Sunday, December 23

Merry Christmas

Geseënde Kersfees, Een Plesierige Kerfees, Rehus-Beal-Ledeats, Gezur Krislinjden, Milad Majid, Feliz Navidad, Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand, Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun, Selamat Hari Natal Zorionak eta Urte Berri On! Shuvo Naba Barsha, Vesele Vanoce. Feliz Natal, Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat, Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo, Bon Nadal i un Bon Any Nou! Feliz Navidad, Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun, Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan (Catonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun, Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito, Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo, Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth, Pace e salute, Rot Yikji Dol La Roo, Mitho Makosi Kesikansi, Sretan Bozic, Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok, Glædelig Jul, Christmas-e- Shoma Mobarak, Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! or Zalig Kerstfeast, Merry Christmas, Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame pivdluaritlo! Gajan Kristnaskon, Ruumsaid juulup|hi, Melkin Yelidet Beaal Gledhilig jol og eydnurikt nyggjar! Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad, Hyvaa joulua, Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar, Joyeux Noel, Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier! Bo Nada, Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr! Fröhliche Weihnachten, Kαλά Χριστούγεννα! Jwaye Nowel or to Jesus Edo Bri'cho o Rish D'Shato Brichto, Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!, Mele Kalikimaka, Mo'adim Lesimkha. Chena tova, Shub Naya Baras, Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara! Mele Kalikimaka ame Hauoli Makahiki Hou! Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket, Gledileg Jol, Selamat Hari Natal, Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah, Nollaig Shona Dhuit, or Nodlaig mhaith chugnat, Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut. Ojenyunyat osrasay. Buone Feste Natalizie, Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto, Mithag Crithagsigathmithags, Sung Tan Chuk Ha, souksan van Christmas, Natale hilare et Annum Faustum! Prieci'gus Ziemsve'tkus un Laimi'gu Jauno Gadu!, Wjesole hody a strowe nowe leto, Priecigus Ziemassvetkus, Linksmu Kaledu, Heughliche Winachten un 'n moi Nijaar, Sreken Bozhik, IL-Milied It-tajjeb, Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa, Meri Kirihimete, Shub Naya Varsh, Merry Keshmish, God Jul, or Gledelig Jul, Pulit nadal e bona annado, Bon Pasco, Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu, En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!, Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año Nuevo, Maligayan Pasko! Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie, Feliz Natal, Christmas Aao Ne-way Kaal Mo Mobarak Sha, Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi. Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua, Bellas festas da nadal e bun onn, Legreivlas fiastas da Nadal e bien niev onn!, Sarbatori vesele or Craciun fericit, Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom, Buorrit Juovllat, La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou, Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nou, Hristos se rodi, Sretan Bozic or Vesele vianoce, Buorrit Juovllat, La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou, Nollaig chridheil huibh, Hristos se rodi., Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa, Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok, Vesele Bozicne Praznike Srecno Novo Leto or Vesel Bozic in srecno Novo leto, Feliz Navidad,God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År, Maligayamg Pasko. Masaganang Bagong Taon, Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal, Neekiriisimas annim oo iyer seefe feyiyeech!, Sawadee Pee Mai or souksan wan Christmas, Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun, Srozhdestvom Kristovym or Z RIZDVOM HRYSTOVYM, Naya Saal Mubarak Ho, Chuc Mung Giang Sinh, Nadolig Llawen, E ku odun, e ku iye'dun!

Wednesday, December 5

Born Finn

When you read something like this: A doctor, who had received two reprimands in Finland, is suspected of having made a number of incorrect cancer diagnoses while working in Ireland recently. Pathologist Antoine Geagea, 57, has become the central figure in a cancer diagnosis scandal in Ireland in recent days. He had previously worked at the Kätilöopisto Maternity Hospital of the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS) from where he was on a recuperation leave. The Lebanese-born Geagea, who has lived in Finland for decades, worked in Ireland in 2006-2007 in at least two different hospitals. Now two separate teams of investigators are looking into his breast cancer diagnoses.” the first thing you naturally feel is chills for the poor victims.

I mean I know personally what it is when somebody tells you, you got cancer; and I know well all the tests and all the changes you have to go though in a short period while your psychic is getting lower and lower and do all that because of a mistake that’s …too much. And in this case I take as graded that his mistake was that there was no cancer and he did diagnosed that there is, what happens on the other side when there is and he diagnosed that there isn’t I just … don’t want to think about!

