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Finland to pay unemployed basic income in unique social experiment
2 January 2017 - Finland has become the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens a basic monthly income, amounting to 560 euros ($587), in a unique social experiment which is hoped to cut government red tape, reduce poverty, and boost employment. Olli Kangas from the Finnish government agency KELA, which is responsible for the country's social benefits, said Monday that the two-year trial with the 2,000 randomly picked citizens who receive unemployment benefits kicked off at the start of January. (more)

Finland: In Lapland home, Santa prepares for Christmas
16 December 2016 - At Santa Claus' Lapland home in Finland, his helpers sort out piles of letters from around the world, each detailing children's requests for this Christmas. As the holiday nears, every day is busy for Santa's team in Rovaniemi, which calls itself his official hometown, near the Arctic Circle. Last year, around 500,000 letters arrived. China, Poland, Italy, Britain, Finland, Japan, and Russia top the list of senders. (more)

The Baltic Sea will be the first to ban cruise ship waste
1 August 2016 - The Baltic Sea, a North European body of water, is becoming the first in the world to ban cruise ships from dumping waste water offshore starting in 2019. The timeframe still leaves the sea vulnerable in the interim. The city of Helsinki isn't waiting until 2019 for the no-dump laws to kick in. The Port of Helsinki announced sweeteners that will encourage visiting ships to stop dumping at sea now. In order to keep its waters relatively clear, the Port of Helsinki is offering a 20 percent discount to vessels that pump their waste on land to be treated. Ships that dock in the port must all pay the fee, whether they actually off-load waste there or not. By taking advantage of a service they've already paid for, ships can cut their overheads. (more)

Finland: Tougher Tobacco Act enters into force in August
30 June 2016 - The new Tobacco Act will enter into force from 15 August, 2016 with the provision for imposing ban on smoking in cars with children under the age of 15, said an official press release on Wednesday, 29 June. It will also become easier for housing companies to intervene in smoking on balconies. Electronic cigarettes containing nicotine will be subject to the same provisions as other cigarettes in the Finnish market. The sale of nicotine-containing liquids will be subject to a licence and they must not contain any flavourings, such as candy or fruit flavours. The use of electronic cigarettes will be prohibited in non-smoking areas and they must not be kept on display in retail outlets. (more)

How asylum seekers could help ease Finland's tech skills shortage
7 June 2016 - Problem one: Finland's otherwise flourishing startup scene has a chronic shortage of developers. Problem two: the 32,000-plus asylum seekers who arrived in the Nordic country last year -- many young, highly educated, and computer literate -- face waiting for years before they land a job. 'Essentially, we just thought: there is a way to at least start addressing these issues,' said Niklas Lahti, the chief executive of Helsinki-based web services company Nord Software. 'We can teach refugees coding so they can become software engineers.' (more)

Finns sing on cathedral steps to honor Jean Sibelius
8 December 2015 - More than 1,000 people gathered in the bright sunshine on the steps of Helsinki Cathedral to sing the Finlandia hymn, one of the most popular compositions of composer Jean Sibelius, whose 150th anniversary has been celebrated nationwide. Sibelius was born when Finland was part of czarist Russia. His music played an integral part in helping the small country discover its national identity. (more)

Finland will pay everyone in the country $876 a month to fight poverty
6 December 2015 - To fight poverty and boost its own economy, Finland is planning to issue a check for $876 to every citizen, every month. The concept is called basic income, and the Finnish government is getting closer to finalizing its implementation this month. The Finnish Social Insurance Institution (KELA) is drafting the plan to pay every one of its 5.4 million people $876 per month, tax-free, which would replace social support programs, such as welfare and unemployment benefits. Though a proposal from KELA isn't expected until November 2016, a pilot stage is currently planned prior to full implementation of the program. (more)

Finland: Finnish cargo company gears up for eco-friendly shipping
1 October 2014 - When tough new sulphur emission rules come into force next year, Finnish cargo company Containerships will hit the ground running. The Helsinki-based company has installed scrubbers on some of its 13 vessels as a stopgap measure before new dual-fuel container ships are phased in for its entire fleet. The first two are due to arrive in 2016 with another two already ordered for the following year. (more)

Cleantech Finland has Rio 2016 Olympic Games in sight
29 September 2014 - The Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the Finnish Olympic Committee launched a cooperation agreement on the promotion of cleanteach exports. The cooperation is intended to promote direct business by creating contacts to the organizations of international sports events and by disseminating information on and promoting a positive image regarding the high-level of expertise in the value chains of the Finnish cleantech business. (more)

