

Finland’s controversial trade, which allows investors to shuffle stocks from one jurisdiction to another and avoid withholding taxes, was covered in an article by BNN Bloomberg on May 5. The article looks into these transactions, also known as cum-cum deals, which have resulted in Finland losing an estimated €320 million of public revenue between 2018 and 2021

The tax authorities are currently investigating "several dozen" companies, with the country's National Bureau of Investigation, as part of a broader review of the transactions. Despite efforts to eliminate the practice, Finnish authorities believe that new cases of the tax-avoidance scheme will continue to arise.

Katja Pussila, a risk manager at the Finnish Tax Administration who has helped lead the country’s investigation into the practice, told BNN Bloomberg, “It doesn’t make sense that Finnish single-stock futures would be the most heavily traded from a pure investment point of view.” Pussila added that this is evidence of dividend-tax arbitrage, at least to some extent.

Cum-cum transactions, named after the Latin word for “with” that traders often use when discussing dividends, were in the news in March when French prosecutors raided the Paris offices of BNP Paribas SA and Societe Generale SA, leading to more than €1 billion in fines for the banks as part of a probe into money laundering and tax fraud allegedly linked to the trades.

Original story was published by BNN Bloomberg on 05.05.2023 and can be found here.

Finland and Norway can help solve Mongolia’s clean water issue

This article on how Mongolia can address its chronic water security issues with the help of Finland and Norway, which are hailed as leaders of the global clean water sector, was published in The Diplomat on April 29. The article discusses solutions to the water stress situation in Mongolia by accelerating bilateral ties with the Nordic countries.

In the past decade, Mongolia’s water stress, coupled with climate change and mass mining activities, has impinged on the livelihood of Mongolians, and the Asian Development Bank’s Asian Water Development Outlook program has highlighted impending challenges in the country’s water sector. The article points out recommended improvements around water governance, systems management, and modernizing tools and technologies that can produce clean water in the future.

It highlights the different challenges faced by the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, where decades-old water and waste management systems are inundated by surging demand due to population growth, and remote provinces where a lack of modern waste management systems and a shortage of clean water supplies are driving migration to larger cities.

The article suggests that Ulaanbaatar’s third-neighbor foreign policy and existing diplomatic relations with Finland and Norway could be leveraged to invest in clean water projects. It notes that clean water initiatives could also serve as an important bilateral mechanism to strengthen ties.

The author Bolor Lkhaajav is a researcher specializing in Mongolia, China, Russia, Japan, East Asia, and the Americas. She holds an M.A. in Asia-Pacific Studies from the University of San Francisco.

Original story was published by The Diplomat on 29.04.2023 and can be found here.

Police detain Estonian criminals behind forced labor in Finland

The Central Criminal Police of Finland and Estonia arresting eight people suspected of trafficking Estonian, Latvian and Ukrainian citizens was covered in an article by ERR News on May 2. The article provides details of the arrest of the people belonging to a criminal group that allegedly forced the trafficked citizens into labor in Finland's construction industry.

It also states that the group is suspected of committing offences against property and economic crimes, including fraud. The organization, allegedly run by a man known as “the Joker,” is believed to have made €2.3 million from exploiting construction workers. All the suspects have previous convictions for violent crimes.

“The same members of a criminal group are suspected of committing various crimes in Finland. Some of them have been charged with human trafficking and fraud offences, while one is also facing charges of tax fraud and smuggling,” Public prosecutor Raigo Aas said in a press release.

Ago Leis, head of the Central Criminal Police’s organized crime unit, said that the disruption of organized crime groups in Estonia has forced them to expand their activities to other countries.

Original story was published by ERR News on 02.05.2023 and can be found here.

Recalls declined in Finland for the first time in several years

The decline in the number of product recalls in the year 2022 was reported in Food Safety News on May 3. The article explores the reasons for recalls based on the data from the Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto), highlighting that it is the first decline in several years for recalls due to contamination and related issues.

Products were withdrawn from the market 288 times due to potential microbiological contamination, pesticide residues, and undeclared allergens. The decrease in number of recalls was partly attributed to fewer recalls related to ethylene oxide, which dropped from 72 in 2021 to 14 in 2022.

Elaborating on the reasons, the article mentions that the number of recalls due to microbial reasons went up from 49 to 59 in 2022. Salmonella was found in 18 cases in different foods, such as meat and fish products, fresh herbs, and spices. However, recalls due to pesticide residues rose by 48 percent from the previous year. Fruits, vegetables or other foods were withdrawn from the market 49 times.

Original story was published by Food Safety News on 03.05.2023 and can be found here.