And if that was not enough the agency had to put a bit of …prejudice – I try hard to avoid the word racism. “The Lebanese-born Geagea, who has lived in Finland for decades…” oh man! They mean that it was his Lebanese origins that led him to the wrong diagnosis?

Do they mean that if he was Finnish origin he wouldn’t have made a mistake? He went to the same university and he had the same teachers, or do they mean that in Finnish universities the foreign origin take different education? Or and I hope I’m wrong, do they blame it on his …origins?

The decision for his guilt or not is in the hands of specialists and the justice, Irish and Finnish; and till then we should better respect the fact – constitutionally protected – that everybody is innocent till proven guilty; but this …” The Lebanese-born Geagea, who has lived in Finland for decades…” is definitely guilty!

Saturday, December 1

Is tolerance in the end going to drawn in blood?

Spitting hatred, thousands of hardliner Islamists called for British teacher Gillian Gibbons to be shot yesterday. They streamed out of mosques in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, shouting: "Kill her, kill her, kill her by firing squad." One man brandished a giant sword; others carried axes, clubs, ceremonial swords and knives.

Is this the reality then on the Muslim tolerance? Is this the reason we make every effect to understand and excuse? How far this is going to go and if these are the fanatics then what the others do?

Are the Muslim states and the mainstream Muslim clerics trapped from the fanatics or they are part of all that because the western states managed always to stop any kind of haters and their messages but it seems that in Muslim countries these people can take the streets carrying weapons and swords and threaten a lynch. Is tolerance in the end going to drawn in blood?

Monday, November 26

British report

From the original Ovi magazine (Ovi lehti in Finnish)

Brown hits back on forces funding

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has rejected criticism from five former military chiefs about the treatment of and funding for the armed forces. He said he had "nothing but praise" for the forces, and was putting more money into defense "than ever before".

Former chief of staff Lord Boyce said making Des Browne defense and Scottish secretary had been an "insult". Tory leader David Cameron has written to Mr. Brown asking him to divide the roles between two people. Asked about the criticism, the prime minister, who is in Kampala, Uganda, for a Commonwealth summit, said, "I have got nothing but praise for our armed forces. I have visited them in Iraq and Afghanistan and what they are doing are acts of great courage.”

Gordon Brown did visit them in Iraq and most likely that’s the problem because it is where he has shown bad treatment to them - he should have never gone!!!


Bird flu restrictions are over

A national ban on bird shows and pigeon races due to bird flu has been lifted, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said.

The ban had been in place across the country since bird flu was confirmed at a farm in Suffolk on 12 November. But Defra said the restrictions would remain within the restricted surveillance and protection zones in Suffolk and Norfolk.

That was really scary news especially coming before Christmas, the time people definitely eat birds. It seems as though over the last few years we have become so worried with all these epidemics that the smallest incident is enough to scare us all and attract the worst restrictions and all kinds of measures.


Treasury denies discs 'cover-up'

Chancellor Alistair Darling is standing by his version of events of how discs containing the personal details of 25 million people went missing. The Treasury said there was nothing in e-mails released on Thursday to contradict the chancellor's account. The e-mails suggest a senior manager was involved - something not mentioned in Mr. Darling's statement to MPs.

It comes as opinion polls suggest the data loss crisis has badly dented public confidence in the government. A Populous poll for the Times suggests those backing Labour's ability to handle economic problems has been more than halved to 28%, with just a quarter deeming Prime Minister Gordon Brown's administration "competent and capable".

Who knows how much more we will hear in the next few weeks. The worst part I can imagine for the Labour government is that they definitely lost 2.5 million …votes!!!


Mourinho says NO for England post

Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho does not want to succeed Steve McClaren as England manager, BBC Sport understands. Mourinho, 44, has been out of football since leaving Stamford Bridge in September but is believed to be waiting for a club rather than a national post.

I’m sure it has something to do with the money; the English Football Association is not exactly a Russian mogul!

Saturday, November 24

Spanish report

From the original Ovi magazine (Ovi lehti in Finnish)

Alicante murder suspect made TV plea for his ex to take him back

He appeared on a popular talk show broadcast just days before his ex girlfriend was fatally stabbed. It’s been revealed that the man in custody for the murder of a Russian woman in Alicante this weekend appeared on an Antena 3 talk show recently to ask his ex girlfriend to take him back.

The Información newspaper names the suspect as Ricardo, and says he appeared on the programme ‘Diario de Patricia,’ in a show which went out last week. It seems the couple had split up a month ago and he wanted to restart their relationship. His ex partner, named by Información as Svetlana, refused his public plea, and was stabbed in the neck on Sunday, allegedly by Ricardo. She died in hospital on Monday morning.

