NewsPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Mon, January 09, 2012 18:15:55
street beggars from Romania and Bulgaria have remained in Finland for the
winter. They have found shelter in overcrowded one-room apartments and on the
streets as no new camp has been constructed. The National Bureau of investigation
says some of the Romania roma may be here against their will. However, claims
of human trafficking are not being followed up as the roma remain tight lipped.
working among the Romanian roma say that most of them stay overnight in small
apartments housing dozens of people. In Vantaa, one person has given shelter to
around ten people.
them presents harrowing tales of difficult and poor conditions back home, and
of their poor state of health. Thanks to the Helsinki Deaconess Institute, they
are able to receive medical attention. At a day centre in the Sörnäinen
district of Helsinki, the street beggars can wash, cook and rest.
they beg money to help their children back home. It has cost them between 150
and 300 euros to get to Finland, they claim.
investigation into human trafficking
to the National Board of Investigation (NBI), over ten people were convicted in
Romania for human trafficking last year. They had brought people to Finland and
forced them to beg, play in the street, steal or work on building sites for low
wages. The NBI took part in the investigations.
summer, investigations have not continued. Romanians living in Helsinki say
they have not heard of cases of human trafficking.
say how many have been forced here. We must assume they are here of their own
freewill,” says Detective Jouko Ikonen of the NBI.
working among the Rumanians believe that the majority are here of their own
this month, YLE broadcast a BBC Panorama documentary that showed organised
child begging in Britain. Mothers with their young infants entered Britain,
begged on the streets only to return home to Rumania with their income.
doubts a similar operation exists in Finland. Preventing human trafficking is
an aim of the Finnish government.
be ruled out but it is not visible on the streets of Finland,” says Kari Siivo
from the National Bureau of Investigation.
autumn, police disbanded a camp housing Romania beggars in the Kalasatama
district of Helsinki. Many of the residents were given money to leave the
country, but some are still here.
From: yle.fi, dd 09/01/2012
NewsPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Tue, December 13, 2011 08:09:09
Helsinki Music Centre's Symphony Choir, the Helsinki City Orchestra, the
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Sibelius Academy Orchestra performed
together at the Centre's opening in August 2011.
acoustics and services at the new Helsinki Music Centre concert hall have been
getting a mixed reception from the general public. While the acoustics have
been widely praised by performers, the hall's sensitivity to noise from the
audience has been a problem.
decades of putting up with the less than satisfactory acoustics of Finlandia
Hall, Helsinki concert-goers have had to learn a few new lessons. Audiences in
the Helsinki Music Centre concert hall can neither whisper nor cough. One
concert this past autumn was even paused because of distractions originating
from the audience.
to Concert Operations Manager Antti Pylkkänen, the main hall's acoustics have
created some challenges for staff.
are looking for the best practices, what is acceptable and what is
disturbing," says Pylkkänen.
that it is a fact that the excellent acoustics mean that not only the music,
but also everything else can be well heard throughout the hall.
is the fact that we're now wrestling with at the Music Centre."
opening, there has also been discussion of the Music Centre's services. Coat
check and refreshment services have been criticised as being slow. Pylkkänen
points out that the Centre is new not just as a concert venue, but also as a
service provider. An effort is being made to expand the number of spots where
concert-goers can purchase refreshments.
manager of Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tuula Sarotie, notes that
audiences have started to gradually adapt to the demands of the new concert
hall. There is already less coughing heard than was the case in Finlandia Hall.
However, Sarotie is adamant that audiences should not make their own
contribution to a concert.
member of the audience is indifferent to others, comes to a concert and, for
example, falls asleep and starts snoring, or brings small children to a concert
and doesn't take into consideration that children need to be taught how to
behave in this situation, then something has to be done about it, one way or
another," Sarotie says.
Symphony Orchestra's general manager does point out that in most cases people
themselves realise that they may be disturbing the enjoyment of others and
leave the hall on their own.
From: yle.fi, dd 12/11/2011
NewsPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Sun, December 04, 2011 19:27:51
Babies sleep better in subzero temps
Finnish custom of putting babies to sleep outdoors in winter now has scientific
backing. A study by the University of Oulu finds that babies who take their
naps outside in the fresh air sleep up to three times as long as those
when it was -11 degrees Celsius, ten-month old twins Anni and Aatu slept 3.5
hours outside, but this morning they just took a one-hour nap inside,” says mom
Outi Rajanen, echoing study findings.
precautions should, however, be taken when putting infants to sleep outdoors,
notes researcher Marjo Tourula. Babies need to be bundled warmly and should not
be left out for extended periods.
to Tourola, -5C is the optimal temperature for outside slumber. The study
indicated that parents seem to know how to dress their babies adequately at
practice of parking sleeping babies outside became widespread nearly a century
ago, when it was first promoted by the father of Finland's maternal health
clinic system, Arvo Ylppö.
From: yle.fi, dd 02/12/2011
NewsPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Thu, December 01, 2011 20:39:58
perceptions index shown in graphical form.
moved back up Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index. Last
year Finland was the fourth least corrupt nation in the world, but this year it
has moved up to joint second position with Denmark, after New Zealand in top
ranks countries from zero to ten on the basis of answers to 17 surveys and
assessments. Higher scores signify lower levels of corruption, which the
organisation defines as 'the abuse of entrusted power for private gain'. New
Zealand’s score this year is 9.5, while Finland and Denmark were given a mark
Finland got 9.2 points and came in fourth, although Transparency International
warns that a country’s score cannot be compared to its score in a previous
countries hit by the debt crisis were among the lowest scoring European Union
countries, partly because of what Transparency International calls their
failure to deal with bribery and tax evasion.
seen heightened debate about corruption in recent years following several
election funding scandals.
