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Kipinästä Liekki – From Spark to Flame!
News items of interest those of Finnish heritage
and to Finnophiles
(This section contains selected news items from the
For the third year in a row, the world’s 10 happiest nations remain the same. Nordic countries have consistently landed atop the Happiness Index in recent history, with Finland snagging the top prize for 2018.
The World Happiness Report, an annual publication of the United Nations, is based on the Gallup World Poll that asks people in more than 150 countries to rate the quality of their lives on a scale of zero to 10.
However, Nordic countries don’t just top the happiness charts; depression rates in these countries are also high. The latest estimates out of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development include Finland, Iceland and Sweden among the seven most depressed of its member states.
Sauna bathing reduces the risk of stroke in Finnish men and women
A prospective cohort study
Results During a median follow-up of 14.9 years, 155 incident stroke events were recorded. Compared with participants who had one sauna bathing session per week, the age- and sex-adjusted HR (95% CI) for stroke was 0.39 (0.18–0.83) for participants who had 4–7 sauna sessions per week. After further adjustment for established cardiovascular risk factors and other potential confounders, the corresponding HR (95% CI) was 0.39 (0.18–0.84) and this remained persistent on additional adjustment for physical activity and socioeconomic status at 0.38 (0.18–0.81). The association between frequency of sauna bathing and risk of stroke was not modified by age, sex, or other clinical characteristics (p for interaction > 0.10 for all subgroups). The association was similar for ischemic stroke but modest for hemorrhagic stroke, which could be attributed to the low event rate (n = 34).
Conclusions This long-term follow-up study shows that middle-aged to elderly men and women who take frequent sauna baths have a substantially reduced risk of new-onset stroke.
These Are the World's Most Innovative Economies [Finland #5]
In the battle of ideas, Sweden climbed to No. 2 and Finland cracked into the top five of the 2017 Bloomberg Innovation Index, which scores economies using factors including research and development spending and the concentration of high-tech public companies.
Rye, a Grain With Ancient Roots, Is Rising Again
Any adventurous eater who has wandered into the woods of modern Nordic cuisine has probably tripped over a loaf of rye bread. There is wonderfully chewy rugbrod at Great Northern Food Hall in Grand Central Terminal, spice-scented Swedish limpa at Plaj in San Francisco, and darkly rugged toast at Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis.
But none of it is the rye bread that most Americans know. Unlike a smooth, ivory-crumbed, faintly tangy loaf — the bread that clasps the ideal pastrami sandwich together — rye breads from Scandinavia and other parts of Northern Europe are bumpy, nutty and fragrant. They can be as dark as chocolate cake and as spicy as gingerbread. They are often powerfully sour and even more powerfully delicious.
Buy Me Some Peanuts and Wiener Nougat
What’s that game they’re playing in the park in Finland?
It looks an awful lot like baseball. There are nine players in the field. A ball is being hit with a bat, and the batter is running around the bases. Fielders are trying to catch the ball and retire the runner. Three strikes and you’re out.
Part Finnish, part Native American
In the Great Lakes region there are people with roots in Finland and among indigenous North American peoples. It’s impossible to know how exactly many of these so-called ‘Findians’ exist, but their numbers are estimated in the hundreds. Author Katja Kettu, journalist Maria Seppälä and photographer Meeri Koutaniemi documented their lives over the course of three years. Their experiences form the basis for their book, ‘Findian country’.
Finland Is Still the World’s Best Kept Secret (July 1, 2016)
Just over a year ago I wrote about Finland being the world’s best kept secret. I was hoping that the situation might change for the better. In some ways it has. Finland has won more accolades. It has been named a world leader in more areas. While that is clearly better, the knowledge and recognition of these accomplishments has not gotten into the minds of enough people around the world to make a difference for Finland.
Saturday Means Sauna
On Sauna Day bathers can get steamed up in venues not normally open to the public, including luxury saunas, rustic wooden saunas, a tube sauna, and a Mongolian yurt.