This is like Big Brother and all the reality shows put together! It is amazing how far people go for their 10 minutes of fame or how low TV has gone!


Her nude photos on the net

A 20-year-old man from Madrid is in custody, after he posted photos of a young girl from Murcia on the Internet because she refused to have sex with him, and now faces charges of corruption of minors and child pornography.

He first contacted the girl through an Internet chat room, and obtained the photographs, some of them in the nude and in what are said to be erotic poses, under the pretext that he worked for a model agency. He then threatened to post them on an adult site if she refused to give in to his demands for sex, and finally went ahead with his threat.

Well, she did model in the end, didn’t she? What I don’t understand is what she thought while he was taking the photos! Did she think that it was a naïve innocent photo shoot? Suddenly all these prejudice jokes about blondes came true.


Immigrant found hidden beneath a bus in Albolote

An immigrant who entered the country illegally was arrested in Albolote on Tuesday, when he was discovered hiding beneath a bus from Morocco, which had travelled to Spain empty of passengers.

He was found when the driver heard knocking sounds coming from beneath the vehicle, and was taken into custody by the Civil Guard. EFE said he appeared to be in good health.

From one side this is shocking news and you feel like wishing the Spanish government allows the man to stay there and from the other side you wonder how many more and in how many more ways. Living in Finland I found often difficult to explain this situation to people who get something like …14 illegal immigrant cases a year while in south Europe the number jumps up to 14 …a minute!

Wednesday, November 14

World Diabetes Day

From the original Ovi magazine (Ovi lehti in Finnish)

According to the World Health Organization, in 2006 at least 171 million people were diagnosed as suffering from diabetes. Diabetes in one of the top five most significant diseases and, in combination with the other two ‘developing countries’ diseases, high blood pressure and heart problems can be proven lethal.

In just the United States alone, 20.8 million people were diagnosed with diabetes in 2005, while another 6.2 million people were undiagnosed and another 41 million people were in pre-diabetic status. These scary numbers are the reality of our modern world. Diabetes, especially Type II, is the combination of heritable situation and the life style that includes a bad diet and little exercise. We must understand that diabetes, Type, I and II, is chronic and there's no cure - the only defence is the lifestyle of the diabetic.

I’m not a doctor myself, so you'll have to find the doctors and institutions to give you all the help and information you may need, plus the internet can also provide forums for diabetics suffering from both types; they can give you some help but most of all support. As I said, I’m not a doctor and I'm certainly not pretending to be one, on the contrary I am a diabetic and I found out my situation in 1994. All the signs were there I just didn’t see them or never had the right information to even recognise them.

Not that there was lack of information, there was plenty available in hospitals and doctor’s surgeries. It was just nowhere around, nobody had told me that being forty, having a lifestyle full of stress, an uncontrolled diet and no exercise was asking for problems. For over two years I had all the symptoms by the book, I was constantly thirsty and hungry, I was gaining weight quickly and, at the same, I was then losing it just as fast. However, I always had the excuse of being too busy all the time. I started having problems with my eyes and kept thinking I must check them… when I’m not too busy. I always had something more important to do, but then two years after I found myself in hospital bed following a cardiac episode and a diabetes waiting in the corner.

Since then my life has changed. It had to change by force and over a decade later it still has its ups and downs. For many of these ups and downs I am to blame because I had to learn new tricks and that was not always easy – especially for an old dog like me. It would have been definitely easier and much simpler if I had the right information at the right time.

I’m not going to tell you the differences between diabetes I and II, but there are many and they are both dangerous, especially if we don’t take the right precautions. As I said, there is no cure for diabetes but there is definitely management that can lead to a normal life - don’t forget that one of the strong symptoms in diabetes is physiological, such as depression and manias.

In the case of diabetes II, doctors practice an operation called gastric bypass surgery that treats patients with 80-100% severely obese diabetes, but again you must ask a doctor, who can give you better information.

November 14th is World Diabetes Day and a good chance to find some more information about one of the worst contemporary diseases.

Thursday, October 18

Polish reporter

From the original Ovi magazine (Ovi lehti in Finnish)

No more Mr. Nice Guy

Poland's opposition leader has mocked the prime minister for lacking a driver's license, compared him with a notorious communist and accused him of forcing two million Poles from their homeland. Donald Tusk, a trim, sandy-blonde economic liberal, is showing a new toughness as he fights to unseat Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski in elections this Sunday, revealing steel unseen when he failed to win power in 2005.