From: yle.fi, dd 01/12/2011
NewsPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Mon, November 28, 2011 21:06:11
Many of the
Lutheran faithful are to pay a bigger slice of their income to the church next
year, as church taxes will rise in 37 parishes. The increases are relatively
large, ranging between 0.1 and 0.15 of a percentage point.
Finland’s established church, the Evangelical Lutheran church, pay a percentage
of their income as a membership fee. The money is collected by the tax office
and passed on to the church.
church tax rise will be in Humppila, in the south west, where the cost of
Lutheran church membership will go up by 0.3 of a percentage point to 1.9
percent of a believer’s income. The largest parishes to raise taxes will be
Mikkeli, Kajaani and Jyväskylä. In Mikkeli the church tax will be 1.5 percent
after the rise, in Kajaani it will stand at 1.65 percent and in Jyväskylä it
will be 1.45 percent.
fall in church taxes will occur in Konnevesi, where they will fall from 2
percent to 1.9 percent. The highest church tax is currently 2 percent, which is
charged by eight parishes. Four of those parishes are in the province of Åland.
church taxes – just one percent – are levied in Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa,
Kauniainen, Turku and Kaarina.
Lutheran Church’s finances have suffered from resignations in recent years,
following the introduction of online resignation services.
From: yle.fi, dd 28/11/2011
NewsPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Fri, November 25, 2011 21:11:19
says overstressed managers should take unpaid time off
managerial positions in Finland often seem prone to take sick leave when facing
Most recently Maija-Liisa Partanen,
Director-General of the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health
(VALVIRA), went on sick leave in the wake of a controversy over allegations
that VALVIRA had failed to discover a number of people working as doctors
without actual medical qualifications.
Jan Schugk, head physician at the
Confederation of Finnish Industry (EK), sees this is a misuse of the sick leave
system. Schugk feels that managers should have a higher threshold for stress
If a person
is genuinely under so much stress that he or she is unable to function, Schugk
feels that the proper solution is to apply for unpaid leave, and not paid sick
“Naturally the limits of a person’s
endurance come at some point, but it would seem that it is too easy to
withdraw. We doctors are excessively understanding of these situations.”
The basic requirement for sick leave is
that a person should have an illness that is so serious that it prevents him or
her from working properly.
not an illness. Depression is if it meets the diagnostic criteria. There is no
sudden depression. In acute stress reactions the state is easily noticeable by
others”, Schugk emphasises.
Schugk has also observed that employees
tend to follow the lead of their bosses.
“I get reports almost every week that
doctors are granting people sick leave for an acute stress reaction.”
to Pauli Juutti, director and trainer at the JTO School of Management, learning
pressure management and tolerance of stress is a key part of management
Juutti says that the best of managers are
the ones who are physiologically the most stressed. This involves so-called
good stress, when the job is rewarding.
However, he says that when stress becomes
excessive, the collapse can be dramatic, particularly for people who get
feelings of euphoria from their work.
From: Helsingin Sanomat, dd 24/11/2011
NewsPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Fri, November 18, 2011 22:44:38
Russian Karelia has
seen an upswing in HIV infections this year. The worst situation is just across
the Finnish border in Sortavala, a destination for many Finnish sex tourists.
Some 940 HIV cases are
registered in Russian Karelia and ten more are diagnosed every month. The
situation is especially bad in Sortavala, just 60 kilometers east of the
A new campaign is now
underway to slow the spread of the virus. Most infections are carried by under
30 year-olds, so information campaigns have been tailored to target teens in
schools—particularly girls between the ages of 15 and 19, but some boys take
The pilot project
teaches pupils about the virus, its spread and effects. Financing has been
provided by the Finnish Foreign Ministry.
Finnish sex tourists
HIV education has just
started at Sortavala School Number Three, where girls are taught about safe
sex. Lessons not only cover the mechanics of the disease and its spread, but
also attitudes. HIV carriers in Russia often meet with prejudice and
"Those with the
disease shouldn’t be ostracised," says Katja Surotsevan, adding that the
course changed her attitude towards those infected.
The group’s young
girls are also aware of what sex tourism from Finland can mean.
Finland can bring it with them,” says Nastja Kuznetsova.
Arina Konstantinova, a
former student who volunteers in the city’s HIV centre, takes a different
"If Finns come
here for sex, they can also protect themselves,” she says.
NewsPosted by Sylvie Hendrickx Tue, November 08, 2011 16:31:32
suspect three men of sexually abusing several boys and spreading child
pornography. Of the suspects, two have been in contact with children through
their work. One is a qualified teacher and the other a voluntary worker.
victims are boys, and the youngest at the time of the alleged attacks was 11
years of age. The case refers to tens of cases that are alleged to have taken
place between 2004 and 2011. Two cases involve aggravated child sexual abuse.
suspects are between 30 and 40 years old, and they were arrested in Kuopio,
Tampere and Oulu. One is still in custody.
preliminary investigation turned up tens of thousands of images and hundreds of
video recordings of child pornography. Some of them show violence against
children. Police suspect that the accused also distributed pornography online.
has now been passed to the prosecutor.
yle.fi, dd 08/11/2011