Persisting Divides in Global Competitiveness as Switzerland, Singapore and Finland Top Competitiveness Rankings in 2012
Finland in third position, overtaking Sweden (4th).
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Finland is known for being one of those countries that just works. Airplanes and trains run on time, restaurant bills have no hidden charges and streets and runways are kept clear even if there was a severe snowstorm the previous night. Finland is also one of world's safest and most incorrupt countries.
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You're going to wish that you grew up in Finland after reading this.
Apples and oranges — that's what it's like to compare the education systems of the U.S. and Finland. Finland's is wildly successful — consistently topping international rankings. The United States' lags behind its European and Asian peers.
The numbers alone make a case against drawing lessons from Finland. In Finland, there are approximately 1.2 million total students (of all levels). That's about the same number of students in New York City's public education system. While Finland is relatively homogeneous, the U.S. is home to a diverse, multi-ethnic population. Finland reaps revenue from its large corporate taxes, cushioning its public education system while the U.S. simply does not.
So, why look to Finland? In short, the country has taken calculated risks. It's got their million dollar question right. On the state level, the U.S. could learn a lot from Finland's unconventional moves.
The Finnish capital is a food-lover's paradise - get there before the word gets out!
Yeah, you read that right – Helsinki, people! So roll over Copenhagen, and tell Stockholm the news – the Finnish capital has seemingly come from nowhere to become the hottest place for food lovers in Scandinavia. Before the inevitable barrage of indignant responses rains down upon Grown-up Travel Guide Towers from supporters of the other bastions of the ‘New Nordic’ movement let me state that I am going to back up this claim. In fact, I’m going to give you no less than 10 very good reasons why you should make for Helsinki if you want to experience the next big thing before the Michelin man realises what’s going on and everybody hears about it. By the way, you at the back there. Yes Oslo, I’m talking to you. You’ve got a lot of work to do…
3rd place: Swans swimming during winterwww.flickr.com/photos/vivelafrance/8539411979/Image by g u i l l a u m e
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While Canada has had Bitcoin ATMs for over a month, bringing the virtual currency closer to mainstream acceptance; Bittiraha.fi reports that at one of the busiest spots in Helsinki, the Finns have opened the first permanent Bitcoin ATM installation in Europe. With the Chinese shunning the crypto-currency for now but the Swiss inching towards a broader acceptance, the appearance of ATMs (like this one at a well-known Finnish record store in the Helsinki railway station) will only serve to stoke the public interest.
Throw the mic in the air like you just don't care. Catchbox is a new throwable microphone designed to liven up audience participation, and in turn reduce the faffing around that seems to occur whenever a conference turns to questions from the audienc.
The Finland-based hardware startup isn’t just targeting events with large audiences, such as tech conferences. Other markets include education, company meetings, and consultants (here I’m envisaging those team-building experts with their endless supply of counterintuitively awkward ice-breakers, or motivational speaker types).
“There is a high expected value from every group session in those fields so we want to provide a tool that would make each session more efficient,” says Studers. “[The] internet has created new ways for sharing. We want to enhance sharing of ideas when people physically come together”.
" To understand why the holidays are so important to Finnish families - indeed, to everyone of Scandinavian background - consider the context.
So many of my food memories of Finland are vivid summer ones - freshly smoked salmon, just-picked forest blueberries and moccasin-shaped Karelian pastries, all in a country so close to the Arctic Circle that the estival sun shines until midnight.
In winter, the script is entirely flipped. The freezing temperatures limit food options to meats, cured fish, root vegetables, pickles and preserves. The sea is iced over, so fresh fish - so abundant in the summer - is in short supply. And if snow is late, winter in Finland is an especially dark time. Perhaps that's the reason Scandinavians place such importance on the holiday season inside their homes."
- Finland is the world's most "successful" country socially, economically and politically according to Washington think tank, the Fund for Peace.
- A recent UN report ranked Finland the second happiest country in the world, behind Denmark, based on wealth, political freedom, strong social networks and an absence of corruption.
- Finnish students are also the best in the West, achieving extraordinarily high scores in a triennial survey for the OECD. Finland rivals East Asian educational hothouses such as Singapore and South Korea but without those countries' high-pressure homework expectations.
- The country is conspicuously equal in other arenas, too. It was, for instance, the first in the world to give women the vote in 1906, 12 years before the UK and 14 before the U.S.
The 2014 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index spotlights major declines in media freedom in such varied countries as the United States, Central African Republic and Guatemala and, on the other hand, marked improvements in Ecuador, Bolivia and South Africa.
The same trio of Finland, Netherlands and Norway heads the index again, while Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea continue to be the biggest information black holes, again occupying the last three positions.