Polls show a tight contest between Tusk's pro-business and socially conservative Civic Platform, and Kaczynski's Law and Justice, which is also conservative, but favors greater social spending to help the needy and is more skeptical of the European Union.

The bitter truth is that the amazing twins must go out from power in Poland but what remains causes more wonders. Their anti-communist menace has often led their policies to the limits of fascism and Poland has been often under criticism from the European Parliament, not to forget all the problems the twins caused in the last summit.

Poland may block Russia's entrance to WTO

Poland warned on Monday that it would block Russia's entrance to the World Trade Organization if Moscow did not cancel an embargo on exports of Polish meat and produce. Russia imposed the ban in late-2005 after uncovering what it said were violations of food safety regulations. Polish officials maintain that the country's food quality standards meet EU norms and that the embargo is political.

"If Russia's position toward Poland doesn't change, we will have to vote against Russia's membership in WTO," Deputy Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski told a news conference in Moscow, according to Russian news agencies.

Poland also warned it would continue to block a strategic EU-Russia agreement if the embargo was not lifted. "Poland has to link these two issues — the embargo and the signing of a new agreement between Russia and the European Union," Ardanowski was quoted as saying.

The question that arises is not if Russia will stop banning Polish meat but if Polish meat meets the standards of food safety regulations and if the EU can guarantee that they do.

Polish Church Advises People How To Vote

The Polish Catholic Church reminded Poland's voters that they have an obligation to vote in keeping with the fundamental values taught by the Church. In a letter by Polish Bishops that was read to congregations all over Poland this weekend, people were told that they should pay attention to the moral condition of political candidates, their identity, values and readiness to cooperate with others.

Prime Minister Kaczynski's voter base rests primarily in the countryside among the older population and followers of Radio Maria's Father Taduesz Rydzyk. These voters are devoutly Catholic and tend to support Kaczynski. How much some of them support him and his party was made reported today in the Polish Weekly Gazeta Wyborcza.

In Lublin, after a church service yesterday, PIS flyers were distributed on the church's premises and when a Gazeta Wyborcza reporter started taking pictures, some people surrounded him, started calling him names, and told him to "f**k off!" - One woman even hit him in the face. Finally a man urged people to calm down and the reporter was able to get away.

The candidates whose fliers were distributed said that they had no idea about what happened. They said that people take their flyers and distribute them any way they want. Candidates have no control over what they do.

It seems that the Vatican will never stop getting involved in Polish politics despite the fact that the wall has fallen and the Polish Pope is dead.

Monday, October 8

Latvian Report

From the original Ovi magazine (Ovi lehti in Finnish)

Gang of former KGB agents operating in Latvia

A criminal group composed of Soviet-era KGB agents and former and present special service agents are operating in Latvia, the country's prime minister said Thursday. "We know people, their names, concrete crimes, we have testimonies, but we haven't detained anyone yet," Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis said.

The criminal gang - allegedly linked to certain politicians - is believed to be involved in extortion and drug trafficking in the small Baltic EU country, he said. Kalvitis did not disclose any names, but called on President Valdis Zatlers to hold a special national security council meeting "as soon as possible." Theoretically Kalvitis' allegations could be true, said Lolita Cigane, a corruption expert at Providus Center.

While one former KGB employee tries to be elected Russia's next PM, others have taken a different path that is usually the plot of a James Bond film.

Latvia extends peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan

Latvia has decided to extend its peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan for another year, allocating $14 million in funds, the governmental press service said Tuesday. The ex-Soviet Baltic state plans to send a total of 260 troops into the country in two alternating troop contingents, the press service said. At the moment, 100 Latvian troops are deployed in northern Afghanistan as part of the UN peacekeeping mission. A NATO and European Union member, Latvia withdrew from Iraq in June.

This year has been the bloodiest period in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led campaign to overthrow the Taliban movement in 2001, as radical Islamist forces step up attacks in an attempt to topple the government and drive foreign troops out of the country.

Latvia is certainly a country of contradictions with the World Bank ranking it as the 22nd best country for business, while it also has the most expensive chicken meat, sausages, milk, eggs, bread and sugar in the Baltic States and is facing increasing accusations of corruption.