Finland ranked world's most literate nation
Finland is the world’s most literate nation, according to new research, with the UK coming in 17th, behind countries including the US, Canada and Australia.
Home to Tove Jansson, the author of the much-loved Moomin books, and a widely praised education system, Finland topped a table of world literacy in a new study conducted by John Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. The research looked at literacy achievement tests and also at what it called “literate behaviour characteristics” – everything from numbers of libraries and newspapers to years of schooling and computer availability in the countries
Teaching migrants (in Finland) how to behave
Migrants arriving in Finland are being offered classes on Finnish values and how to behave towards women. Concerned about a rise in the number of sexual assaults in the country, the government wants to make sure that people from very conservative cultures know what to expect in their new home.
Finland Is Turning a Big Negative Into a Bigger Positive
Anyone that has been watching Finland over the last few years knows that what started as one big disaster is turning into many opportunities that promise a bright future for this Nordic country. by Ira Kalb, Assistant Professor of Clinical Marketing, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California
An optimistic outlook for the Finnish economy.
Cooler heads prevail? Finland keeps door open for refugees.
But where until recently Finns had a reputation for being xenophobic – in part because of the hostile treatment accorded the wave of Somali refugees who arrived in the mid-1990s and found themselves shunned by both government and citizenry – today Finland is endeavoring to set an example for how to deal with refugees in a calm and organized way, even in the wake of the Paris attacks. Some even suggest that the Finnish character itself is morphing, as Finns become more tolerant of immigrants.
Finland Suddenly a Top Choice for Iraqi Asylum-Seekers
Finnish officials say the sudden increase seems to be partly driven by online rumors about quick handling of asylum applications, generous benefits and an abundance of jobs. People making their way through Europe often share information and tips about their journeys on Facebook and other social media platforms.
In reality, Finland's reception for asylum-seekers differs little from other EU countries, and its economy has entered its fourth year of recession.
"We don't know where these ideas came from," said Hanna Kautto, a spokeswoman for the Finnish Immigration Service
Minnesota Mom Launches ‘Finnish Baby Boxes’ For Local Teen Moms
Since the 1930’s Finland has provided a maternity package to all new parents. These government issued cardboard boxes contain only a handful of items, but each item ensures that all children, regardless of their family background, receive everything they need to be safely cared for.
When the news of the Finnish Baby Boxes went viral in 2013 many parents around the world wondered why they weren’t offered in other countries.
One of those people was Danielle Selassie.
“I thought it was just beautiful. The last line of the article really stuck with me: the boxes are a sign of equality,” Danielle told Kare11.com. “I literally thought to myself, Danielle, why couldn’t someone in the United States just put this together?
Europe’s Many Economic Disasters
It’s depressing thinking about Greece these days, so let’s talk about something
else, O.K.? Let’s talk, for starters, about Finland, which couldn’t be more
different from that corrupt, irresponsible country to the south. Finland is a
model European citizen; it has honest government, sound finances and a solid
credit rating, which lets it borrow money at incredibly low interest rates.
It’s also in the eighth year of a slump that has cut real gross domestic
product per capita by 10 percent and shows no sign of ending. In fact, if it
weren’t for the nightmare in southern Europe, the troubles facing the Finnish
economy might well be seen as an epic disaster
Guggenheim Helsinki Unveils Design
The Guggenheim has become something of a brand over the years, with
satellite locations in Venice and Bilbao, Spain, and one planned in Abu Dhabi.
Now the museum’s proposed branch in Helsinki, Finland, is a step closer to
reality, with the selection of a design that features charred timber and glass
punctuated by a lighthouse like tower overlooking South Harbor.
