26 February 2023

Nightwish and the Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company has banned two of Don Rosa's Uncle Scrooge stories from all reprints or future collections. The company explained its action by an ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, and as a result, some stories that do not align with their values will no longer be published.

Tuomas Holopainen is the leader of the Nightwish symphonic metal band. He noted on the decision made by the Disney Company that "the freedom of speech is a cornerstone of democracy and a functioning society, and censorship of art has nasty Orwellian undertones". 

In my opinion Holopainen is right in his comment. The strength of the Western World has been its ability to stand different opinions and views. And to remember mistakes it has made in the past. The latter one you may compare to the similarities between Putin´s Russia and Stalin´s dystopian Soviet Union. 

I doubt that the decision makers of the Disney Company are deliberate advocates of an Orwellian dystopia, but it is obvious that their action is a small step towards that. And as we remember, many small streams can make a big river. And unfortunately, as Holopainen pointed out, "there are unfortunately many similar examples from the recent past" as the one made by the Disney Company (example). 

22 February 2023

A new wave of asylum seekers

According to the European Union Agency for Asylum, the last year´s number of asylum seekers was highest since year 2016. Their number was 966 000 people - excluding most Ukrainians - whereas in 2016 the EU borders were crossed by 1 256 000 asylum seekers. 

It remains to be seen how this new wave of people affects the internal unity of the Union. How the incoming people will be distributed among different countries, and how will their costs be covered in EU going towards economic challenges?

In Finland, there has been no obvious change if Ukrainians are not counted. That underlines the impact of former prime minister Juha Sipilä (Center party), who invited Iraqi people in 2015 by promising his own house to their use. Now no Finn has invited people from anywhere to travel through safe countries of Europe to look for asylum in Finland, and almost no one seems to prioritize the cold northern country as their destination. 

Previous thoughts on the same topic:
The change in the demographic structure of Helsinki
Sweden already in trouble - Finland following
175 happy winners

18 February 2023

Biafran rebel leader living in Finland

Simon Ekpa is an immigrant living in Finland, and leads his armed Biafran forces in Nigeria via social media. When interviewed, he said that he accepts military - violent - behavior from his troops against Nigerian army or police, but not against civilians.

As my reader may recall, Biafra attempted to gain independence from Nigerian rule in the late 1960s but failed. The independence war is remembered for the first TV reports showing starving children. And that is why in Finland parents still say that children have to finish their food because Africans are starving - although no one knows how that could help children living far away.

In Finland, Biafra is also remembered for its national anthem, which is "Finlandia" composed by Jean Sibelius. And actually, in the opinion of many Finns, this composition should also be changed into the national anthem of Finland. 

Coming back to Simon Ekpa and his attempts to separate Biafra from Nigeria. His actions are not appreciated in Nigeria, and there has been contact with the Finnish government.

The Nigerians have said - referring to actions of Ekpa in Nigeria - that "it seems that the situation is getting out of hand. And we say: too much is too much. We are telling you in the strongest possible terms that it is high time that you support Nigeria's efforts to do something about it immediately as the situation threatens the upcoming elections."

The fact, however, is that Finland has freedom of speech and the government has no legal way to stop Ekba from taking the message he wants to his supporters in Nigeria. And therefore the man can go ahead and call on his supporters to boycott Nigeria's upcoming elections as long as he does not commit illegalities according to Finnish law. 

Ekpa may, however, face some troubles. That is because he is an active local politician of the major Conservative party of Finland, which is considering right now what to do with him. Perhaps he will be expelled from the party.

The case is interesting in many ways. One thing, however, is clear: if the people of Finland's autonomic region - Åland - wanted to become independent, it would happen without problems by organizing a referendum in that province. There would be no need for war or violent terrorism to achieve the goal.

So let us wait and see what happens to Simon Ekpa and his Biafran people in Nigeria. Will he become a major politician in independent new country, or is he going to be forgotten as someone who caused a bit of trouble far away from his home in northern Europe. 