Russian Parliament's Upper House Ratifies Latvia Border Pact

The upper house of Russia's parliament Wednesday ratified a border treaty with Latvia that allows Russia to retain a swathe of land contested by Latvian nationalists. The treaty gives Russia control of an area known as the Pytalovo district to Russians and Abrene to Latvians that was seized by the Soviet Union after World War II.

Latvian nationalists protested the agreement as a sellout when the Latvian parliament signed it earlier this year, but supporters hope the agreement will help improve often-chilly relations with Russia. Moscow frequently complains that Latvia discriminates against its large ethnic-Russian population and regards Latvia's membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union as Western encroachment on Russia's border.

The 117-1 vote by the Federation Council sends the measure to President Vladimir Putin for signing. Latvia already has ratified and signed the measure. The situations sounds similar to that of some Finns and their belief that Karelia should be returned to Finland, which was also an area taken by Russia at the end of World War Two and has caused extensive diplomatic problems recently after some officials made claims regarding a secret buy-out offer made by Russia in the 1950s.

Wednesday, September 26

Romanian Report

From the original Ovi magazine (Ovi lehti in Finnish)

Low birth rate harming Romania

Romanian President Traian Basescu said this week that he is worried his country was “going through a demographic desert” because of a drop in birth rates since 1990. “In 17 years, Romania has lost 1.4mn people due to emigration and the lower birth rate,” Basescu said during a conference on population in the central town of Sibiu.

“Today, we count only one child per woman. If this birth rate remains as it is, we will only have 16mn residents in Romania in 2050, 11mn in 2075 and 8.5mn in 2100,” he warned. Romania currently has 21.6mn inhabitants.

In other new, tens of thousands of migrant workers from Romania are to be blocked from working in Britain amid concerns that economic migration is placing new strains on public services. Ahh, here we have the intricacies of the EU in all its glory.

Bromsgrove volunteers help out in Romania

A group of volunteers from the UK witnessed first-hand the importance of this year's fund-raising subject of the Day of Kindness (September 18th) when they visited the slums of Romania.

The week-long expedition was organised to raise awareness of one of Europe's poorest and most disadvantaged countries and was hailed as a life-changing experience by some of the volunteers on their return. The trip saw them discover the reality of the struggle many Romanians endure each day with no running water and very primitive sanitation.

For more on raising funds for The Smiles Foundation, call John and Joan Mayo on 0044 1527 875602 or log onto:

Best women handball teams in Europe

The 2007 Women’s Champions Trophy will take place in Vâlcea, Romania from 22 – 23 September 2007. Vâlcea is no stranger to top handball events and the city is steeped in handball traditions. The arena in Vâlcea was renovated and used for the preliminary and main round of the 2000 Women’s European Championship.

The competition in Ramnicu Valcea is held for the first time under the name Champions' Tournament, called Europe's Supercup previously. The participating teams are Slagelse DT (Denmark) - winner of Champions League 2006-2007, Zvezda Zvenigorod (Russia) - winner of EHF Cup, Oltchim Ramnicu Valcea and Lada Togliatti, invited by the European Handball Federation (EHF).

Talking of balls, do you know why snakes don't have balls? It's because very few of them can dance.

Tuesday, September 18

Chinese executional tricks

From the original Ovi magazine (Ovi lehti in Finnish)

As we get closer to the Olympic Games year criticism is coming more often about different things, therefore Peking had to do something, even if that something is just for show. The Chinese Supreme Court has ordered judges to be more …sparing in the application of death penalties.

To this there are two sides, such as there are two sides in my head while reading this and trying to understand what the Chinese state - justice is totally controlled by the state - is after. I should be happy for the Chinese coming one step closer to understanding that respect to human life comes on many levels or shall I be my usual cynical self?

Yes, they are going to reduce the number of state members that were convicted for economic scandals to the death penalty but - and this is a huge 'but' - since who’s going to get capital punishment: a former state member or a strong opposition leader? And to become even more cynical, do they mean that they are going to reduce the number of convicted from nearly 4,000 to nearly 3,999 and the actual executions from the 1,770 in 2005 to 1,769 this year?

Why are they doing this? Is it to keep all the NGOs from asking everybody to boycott the Olympic Games? That’s definitely a good reason for the Chinese communist party. The Chinese communist party has come a long way since the days of its founder, especially after the Cultural Revolution that came to clean up the party. Actually, if the ideas of the Cultural Revolution had any effect in today’s China the leaders of the party should be the first to be shot.

