29 October 2022

Finland offers a discount for serial criminals

Crimes by immigrant-based gangs are rapidly increasing in Finland, and even police has become concerned. The situation is, however, not (yet?) as bad as in Sweden, where people are nowadays routinely shot in the middle of the day. 

One interesting feature of Finnish justice are the discounts from previous crimes. That is causing discussion now as one of the gang leaders, Iraki born Curd Milan Jaff, has been caught and brought to the Court for a number of crimes.

He was sentenced to prison for ten years due to several crimes including an assault, attempted murder, firearms offence, threatening a person to be heard in the course of justice, aggravated robbery, aggravated deprivation of liberty, drug offence, and preparation of an aggravated crime against life or health. However, if he had conducted only the most serious of crimes, his incarceration would have been already nine years. 

If the crimes would have been punished one by one, the total sentence would have been at least 15 years. In other words, Milan Jaff obtained a discount in his incarceration.

That is against the views of many people, including myself, who would rather think that it would be logical to strengthen the punishment for additional crimes. Thus, dooming a longer incarceration for a serial criminal than the sum of his crimes if calculated separately. 

It will be interesting, if immigrant-derived gangs will change the current practice. At least, one of the parties in the country - the True Finns - have taken this issue into their agenda. And therefore the future of discounts to serial criminals depend on the results of the Parliamentary elections next spring. 

22 October 2022

Fair policy will build a strong Union

EU Commission is planning to decide on legally binding nature restoration targets. Those targets include restoration of at least 70% of drained peatlands and protecting 30% of land and 30% of sea in the EU. 

Those demands would have a major negative effect in Finland, where forest industry is extremely important by producing 18.1 % of exported goods and bringing a tax revenue of 2,7 billion euros. Such an economic benefit has been possible due to the extremely efficient management of - mostly privately owned - forests in the country. 

It should be noted that Finnish forests were not converted to other use - like in most of Europe - despite demands during the 19th century. In contrast, Finnish forests fortunately got economic value due to the developing industry which saved them from being destroyed. 

To ensure the raw material for saws and the pulp and paper mills, many actions were made during the 20th century to ensure forest growth. Tree production sustainability was reached in 1970´s, and thereafter forests have grown every year more than they have been used - although also the production of forest industry has increased. 

Furthermore, during recent decades many voluntary actions have been made by forest owners to save the biodiversity, which already has turned the previously highly negative development more positive. And therefore, Finnish forests are today remarkable carbon sinks, important source of raw materials and on their way of reaching ecological sustainability.

Finland rarely looks for its own benefit in the Union. Accordingly, the Finnish Government´s decision of nature restoration followed those tracks until the last week. And that was a huge difference to Sweden - exerting almost as sustainable forestry - which noted that the Union has no justification in forest issues. 

However, the Commission plans were noted by the Finnish forest industry, forest owners and professionals as well as ordinary countryside people, who put a pressure on politicians. And finally, they were heard in the national Parliament, where the big opposition parties - Conservatives and True Finns - challenged Government´s earlier decision to support the EU decree on restoration. 

And as a result, also Parliament members of Social democrats, Center party and Swedish people´s party joined the opposition. Only ultimate left of the government - Left alliance and Green party - kept their original position as supporters of the Commission´s arrogant plans.

It remains to be seen, how Finland´s changed view affects EU policy. It would, however, be a benefit for the whole EU to change it to become fairer. For Finland the current plans would be roughly equal if Germany was demanded to reduce its car industry by 30% or Netherlands was forced to return 30% of its dried sea coasts back to a seabed. 

Actually, the leader of EU Commission´s current environmental policy - Frans Timmermans - should understand that only fair policy towards all member states will build a strong Union capable to respond to challenges posed by other economic great powers USA and China. And therefore, even small members should be respected instead of making efforts to destroy their preconditions of living.  