Finland: Finnish dads take the baby box global
25 September 2014 - For over 75 years, expectant parents in Finland have been given a maternity box stocked with all the essentials a newborn needs. Recently the baby box has become an international phenomenon after a BBC story about it became one of the most widely read on the site. Now, thanks to the entrepreneurialism of three Finnish dads, you won't have to be a Finn to get one. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Transcendental Meditation to be offered in Finland universities, tech firms
28 December 2010 - Three newly qualified Transcendental Meditation Teachers recently returned home to Finland, with the aim of offering the programme in several universities and tech firms in the cities where they will be teaching. In other news from Finland, a January expo featuring Maharishi Ayur-Veda products will help increase public awareness of the world's oldest complete system of natural health care. (more)

Finland schools and universities adopt Transcendental Meditation
26 June 2010 - Several schools and universities in Finland have begun incorporating the Transcendental Meditation Programme among faculty and students, as the result of a tour of the country by Dr Ashley Deans, Global Ambassador for Consciousness-Based Education, in February 2010. (more)

Invincible Finland University
5 November 2007 - This week, iconic filmmaker Dr David Lynch will launch new national universities in Finland, Estonia, and Bulgaria, which will provide Total Knowledge--full enlightenment--to every student and invincibility to national consciousness. (more)

Progress of Consciousness-Based Education in Finland
24 June 2007 - The Chief Minister for Finland of the Global Country of World Peace reported that plans for building an Invincibility School in Finland are progressing. (more)

Finland: Yogic Flyer presents goals of the Global Financial Capital of Finland to reconstruct the whole world for life in accord with Natural Law
28 February 2007 - As a result of a press conference organized by Mr Hannu Heikkila, Director of the Global Financial Capital of Finland, Hameen Sanomata, a regional daily newspaper, published on 25 February a half-page article about the Global Financial Capital and its six programmes for creating invincibility in every nation. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Men's long working hours, short sleep may harm health in old age
4 November 2016 - Working long hours and skimping on sleep in midlife may lead to poorer physical health in old age, according to a study from Finland. A quarter-century study of Finnish businessmen found those who worked more than 50 hours a week and slept less than 47 hours weekly when they were middle aged were in worse physical health as old men than peers who had healthier work and sleep habits when they were in their prime. 'This is an exciting study because the follow-up is unusually long, 26 years,' said Dr. Mika Kivimaki at University College London in the U.K. who also was not part of the new study. (more)

Finnish study finds: Children's exposure to secondhand smoke tied to clogged arteries
23 March 2015 - In a Finnish study spanning 26 years, children exposed to parental smoking were more likely to develop plaque in their carotid arteries as young adults than children who were not exposed to secondhand smoke. These findings and others suggest the health effects of passive smoking on children are not limited to respiratory or developmental health, but can have a long-term impact on cardiovascular health, said senior author Costan G Magnussen of Menzies Research Institute Tasmania in Hobart, Australia. (more)

Finland: Infants exposed to 'potentially harmful' chemicals in vinyl
10 June 2014 - Most babies born prematurely and one-third of full-term infants are exposed to chemicals found in vinyl 'at a potentially harmful level,' according to new research in Finland. The study of 125 babies from the day they were born to 14 months old is the first comprehensive examination of infants' exposure to several phthalates. The chemicals, considered hormone disruptors, have been linked to health effects in animal tests and some human studies, including altered male genitalia, attention and learning problems, and asthma. The sources of the phthalates in the babies are unknown. But some researchers suspect that they came from hospital equipment or household materials. Shanna Swan, an environmental health scientist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, said she is concerned by the findings because preterm babies already have 'a whole lot stacked against them.' Eighty per cent of the infants born before 37 week and 30 per cent of the full-term infants had levels of four phthalate metabolites in their urine that exceeded adult guidelines, based on hormone effects, set by the European Food Safety Authority. In animal tests, the chemicals had anti-androgenic effects on offspring, which means they blocked male hormones that guide reproductive development. (more)

Finland: Cynical attitude in golden years linked to dementia risk
30 May 2014 - An individual's personality and outlook on life may affect their risk of developing dementia, according to a new study from Finland. Cynical distrust, anger, or hostility have been linked to heart problems and inflammation in past research, and dementia may be another potential consequence of a bad attitude, researchers say. It's also possible that health problems and behaviours associated with cynicism are contributing to dementia risk, the study team notes. Cynical people tend to smoke more, weigh more, and exercise less, which can affect health, and they are less likely to follow medical advice or treatment regimens, researchers said. They also tend to have higher stress responses and inflammation, which can accelerate heart disease, which in turn contributes to dementia risk. (more)

