Friday, November 30, 2007

Finnish Retail Chains Admit to Selling Products Made with Child Labour

Finland's largest retail chains admit that they have been selling textiles produced with the help of child labour. Both the K and S groups say that they have cloth on sale manufactured at a textile mill in Narva in the east of Estonia, which has used cotton from Uzbekistan, where children are frequently used in harvesting. One fifth of the output of the Estonian factory is exported to Finland.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Longer Queues For Hospital Care in Finland

Waiting periods for receiving hospital treatment have been growing longer. In many areas, the situation has worsened over the past year. Waiting lists for surgical procedures have lengthened significantly since last spring. Although delays in receiving care began stretching well before a threatened nurses' strike, the labour dispute did have an impact. Numerous wards were shut down in anticipation of a strike, further throwing off schedules and slowing down care services.

Educated Employees in Finland Earn Less Than EU Average

Educated employees in Finland are paid far less on average then their counterparts in other EU countries, according to the Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff, AKAVA.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Finnish Hockey Player Karalahti to Stay Behind Bars

Finnish ice hockey player Jere Karalahti will remain behind bars on drug charges, Espoo District Court decided on Friday. The court also placed a prohibition of transfer on Karalahti's property.
Karalahti has been remanded in custody for the past two weeks on suspicion of aggravated drug offences.

Finnish Amusement Parks Suffer Safety Flaws

Safety and risk assessment at Finland's amusement parks and funfairs have room for improvement, according to a study by the Finnish Consumer Agency and local and provincial governments. Several accidents occurred at amusement parks and travelling carnivals last summer. According to the report, amusement parks and travelling carnivals often fall short in preparation to deal with accidents.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Finns Eat Healthily but Gain Weight

According to a wide scale survey carried out by the National Public Health Institute, Finns still subscribe to a healthy diet but nonetheless still put on weight. The average male weight has increased by 500 grams and that of women by 900 grams in the past five years. One-fifth of both sexes are overweight.

One in Four Finnish Municipalities Raise Taxes

More than one quarter of Finland's municipalities are raising income taxes next year. However the rate hikes are not directly due to the hefty pay raises promised to some municipal nurses on Monday. The Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities said on Tuesday that 119 municipalities will raise tax rates for next year, more than previously expected.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Helsinki Police Arrest Romanian Beggars

Police in Helsinki recently conducted a search in a van that at least some of the Romanians who have been begging on the city's streets have used as a place to sleep. The search yielded a number of stolen mobile telephones, cameras, music players, and at least one GPS car navigator. Petri Juvonen of the Helsinki police say that some of the goods were wrapped in paper and taped beneath the ceiling panels of the vehicles. Police arrested four Romanian citizens, three of whom were later remanded in custody by Helsinki District Court on suspicion of theft.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Finnish State to Appeal in Rusi Damages Case

A week ago, the court ruled the state should pay some 70,000 euros in damages plus legal costs to political scientist professor and former Presidential Advisor Alpo Rusi. The damages relate to harm caused to him by Finnish security police allegations he had spied for the former East Germany's security police, the Stasi, during the Cold War era.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finland's Alko Workers Launch Three-Day Strike

A strike by workers of the state-alcohol retailer Alko is expected to close most outlets over the weekend. Queues formed on Thursday outside those stores kept open by managerial staffNegotiations on pay and working conditions to head off the three-day strike ran aground Wednesday night, paving the way for the strike.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Finnish Patient Airlifts Continue Due to Nurse Walkout

The first Finnish patients requiring critical care have been taken in by Sweden's Uppsala University Hospital. The first two sent abroad to ensure care during a possible nurses' mass resignation next week are two expectant mothers. Further patient flights may be delayed because of heavy snowstorms in Sweden.Planes are being chartered to fly some patients from Finnish hospitals to hospitals in Stockholm, Uppsala and Bonn.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Finnish Nurses Union Announces More Resignations

The Union of Health and Social Care Professionals, Tehy, has responded to initial parliamentary approval of the patient safety bill by announcing almost 4,000 more resignations. The union says that the government's proposed law on patient security weakens prospects for a settlement in the ongoing labour dispute. In an interview with YLE Radio News, Minna Helle, Tehy head of interest promotion, said on Monday morning that the bill will not solve the labour dispute, and will actually encumber negotiations aimed at resolving the issue.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Finnish Air-Rage Incident Forces Finnair Plane to Return

A Finnair flight with almost 300 people on board was forced to return to Helsinki Vantaa airport late on Sunday following an air-rage incident involving two Finnish male passengers. The two men attacked the cabin purser and behaved violently towards other passengers. Flight AY905, en route to Bangkok, had been in the air for about half an hour before the captain decided to return to Helsinki. It re-departed later on Sunday evening.