With prognosticators seeming to be favoring a Russia-Canada Olympic hockey final, Anaheim Ducks star Teemu Selanne figures he might as well go with the flow.
"Hopefully I can get some tickets to that game," he said with a laugh.
Then he got serious and pointed out that Olympics are always rife with upsets and hopes his Finnish team can be part of that equation.
"If somebody takes us lightly, they're going to be in trouble."
Finland has been doing that frequently in the Olympics. Since the NHL started sending its players in 1998, Finland has won three medals — bronze in 1998, silver in 2006 and bronze in 2010 — more than any country.
For the third year in a row, Bloomberg Rankings presents its exclusive analysis of the world's most attractive countries for business according to 2013 data. ...
FINLAND NR 8.Finland
Overall Rank: 14
2012 Rank: 15
Total Score: 75.2
Economic Integration: 81.6
Business Startup Cost: 70.9
Labor/Material Cost: 61.7
Transport Cost: 79.8
Less Tangible Costs: 88.3
Local Consumer Base: 68.7
How the author of the Moomin books created a children’s fantasy in tune with the postwar world
Sculptor’s Daughter tells us as much about Jansson’s formative years and the genesis of her most famous creation as any biography could, in succinct, dreamlike prose shot through with striking images and turns of phrase. Its themes are the consolations of home, the certainties of family relationships, the contentments of childhood – the same things that have kept the Moomins forging stoically on.
Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words, by Boel Westin, translated by Silvester Mazzarella, Sort of Books, RRP£25, 528 pages
Sculptor’s Daughter, by Tove Jansson, translated by Kingsley Hart, Sort of Books, RRP£9.99, 192 pages
Does your ideal vacation involve sub-zero temperatures, survival suits, cream of smoked reindeer soup, and being able to see your breath in your hotel room? Then meet your dream destination: Kemi, Finland.
Located on the Bothnian Bay in the Lapland region, Kemi is home to around 23,000 people. Every winter, visitors flock to the town to experience its two star attractions: the Sampo, a 250-foot icebreaking ship, and LumiLinna, a castle built out of snow.
Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world's hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.
When filmmakers Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel started looking for modern-day cowboys to follow for their new documentary, they didn't start in the American West. Instead, they looked to Finland (map).
Oreck and Teel are fascinated by how people interact with the world around them, and their film, Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys, brings viewers into the lives of Aarne and Lasse Aatsinki. The two brothers lead a collective of herders who manage the last group of wild reindeer in Finland.
The film was nominated for best documentary feature at this year'sTribeca Film Festival.
The United States has much to learn from other countries, especially in preparing teachers and paying for schools.
Finland: Teacher Training
Though it dropped several rankings in last year’s tests, Finland has for years been in the highest global ranks in literacy and mathematical skills. The reason dates to the postwar period, when Finns first began to consider creating comprehensive schools that would provide a quality, high-level education for poor and wealthy alike. These schools stand out in several ways, providing daily hot meals; health and dental services; psychological counseling; and an array of services for families and children in need. None of the services are means tested. Moreover, all high school students must take one of the most rigorous required curriculums in the world, including physics, chemistry, biology, philosophy, music and at least two foreign languages.
The ranking of most countries is no longer attributable to dramatic political developments. This year’s index is a better reflection of the attitudes and intentions of governments towards media freedom in the medium or long term. The same three European countries that headed the index last year hold the top three positions again this year. For the third year running, Finland has distinguished itself as the country that most respects media freedom.
"“North Karelia is home to the largest population of bears, wolves and lynxes in Finland,” explains my guide, Katariina Pennanen, as we tramp through the snowy pine forest. After this tantalising yet alarming statement, she then hurriedly reassures me that the chances of running into one of these toothy creatures while snowshoeing through the woods is very low. I'm apparently much more likely to find evidence of trolls. No, really..."
Increasingly countries around the world struggle to provide welfare and social security in world where high unemployment, an aging population and increasing expectations erode public finances. Over the past decades some of the most accomplished economists in the world, such as Josef Stiglitz and Martin Feldstein have identified a method for combining a safety net with a much lower marginal tax wedge. The Finnish think tank Libera has packaged these ideas into a clear and feasible proposal.
Libera’s Life account is a concrete model for transforming the current welfare state to a new version, 2.0. The life account is a form of a personal welfare account, which improves the incentives to work, employ and save. Compared with a conventional tax-transfer system, it reduces social insurance expenditure. The model allows to combine work income and social benefits, leaving the initial need testing to the individual. It reduces the tax wedge and allows for more flexible employment by households and individuals. The life account also encourages individual saving, financial planning and the accumulation of private wealth.Read the full report here. http://www.reforminstitutet.se/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Life-Account.pdf