Mid-life job stress linked to later health problems
26 December 2013 - More strain at work might mean more illness in old age, according to a new study from Finland. The study found both physical and mental job strain were tied to hospital stays later in life. Mental job strain can come from tight deadlines, high demands and having little control over one's work. Physical strain includes sweating, breathlessness and muscle strain. 'Job strain is something that is individually perceived, so persons working in similar jobs can report different amounts of job strain,' lead researcher Mikaela von Bonsdorff said. 'When talking about job strain it is important to remember that occasional feelings of job strain are not necessarily a bad thing, but persistent high job strain has been identified as a health hazard.' Recent studies have linked long-term job strain to lower functioning that lasts into old age, added von Bonsdorff. She is a gerontology researcher at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. (more)

Finnish mine struggles to fix leak, high uranium found
9 November 2012 - Finnish nickel miner Talvivaara said on Friday it was still trying to fix a waste water leak at its mine in Sotkamo, eastern Finland, which resulted in high levels of uranium in nearby waters. Uranium more than 50 times higher than normal levels were found in streams this week near Talvivaara's nickel and zinc mine, according to nuclear safety officials, although they said they did not see any risk to public health. The ore from the mine also contains uranium. Talvivaara shut down production at the mine on Sunday after discovering the leakage, the latest in a series of problems at the site over the past year including environmental concerns and the death of a worker in March. The company announced early on Friday that it stopped the leakage, but later said that another leak had occurred and it was working to fix it. Even before the week's problems, the company was already struggling with low production and weak nickel prices. Talvivaara has cut its annual nickel production target twice this year, blaming heavy rainfall for disrupting production. (more)

The nearer the bar, the greater the chances of risky drinking
2 November 2012 - Does living near a bar encourage people to overindulge, or do heavy drinkers move to neighbourhoods with easy access to alcohol? A new study suggests it may be the former for some people. Researchers in Finland found that of nearly 55,000 Finnish adults followed for seven years, those who moved closer to bars were somewhat more likely to increase their drinking. When a person moved one kilometre (0.6 mile) closer to a bar, the odds of becoming a heavy drinker rose 17 per cent. A 'heavy drinker' meant more than 10 ounces a week for men and about seven ounces a week for women, of distilled alcohol. Since the study was done in Finland, one question is how well the findings would apply to other countries. That's unclear, Jaana L. Halonen, of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Kuopio said, because drinking habits and 'cultural norms' vary by country. 'For instance,' she noted, 'in the UK and Australia, heavy drinking is reported to be more common than in Finland, whereas in the USA it is less common.' 'On the other hand,' she added, 'it is unlikely that easy access to a bar would affect drinking only among Finnish employees.' (more)

Moms' smoking linked to psychiatric meds in kids
27 August 2011 - Kids whose moms smoked while pregnant were more likely to end up on medications such as antidepressants, stimulants and drugs for addiction in a new study from Finland that hints at maternal smoking's effect on a baby's developing brain. The new study is 'entirely consistent with a large and still-growing research literature on the effects of prenatal and secondhand smoke exposure on the mental health of children,' said Dr. Michael Weitzman, who studies that topic at New York University Medical Center and was not involved in the new study. 'At the very least, parents need to be educated that they might be doing brain damage to their children if they smoke during key times in development,' Weitzman said. (more)

Finland: link between swine flu shot, narcolepsy
2 February 2011 - Finnish researchers have found an increased risk of narcolepsy among 4 to 19-year-olds who were given swine flu shots, a government health agency said Tuesday. The National Institute for Health and Welfare, which published the findings, said that 60 children and adolescents contracted narcolepsy in Finland in 2009 and 2010. Fifty-two of them -- or almost 90 per cent -- had received the Pandemrix vaccine. 'Based on the preliminary analyses, the risk of falling ill with narcolepsy among those vaccinated in the 4-19 years age group was nine-fold in comparison to those unvaccinated in the same age group,' the study said. It found that the biggest increase was among those aged 5 to 15 years. The World Health Organization welcomed the report but said it does not recommend any changes, and that the vaccine remains on the list of recommended vaccines. (more)

Finnish dock workers begin strike halting cargo
4 March 2010 - Dock workers stopped handling cargo at Finnish ports on Thursday after labour contract negotiations broke down, leading to the closing of most of the country's foreign trade. Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said he feared the long-term effects of the strike in the highly export dependent economy, adding that it is costing the country more than €100 million ($137 million) daily in lost earnings. 'This is a very serious situation. Our national economy is in recession and we need to participate in the budding global economic recovery,' Mr Vanhanen said. 'We didn't really need this homemade setback. We have enough problems as it is.' The Finnish economy shrank in the fourth quarter of last year, as the global downturn continued to hit the country. Finland's gross domestic product was down 5.1 per cent compared to the same period in 2008. In the full year, the Finnish economy shrank 7.6 per cent compared to 2008, its largest drop since 1918. (more)


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