Previous thoughts on the same topic:
Share of EU recovery funds will turn attitudes more negative
A new justification is needed for environmental activists
Finnish parties agreed on actions against the climatic change

14 October 2022

Human curiosity altered an orbit of an asteroid

I am sure that all of my readers are aware of the cause of the end of the dinosaur era. It was caused 66 million years ago by a massive asteroid 10 to 15 km wide, which devastated the global environment, mainly through a lingering impact winter which halted photosynthesis in plants and plankton.

If a similar asteroid would land on earth, it would mean the end of human civilization, if not even the presence of humans on the planet. Therefore it has been considered as one of the most frightening threats to our future.

Two weeks ago NASA succeeded in altering an orbit of an asteroid using a spacecraft. The achievement showed that  humans could redirect future celestial threats to our planet, and allows us to forget about the threat caused by uninvited asteroids.

The physics and technology allowing the NASA achievement should also be considered as evidence on the importance of curiosity driven science. Without our will to find and learn about the true nature of stars, space and planets, we would have never heard about the possibility to alter orbits of asteroids. 

And actually, we would not even know that asteroids existed - nor that one of those would have been responsible on the disappearance of dinosaurs. And well, without human curiosity we would not even know that dinosaurs lived more than 60 million years ago. 

Previous thoughts on the same topic:
Scientific community discriminates its youngsters
Should forbidden questions be answered or not?
Vikings and the technological cutting edge

10 October 2022

Ukrainian army should be equipped with the best possible weapons against missiles

This morning started with Russian missile attacks against Ukrainian towns including the capitol, Kyiv. According to a Finnish General and Ministerial Adviser for Intelligence "today we got to witness the work of the new commander of Russia's war of aggression, army general Sergei Surovikin, at what he does best: brutal missile terror against civilians.

After this day, it should have become crystal clear to everyone, that Vladimir Putin in not a brave President and leader of the Russian army, but a pitiful mass murderer and slimy coward. And as such, it has become imperative to turn his regime down. 

Unfortunately, Putin has a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons that prevent direct attack against Russia and its regime. However, military forces of the brave Ukrainian army should be equipped with the best possible weapons to protect themselves against the terrorist´s missiles. 

I certainly hope that the President of the United States, Joe Biden, understands this and acts as soon as possible to make that happen. Rather today than tomorrow.

8 October 2022

War in Ukraine affects other countries

The war in Ukraine seems to have taken a new step. That became obvious when the Crimea bridge was damaged so badly that a part of it collapsed, and therefore it also became clear that Zelenskiy´s troops have started to prepare an attack to return back the peninsula occupied by Russians in 2014.

Right now it looks like the Ukrainian plan would be first to cut off the maintenance connections of the Russian army and attack the defender´s forces only thereafter. That sounds like a reasonable plan, but we should not forget the highly imaginative skills of the leaders of the Ukrainian army - and therefore the attack on the bridge could have been conducted "just" to regroup the Russian troops elsewhere and thereafter to strike to weak points of the defense opened by the process.

* * *

At the same time, the number of refugees have appeared to Finland from both Ukraine and Russia. Although one could imagine that the two groups escaping Vladimir Putin´s actions would understand each others well, the immigration officials decided to accommodate the two nationalities separately.  

The decision was probably reasonable, because Ukrainians are mostly women and children, whereas Russians are largely young men trying to escape from military service in Ukraine. Even though there has not been violence between the two nationalities, the decision was made due to fears of Ukrainians. 

In my opinion, making the decision before any real problems appeared was excellent as there is no reason to expose Ukrainians to any unnecessary fears - not even to ones with a very low probability. And after all, situations where men and women are isolated from normal life are prone to sexual harassment even though that would not have anything to do with the ongoing war. 

* * *

Finally, it seems that Finland will obtain a high number of new inhabitants due to the war. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one third of Ukrainians are willing to stay in Finland even after the war. If so, they should be integrated into the working life, which is not expected to be even nearly as difficult as it has been for people who arrived in 2015 and thereafter

No numbers are available (to my knowledge) for the willingness of Russian young men to stay permanently in Finland. Anyway, also they would probably be a useful working force, but at the same time their presence would form a risk to the country.

