Thursday, 30 September 2010

Presumed consent

On August 1st 2010 Finland got a new legislation concerning organ donation.

Earlier you always needed expressed consent of the deceased in order to use organs in transplantations, but from now on you are presumed to have given your consent for organs to be used, if there is no knowledge of you having being opposed to organ transplantation. Here you can read more about it, if you’re interested.

In a worst case scenario, if you have stated being opposed to organ donation in a will, and even made your will known to your nearest family and had it registered in your medical files, Finland has not yet got any electronic patient record database covering all health care units through out the country, so until then, when ever that may be, people are encouraged to keep a donor card with them at all times to express their will for, or against, organ donation.

So, where do you stick it in a skimpy two piece swimsuit?

You don’t usually even carry your ID when swimming; at least I know I don’t.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Heavier taxation on sweets

The Finnish Finance Ministry has made a proposition on an additional tax on candy and sweets, sweetened soft drinks, chocolates and products containing cocoa taking effect by beginning of next year.

The proposition is based on the risen consumption of confectionery, obesity and deteriorating dental health becoming more common amongst the young during the past ten years and a similar tax was actually already in force in
Finland between the years of 1926 and 1999.

This additional tax on sugar is estimated to bring in about 120 million more euros a year to the state budget, and also hopefully leading to decreased consumption of confectionery with it resulting in long term savings in dental and health care.

What I wonder here is, why only these items? Why not tax all un-healthy foods more? The higher consumption of junk-food must also have deteriorating effects on the health amongst the population. And why not lower the taxation of healthy foods?

Anyway, today is the car free day for the 11th time in Finland, a day people are encouraged to leave their car at home and use the public transports, go by bike or walk instead. According to what I’ve heard, today, in the city of Jyväskylä 3000 free bus tickets are handed out, and public bus fares are available at a reduced price in the capital region . This in order to encourage better health and exercise routines, as well as being more friendly to the environment.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Finland’s second female prime minister

I just came to think that Finland now has its’ second female prime minister. And this is the second female prime minister in two consecutive cabinets of the same political party. In the year 2003 the Centre Party won the elections resulting in Finland’s female prime minister, who was in charge from mid April to end of June. This is the shortest period for a cabinet to exist, as cabinets tend not to resign until they have been beaten in the elections.

The first female prime minister had to resign because of leaking some secret documents, with a male prime minister to follow from the same party. The male prime minister held his position for 7 years through out the next elections and formed a new cabinet, this time co-operating with a couple of parties.

He in his turn claimed health reasons when announcing his resigning at Christmas time last year, and has now been replaced by the second female prime minister in Finland, who was elected at the Centre Party congress in end of June 2010.

Anyway, I have noticed that there will be an election here in Finland next year. With more than 200 days to go I think that is in good time to get a real electoral campaign going, beginning it in time I mean.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

World’s oldest existing champagne ?

A sunken boat was discovered in the Baltic Sea, in the Åland archipelago, in July at 45 meters depth by some divers. The boat is estimated to have been built during the first quarter of the 1800’s, and was carrying about 5 cases of champagne.

The champagne perhaps predates the French revolution and to many people’s surprise, it is still potable. According to the Finnish wine-expert that has tried it, “the champagne has not at all deteriorated, but has kept well as a red wine safely stored in a wine cellar”, and that “the aromas were impressive”. The bottles or some of the bottles maybe, are now being analyzed in France, and if their age is confirmed, it would be the World’s oldest existing champagne.

Nothing for us commoners that is, we couldn’t afford it.

Monday, 16 August 2010

How to bathe or not to?

Friday, was a Friday the 13th, I was trying to blog but had computer trouble all day, and as a matter of fact almost the whole weekend went to getting it working again. I really don’t know what was a miss, but that is life from time to time, so here I am now, pretending this is last Friday, and blogging about the things that I was on about.

The Sauna world championship was held for the 12th time in Heinola during the first weekend of August. The competition ended in tragic, both finalists crashed in the sauna and were rushed into hospital, one of the seriously injured, the other one dying.

The city of Heinola announced on its’ website that this will be the end of the Sauna World Championships, but just days after the statement a known Finnish merchant announced his intentions to arrange it next year. From the beginning the police did not suspect any foul play, but now they are investigating the case closer.

I like it steaming hot, the sauna I mean, but I stay only for short periods of time, go out for a while, cool down having a cool drink followed by a dip in the lake, or a roll in the snow during the winter, when given the occasion. Even with hot temps, my time spent in the sauna is never long but still, for me it is a place to relax so I think it is a stupid thing to compete about. I know people who spend hours and hours in the sauna, but then the temperature must be quite modest, for one to endure. Actually, I have noticed that spending time in the sauna on a hot summer day makes you think the hot weather is cooler than it really is when you come out. Sounds strange, but it really works!

