Here is a selection of what the international press has published about Finland in the last week:
Large outbreak linked to school meals in Finland; hundreds sickened
A large outbreak of suspected food poisoning has affected over 600 people across multiple schools in Mikkeli was covered in an article by Food Safety News on August 22.
The article gives details of the outbreak as parents and staff reported symptoms after school meals.
Authorities are investigating the outbreak, and laboratory test results are anticipated in the coming week. The Finnish Food Authority and National Institute of Health and Welfare are involved, analyzing food samples to determine the cause. Early indications suggest that vegetable tortillas might be the source of the outbreak, as sick individuals were present in all schools where they were served.
The majority of affected individuals experienced mild symptoms and have since recovered, with no severe illnesses reported. Around half of the students showed symptoms within an hour of eating, while 75 percent had symptoms within six hours. Stomach pain was the most common symptom, followed by nausea, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, muscle or joint pain. Some individuals also reported blood in their stool. Staff members exhibited similar symptoms.
Some students described the tortillas as “bad,” with some even mentioning they tasted like soap or detergent. The tortillas were obtained pre-made from a single source for all kitchens, while vegetable filling was carried out in four different kitchens.
Original story was published by Food Safety News on 22.08.2023 and can be found here.
Navigating Uncertainties: Finland’s Evolving Arctic Policy and the Role of a Regionally Adaptive EU Arctic Policy
This article about the role of Finland in Arctic politics was published in The Arctic Institute on August 22. The article examines how Finland has taken the approach of anticipation, hoping to capitalize on forthcoming economic prospects that could reshape the Arctic's identity.
The article looks at Finland’s stance on its policy in Arctic region over the years. The article states that the anticipatory state identity is not just a simple anticipation of the future but rather an active process of becoming that involves the (re)orientation of the state towards coming closer to the idealized vision of the state within global interactions.
Finland is incorporating Arctic considerations into both foreign and domestic policies, aiming to position itself as a significant player in the region by providing solutions and fostering connections.
The arctic landscape has experienced notable shifts, characterized by heightened geopolitical tensions. The report suggests that potential NATO membership for Finland and Sweden could introduce fresh regional strains. Despite this, it was posited that bolstering the military equilibrium in the Nordic area might contribute to stabilizing the security environment.
In October 2022, the Finnish Government initiated a report titled “Arctic cooperation in a new situation: Analysis on the impacts of the Russian war of aggression.” The report suggests that potential NATO membership for Finland and Sweden could introduce fresh regional strains. Despite this, it was posited that bolstering the military equilibrium in the Nordic area might contribute to stabilizing the security environment.
The author, Alexandra Middleton, is a researcher with a PhD in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Oulu, Finland, her research focuses on sustainability in the Arctic.
Original story was published by The Arctic Institute on 22.08.2023 and can be found here.
Finnish pensions chief says opposing immigration ‘like shooting own foot’
The CEO of Pensions insurance company Veritas, Carl Haglund, highlighting the importance of immigration for Finland’s pension system sustainability was covered in an article by IPE on August 24. The article presents Haglund’s views on skilled foreign labour in Finland.
He stated that newcomers are needed to work and contribute to the pension system’s stability. Haglund, who leads Veritas, one of Finland’s private-sector pension insurance firms, highlighted the necessity of encouraging skilled foreign employees to come to Finland. He likened opposition to immigration to harming oneself.
According to Haglund, numerous economic sectors are grappling with a shortage of skilled labor. He emphasized that this situation is unlikely to improve. “No alleviation of the situation is in sight since the share of the working-age population has declined and will continue to decline in the coming decades,” Haglund said.
Veritas recently published its report for January to June and is the final among the four pension insurers to release their first-half results this summer. Notably, three out of the four companies have addressed the politically-sensitive topic of immigration in their reports.
Original story was published by IPE on 24.08.2023 and can be found here.
Finland considers swastika ban after racism scandals rock government
This article about Finland considering a ban on Swastika was covered in an article by Politico on August 21. The article highlights that this move is seen as a way to address the issue beyond mere condemnation of racism.
Racism-related controversies within the new Finnish government have prompted discussions about banning symbols like the swastika and the hammer and sickle. Ben Zyskowicz, an MP from the center-right National Coalition Party, highlighted the challenge of taking tangible actions against racism.
“It’s very difficult to find real … concrete decisions which can be made by the government or by the parliament … to fight against racism,” Zyskowicz told Politico adding that is it real problem.
He stressed the need for legislative measures to combat discrimination, proposing a prohibition on using symbols such as the swastika and the hammer and sickle.
“This government has been quite heavily pressured, by the press and even some politicians, so they have to make something more concrete,” Kimmo Sasi, the chairman of the Finnish Holocaust Remembrance Association said. He has lobbied to ban Nazi symbols for several years and backed the new plans.
Original story was published by Politico on 21.08.2023 and can be found here.
AI map shows where Tampere has skill gaps to fill
The new innovative AI-based tool introduced by The Tampere City Council was covered in an article by The Mayor.eu on August 23. The article provides details of the AI tool designed to transform data into visual representations, aiding authorities in making informed policy decisions.
Collaborating with HeadAi, the city has employed this technology to create maps that pinpoint areas requiring specific skills and skilled individuals. These maps help identify skill gaps and job opportunities, enabling the development of targeted strategies for social and economic growth.
Referred to as a “visualizing ChatGPT,” the tool gathers data from local sources to generate colourful Cellular concept maps, facilitating the assessment of skill availability and the demand for employment advancement in particular regions.
“These maps can be used, for example, in employment services as a tool when looking for a suitable talent profile,” Anu Passi-Rauste, Marketing Director of HeadAi said.
Original story was published by The Mayor.eu on 23.08.2023 and can be found here.