Vikingar News http://vikingarnews.com Global News Now Tue, 16 Apr 2019 15:27:35 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2 http://vikingarnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Vikingar-news-avatar.png Vikingar News http://vikingarnews.com 32 32 Denmark: Leonora reveals staging details http://vikingarnews.com/denmark-leonora-reveals-staging-details/ http://vikingarnews.com/denmark-leonora-reveals-staging-details/#respond Mon, 22 Apr 2019 04:00:30 +0000 http://vikingarnews.com/?p=13792 In an interview with Eurovoix, Denmark’s Leonora has revealed some hints about what to expect from her staging in Tel Aviv. The 20-year-old had won Dansk Melodi Grand Prix with the song “Love is Forever”. The whimsical national final staging featured a giant chair and two extras joining Leonora on stage. Speaking to our friends […]

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In an interview with Eurovoix, Denmark’s Leonora has revealed some hints about what to expect from her staging in Tel Aviv. The 20-year-old had won Dansk Melodi Grand Prix with the song “Love is Forever”. The whimsical national final staging featured a giant chair and two extras joining Leonora on stage.

Speaking to our friends over at Eurovoix, Leonora has given some teasers about what to expect from her performance of “Love is Forever” on the Eurovision stage. Despite performing at a number of pre-parties this month (Amsterdam, London, Madrid, Moscow), little has been known about what Denmark have been planning. A big question mark has been hovering over whether they will be bringing the big ol’ chair over to Israel.

Regarding her staging, Leonora said the following:

We are almost doing the same artful performance that supports the message of the song, and I like it a lot! We will be bringing the giant chair to Tel Aviv, and it perfectly visualizes what I want to communicate through the song: That we have to elevate ourselves above all the useless quarrels and conflicts of everyday life – and instead focus on how love is a universal thing that connects us all. To me, the chair helps convey very powerful imagery.

Leonora speaking to Eurovoix about her staging

Judging by that, we can expect very similar staging to her MGP performance in Tel Aviv next month! We recently caught up with Leonora in Madrid, and she confirmed that the chair is currently being reconstructed in Tel Aviv, alongside the news that she’s working on a second single.

Who is Leonora?

Leonora Colmor Jepsen is only 20 years old, but has already won a number of awards, both for her music and her ice skating. For a number of years, Leonora has written her own songs. Alongside her studies, she would perform at cafés, libraries and at intimate concerts around Denmark. Now, she is recording a number of songs with other songwriters and hopes to record an album.

Love is Forever is co-written by Lise Cabble, one of the songwriters for Emmelie de Forest’s Only Teardrops, which won the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Malmö! Lise is joined by Melanie Wehbe and Emil Lei. Back in February, Leonora won this year’s DMGP with 42% of the vote in the super final.

Denmark in the Eurovision Song Contest

Denmark first appeared in the contest in the second edition in 1957 and participated a total of 46 times. It has won the contest three times: in 1963 with Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann, in 2000 with the Olsen Brothers and 2013 with Emmelie de Forest. Since the introduction of the semi-finals in 2004, it failed to reach the final on four occasions.

Last year, Rasmussen’s “Higher Ground” flew the Danish flag in Lisbon. He reached 9th place in the grand final with 229 points, having won the televote in semi-final 2. This marked Denmark’s first top 10 result since 2014 when the contest took place on home soil. Leonora will be aiming for a streak; she will perform 7th in the second semi-final on Thursday May 16 in Tel Aviv.

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Inside the ugly world of Nepali restaurants in Finland http://vikingarnews.com/inside-the-ugly-world-of-nepali-restaurants-in-finland/ http://vikingarnews.com/inside-the-ugly-world-of-nepali-restaurants-in-finland/#respond Mon, 22 Apr 2019 02:00:38 +0000 http://vikingarnews.com/?p=13788 After months of working without a break, Suman finally got his first day off. That meant he only had to work for seven hours, as opposed to the average 13 hours he was pulling daily. Suman’s shift would begin in the morning, around nine, and end after the restaurant closed at 10 at night. Sometimes, […]

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After months of working without a break, Suman finally got his first day off. That meant he only had to work for seven hours, as opposed to the average 13 hours he was pulling daily.

Suman’s shift would begin in the morning, around nine, and end after the restaurant closed at 10 at night. Sometimes, the workload would go up to almost 80 hours a week, with Suman working 16-hour days on the weekends and holidays.

But for all his work, Suman didn’t get any actual compensation. Every now and then, small sums of money were transferred to his account. The contract wage was paid to his Nordea account, but the account was controlled by the owner. Suman said he didn’t see a penny of the payments.

Suman and two other men worked as cooks in the popular Nepali restaurant, Mount Sherpa, in the centre of the Finnish town of Kuopio.

For a year and a half, Suman tolerated the exploitation. Then, when he’d had enough, he walked to the police station in Kuopio.