It is still uncertain whether the design, by the relatively young husband and wife
firm Moreau Kusunoki Architectes, founded four years ago in Paris,
will be accepted by its surrounding city, which has been bitterly divided over
the project, largely because of concerns over its price of about $147 million
Review: Susanna Malkki Makes an Immediate Impression
The Finnish conductor’s debut at Avery Fisher Hall raises the question: How has it taken so long for the [NY] Philharmonic to invite her as a guest?
Speeding in Finland Can Cost a Fortune, if You Already Have One
For a useful corrective to the notion that only sunny optimism can win elections, Charlemagne recommends a visit to Finland.
President of Finland adds UAE to list of countries he’s skated [rollerbladed] in
ABU DHABI // The president of Finland has added the UAE to the list of places in which he has rollerbladed, taking a spin around the Yas Marina South Circuit.
“Well, I’m collecting, in a way, different places,” said Sauli Niinisto. “I have skated in Tiananmen Square [in Beijing], in Broadway [in New York City] and many places between.”
Mr Niinisto said that he has been skating for decades and that he started rollerblading during summer in the 1990s, when he was a finance minister. He has since rollerbladed in more than 30 countries.
Mr Niinisto called the circuit one of the best places to skate that he had visited.
Every year in Finland, he rollerblades more than 1,000 kilometres during the summer but during autumn, Mr Niinisto visits the UAE for a holiday.
Three iconic Finns remain relevant at 150
Artists Pekka Halonen and Akseli Gallen-Kallela and composer Jean Sibelius, all born in 1865, helped form the Finnish national identity. When Gallen-Kallela and Halonen recently reappeared on Facebook and started posting their thoughts, modern readers began to interact with the painters as if they were still alive.
Why Finland won't be teaching 'math' and 'history' anymore
Finland will making drastic changes to an already successful education system. Why now? And will this model change the way other countries go about educating their children?
Networking Naked With Finland's Diplomatic Sauna Society
My strange and sweaty evening in Washington
KONE Builds Eco-Efficient Elevators and Escalators in the U.S
One of KONE's latest projects is in the nation’s capital. The company is working with the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to help modernize escalators across several Washington, D.C. area metro stops. The project began in 2014, and as of late February 2015, approximately 10% of the work has been completed. So far, KONE has replaced 13 escalators, and another seven units are underway.
One KONE escalator currently in progress at the Bethesda, Maryland metro stop is the second-tallest escalator in the Western hemisphere.
Finnish school in Doha celebrates first semester
The Qatar-Finland International School has taken the Finnish education system and exported it to Qatar. The Qatar-Finland International School uses the best of Finland’s education system. Organisers say it can be replicated in many countries.
Finnish universities among global elite
Times Higher Education lists seven Finnish universities as world-class centres of educational excellence. We visit Lappeenranta University of Technology, which joins Helsinki University and Aalto University in the global top 300.
Finnish dog training method gains success in North America
Dog training method developed by Finnish company Onemind Dogs has gained a strong foothold in the United States and Canada. The online dog training service was launched a year ago and North America accounts for 60 per cent of its turnover.
(Webmaster comment: The outstanding achievements of the Finnish educational system have received worldwide recognition. Perhaps Finnish approaches can also be applied to other species.)
Helsinki 2015 New Years Fireworks videos on YouTube
Search for "Helsinki 2015 New Years"
Finland back on red alert over expansionist Russia
Now – with a newly expansionist, jingoistic Russia led by President Vladimir Putin set on reasserting itself internationally, with eastern Europe and the Baltic states wondering fearfully what may follow its armed intervention in eastern Ukraine, and with close military encounters between Russia and the west running at cold war levels – Finland is once again on red alert.
Finnish Ismo Leikola is the funniest person in the world
http://www.goodnewsfinland.com/archive/news/385d9853/ Oct 27, 2014
Finnish comedian Ismo Leikola has been awarded as the winner of the Funniest Person in the World competition, tells the Associated Press. The final was held last Friday in Las Vegas.
The competition was streamed over the Internet and people could vote their favourite candidate. When the votes were counted on Monday, Leikola had altogether 158,945 votes. In second place was Saad Haroon of Pakistan with 59,213 votes.
