Amen, member of Eurovision winners Lordi, said in an interview for the New Zealand Herald:
What is it like being superstars in Finland?
Since this newspaper isn’t coming out in Finland I can safely say it f****** sux. Finnish people are really, really jealous people. If something good happens for this country everyone is together. “Yeah, we won Eurovision, we are the best”. But in one year it turns against you and they are up there calling you, “Eurovision bastards”. You can’t even imagine it. It’s unimaginable. One minute you are a national hero and then in the morning you’re a bastard. It’s crazy.
Well, what the fuck did he expect in a country where it is not kosher to be the slightest bit different from average?
The owner of a supermarket outside Helsinki agreed when his son and son-in-law asked if they could organize a huge domino of the store products during Christmas holidays and film it. The stunt eventually ended up in YouTube and that is when the trouble started. Although the authors say that no products were harmed, the local customers were furious: thou shalt not play with food.
The dealer says he is sorry and nothing like this will ever happen again in his store. Pity, because it is a funny clip.
Tags: child pornography, Electronic Frontiers Finland
When you talk about governments censoring the Internet, you would be most likely to think of countries like China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Cuba etc. As I wrote in my previous post, an attempt to block a whistle blower site was recently made by the US judicial branch. As it turns out, Finland has also joined the notorious countries where government agencies under the noble pretext of fighting child pornography are actually blocking a large number of sites that have nothing to do with child pornography.
Some of the censored sites just incidentally happen to be critical about the censorship itself, including this one operated by Matti Nikki. Matti explains exhaustively in English about the background of his site and the censorship issue. Additional information in English and related links can be found in this article by Electronic Frontier Finland.
The Finnish Parliament
last year past a legislation in 2006 allowing the National Bureau of Investigation to comply a list of foreign based web sites allegedly including child pornography. The list was supposed to be sent to Internet service providers together with a request to block access to the listed sites. The black list was supposed to be strictly targeted.
Anybody trying to access the listed URL’s in Finland was supposed to be directed to a NBI page informing about the denied access (here displayed by Matti Nikki). Since my ISP has not (yet?) implied the filter, I am currently able to access both Matti’s site and every other black listed site. I am among other things able to establish that blocking all of the Japanese web portal www.iij4u.or.jp can hardly be described as “strictly targeted filtering”. Among other censored sites I fail to understand what this Japanese music store may have to do with child pornography.
The NBI refuse to comment their black list in public. They also refuse to answer the obvious question why they have not made the courtesy of e-mailing their colleagues in the FBI and European law enforcing agencies about sites actually containing child pornography. One must assume they have not informed their colleagues as the sites are still visible. That also raises the obvious question whether their intention was not to block legitimate critical web contents rather than child pornography.
Electronic Frontiers Finland has filed a complaint to the Chancellor of Justice about the legality of the NBI filter list. The complete complaint (in Finnish) can be accessed here. Among their many questions to the Chancellor is how come Matti Nikki’s site landed on the list although it is completely based in Finland and the law allows only foreign based sites to be filtered.
Unusual subzero temperatures and snow cause chaos and even death in southern and eastern China.
Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.reuters.com
Meanwhile here in Helsinki, we should be approaching the peak of winter but this was the view outside my window a moment ago. The temperature is + 3.3 °C with light rain. There are just remains of the snow which landed last week.
Tags: holidays, santa
Did you know where Santa comes from and how he got to be Father Christmas? Watch this funny clip and you will know.
via Blogging Tom
Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com
A journalist was convicted for insubordination but left without sentence by a Helsinki court yesterday. Staff photographer Markus Pentikäinen of the Finnish weekly Suomen Kuvalehti was covering the violent “SMASH Asem” demonstration in Helsinki in September last year as the police ordered him to leave the spot. Pentikäinen refused to leave and quoted his right as a journalist to cover the event. The ombudsman of the Finnish Parliament ruled in November that the police acted partly unlawfully at the demonstration.
The European Federation of Journalists condemns the court’s ruling:
“This is an appalling decision in a country that enjoys one of the highest standards regarding press freedom. It goes against Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “When a journalist is doing his work during a demonstration that becomes violent, it cannot be that he or she is regarded as acting against the public interest and brought to trial, when they are only doing their job.”
“The government of Finland should carry out a full investigation and reassure all media that they have full access to demonstrations and public happenings,” White said.
Finland has traditionally ranked high in international press freedom comparisons. I have on several occasions pointed out that the self censorship widely applied by Finnish media is not reflected in those statistics because journalists are reluctant to talk about it. Alas, freedom of press in Finland has actually been ranked higher than it deserves. This incident may bring Finland back to reality in the rankings.
Tags: bogus science, prejudice, stereotype
My barely noticeable Finnish blog is getting record hits today on a post I would never have expected to attract any interest outside the small number of regular readers. I just caught a short note in the Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter citing Professor Jerzy Sarnecki (University of Stockholm) that it is a “long time fact” that Finns are more violent than other Nordic nations. The good professor explains this with the legacy of the civil war in Finland.