That was two and a half years ago. Last December, the Pohjois-Savo District Court sentenced the owner of Mount Sherpa, Purna Adhikari – for three counts of aggravated tax fraud, two counts of accounting offences and three counts of human trafficking – to conditional imprisonment of a year and eight months.

Nepali restaurants in Finland, like this one in Kamppi neighbourhood of Helsinki, are owned by a small group of businessmen.

According to the court, the restaurant’s working conditions had gravely violated Finnish law and the owner had taken advantage of the workers’ vulnerable positions.

The conviction was rare, but such exploitation is much more common in Finland.

An investigation by Helsingin Sanomat has revealed that many Nepali restaurants, favoured by Finns, routinely have cooks working shifts that can extend up to 16 hours. Workers coming to Finland have to pay for their jobs, and compensation for their work is often minimal. Over the span of five months, the Helsingin Sanomat interviewed 19 Nepalis and one Indian, 15 of whom work or have worked in Nepali restaurants. They recounted experiences from over 10 restaurants, over many years, from different parts of Finland.

The Nepalis spoke on condition of anonymity because they were afraid of losing their jobs and consequently, their residence permits. Some are worried about their own as well as their family’s safety.

Three of the workers are in the assistance system for victims of human trafficking, a Finnish government body that helps people who have been exploited.

The stories that the Nepalis tell are alike in many respects.

Similar events and practices show up time and again: cooks are made to work an enormous, or at the very least illegal, amount of hours, and the payment is nowhere near that stipulated by official work regulations.

One cook told the Helsingin Sanomat that he had worked every day for 14 hours, with no days off, since arriving in Finland around five years ago. The job paid no extras or overtime, and after taxes, he earned less than EUR1,000 (about Rs125,000) a month. About half of that sum went to the restaurant owner to pay off the cook’s debt.

“When I complained about the conditions, the owners threatened to send me back to Nepal,” said the cook.

Another cook said that for a year, he worked for 13 hours a day and was paid a few hundred euros a month. He lived in an apartment owned by the restaurant owner and his income was so small that he saved money by washing his hair with dishwashing liquid.

Almost all the workers who spoke to the Sanomat said that they had to pay the restaurant owners to be able to come to Finland. The sums they paid range from around EUR5,000 to over EUR15,000.

One Nepali cook said that he had to sell his assets in Nepal in order to be able to come to Finland. Many told of borrowing money in their home country from relatives. Some could not afford to pay, so they agreed to work in Finland for free.

Their working conditions are dire. Workers often sleep in crowded apartments with other cooks. One Nepali man interviewed by the Sanomat shared a two-bedroom apartment with six other cooks.

Several workers from different cities told the Sanomat that the owner confiscated their passports. Many say that they are forced to work even if they become sick or have injured themselves. The Helsingin Sanomat corroborated the workers’ stories by examining police investigation material, court documents, bank statements, private messages, official documents and other items.

The Sanomat also interviewed officials from the police department, the Regional State Administrative Agency, the assistance system for victims of human trafficking and Victim Support Finland, an NGO focused on helping victims of crime, among others.

The Nepali workers themselves wanted to speak of the abuse, and reached out to the Sanomat in the hope that government officials would tackle the problem. One Nepali interviewed for this article said they wondered how the exploitation has gone on for so long. Another, who has worked for years in the kitchen of a Nepali restaurant, said that many cooks are still in a very difficult situation.

“We hope that the Finnish government will intervene. This is systematic criminal activity,” said the worker.

The density of Nepali restaurants in Finland is higher than in any other Western country. In metropolitan areas alone, there are around 50 Nepali restaurants. The lion’s share of the large, well-known restaurants is owned by a group of roughly 30 Nepali businessmen, the majority of whom are from the same place in Nepal – Gulmi. They are closely related and have financial ties.

The first Nepali restaurant in Finland was founded in 1993 in Kallio, a neighbourhood of the capital Helsinki. It was called Himalaya and the founder was a man named Devi Sharma.

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Turkish taxi driver in Sweden called hero for generosity http://vikingarnews.com/turkish-taxi-driver-in-sweden-called-hero-for-generosity/ http://vikingarnews.com/turkish-taxi-driver-in-sweden-called-hero-for-generosity/#respond Mon, 22 Apr 2019 00:00:28 +0000 http://vikingarnews.com/?p=13784 A Turkish taxi driver was hailed as a hero in Sweden after he lent his credit card to a client who had forgotten his wallet at home, reports said Saturday. Ömer Temel picked up Christer Östlund from his home early Thursday, he told the popular Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter. He said that Östlund only realized […]

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A Turkish taxi driver was hailed as a hero in Sweden after he lent his credit card to a client who had forgotten his wallet at home, reports said Saturday.

Ömer Temel picked up Christer Östlund from his home early Thursday, he told the popular Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter.

He said that Östlund only realized he had forgotten his wallet at home when they got to the airport and started panicking.

