Tag Archives: Finland

Out Of Berlusconi’s Mouth Comes More Nonsense!

It is not very difficult to identify the leading spouters of nonsense in the world and certainly, Silvioi Berlusconi, Italy’s prime minister must rank as number one when it comes to opening a mouth and speaking utter inane remarks. The prime minister was discussing the beauty of Rome when he suddenly erupted with a comparison to Finland. “Can you imagine when I was in Finland they took me to see an 18th century wooden church. I remember how important this was to them. We woke up early in the morning and travelled to the church for three hours. Over here(in Italy) such a church would have been bulldozed to the ground.”

The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs did an investigation. Berlusconi was never in Finland at the invitation of the government and his only visit was in 1999 when he met with fellow conservatives. They checked his schedule for that visit and found no evidence he had visited any church while in Finland. The conclusion of the Finnish government is that Berlusconi may have confused Iceland with Finland. That is understandable, they both end with the letters, “land.” At least we know the Italian who roars nonsense does not like wooden churches.

Finns Losing Desire To Deal With Global Warming

According to a recent survey conducted by Helsingen Sanomat the desire of Finnish people to make personal choices aimed at slowing climate change has declined since last year. The greatest reluctance is cutting back on flying or improved use of public transport. Fewer people are willing to recycle, to sort out waste, to purchase energy-saving products or to reduce their use of cars. On the other hand, a large number of people are willing to pay a climate tax, perhaps, they regard a single tax as a simple solution to a complex issue.

It appears a higher percentage no longer regard climate change as an event that will directly impact their lives. If climate changes over a long period of time it may reduce the sense of urgency than if it came upon the populace in a sudden dramatic way. It is interesting that a large number of people are now more willing to accept the concept of nuclear plants.

Dealing With Finnish School Shooting After Effects

Shootings in schools attract enormous attention in the world press and frequently give the illusion that such events are common in schools. Despite the rarity of such events, they are traumatic to children, to educators and to the community in which they occur. People assume a school is a safe area and children are protected in them against the evils of society. Last September, Matti Juhani Saari, a Finnish boy, entered a vocational high school and killed nine students and a teacher as well as himself. The Kauhajoki Project has been established to work with teachers, students and the community as emotional feelings continue to impact individuals. The project emphasizes, as part of a three year effort to assist the community a focus on students and the families of dead children. A budget of one million Euros has been allocated to provide trained professionals to work with those in need of emotional support.

This is an intelligent approach. It is all too often for communities to go through shock and pain and then attempt to put the event away. We lack these approaches to systematic study of what happens in a community in the aftermath of a school shooting.

What Should Be Retirement Age?

At a time of declining economies, people losing life savings and a severe reduction in the income of older people, the government of Finland is proposing to raise the retirement age from 63 to 65. We can assume the rationale behind this move is extending the work life of people which supposedly brings in more tax money and the other facet is delaying when people gain access to their retirement money. Finland does allow some agricultural workers to retire at age 56 as they pass on the farm to the next generation. The issue of retirement may well become one of the most significant during the coming years as governments balance economic pressure from paying retirement and seek to keep people working.

Life expectancy has been increasing and a person who retires at age 65 may well have anywhere from twenty to thirty years of productive life. This suggests the need to rethink the nature of what constitutes “retirement.” At the other end, delaying retirement means corporations are delaying promotion of younger people and making companies older in terms of who works. Is this beneficial to society? Do we need to open top echelons of government to younger people with new ideas.

If we only focus on economic ramifications of delayed retirement we lose perspective on important social components of the new concept of being retired.

The Diversification Of Finland

Most foreigners have visions of Finland as a land inhabited by people who are blond and blue eyed and have scant relation to the multicultural developments in the world. This view is now being proven to be completely incorrect as validated by the fact that one out of four marriages in Helsinki involved Finnish person marrying someone who was of foreign background and twelve percent were marriages in which both parties were foreign born. According to statistics when Finnish women marry someone from another nation it is a high probability he is from a Western European society, but when Finnish males marry, they more likely select a woman from Asia or Russia. The increase in immigration plus the greater probability Finns have traveled most probably has led to this shift in population.

In one sense, these marriages serve as bridges between cultures and integrate Finland in new ways that will eventually transform Finnish society into a multicultural blend of differing values and beliefs.