China has always been a huge market, which even the church realized centuries ago when, aside from the preaching, the monks and the missionaries always tried to make business with the Chinese. Today there is cheap labour, low costs and a society that learns to be consuming; a paradise for western companies.

The most amazing thing about the whole case was the detailed instructions the Supreme Court gave. For example, murders triggered by family disputes should not always lead to the death penalty, alike to crimes for …passion! But, the best of all comes last: those convicted of economic crimes should be treated more ‘leniently’ if they help to recoup money that was defrauded. Most likely the last one is because if they continue the way they have been leading over the last few years everybody in the central committee of the Chinese communist party will be executed!

It is only days since we published another article about capital punishment and it was for the 30 year anniversary of the last execution with guillotine in France. In that article I was talking about China and I feel a personal irony that only a few days after the Chinese Supreme Court took the decision, just as I said, to understand that the eye-for-eye punishment only makes us equally murderers, with the sentenced.

Either they are making a positive first step towards the exclusion of capital punishment or the Chinese state may just make me really angry by naively thinking that they can manipulate NGOs and democratic governments with stupid announcements like that.

Belgian Report

From the original Ovi magazine (Ovi lehti in Finnish)

Raikkonen wins third-straight Belgian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso cut McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton's world championship lead to two points as Kimi Raikkonen took a dominant win at the Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps. This was Raikkonen's third-straight Belgian Grand Prix win and it allowed Ferrari to secure the constructors' championship title.

However, Ferrari actually won the constructors' title in Paris last week when the FIA World Motor Sport Council decided to strip McLaren of all its constructors' points for 2007 following evidence that they received a systematic flow of information from a spy within rivals Ferrari for nearly three months this year. The FIA fined McLaren £50m.

However, the Belgian grand Prix was further overshadowed when McLaren revealed they may file a complaint against rival team Renault about alleged use of technical information. Just where this domino effect of corruption and allegations will end remains to be seen and there is a real danger the sport will be plunged into the same disrepute as Italian football faced last year.

Belgium no longer for sale

This week Internet auction website eBay withdrew an unusual second-hand sale item, the country of Belgium, which had attracted an offer of 10 million euros. "Belgium, a kingdom in three parts" was posted on the Belgian eBay site as offering "plenty of choice" despite the caveat that it comes with "300 billion of National Debt", although the accompanying text said the kingdom "can be bought as a whole (not recommended)".

EBay spokesman Peter Burin said the site could not host the sale of anything virtual or "unrealistic", the Belga news agency reported. The 'vendor' was named as a former journalist, Gerrit Six. Offering his lot at an initial price of one euro ($A1.67), he saw 26 subsequent bids culminating in the 10 million euro offer today before the auction was halted.

10 million euros isn't too bad for a country famous for… famous for, errr, chocolate, beer and… errr… Anyway, 10 million euros isn't too bad for a country other than Belgium.

Belgium's worst crisis for 177 years
100 days have now passed since Belgium could boast of a government. Despite increasingly desperate calls by Belgium's King Albert for national unity, the federal state has hit its worst crisis for 177 years after national elections on June 10 failed to produce a government and coalition talks descended into ugly squabbling between francophone Walloons and the Dutch-speaking Flemish.

The 39-year old Flemish IT consultant has had enough. "The Belgian franc is gone. Our football team never wins anything anymore. The monarchy cannot even appeal to the politicians to stick together. It is time for us to get a divorce," he said. "With the best will in the world, you can not build a country on a shared taste for mussels, chips and beer - no matter how tasty."

See, 10 million euros is too much.

Sunday, September 16

Bulgarian Report

From the original Ovi magazine (Ovi lehti in Finnish)

Bulgarian Arrow Suspect killer turns himself in
Police investigating the murder of an arrow-shot Iraqi citizen said the suspected killer has turned himself in. The 41-year-old Iraqi national died after being shot with an arrow in the centre of Bulgaria's capital city of Sofia on Tuesday. Unofficial reports identified the suspect as Filip Dimitrov, 28. He has a criminal record for theft and drug possession.

Investigators told the agency that the motive for the murder was not clear but it was not an attempt to settle scores with the victim, Ali Mohamed Taher. The tragedy took place in front of a shop on the central Tsar Simeon Street where Taher worked. He was rushed to Pirogov Emergency Institute shortly after the shooting but doctors could do nothing to save his life. Police found a crossbow, the weapon used in the murder, as they searched the home of the suspect.