Temel told the distressed man that he could pay for the trip after his return and that he could borrow his credit card during his two-day business visit to France and Germany.

“He was dumbfounded when he heard my offer,” Temel told the Anadolu Agency, adding that Östlund could not believe him and asked many times if he would really trust someone who got on his vehicle for the first time.

Turkish taxi driver in Sweden called hero for generosity
Ömer Temel and Christer Östlund

The kind driver went to the airport two days later to pick Östlund up.

“Nobody would do something like this. A Swedish person would never have done this,” Östlund told Temel, who responded by saying that Turkish people love to help others and that it is in the culture.

In response to Temel’s helping hand, Östlund offered to give him 30,000 Swedish kronor (TL18,800, $3,222) in addition to the TL2,816 he spent during his trip abroad, but the taxi driver refused to take the extra money.

“Ömer saved my business trip to Germany and France,” Östlund said, noting that he was extremely shocked.

“People like Ömer will save the world,” he added.

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Why Danes take EU elections far more seriously than other Europeans http://vikingarnews.com/why-danes-take-eu-elections-far-more-seriously-than-other-europeans/ http://vikingarnews.com/why-danes-take-eu-elections-far-more-seriously-than-other-europeans/#respond Sun, 21 Apr 2019 23:00:36 +0000 http://vikingarnews.com/?p=13783 For first-time Danish voter Josepha Pultz Nielsen, voting in the upcoming European Parliament elections goes without saying, but disillusioned Juraj Martiny of Slovakia says he’ll abstain because he has no faith in the system. The two illustrate how voter turnout in European elections varies widely, with northern nations at the top and eastern countries at […]

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For first-time Danish voter Josepha Pultz Nielsen, voting in the upcoming European Parliament elections goes without saying, but disillusioned Juraj Martiny of Slovakia says he’ll abstain because he has no faith in the system.

Why Danes take EU elections far more seriously than other Europeans
A Danish woman places her vote.

The two illustrate how voter turnout in European elections varies widely, with northern nations at the top and eastern countries at the bottom. It is also often a reflection of citizens’ satisfaction with the bloc’s institutions.

Denmark and Slovakia will each elect 13 representatives to the European Parliament between May 23 and 26.

Around 76 percent of Denmark’s 4.2 million eligible voters say they plan to vote, compared to just 27 percent of Slovakia’s 4.8 million. In the last EU elections in 2014, only 13 percent of Slovaks voted — the weakest turnout in Europe.

Far from Denmark’s bustling capital of Copenhagen, in the small central town of Nyborg, 21-year-old Josepha Pultz Nielsen (pictured right) plans to cast her ballot even though the European Union remains an abstract construction for her.

“I don’t think there is a lot of focus on the EU. In school, we don’t learn much about it,” says the shy young woman who works as an after-school care teacher.

While she sees freedom of movement as a clear benefit of European Union membership, she is primarily attracted to the idea of an open and welcoming bloc that can work together to address major issues.

“We have to change the world and help each other with global warming,” she says.

Pseudo-democracy?

More than 350 million Europeans will vote to elect 751 members to the European Parliament in May.

Danes are much more interested in the European elections than people in the rest of the EU, notes Catharina Sorensen, head of research at the think tank Europa.

In the Scandinavian country, the general thinking is that “you simply have to go and vote if you support democracy in your country,” she says.

“In other countries there is less of a sense that it is a democratic duty to go and vote.”

Pultz Nielsen agreed. “It’s better to go and vote with a blank vote than not vote.”

Meanwhile only 25 percent of Slovaks vote regularly, according to Eurobarometer.

Danes also tend to have confidence in institutions, be they national or European, with 60 percent saying they have faith in the EU.

This compares to only 43 percent of Slovaks, according to Eurostat.

“I do not like this institution,” 42-year-old Slovak Juraj Martiny says of the European parliament, sitting at a cafe in Bratislava.

The director of a public relations firm, he won’t be going to the polls in the May elections, though he did vote five years ago.

He says the European Parliament is a pseudo-democracy.

“Decisions are being made by the European Commission, which -? as opposed to the members of the European Parliament ?- has not been directly elected.”

He also feels the parliament is too far removed from the daily lives of Europeans in general, and Slovaks in particular.

It can’t even “approve unambiguous legislation that would ensure that a jar of Nutella bought in Paris would be the same as one bought in Budapest or Bratislava,” he says, referring to tests conducted in 2017 revealing that big Western brands use cheaper ingredients in food products sold in former communist countries.

More than half of Slovaks, 54 percent, said last year they would abstain from the May elections because “their vote does not make a difference”, according to Eurobarometer.

Europe à la carte

Contrary to Denmark, voters in other EU countries have “much more utilitarian concerns, (such as) ‘does the EU provide enough benefit to us’,” says Sorensen.