15 February 2023

Elections in Finland enlight journalistic views

Finns will vote for the members of their national parliament in early April. Accoprding to opinion polls, the Conservative party (21.6 % of those, who told their opinions) is the most popular one followed by Social democrats (19.3 %) and True Finns (18.4 %), the latter one being a more conservative but economically slightly less market oriented right wing party compared to Conservatives.

Today also another opinion poll was published. According to that, True Finns were by far the most popular one among those, who will vote for the first time. Their share of told opinions was a remarkable 35,9 %, whereas the secondmost popular Social democrates were favored by only 16,7 %. 

Interestingly though, the main newspaper in the country, Helsingin sanomat, had the latter opinion poll made. And that it published its figures in an unusual way for gallups measuring popularity of political parties - namely, including also those, who did not tell their opinions. 

In this way, the share of opinions to True Finns was lower than it would have been, if expressed in a normal way (as above) - "only" 28 %. As Helsingin sanomat is well known for its disgust for true Finns, this way of presenting the results was probably made by purpose. That is, by an intention to make their popularity among youngsters to look smaller. 

I am not saying that politics in Finland would be exceptionally dirty nor media would be highly corrupted. But definitely journalists are trying to support their favorites as much as they can (another example). And therefore those entitled to vote should be cautious, when following the media stream on politics.


12 February 2023

Towards green energy despite serious drawbacks

Finland is currently building a nuclear plant, which was expected to be ready by year 2009. According to the most recent news a new problem was noticed in the plant, and therefore its addition to an electricity network will be delayed even more. 

In spite of the huge delays - due to uncompromised safety needs - it is probable that the plant will be in full operation during the coming spring. And lifts the country to a self-sustainability in electricity. 

One of the solved problems in Finland is the final disposal of nuclear waste. That makes a distinction to all other countries in the world and gives the northern country a relative benefit in the people´s acceptability of nuclear power compared to other nations.  

In addition to nuclear power, Finland invests considerably in windmills. Their number has increased in few years so much that in January they produced almost equal amount of electricity as the nuclear plants (four old ones, and the one cited above, which is in test use). 

Therefore it can be expected that Finland will become a net producer of energy in near future - most of which will be green (composed of nuclear energy, wind power, bioenergy and hydropower). That should open a new avenue to the northern country to gain economic investments. And to increase the standard of living of its inhabitants in a sustainable way. 

8 February 2023

Will an ongoing trial open the eyes of politicians?

In recent years, gangs with an immigrant background have caused considerable problems in Sweden. An interesting case related to those is currently underway in a Finnish court. 

The main question is whether such a Swedish gang was settling in Finland. The police have arrested 13 members of the group, who have been investigated on suspicion of several drug, firearm and violent crimes. 

In this case, a Swedish defendant is suspected of assaulting a Finnish main perpetrator. And according according to the prosecutor, the Swedish defendant was the actual leader and executor of the case, while the Finnish defendant was his subordinate. 

The outcome of the trial will be seen later, but already now it is clear that the problems in Sweden will appear to its neighboring countries unless their authorities manage to stop them. And that indeed is worrysome in Finland, where most of the political parties have not recognized the problem. Or simply have refused to accept it.

The current case in the court, however, can now be expected to open eyes of most citizens having a possibility to vote for the members of the national Parliament next April. And hopefully increase understanding among those candidates and parties who have previously refused to see the risk from Sweden. 

Previous thoughts on the same topic:
Increase of violence by youngsters in Finnish towns
Sweden already in trouble - Finland following
Rape statistics in Finland and Sweden are breaking prejudices

4 February 2023

Global warming - searching for the guiltiness

The predicted climatic warming by greenhouse gases is one of the big questions of our time, which determines even economic options of the future. Therefore it was interesting to read about an analysis, which gives estimates about the contribution of different countries in this threat.