Anyway, the kindergarten next door opened after the summer vacations, the kids outdoors blocked the noise so I did not even notice the first sign of fall, the swallows disappearing all of a sudden. The swallows moved despite the fact that we still had hot weather here in southern Finland during the weekend. I still wonder about what makes them disappear and re-appear every year.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Right to wed?

The majority of the Finns are Lutherans, even though not many seem to practise their religion much, except maybe when getting married and having their offspring christened.

If I have not got it completely wrong, in Finland the church and the state have been separated from each other since the reformation when Finland was a part of Sweden.

According to an interview in a newspaper the bishop of Oulu thinks that “the church should marry couples of the same sex, if Finland is to have a gender neutral marriage law”, and adds “this should be done for the church to save its’ right to marry people”.

I am here not taking any sides on the issue about people of the same sex getting married or not, neither am I talking about them being wed in the church. I am just wondering what the church has to do with the state, as they are separated, that is not married so both can go either way, so to say, if you know what I mean.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

I am back!

Dear readers, after along looong silence, I am back.

Having been ill since end of March and having major surgery with it the following convalescence, I have not been much around, just trying to cope with every day life for a long time.

Then the heat wave in July mustered the rest of life out of me, and I was trying to cope with accelerating risk of dehydration. My main job seemed to be to intake as much fluid as possible, and trying to vary the flavours not to get bored drinking. And I assure you, this was just non-alcoholic beverages.

On top of it having had a hacked e-mail account forced me to change my e-mail address, thus forgetting to change it on Blogspot, I never knew about all the nice comments posted in my Blog until now when checking up on it the other day.

Thank you dear readers, you have made my day full of sunshine! As though we have not had plenty of it lately…

This summer has been exceptionally warm, the heat record of all times in Finland was broken several times, the current now being +37, 2 degrees Celsius!

Every over cast day was a celebration, as it doesn’t feel as hot as the same temperature in the sunshine. Only one day in July the temperature went below +20 degrees here in southern Finland, and the warm weather of around 25 degrees we currently are having seems like cold, especially when it is accompanied with some rain.

So now with the weather improving, that is to cool down, and here I am merely subjective, I might get some brilliant ideas to blog about.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Spring in the air

Waking up this morning I was surprised to see that the flag was hoisted outside my window and I began to wonder what the reason for the flagging was.

To my awe I found out it was not printed in neither one of my calendars, and I do have two printed Finnish calendars, so turning to the news made me wiser. Today is an optional flagging day, that means it is only recommended to flag and not compulsory, and this was to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the ending of the winter war. I still get a bit confused about all the endings of wars as the way of counting is not the same as in the rest of Europe, just the one second World War. Here in Finland there is the Winter War and the continuing or Sequel War and in both of them the Finns fought against the Russians in the east.<

The weather has been absolutely fantastic, the sun has been shining a lot lately and lots of the piled up snow has melted away. Today, despite it being Saturday, lots of the snow, was gathered off the streets by the city workers and transported elsewhere making it easier to get around walking. It is always cheerful to see the black asphalt come to day from below the snow in the beginning of spring and hear the birds twitter in the trees even with the eventual set backs of snow falling.

Finally it really feels like spring again!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

New Year with a bang

In time for the New Year's celebrations the law concerning firecrackers and fireworks here in Finland was revised, well actually slimmed down.

Earlier you could bang your works and crackers (and excuse me if anyone got the wrong idea, this was absolutely not intentional) from 6 PM all night long until 6 AM the next morning. This New Year's Eve it was only from 6 PM until 2 in the morning. Selling fireworks is also from now on prohibited for under 18 years old and minors are not to handle them and wearing safety goggles are compulsory to wear when lighting the works.

With these new rules in work I was very much interested in seeing how the festivities actually would take place in practice.

On the day itself I woke up at 2.30 AM in the morning of two loud bangs in the yard, so the hours allowed did not work out as they should have. In the evening at midnight the neighbours muted their loud festive music in turn moving out onto their balconies to advise their minors lighting the fireworks. None I saw wearing any goggles, not even the adults safely on their balconies risking the limbs and eyes of their offspring.

The lights in the yard went out for several hours as someone hit the light switch with a firecracker or something, and the pub across the street had their own fireworks worth to see. Men standing on their knees in the freezing snow without any goggles, they shot them off. Some up into the night sky but most of them along on the street, that is in the end once they got them lit, which seemed oddly hard a thing to achieve.

Anyway, about 4 AM on New Years Day morning the glass of the front door downstairs was kicked in as someone who apparently did not live in this building wanted to get in, into the wrong house, as they had lost their keys. At least that is what the shouting downstairs was about.

The result of the festivities is full of strange stories, an acquintance of a friend of mine celebrated in high heel shoes, out in severe sub zero temperatures a night out in town and was hospitalized with frozen toes with an amputation of several toes as a result...the offspring of a friend spending the night in jail..and a couple of friends found themselves in another city their were supposed to be spending the night in.

So ladies, beware of your vanity, use sensible shoes when it is freezing out! And carry indoors shoes with you instead of risking your feet and toes.