A recent poll showed that 63 percent of Slovaks saw no advantages to being a member of the EU.

Meanwhile Denmark, which joined the bloc at the same time as Britain in 1973, is a largely europhile country — as long as it can have its Europe a la carte.

The Scandinavian country has zealously guarded its sovereignty, negotiating four key opt-outs to EU cooperation: on security and defence, citizenship, police and justice, and the adoption of the euro.

In 2014, 56 percent of Danes voted in the EU elections, official statistics show.

This year, the number is likely to be higher.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen must call a general election before mid-June, and many political observers suspect he will hold it at the same time as the European elections, to avoid voter fatigue.

Holding the two votes at the same time will “most likely boost turnout,” researcher Sorensen added, but would also likely make Europe “quite absent from the campaign”.

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Plans to expand Iceland’s fish farms risk decimating wild salmon populations http://vikingarnews.com/plans-to-expand-icelands-fish-farms-risk-decimating-wild-salmon-populations/ http://vikingarnews.com/plans-to-expand-icelands-fish-farms-risk-decimating-wild-salmon-populations/#respond Sun, 21 Apr 2019 19:00:50 +0000 http://vikingarnews.com/?p=13778 A five-fold expansion in open net fish farms that scientists believe could decimate Iceland’s wild salmon stocks is pitting Big Aquaculture against ecologists in the country. Next month, a parliamentary bill is expected to extend farm licenses from 10 to 16 years, while omitting critics from oversight panels and handing primary monitoring powers to industry. […]

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A five-fold expansion in open net fish farms that scientists believe could decimate Iceland’s wild salmon stocks is pitting Big Aquaculture against ecologists in the country.

Next month, a parliamentary bill is expected to extend farm licenses from 10 to 16 years, while omitting critics from oversight panels and handing primary monitoring powers to industry.

Jon Kaldal of the Icelandic Wildlife Fund said: “We are at a crossroads. If industrial-scale open net salmon farming is allowed to take over, it will cause massive pollution and a dramatic increase in the risk of farmed fish escaping. Iceland is the final frontier for north Atlantic salmon.”

It is also a new horizon for a multi-billion euro Norwegian industry that campaigners say has halved its own wild salmon population and steam-rollered opposition.

But scientists say that they are under pressure from the industry to play down their findings. The Guardian has seen evidence of targeted pressure against Icelandic environmental scientists, although a fear of reprisal prevents many from speaking out. One scientist said: “I felt that I had to be careful because everything I said would be scrutinised for its potential to benefit industry.”

Fresh salmon pass along a conveyor belt at Salmar ASA’s InnovaMar harvesting and processing facility on the island of Froya, Norway. Salmar is the Norwegian multinational which owns Arnarlax, Iceland’s largest salmon farming company.

A leap in annual salmon volumes from 13,000 to 71,000 tonnes has already been agreed, with hundreds of new jobs likely to follow in the country’s deprived Westfjords region. Industry leaders see this as just the “early phase” of a rapid expansion that could take the country’s salmon production as high as 200,000 tonnes a year.

Kjartan Olafsson, the CEO of Arnarlax, Iceland’s largest salmon farming company, said: “The new parliamentary bill is an important step to get the industry growing. We have a long way to go to get to 70,000 tonnes – probably between five to 10 years. I think that the bill is a careful but smart first step.”

Last year, Arnarlax lost 200,000 salmon at its Laugardalur pen, when the fish had to be moved in icy waters after an outbreak of bacterial kidney disease (BKD). In January, a tear was reported at a pen containing 157,000 salmon.

Olafsson blamed the tear on a storm and described the BKD outbreak as “a national plague in Iceland” unrelated to open net farms. These are “the best available techniques in the world today,” he claims.

Arnarlax is owned by Salmar, a Norwegian multinational which part-owns Scottish Sea Farms. Its 25-year-old heir, Gustav Magnar Witzoe, recently became the world’s youngest male billionaire.

But Norway has been putting the brakes on expansion. Salmar bought a majority stake in the Icelandic company after Norwegian authorities began declaring a halt to new licenses for open net farms, after native wild salmon stocks fell by 50% in two decades.

An estimated 200,000 salmon escape from Norway’s farms every year and studies suggest that 71% of the country’s rivers have now been “genetically polluted” by these farmed escapees.

The port at Bildudalur, a fishing village situated in Arnarfjordur, in Iceland’s remote Westfjords region. Hundreds of new jobs in the region are expected over the next few years as a five-fold increase in fish farm expansion takes place.

Scientists say escaped fish will pose risk to wild salmon

Iceland’s Marine Research Institute projects that for every tonne of farmed fish, one will escape, meaning that an extra 7,000 Norwegian escapees each year could soon mix with Iceland’s population of 80,000 wild salmon.

A government scientist, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “In a worst case scenario, we will see a lot of genetic integration in small populations that are common in the Westfjords. It could lead to a population collapse.