Leikola’s joke in the semifinal round about the planet’s international monetary woes hit the jackpot: Countries don’t owe money to each other, countries owe money to banks. If the countries owe money to banks how stupid are the countries to pay. Like the country has an army. The bank has four cashiers and a cleaning lady.
Leikola wins $10,000 and a national comedy tour.
Some sample clips in Finnish from his DVD can be accessed here:
Finland Needs To Start Advertising How Great It Is
http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-how-finlands-marketing-problem-has-turned-into-an-economic-problem-2014-10#ixzz3HLbEQHYC Oct 27, 2014
Finnish companies already produce quality products. The area where they are known to be weak is in marketing.
Finnish dads take the baby box global
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.
Finnish Prime Minister: 'Moscow Is Provoking a Number of Its Neighbors'
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/finnish-prime-minister-discusses-possible-nato-membership-a-994356.html Sept 28, 2014
In an interview, Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, 46, discusses relations with neighboring Russia and his country's flirtation with NATO. He says Finland will make a decision "without asking for permission."
How Finland inspired the Moomins
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p024096c with video
This year marks the centenary of the birth of Tove Jansson – the creator of the Moomins – the hugely successful characters which featured in a series of children’s books and a comic strip.
The Travel Show went to their home country of Finland to discover what inspired their magical world.
Helsinki Divided on Plan for a Guggenheim Satellite
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/arts/design/helsinki-divided-on-plan-for-a-guggenheim-satellite.html?ref=arts July 15, 2014
HELSINKI, Finland undefined City boosters in this Nordic capital dream of a Guggenheim museum of Finnish wood rising near the Baltic Sea and one day drawing millions of tourists and cruise passengers. But the huge costs of the proposed development are stirring a backlash here against an institution that is ordinarily accustomed to eager suitors.
Global demand for rye products on the rise
http://www.goodnewsfinland.com/archive/themes/finnish-flavors-abroad/global-demand-for-rye-products-on-the-rise/ July 7, 2014
The health effects of rye have been studied for a long time, and consumers are also showing growing interest in them.
Alongside the traditional Finnish rye bread, new products are hitting the market at an increasing rate. Linkosuo’s crispy rye products, for example, are garnering interest in a number of countries.
This Untranslatable Finnish Word Takes Perseverance To A Whole New Level Business Insider June 17. 2014
"The Finns have something they call sisu," the New York Times reported in 1940. "It is a compound of bravado and bravery, of ferocity and tenacity, of the ability to keep fighting after most people would have quit, and to fight with the will to win. The Finns translate 'sisu' as 'the Finnish spirit,' but it is a much more gutful word than that."
Kone wins order for the world's tallest building
The Finnish company Kone, global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, has been selected as the vertical transportation provider to deliver the world's fastest and highest double-decker elevators to Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Tower.
Kingdom Tower, owned and developed by Jeddah Economic Co and being built by Saudi Bin Laden Group, is expected to rise to the height of more than one kilometer upon completion in 2018.
The building will have the world's fastest double deck elevators with travel speed of over 10 m/s as well as the world's highest elevator rise at 660 meters. The building will be equipped with altogether 65 Kone elevators and escalators. The order includes Kone Double Deck MiniSpace elevators with revolutionary Kone UltraRope hoisting technology.
The Finnish 'rye-volution' begins in New York, without wheat or yeast
Simo Kuusisto is winning over health-conscious Americans with Nordic bread, while learning they can be more 'vocal with demand than their wallets.
Finnish education system receiving advice from the U.S.
Samuel E. Abrams, a researcher at Columbia University’s Teachers College, was awarded the Insignia of Knight, First Class, of the Order of the Lion of Finland at the residence of Consul General and Ambassador Jukka Pietikäinen in New York on May 12.