Finnish Friendly-Fire Incident Comes Before the District Court

On Monday morning, the Helsinki District Court began a hearing of the events surrounding a friendly-fire incident involving Finnish peacekeepers in Afghanistan last October.

Finnish Police Arrest Youth After YouTube Massacre Threat

Finnish police have detained a teenage boy who allegedly posted a video on YouTube threatening a massacre similar to the one that occurred last week at a high school in Finland.
The 16-year-old was arrested on Friday in Maaninka, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Helsinki, and questioned the following day, a police spokesman said. Authorities also seized his computer.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Finnish Hockey Player Karalahti Remanded on Drug Charges

Finnish professional ice hockey player Jere Karalahti of the Oulu team Kärpät has been remanded in custody on suspicion of a serious drug crime. Karalahti was arrested earlier this month. Police in Espoo suspect Karalahti of involvement in cocaine and amphetamines.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Swedish Professor: Finns Traditionally More Brutal

"Finns are traditionally more brutal", declared the headline in the large Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter on its web page on October 13th. DN was delving into youth violence, which has been a hot topic of debate recently, interviewing Jerzy Sarneck, Professor of Criminology at the University of Stockholm. He told a generally acknowledged truth - that violence statistics are traditionally more grim in Finland than in Sweden. Sarneck says that the Civil War led to the "brutalisation" of Finnish society, and that violence has been passed down as a legacy from one generation to another.

Finland: Vague Threats Cause Anxiety in Schools

Pupils fled the Kirkkoharju middle school in the Kirkkonummi city centre Friday morning, following information that a threat against the school had been published online. Students fled the building once they heard there had been a threat of actions similar to those in the Jokela school shooting. The school's principal Maarit Rossi says students were informed in class of the threat against their school.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Finnish Tragedy Sees Eight Finns Murdered in School

An 18-year-old student shot eight people dead at a school in Tuusula, southern Finland on Wednesday. According to Eero Hirvensalo, chief doctor at the Töölö Hospital in Helsinki, several others were injured. The gunman, 18-year old Pekka-Eric Auvinen, succumbed to a self-inflicted bullet wound late Wednesday evening.The victims included the school's principal and the school nurse, as well as five male students and one female student.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Finnish Novel Runs Afoul of Syrian Religious Officials

In Syria, a book tour by Finnish author has been cut short after her novel stirred an angry response from Muslim leaders. Leena Lander's book 'The Home of the Dark Butterflies' is the first Finnish book ever translated directly into Arabic.

World Cup Slalom Races Moved from Finland to Austria

The Alpine skiing events scheduled to be held in Levi in Finnish Lapland over the coming weekend have been transferred to Reiteralm in Austria, because of a lack of snow. Although falling temperatures in the area have made it possible to produce artificial snow, the situation was not satisfactory from the point of view of the International Ski Federation (FIS).

Alcohol Main Cause of Death for Working Age Finns

Alcohol-related diseases or poisonings are the most common causes of death among Finns of working age. Alcohol has been killing more Finnish men than coronary heart disease for the past two years. Last year 1,300 Finnish men died of causes related to drinking.Last year alcohol caused the deaths of 354 women, constituting a doubling of the death rate in two decades.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Finnish Exports Growth Rate Decelerates in August

In August, Finland's trade surplus narrowed to 407 million euros from the year-ago 443 million.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Finland Down to 6th on WEF Competitiveness List

Finland slipped from 2nd to 6th in this year's World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report.

Among the considerations that will have hurt the Finnish ranking this time around are the aggregate tax burden and ancillary labour costs, where Finland comes well below the top ten and in the middle of the pack or lower.

Finland is singled out negatively for the rigidity and restrictive nature of its labour markets, for instance in a lack of flexibility on wages.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Farewell to Finnish Subsidies?

National subsidies are a must to farmers in Finland. The European Commission has a different view. If subsidies were slashed, that would have a negative impact on Finnish attitudes towards the European Union, writes Kyösti Karvonen, Managing Editor of the newspaper Kaleva.