“You could also get a hybridisation cascade coming out of this area and there would be nothing you could do about it. Iceland’s salmon populations come from a specific evolutionary line and we are putting this biodiversity at risk when we introduce farmed genes.”

Last month, Iceland’s fishing minister Kristján Þór Júlíusson called for dialogue after “too much anger and tribulation” in a national debate that Elvar Fridriksson of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund acknowledged was sometimes “full of hatred” on social media.

“Unfortunately, the voices that have been loudest until now have been the people fighting for what makes them a lot of money,” Fridriksson said. But the plans were “a great threat” to Iceland’s fragile ecology and small salmon population, he argued.

A keen angler himself, “people here devote their lives to salmon,” he added. “They’re the king of fish.”

In Borgarnes, Guðrún Sigurjónsdóttir, a farmer for three generations, said that escaped rainbow trout from fish farms upstream had already been found in the Nordura river, which she partly owns.

Apart from a dairy farm, Sigurjónsdóttir’s livelihood depends on licensing fees to wild salmon fishermen – which seasonally reach €1000 a day – and that depends on wild salmon.

Icelandic farmer Guðrún Sigurjónsdóttir in Borgarnes, west Iceland, fears escaped farmed salmon will soon be found in the Nordura river, home to many wild salmon, risking genetic pollution.

“Money from fishing is one of the supports for our livelihood,” she said. “If it hadn’t been for the river, the farm would have gone bankrupt.

“My main worry now is genetic pollution,” she said. “It seems those fish are now being caught everywhere, all over Iceland. What will happen if this salmon is caught here in Nordura?”

Local fly fishers say they can identify the river a salmon has come from by its features. In a carnival of biodiversity, each river has its own small population. Eidur denied that any invasive salmon species had yet been caught in the Nordura but believes it is only a matter of time.

Sea lice are also a problem – parasites that gnaw on the mucous and flesh of fish, before moving on to their muscle and fat, weakening their hosts and making them vulnerable to other infections and early death.

Crammed open net farms are an ideal environment for their spread and scientists say that industry attempts to kill them with chemicals such as iflubenzuron, teflubenzuron and emamectin benzoate can pollute pristine waters, damaging prawns and other sea life.

Sea lice are emerging that are immune to pesticides raising the spectre of a chemical arms race against the pestilence. An Icelandic environmental scientist said: “We received scientific advice that we could use the chemicals here for five years and then we would get strains that were immune to the chemicals.”

Adding to the ecological toll on the oceans is the sewage created by immense volumes of fish crowded into pens. A medium-sized fish farm of just over 3,000 tonnes can produce as much effluent as a city of 50,000 people, according to the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority, and eutrophication problems may follow.

The environmental backlash has spurred a new film and campaign led by the outdoor clothing firm Patagonia.

Open-water fish farms belonging to Iceland’s biggest salmon farm company Arnarlax, situated off the coast of Bildudalur in the remote Westfjords region. Campaigners are pushing for open net farms to be replaced by closed containment farms, which avoid the risk of genetic dilution and sea lice infestation.

Futuristic egg-shaped closed containment farms at sea or tanks on land avoid the risks of genetic dilution and pollution and contain the threat of sea lice infestation.

Oli Bjorn, an MP with Iceland’s governing Independence party says he: “would like to see more emphasis on building economic incentives for fish farming in closed circle pens.”

Despite their higher cost, environmentalists see closed pens as the future for the industry and point to surveys showing that consumers will pay more for sustainably farmed fish. Around half of the cost for closed container farms comes from license fees – which Iceland is considering reducing – but which campaigners want waived altogether to boost the fledgling technology.

Arnarlax instead advocates a shift of open net farms into open oceans, utilising Norwegian offshore oil rig technology.

Such a move is likely to raise the potential costs to Iceland’s ecology, and self-image.

As Bjorn put it: “We are a nation of fishermen and our general feeling is that we have to take care of nature. When you sit on the bank of a river and watch salmon try to swim upstream through the waterfalls, there is nothing in the world like it. Nothing.”

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10,000 kids in Finland left hanging as sports NGO’s funding dries up http://vikingarnews.com/10000-kids-in-finland-left-hanging-as-sports-ngos-funding-dries-up/ http://vikingarnews.com/10000-kids-in-finland-left-hanging-as-sports-ngos-funding-dries-up/#respond Sun, 21 Apr 2019 17:00:49 +0000 http://vikingarnews.com/?p=13777 WAU, a confederation of sporting organisations, announced Thursday that it has closed down due to lack of funding. The NGO said that it has filed for bankruptcy and will therefore no longer be able to provide free weekly physical activity programmes to as many as 10,000 children across Finland. WAU said in a statement that […]

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WAU, a confederation of sporting organisations, announced Thursday that it has closed down due to lack of funding. The NGO said that it has filed for bankruptcy and will therefore no longer be able to provide free weekly physical activity programmes to as many as 10,000 children across Finland.