That is because Russia is eager to use Russian minorities as an excuse to put pressure on its neighboring countries - even if they disagree. And definitely, the relatively big share of Russians working in Finland disagree with Putin´s actions in Ukraine: a total of 64 percent of them consider Putin´s "special operation" unjustified, and less than one fifth support it. 

Taken this all together, it seems that Ukraine is strongly dominating the war in Ukraine, but despite that, it affects strongly other countries like Finland via the flow of refugees. When the war at some day ends, it will be very interesting to see, which of those effects will be long lasting.

3 October 2022

Does China prove the superiority of market economy?

The economy and standard of living in China was ruined by the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution ordered by the Chairman Mao in 1960´s. After the death of the Chairman, the economic direction was changed in China towards the current system, where communistic dictatorship is combined with a market economy. 

That has led to great progress in the most populous country of the world. And now the statistics tell the Gross National Income of China is soon going to reach a level of $12 000 per capita. 

That means Chinese people are reaching the level of citizens of Costa Rica or Venezuela and has already passed over e.g. Russians, Malaysians, Bulgarians or Turkish. And even the standard of living in countries like Chile, Uruguay or Hungary will be reached in the next ten years - provided that the growth rate of China corresponds to the development of the last twenty years.

At the same time, China has become the second biggest economy in the world - and the difference to USA is narrowing quickly. The difference in GDI per capita between the two is, however, about sixfold - and therefore it very clear that the difference in the welfare of the two biggest economies of the world will be huge for decades. 

Taken the facts above, it is very clear that even a communistic rule may produce economic welfare despite the horrific examples provided by the Soviet Union or - more recently - Venezuela. The key to that is, however, to give up on the economic principles of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels - and definitely avoiding Leninism as a means to apply their ideas. 

Instead it might be worth noting that the example provided by Xi Jinpin´s China seems to prove the superiority of market economy over socialism. And it drives me to consider, if more strict market economy should be preferred over the milder versions of socialism - such as Nordic social democracy? 

After all, considering other aspects usually thought to advance economy are excellent in the Nordic countries. The freedom of speech is among the best in the world, democracy is challenged in no ways and people are highly educated. Despite those facts, their economies have become more or less stagnated (Finland, Sweden, DenmarkNorway) during the last decade or so, according to GNI.

For me, these notions will be of extreme interest in the becoming years. And therefore I intend to follow future developments in the Chinese economy - and make conclusions about the contributions of market economy and social democracy by comparing future developments in China and the Nordic countries. 

2 October 2022

Putin is in a political and military impasse

After Ukraine defeated Russian army in Lyman, the officers of Putin´s military forces reacted in a very interesting way

Ramzan Kadyrov - the leader of Chechen forces - demanded use of nuclear weapons. He also blamed Alexander Lapin - the commander of the Central Military District of Russian army - for the loss of the town. And not only that, but he also said that Valery Gerasimov - the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces and First Deputy Minister of defense - had been covering the mistakes made by Lapin.

Furthermore, Kadyrov was supported by Yevgeny Prigozhin - the owner of the Wagner Group. And both were backed up by some TV persons and war bloggers, who blamed military leaders of Russia on corruption and indifference. 

In other words, collaboration within Russian army has been seriously damaged as the key persons are quarreling with each others. And as we all know, that makes their fight against Ukrainian army even more difficult than thus far. Therefore - in my opinion - there are no obstacles in further success for Zelenskiy´s troops - not even due to expected fresh soldiers appearing to the front after the ongoing mobilization of poorly trained Russian reserves.

This all may increase the risk of Putin making a decision of using tactical nuclear weapons. He should - however - consider that western powers could not look aside if that happened. And that there is no doubt they would respond strictly and strongly. 

In other words, it is becoming clear that Putin has driven himself into a political and military impasse. Therefore, we have to ask, how long will the Russian military remain loyal to Putin? And when they finish it: what will they do to him?