The first calculation presented a simple calculation of the total amount of carbon dioxide including emissions from fossil fuels as well as from land use and forestry since 1850 up to 2021. There USA is clearly in the first place by its 20 per cent share, and followed from distance by China, Russia, Brasil, Indonesia, Germany, India, United Kingdom, Japan and Canada. 

The second calculation is based on the cumulative consumption of each nation. It only covers years from 1990 to 2021. In this calculation top ten includes the same countries as above, and in the same order. Therefore, often highlighted guiltiness of outsourced carbon emissions is not a major issue, although it adds to the share of responsibility accorded to wealthy nations.

The two other calculations are based on emissions per capita, but using different approaches. The first one takes a country’s cumulative emissions in each year and divides it by the number of people living in the country at the time. 

According to this calculation Canadians have the highest emissions. Thereafter come people of the USA, Estonia, Australia, Trinidad & Tobago, Russia, Kazakhstan, United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium. My home country, Finland, is in the eleventh place raising it high on the list. 
The second approach takes a country’s per capita emissions in each year and adds them up over time, and on top of the list are inhabitants of New Zealand followed by people of Canada, Australia, United States, Argentina, Qatar, Gabon, Malaysia, Republic of Congo and Nicaragua. Finland is not among the top 20. 

Taken together, the four classifications above shows that carbon emissions are not a simple case. And therefore politically active actors may select the list that best serves their purposes. 

Therefore all of us, who are targeted, should be cautious, and put the claims in a frame. For example, as a Finn, I should agree that consumption of me and my national fellows are causing considerable amounts of carbon compared to most other people, but also remember that our total share of the global emissions is like a drop in an Ocean. And to understand, that our high per capita emissions is largely caused by our geographic location in a cold climate as well as the large area of the country resulting in a higher need of domestic travel than in most other countries. 

Actually, I would have liked to see a calculation, where the cumulative consumption of each nation would have been divided by the area of the countries. As a Finn, I would happily prefer to use that as the most important criterion in evaluating the position of each nation in causing the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  

My argument is based on the fact, that such a statistics would not reward nations from their increasing population - as the two per capita calculations above do - but rather encourage the nations with exploding population sized to act on this main cause of the global environmental crisis including climate, biodiversity and land use aspects.

1 February 2023

Wolfs affect nature conservation

King Friedrich II of Prussia has been said to have stated in 1789 that "dog is a man's best friend". That may or may not be true, but there is no question that dogs are beloved companions of an extremely high number of people, both men and women.  

But actually, dogs are not a real species but only domesticated wolfs. And the latter ones are definitely not beloved animals, but baddies of children´s fairy tales and hated risks of farmed animals in countryside. Only in urban areas you can find people, who wish the number of these beasts to be increased as an important part of natural biodiversity.  

Therefore it was interesting to read about a research, which analyzed the effect of wolf´s return to the voting behavior in Germany, where the sustained environmental conservation has allowed this large carnivore to make a comeback during the recent years. 

This development has been applauded by conservationists, but not by local residents living in the countryside. Therefore researchers collected data on wolf attacks on livestock and popularity of different German parties. As a result, they observed that wolf attacks were accompanied by a significant rise in far-right voting whereas the Green party suffered electoral losses. 

In other words, increasing the number of wolfs - and thus losses of livestock due to this wild predator - may ultimately lead to a reduction in the popularity of policies intended to restore the environment. And therefore it may prevent the success of efforts to keep sustainable sizes of wolf populations in Europe.

Wolf is also an issue in the Finnish countryside. We have right now a pack of animals that include hybrids between wolfs and dogs. Those are considered as harmful alien organisms, and should thus be removed. 

Accordingly, a permission to shoot them was applied, but hybrids were not executed as environmentalists appealed to a court to save them. That act definitely did not increase the popularity of wolf´s protection in the area, and may lead to a growth in the popularity of parties that are most skeptical to big investments in nature conservation efforts urged by the European union. A reflection hardly lauded by the environmentalists of the country.

Previous thoughts on the same topic:
90 years ago in Germany
Leaders infected by a parasite
A new justification is needed for environmental activists