WAU said in a statement that it had filed for bankruptcy and that it was closing down its programmes because several major sponsors had decided to cut off funding. Since the non-profit was unable to find new sponsors it filed for bankruptcy in early April.

The organisation, which began operations in 2009, said that it had set up sports programmes for children and teens in more than 40 municipalities.

“WAU has shut down across the country. As a result, some 10,000 children will be deprived of weekly free sporting activities,” said WAU project coordinator Tuomas Kosunen.

500 affected in Rovaniemi

Kosunen said that the programme has provided weekly activities for 500 children in Rovaniemi. “We have had 32 weekly classes here. In other words, we have visited different schools throughout Rovaniemi 32 times [a week] to provide kids with exercise. Some of the clubs are in the morning, some in the afternoon and some have taken place in the middle of the day,” he explained.

By his own reckoning, Kosunen said that he had worked with the WAU programme for eight months and 18 days.

Saga Saniola, a student attending Koskenkylä school in Rovaniemi, said that she was an active member of WAU’s early-morning exercise programme.

“I like that you get a lot of exercise here. The morning starts off nicely,” she added. Her schoolmate Ville Laurila agreed.

“They are really good and in principle it gives you a free morning warm-up,” he said.

WAU estimated that during 10 years of operation, it conducted nearly 78,000 free exercise classes and provided kids with more than one million hours of physical activity.

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Iceland’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increase http://vikingarnews.com/icelands-greenhouse-gas-emissions-increase/ http://vikingarnews.com/icelands-greenhouse-gas-emissions-increase/#respond Wed, 17 Apr 2019 04:00:42 +0000 http://vikingarnews.com/?p=13768 Greenhouse gas emissions in Iceland rose by 2.2 percent between 2016 and 2017, and are up by 85 percent from 1990 levels, a new report from the Environment Agency of Iceland (UST) details. As RÚV reports, greenhouse gases in Iceland actually began to decrease in 2005, but that trend began to reverse in 2012. UST […]

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Greenhouse gas emissions in Iceland rose by 2.2 percent between 2016 and 2017, and are up by 85 percent from 1990 levels, a new report from the Environment Agency of Iceland (UST) details.

As RÚV reports, greenhouse gases in Iceland actually began to decrease in 2005, but that trend began to reverse in 2012. UST believes the increase in emissions can be directly linked to the rapid growth of tourism in Iceland, as it relates to a sharp increase in both rented vehicles and flights to and from Iceland.

Tourism, however, is not the sole cause for the rise in emissions.

The report points out that emissions from local transport, fishing vessels, industrial livestock farming and landfills are not only the biggest contributors to air pollution; they also fall directly under the responsibility of the Icelandic government to manage.

In point of fact, emissions from heavy industry have increased by 133 percent since 1990. It should be noted that most of these heavy industry projects received the full support of the Icelandic government, and the companies behind them were diligent in characterising their business model as “green” due to Iceland’s abundance of geothermal and hydropower.

Emissions from car traffic have increased by 85 percent since 1990 and by 5.5 percent between 2016 and 2017. Air pollution has been a pervasive problem in Reykjavík, with multiple warnings issued every year advising residents to stay indoors on these “grey days”, especially children, the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions. Health officials have repeatedly pointed out that one of the best ways to reduce these emissions is to get more people to use public transit, culminating in offering free day passes for Reykjavík area buses on grey days.

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Denmark set for sunny and warm Easter holiday http://vikingarnews.com/denmark-set-for-sunny-and-warm-easter-holiday/ http://vikingarnews.com/denmark-set-for-sunny-and-warm-easter-holiday/#respond Wed, 17 Apr 2019 02:00:21 +0000 http://vikingarnews.com/?p=13764 The coming week and Easter weekend will feature warm temperatures and dry weather, Denmark’s national meteorological agency DMI forecasts. Although Monday morning still feels chilly following a cool weekend, there will be a distinctly spring-like and sunny feel to the week, DMI’s Jesper Eriksen said. “Today will have a lot of sunshine, and it will […]

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The coming week and Easter weekend will feature warm temperatures and dry weather, Denmark’s national meteorological agency DMI forecasts.

Although Monday morning still feels chilly following a cool weekend, there will be a distinctly spring-like and sunny feel to the week, DMI’s Jesper Eriksen said.

“Today will have a lot of sunshine, and it will also stay dry. There will be some cloudy spells, but no rain. We will see a high of 10 degrees (Celsius) at the warmest,” he said.

Tuesday’s weather will generally be similar to Monday’s.

“But there may be some showers in the north and east. But these will not be heavy. It will cloud over during the course of the day, and Tuesday will be a little cloudier than Monday,” Eriksen said.

On Wednesday, dry weather will be accompanied by warmer temperatures of up to 10-15°C and plenty of sunshine.