It does not seem to bother Professor Sarnecki that the civil war took place for almost 90 years ago in a society totally different from that of today. He does also not seem to put any importance on the fact that Finland was very much involved in World war II, fighting against Russians on two occasions (1939-1940 and 1941-1944) and against Germans (1944-1945). He just takes it for granted that the “brutal nature of the society” has been carried out through generations dating back to the civil war of 1918.
The professor quotes research, too, at least sort of. He has apparently studied violent crime statistics in the capital cities of four Nordic countries. As one commentator from Sweden points out, the numbers would have been less flattering for Sweden if the third largest town Malmö had been studied rather than Stockholm.
Another comment from Finland points out that while statistics show a decreasing tendency of homocide, the statistical number per capita is indeed higher in Finland compared to the rest of the Nordic countries. However, these incidents are most commonly connected to extensive drinking which is why ordinary citizens have little to be afraid of while carrying out their everyday activities. The actual probability of being mucked up in broad daylight is very small in Finland.
The topic has been picked up in a couple of forums in Finland and by bloggers in Finland, Sweden and Germany. Nobody seems to take this monster piece of pseudo science seriously which it does not deserve either. My personal guess is that the goal of displaying Finns as violent savages has been established before any “research” took place. Suitable statistical numbers were sought and discovered to support the established goal.
It is of course none of my business how the money of Swedish tax payers is being spent. That said, I do believe there are serious scientific projects in Swedish universities that could have used the money spent on this nonsense.
As I noted for a while ago, a 15 year old school kid in eastern Finland was charged for libel after his teacher refused to accept his apology and insisted on criminal charges be brought up against the kid. The boy had posted a video in YouTube featuring the teacher singing at a school party. The video was entitled “Karaoke at the mental hospital” whereby the teacher’s name appeared with insinuation that the performer was a mental patient.
A court in Nurmes has now found the teenager guilty of libel. He was sentenced to a fine of 90 €. He is additionally to pay a damage compensation of 800 € to the teacher and pay 2000 € of legal expenses.
So the kid is to pay 2890 € of which the 90 € fine is critical for his future. The court could have opted to find him guilty and impose the compensations be paid but leave him unpunished. Apparently the court did not think that repent, an apology, a public trial and compensations of 2800 € were a punishment enough. They chose to add up the 90 € fine just to make sure that the kid gets a criminal record.
via Janne Saarikko
Update (5th September): Helsingin Sanomat writes that the boy’s lawyer has filed an appeal on the court verdict. He is asking the higher court to reject the criminal verdict and overturn the damage compensation of 800 €. As a secondary motion, the lawyer is asking that his client, if found guilty, be left without a punishment.
This just in: a bear apparently entered a highway in southern Finland stopping all traffic. The police have managed to evict the animal back to forest with help of dogs but the traffic is still being redirected.
I bet this is another government plan to cut expenses. The higway bear must have been intended to replace police units in traffic control duty.
This was a happy landing for Copterline Sikorsky helicopter OH-HCI. I remember shooting the picture a few years ago in Tallinn as I was waiting to get on board a hydrofoil boat to Helsinki. Copterline’s landing site in Tallinn is right next to the hydrofoil terminal.
The very same chopper went down and drowned shortly after take off in Tallinn almost exactly two years ago, 10th August 2005. All 12 passengers and 2 crew members lost their life. I was not sure my picture was of the same helicopter until I checked it a moment ago in the interim report of the commission examining the accident (pdf file in Estonian). It was OH-HCI.
I remember the day of the accident. I heard about it at home in Helsinki from Estonian radio news. As I noted in this post, the weather was good that day although there had been heavy storms in Helsinki and Gulf of Finland the day and night before. I also noted that I had never flown on the line although I was interested in doing so. I still have not but not because of being afraid. The ticket is pretty expensive. But I am still interested.
I also heard in the news that the Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet was on board the previous departure. He flew to Helsinki to meet his Finnish colleague, then foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja. Mr. Paet was certainly lucky that he did not get stuffed in traffic and miss his flight!
When the names of the victims were subsequently released I learned that I actually knew two of them. They were not close friends or anything like that. Just two persons I used to know professionally in late 1980’ies and early 1990’ies. We would have said hello while passing by on the street and maybe exchanged a polite word or two if attending same meeting. I may also have made a couple of business calls to at least one of them.
I do not bother to read all that technical stuff on the commission’s report. Everything checked OK with the helicopter prior to the take off. It was properly serviced. The two pilots were experienced and they did nothing wrong during the short flight. The cause of the accident was unforeseen and lessons have already been learned about it.
While I did not experience a personal loss, I felt somewhat touched back then and I feel the same now two years later. I guess the accident served as a reminder that unexpected things happen all the time just like that, out of the blue. And just because they are unforeseeable there is no point in being too worried above the reasonable caution.
YLE reports that a 15 year old school boy in Finland is facing libel charges. He posted in YouTube a video featuring a teacher singing at a school party. The video was entitled “Karaoke at the mental hospital”. The teacher’s name appeared at the post.
Having taken down the video, the youngster apologized and said he regretted his posting. The teacher was not happy with the apology and decided to press charges. The prosecutor has now decided to charge the kid for libel. A trial is expected to take place in September.