It was Einstein who said, I don’t know how WWIII will happen but I’m sure that WWIV will be fought with bows and spears. Think of it, we didn’t even start WWIII and somebody has already started practicing for the fourth!

Bulgaria's Pleven 1st Mall

The central Bulgarian town of Pleven will soon sport a mall after the reconstruction of the former town bank building is finished. Central Mall Pleven will cost almost EUR 9.2m and has been built by Niya Ltd, a construction and investment company. The mall will cover a total of 11,000 square metres across a built-up area, 7,000 of which will be used for shops.

"The five-storey building will house 40 shops," said Yani Stoimenov, CEO of NIA Procon, the company that will deal with the shop rentals. The mall will also have a two-level cinema, a bank, two restaurants, two fast food restaurants, cafeterias and a huge children's playground. The mall is scheduled to open for visitors in September 2008.

I don’t know if I should be happy or feel sorry for them, since the good old days when kids used to play football in the streets and the backyards is replaced by Pleven's cafeterias, pubs, neon signs and multiplex cinemas!!!

Fix Prices for Pre-Election Campaigns' Airing

Bulgaria's state-owned television channel will charge the political parties, which will participate in the local elections in October, BGN 135 (10 Bulgarian Leva equals 5 euros) for a minute of debate aired in the media.

The candidates for mayor will have to dig deep in their pockets and pay BGN 600 for a minute-long pre-election campaign video aired on the National TV and the state-owned satellite channel in the 12 am to 12:30 pm time zone. The price goes up three times for the same service if the videos are aired during the day. The price for a minute-long pre-election address on the state radio air will cost BGN 90, a minute of political debate will cost BGN 30.

The regional state TV channels will charge the participants in the mayoral race BGN 30 for a minute of debate. A minute of airtime for introductory and closing pre-election campaign videos on the Bulgarian National Television is set at BGN 1,000. The government on Thursday set the prices. They were fixed on the basis of the media time prices that were set for the MEP candidates Bulgaria elected earlier in the year.

Set prices? Equality in front of the screen? I think the point should never be how much the candidates will spend on televised advertising spots but where did they find the money to do so, especially while the Bulgarian people literally fight to have food on the table every day.

Saturday, August 18

Dutch Report

From the original Ovi magazine (Ovi lehti in Finnish)

Giant Lego Man Washes Ashore in Holland

A giant 2.5 meter Lego man mysteriously washed up on the Dutch resort of Zandvoort joining the ranks of such publicity stunts as 1984's giant Swatch in Frankfurt and a life-size Lego crane that hit Chile last year. The plastic invader was wearing a shirt with the words, "NO REAL THAN YOU ARE," which makes it unclear if this was even done by Lego.

Workers at a drinks stall rescued the Lego man, with a traditional yellow head and blue torso. "We saw something bobbing about in the sea and we decided to take it out of the water," said a stall worker. A woman nearby added, "I saw the Lego toy floating towards the beach from the direction of England."

Dutch authorities will be taking the man into custody to determine whether he is eligible for asylum status after officials believe he escaped from Denmark's Legoland Billund after suffering from countless human rights violations. "The Lego man appears to be in shock because he hasn't spoken or stopped smiling since his rescue," another official stated.

Crackdown on magic mushrooms

The famously liberal Netherlands has been swinging toward the right, cracking down on immigration, religious freedoms and the freewheeling red light district. The next possible target is magic mushrooms following the death of a 17-year-old French girl, who jumped from a building after eating psychedelic mushrooms while on a school visit.

Regulation of mushrooms is even less stringent than Holland's famously loose laws on marijuana, which is illegal but tolerated in "coffee shops" that are a major tourist attraction. In May, Health Minister Ab Klink ordered the national health institute to perform a new study on the risks of mushrooms.

At a press conference, a spokesman for the national health institute was unable to answer reporters' questions concerning the progress of the study after screaming that a huge Lego man was trying to steal his packet of stroopwaffels.

Flood of complaints against call to ban Koran

Police have received a flood of complaints against a call to ban the Koran made by MP Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration party PVV, last week, reports ANP news service on Wednesday. The exact number of complaints is not yet known but run into ‘scores’ from around the country, a spokesman for the public prosecution service in Amsterdam said.

The Dutch right-wing politician, known for his views favouring the restriction of immigration, particularly from non-Western countries, his criticism of, and opposition to, Islam, suggested that Muslims should 'tear out half of the Koran if they wished to stay in the Netherlands' because it contained 'terrible things' and that Muhammad would 'in these days be hunted down as a terrorist'.