Finns are over-educated underperformers, renowned economist views
The three problems of the Finnish economy according to professor Bengt Holmström are over-education, the lack of new production methods and the scarcity of capital. “Finland needs more people like Antti Herlin [Kone] and Björn Wahlroos [Sampo-Nordea],” Holmström states. professor of economics at the esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Holmström has lived and worked in the United States for four decades. His work has been published in all of the world's most important economics journals. As a scientist, Holmström deems education as his most significant responsibility, which is expressly why he is concerned about higher education in Finland. Finnish basic and upper-secondary education systems, in contrast, are excellent, he says.
Helsinki as you’ve never seen it before http://finland.fi/Public/default.aspx?contentid=306769&nodeid=41818&culture=en-US
An instant hit on social media, an amazing video takes you on a bird’s-eye tour of Helsinki, swooping over rooftops and forests, all thanks to the ingenious use of a camera mounted on a quadcopter. We talk to the video’s creator.
Ambronite – food simplified
A real food drinkable meal that fulfills daily nutrition recommendations in 2 minutes
A Finnish startup cmpany that may have big potential
As Russia growls, Swedes, Finns eye defence options, NATO
Finland, which won independence during Russia's revolution of 1917 but nearly lost it fighting the Soviet Union in World War Two, kept close to the West economically and politically during the Cold War but avoided confrontation with Moscow.
Like Sweden, it joined the European Union only in 1995.
For all the skepticism about NATO, however, worries have been growing in Scandinavia since Russia's action in Crimea.
Russian troops held exercises on the Finnish border this week. A former aide to Vladimir Putin made waves by saying that, after ex-Soviet Ukraine, the president might eye Finland next.
Debating Fate of Leadership at Minnesota Orchestra --and its Finnish connection
Tove Jansson: Love, war and the Moomins
This year Finland is celebrating the centenary of the birth of Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomins, and one of the most successful children's writers ever. Her life included war and lesbian relationships - both reflected by the Moomins in surprising ways.
The Jews who fought for Hitler: 'We did not help the Germans. We had a common enemy'
They fought alongside them, healed them, and often befriended them. But how do Finland's Jews feel today about their uneasy - and little mentioned - alliance with the Nazis?
The [Finnish] Oracle of Ice Hockey
How a 70-year-old Finnish goalie coach is transforming a global sport
'The grim truth behind the Scandinavian miracle' – the nations respond
How accurate is the PISA test?
The Pisa league table which ranks test results of students from 65 countries is taken very seriously by policymakers and the media, who celebrate a good performance and bemoan a poor one. But how accurate is it?
No bad schools only poorer neighbourhoods
Differences among schools in Helsinki are rooted outside school walls, not in the classroom, as is commonly assumed. A doctoral dissertation by Helsinki University urban geographer Venla Bernelius argues that variations in the quality of education available in the capital are on the rise because of social and economic gaps.
Americans Are Rich but Not Very Competent
Why Finland Loves Saunas
The only Finnish
word to make it into everyday English is "sauna".
But what it is, and how much it means to Finns,
is often misunderstood - and it's definitely not
about flirtation or sex.
For many Finns the sauna was the holiest room in
the house and the one
most closely associated with their wellbeing.
"Finns say the sauna is a poor man's pharmacy,"
says Pekka Niemi, a 54-year-old from Helsinki,
who spends about three hours a day in the sauna,
six days a week. "If a sick person is not cured
by tar, spirits or sauna,then they will die,"
he adds, quoting a Finnish proverb. ("Spirits"
here meansstrong alcohol, while tar wa
s historically used as an antiseptic.)
Finns Mourn Loss of Icon Nokia as Microsoft Takes Over
Finland shouldn’t throw in the towel just yet, Europe Minister Stubb said.
“Never underestimate the implications of the Finnish sisu, in other words
Finnish perseverance and courage,” he said yesterday. “There is huge
potential in Finnish engineering and you will see that blossoming within the
next few years.”