“We will finally be up to normal temperatures for the middle of April,” Eriksen said.

Stable weather is predicted on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, both public holidays.

“The theme for Easter will be dry weather and a lot of sun. And remember sun cream, because the UV index will reach a moderate level,” the meteorologist said.

Thursday and Friday’s temperatures will range between 12-18°C.

“The wind will primarily be from the east, so it will be coldest on the coasts with on-shore winds, but warmest on coasts with off-shore winds,” Eriksen said.

Just 2.5 millimetres of rain has fallen so far in April, according to DMI.

“There are probably places that haven’t had a drop. It’s very unusual for it to be so dry. But that looks like continuing, apart from some localized showers on Tuesday,” the DMI meteorologist said.

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IIHF offers explanation for call that cost Finland gold http://vikingarnews.com/iihf-offers-explanation-for-call-that-cost-finland-gold/ http://vikingarnews.com/iihf-offers-explanation-for-call-that-cost-finland-gold/#respond Tue, 16 Apr 2019 23:00:31 +0000 http://vikingarnews.com/?p=13760 The International Ice Hockey Federation offered an explanation Monday for the decision to waive off what would have been the gold medal-winning goal by Finland in the host country’s shootout loss to the United States in the women’s world hockey championship game. The IIHF, which had a video judge review every goal during the tournament, […]

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The International Ice Hockey Federation offered an explanation Monday for the decision to waive off what would have been the gold medal-winning goal by Finland in the host country’s shootout loss to the United States in the women’s world hockey championship game.

The IIHF, which had a video judge review every goal during the tournament, cited two rules in saying the goal by Petra Nieminen at 11:33 of overtime was disallowed due to non-incidental goaltender interference.

Nieminen’s goal sparked a wild celebration on Sunday as jubilant fans cheered what would have been Finland’s first championship in its first appearance in the title game.

After a lengthy video review, the goal was called back.

Finland captain Jenni Hiirikoski had made contact with American goaltender Alex Rigsby, who was moving out of her crease, as she passed in front of the net. Hiirikoski wasn’t assessed a goaltender interference penalty, but Rigsby was given a tripping minor.

The IIHF said the video judge weighed two rules in making the decision to waive off the goal.

One states: “An attacking skater who makes contact other than incidental with a goaltender who is out of his goal crease during game action will be assessed a minor penalty for interference. If a goal is scored at this time, it will not count.” The other states: “Incidental contact is allowed when the goaltender is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease, provided the attacking skater makes a reasonable effort to minimize or avoid such contact.”

Once the goal was waived off, the referees decided to uphold the tripping penalty. The Americans killed off two penalties in overtime before winning the game in a shootout as dispirited fans watched their devastated team await their runner-up honors.

Finnish Ice Hockey Federation chief executive officer Matti Nurminen said referees planned to give a penalty to Rigsby for tripping and were allowing the goal.

“But when it goes to video review, the power and authority goes (to) the video-goal judges,” he said after the game. “They saw it as goalie interference and made that decision.”

Hiirikoski did not think she had illegally interfered with the American.

“She came out from her crease,” she said. “What can you do? We don’t make the decisions.”

Rigsby saw it a different way: “I knew right away that it was not a goal. I was trying to ask the ref how I got a penalty, considering I was the one who got body-slammed. But the ref thinks I tried tripping the player when I was on the ground, and somehow I end up with the penalty. Funny how that went.”

Finland coach Pasi Mustonen said the play was simple: it was either a penalty on Hiirikoski for goalie interference and no goal or a penalty on Rigsby and a goal by Nieminen. He said he received no explanation from officials about the decision.

“They never come to me. They are ordered not to talk,” Mustonen said after the game. “They never can communicate, which means they destroy the atmosphere between the referees and the teams. They don’t really have the self-confidence that is needed to communicate with people in this atmosphere and that is the problem, which is also a matter of competence. We need male referees. All the female referees that are mature enough to be here, naturally, they should be here, but there are so few in the world.”

In Toronto, Finnish forward Kasperi Kapanen of the Maple Leafs said the call was botched.

“I think they kind of messed it up … that’s what happens. It is what it is,” he told The Canadian Press. “It would have been nice for them to win. It would have been good for women’s hockey, and just our country in general.”

Kapanen wasn’t the only one confused by the call.

Former American women’s team captain Julie Chu tweeted, “What is going onnnnn? If it’s not a goal, then Finland should have a penalty for goalie interference. If it’s a goal, then it means USA tripped Finland and the Finnish goal is good…? If it’s no goal, then how does USA have penalty? Someone help me??”

Former Canadian captain Hayley Wickenheiser tweeted: “That. Was. A. Goal. #suomi.”