Finland Becoming Less European More Asian

Europe is undergoing a dramatic revolution in the composition of its population. Most people regard nations like Sweden or Finland as falling outside the immigrant surge which has impacted Europe over the past half century. Helsinki and some neighboring cities now have over 90,000 residents with an immigrant background and their numbers have grown by 25% in the past few years. In the early 1990s, immigrants came from Russia or Estonia, but the new wave is from Asia including numerous people immigrating from China and India. The Finnish government just granted immigration rights to a group of Palestinians who were living in Iraq. Finland also has a large number of immigrants from Somalia.

Immigrants tend to concentrate in neighborhoods already having people from their own background and they move into areas with cheap housing or government assisted housing since they are just entering the labor market and tend to have low wages jobs. Finland by the year 2050 may well be a rather diverse society. Welcome to the 21st century.

Finland Immigrants Population Seeks Education

According to most forecasts, immigrant population will continue to grow due to the decline in birth rates among Europeans and the need for workers to handle tasks not being done by the native born population. A study by the Finnish National Board of Education concludes immigrant success in school depends upon several factors such as their cultural background, length of time in Finland and their ability to gain expertise in the Finnish language. However, second generation immigrants perform at higher levels than native born Finns. It is estimated by 2025 about one in five students attending school in the greater Helsinki area will be of immigrant background.

An issue for current children of immigrants is the smaller percent who go on to upper secondary school. This should not be surprising since it is common in virtually all societies which have a heavy immigrant influx. It takes one or two generations for immigrant children to reach the level of native born students. As is so frequently the case lack of teachers with language skills to work with immigrant children is factor in the inability or lack of interest on the part of immigrant children to go on to upper secondary school.

Are Opponents Of Iran Members Of Terrorist Groups?

The nation of Iran jails women who speak out in favor of female rights, it discriminates against members of the Bahai faith, it has stoned to death people guilty of adultery, and yet it seeks cooperation from other nations in helping it track down “terrorists.” The Finnish Ministry of Justice is considering the request of Iran to have two Iranians arrested and returned to the jurisdiction of Iran on grounds they are members of a terrorist group. The men were in Finland in preparation from a visit by Iranian human rights advocates. Finland’s constitution prevents the extradition of anyone to a nation where they might face the death penalty, torture or other inhumane treatment. The Iranian ambassador to Finland says the men have committed crimes and are part of the MKO, which its government considers to be a terrorist group.

The European Court has ruled the MKO is not a terrorist group. The use of words such as “terrorist” have led to considerable confusion in modern times. George Bush accused a variety of people of either being “terrorists” or cooperating with them. Perhaps, it is time to review the meaning of this expression.

Finland Fails Educated Immigrants

Finland has welcomed immigrants from many parts of the world and offered them opportunities to partake of a wonderful education system, but there is increasing evidence beneath the veneer of open arms lies still lingering bigotry. Abdoulmajid Hakki is proud his adopted land gave him a world class education, but it required over 500 applications before he could secure employment. “Society here seems to devote far too much of its resources to educating foreigners and far too little to employing them.” There is something perversely stupid in providing excellent education to a newcomer and then displaying bigotry by not hiring the individual.

Finland’s unemployment rate among minorities stands at over 20% which is the highest in any OECD nation. Most European nations are in desperate need of immigrants due to falling birth rates which leave too few hands to do too much work. It is time for Finland to open the doors of jobs as wide as it has opened its heart to refugees.

Is Finland An Armed Nation?

Tommi Nieminen did an investigative study for the Finnish newspaper, Sanomat, about the extent of guns in his nation. About 650,000 Finns in a nation of 5,000,000 have guns in their possession. About 1.2 million of the 1.6 million guns are legal hunting weapons and 200,000-300,000 are legal handguns. HIs investigation found police officials confused after the two serious school shootings that took place in the past year. There is no national register of who has guns and it is difficult for local police officials to keep track as to who has a weapon. During the latest shooting, the young man actually was in a police station discussing his gun before he was sent away.

Niminen talked with dozens of gun dealers who know customers have assault weapons, hand grenades, and other lethal fire arms that are not registered with the police. There is no way to check the medical history of an applicant for a weapon and in most small towns and villages the local police chief allows people he knows to readily obtain a fire arm.

The issue is not whether a person should be allowed to use a rifle for hunting, but whether it is permissible to own lethal weapons that have nothing to do with hunting or self defense.