‘Smartest Kids in the World’
“If you want the American dream, go to Finland.” These blunt words from a
British politician, quoted by Amanda Ripley in “The Smartest Kids in the
World,” may lead readers to imagine that her book belongs to a very
particular and popular genre. We love to read about how other cultures do it
better (stay slim, have sex, raise children). In this case, Ripley is offering
to show how other nations educate students so much more effectively than
we do, and her opening pages hold out a promising suggestion of
masochistic satisfaction. “American educators described Finland as a silky
paradise,” she writes, “a place where all the teachers were admired and all
the children beloved."
Can the Finnish educational model become an export product?
How could Finnish education be exported? By supplying entire schools
to Africa? Yes, for instance, says Minister of Education Krista Kiuru.
This weekend, she is heading to Asia on her first trip aimed at promoting
Finnish educational exports. She will meet with ministers in Malaysia,
Singapore and Indonesia
The Secret to Finland's Success With Schools, Moms, Kids undefined
The country has cheaper medical care, smarter children, happier moms,
better working conditions, less-anxious unemployed people, and lower
student loan rates than we do. And that probably will never change.
(The Atlantic July 11, 2013)
The Unbearable Beauty of Finnish Grammar
“Many people think better when they have had some coffee.” This good
advice for Finnish learners is found in a translated example sentence in
Fred Karlsson’s classic book “Finnish: An Essential Grammar.”
You’re pretty good at Finnish, but do you know it inside out? Dive fearlessly
into declensions and traverse verb conjugations valiantly, and you’ll emerge
with newfound confidence. One classic grammar book and two newer
volumes help pave your way.
Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes
For 75 years, Finland's expectant mothers have been given a box by the state.
It's like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as
a bed. And some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world's lowest infant
Finnish rye-bread revolution hits the US
At barely 19 years of age, Simo Kuusisto left his home in the northern
Finnish town of Oulu to explore the world. He never imagined he would
end up baking rye bread for New Yorkers and carrying out a “ryevolution.”
Organic Finnish Ruis Bread can be found in places such as New
Amsterdam Market or Whole Foods in New York, or it can be ordered
directly from Nordic Breads.
Move over, Mediterranean diet: The Nordic diet is also good for your heart
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/move-
Finnish scientists studied the benefits of a traditional Nordic diet rich in
game meats, berries, root vegetables and legumes, and concluded it can
help lower cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease.
Finland in Word War II (49 selected photos from collection of 160,000)
Last month the Finnish Defence Forces put an archive of 160,000 WWII-era
photographs online. The images record the war years from 1939 to 1945,
spanning three conflicts the Finns recognize as the Winter War (against an
invading Soviet Union), the Continuation War (striking against the Soviets
alongside the Germans) and the Lapland War (against the Germans for
control of Lapland). After spending hours poring through this fascinating
archive, I've gathered this collection, just a glimpse of what was made
available. A couple of notes on the images -- the swastika was used as the
official national marking of the Finnish Air Force and Tank Corps between
1918 and 1945, and all captions were relatively brief, and written in Finnish,
so please let me know in the comments if there are any mistakes, or if you
can elaborate on what is pictured. See also World War II in Photos on in
Focus. [49 photos]
Watch video (about an hour) of Pasi Sahlberg speaking Dec. 9 on
"Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change
Uploaded on Dec 16, 2011. Video talk by the author of the book on the
Finnish educational system presented at Vanderbilt University.
Finland has an education system the US should envy - and learn from
by Linda Moore (founder and executive director of the
Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington DC.)http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/15/
A new book has attracted much interest in the Washington DC,
especially on Capitol Hill, Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn From
Educational Change in Finland? The book arrives after Finland scored first in
science and second in reading and math on the standardized test
administered by the Program for International Student Assessment.
[Web editor's note: Finn Spark Inc. will be distributing copies of the book by Pasi Sahlberg to charter schools and other educational institutions in 2013]