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Finland heading for left-right coalition government after narrow SDP poll win http://vikingarnews.com/finland-heading-for-left-right-coalition-government-after-narrow-sdp-poll-win/ http://vikingarnews.com/finland-heading-for-left-right-coalition-government-after-narrow-sdp-poll-win/#respond Tue, 16 Apr 2019 19:00:45 +0000 http://vikingarnews.com/?p=13761 Finland is heading towards a broad but potentially fragile left-right coalition government after the Social Democrats came top for the first time in 20 years. The centre-left SDP looks set to keep out the nationalist Finns party, which it beat by just 6,800 votes, and is likely instead to try to form a government with […]

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Finland is heading towards a broad but potentially fragile left-right coalition government after the Social Democrats came top for the first time in 20 years.

The centre-left SDP looks set to keep out the nationalist Finns party, which it beat by just 6,800 votes, and is likely instead to try to form a government with parties of the left and centre-right.

The SDP, led by Antti Rinne, a 56-year-old former trade union leader, will have 40 MPs in a fragmented 200-seat Eduskunta (parliament) after winning 17.7 percent of the vote after a fierce anti-austerity campaign.

Nevertheless, the far-right, anti-immigration and increasingly radical Finns party did better than expected, winning 17.5% and 39 seats – almost exactly the same as its total in elections in 2011 and 2015, but significantly more than it might have hoped for earlier this year.

On a good night generally for the left, the SDP finished with six more MPs than in the previous parliament, while the Greens gained five and the more radical Left Alliance four. Voters chose between 2,500 candidates from 19 political parties and movements.

The result was further evidence of a modest social democratic fightback in Nordic countries, with left-leaning prime ministers now in power in Sweden and Iceland, and the Social Democrats leading in the polls in Denmark, where elections are due this summer.

The biggest loser was the Centre party of the outgoing prime minister Juha Sipilä, who blamed the slump in its support – to 13.8 percent of the vote and fourth place – on the “difficult economic decisions” his government had had to make.

Ninety-two of the 200 MPs in the new parliament are women, the second highest proportion in Europe after Iceland.

Although the SDP’s victory is its first in 20 years, with no party winning more than 20 percent of the vote and deep divisions within all mainstream parties over the future of Finland’s widely admired welfare system – which the left want to preserve by increasing taxes, and the right to streamline because of rising costs – the centre-left party may find it hard to build a sustainable coalition.

Final results will be published on Wednesday, with formal coalition talks likely to start on 25 April. The leader of the party with the most seats traditionally has the first stab at forming a government.

Political analysts expect a coalition led by the Social Democrats, possibly including the conservative National Coalition, a junior member of the outgoing coalition, which won 38 seats, the Greens and the Swedish People’s party.

The more radical Left Alliance might also seek to join the cabinet, but the Centre party’s heavy defeat is likely to exclude it. All parties have said they would find it difficult, if not impossible, to share power with the Finns party and its hardline leader, Jussi Halla-aho, who has shifted the party firmly to the right since a 2017 split that saw half its MPs leave.

Rinne said his party disagreed with the Finns party on immigration, the EU, and economic policy, as well as, most importantly, in their core values. “I don’t think we can work with the Finns because of those differences,” he told Agence France-Presse, adding that he expected to be able to instead strike a deal with either the conservative National Coalition or the Centre party.

“It’s very hard to see that the other parties would say no to the Social Democrats, because then we would be in a situation with Halla-aho trying to form a government and I just don’t see that happening,” said a political commentator, Sini Korpinen.

Markku Jokisipilä, professor of political history at the University of Turku, said other parties were “at present rejecting the possibility of being in the same government with the Finns party. But it remains to be seen, because Finnish politics is rather pragmatic.”

Halla-aho told the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper that although he could be interested in the job of interior minister, he would not repeat the mistakes his party made in 2015 when it haemorrhaged support after entering government and had to compromise on immigration and EU bailouts.

“I don’t see it as possible that the Finns party would take part in a government which doesn’t clearly commit to reducing humanitarian migration,” he said.

Jussi Halla-aho, left, has transformed the Finns party into an explicitly nationalist, far-right organisation that aims to cut immigration to ‘almost zero’.

The strong finish by the Finns party, which was in fifth place in the polls less than six months ago, echoed similar recent performances by hard-right, anti-immigration parties across Europe.

Halla-aho, who has transformed the party from being a populist Eurosceptic movement to a far more explicitly nationalist, far-right organisation that aims to cut immigration to “almost zero” and questions the need for tough action on climate change, ended up winning the most votes of any candidate in the election.

Halla-aho, 47, who was fined by the supreme court in 2012 for blog comments linking Islam to paedophilia and Somalis to theft, has said the next government should not speed up cutting carbon emissions but instead pursue a “more moderate climate policy that does not chase industries away from Finland to countries like China”.

The Finns party is among a number of populist far-right parties, including Germany’s far-right AfD, Italy’s League and the Danish People’s party, to announce plans to join forces after the European parliamentary elections on 23-26 May in an attempt to transform EU policies on migration, families and the environment.

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