Dutch liberals are planning on sending Geert Wilders a plate of magic mushrooms and space cakes for his birthday on September 6 in the hope that he lightens the hell up and kills the brain cells responsible for his prejudice.

Saturday, August 4

Finnish bouncers and excessive force

From the original Ovi magazine (Ovi lehti in Finnish)

On Saturday night my English neighbour and his Finnish wife went out for a few drinks with some friends before they bid farewell to Finland and began their new life back in Britain. Midway through their evening at Zetor, a theme restaurant/nightclub in the centre of Helsinki, my friend underwent some brutal physical abuse from the club's security staff after he foolishly punched a Finnish man who had been sexually harassing his wife and then tried to steal her handbag.

I have given considerable thought to the approach I should take to writing this, since my friend's actions did deserve the attention of the bouncers, but – and this is the key point – the bouncers had no excuse for the extent of their retribution. Three members of Zetor's security jumped on my friend, who I'll call J, and inflicted severe wounds upon his forehead, face, throat, upper body and left knee, while at one point J almost lost consciousness due to the strange hold.

The incident, as related by J and his wife, goes as follows: Mrs J and her friend were harassed during the night and when their tolerance was exhausted they told the guy to stop. The guy then returned with Zetor's security staff and before their very eyes the man tried to snatch the handbag, which J happened to be holding. J foolishly punched the man in the heat of the moment and three bouncers were on him in seconds.

One had his arm around his throat, another was forcing J's arms behind his back and then when on the ground another sat on his legs. J managed to wriggle one of hands free to signal that he was about to pass out, yet the bouncers grabbed his hands and tied them behind his back with a plastic tie strap. Face down and with your hands secured behind your back would be considered by many to be restrained, but the bouncers did not stop.

A member of the supposedly professionally-trained security staff grabbed J's head and smashed it into the ground repeatedly, which is evident from the severe friction burns on his face and forehead. J hadn't been brandishing a weapon or shouting abuse, and one witness, who was not part of J's group, gave police a statement stating this. The arrival of the police signalled the start of part two of J's nightmare.

Despite the fact his face was bleeding and there was a danger of concussion from the beating security staff had inflicted, J received no medical attention all night and was even denied access to a lavatory, while locked in a cell unfit for any human or animal. His wife didn't know where he had been taken and had no way to contact him until he got home the following morning. The Finnish police then made an incredibly amateur mistake by asking J to sign a Finnish statement, which will result in the case being thrown out once it reached court.

J flies back home to the UK today and will be taking back very few, if any, good impressions of Finland. He will have to face airport security with his scabbed face, plus he will have to start his new job with a damaged knee that will certainly be aggravated by the weight of the luggage they are transporting back to England. J's Finnish wife felt obligated to apologise to her husband for ever bringing him to this country and they are both returning with a bitter taste of this country in their mouths.

Back home in England he will tell this story and people will be shocked. They will be shocked primarily by the fact that Zetor and its security staff will escape any kind of punishment or bad publicity, thereby ensuring that other patrons are under threat from these bullies. It is for this reason that I have decided to write an Ovi editorial to hopefully safeguard you from the bouncers at Zetor because, as a friend of J's wife said, nothing will change or happen due to the fact that all anybody will say, "It's Finland!"

Can you imagine if this situation happened in England or another EU country? Can you imagine somebody dismissing the entire incident with a, "Well, it's England!" The ignorance, the arrogance, the outright stupidity of that statement is what keeps this country on the same track, destined to relive these miscarriages of justice ad infinitum. It is time for people in Finland to stop blaming the country and point the finger back at themselves because they are the ones that turn the blind eye allowing it to happen.

My final warning: Avoid Zetor.

Friday, July 20

Pori jazz festival

Tuesday night at around eleven o’clock at night and I just cannot resist; believe it or not I’m dancing to …"Staying Alive"!!! Not the original by the Bee Gees but a fantastic jazz version of the known disco song by a Latvian jazz band. The place is the Klubi Garden at the Pori Jazz Festival.

For a long time before I moved to Finland every time I asked anything about Finland the answer was mostly connected with Formula 1 and I hate the damn sport if you could ever call it sport. However, nobody, literally nobody, ever told me anything about Finnish jazz. Not that I didn’t know about Scandinavian jazz, since my record collection already included a couple records from the Norwegian Jan Garbarek and Swedes Jan Johansson and Nils Landgren, but as for Finns… none!

The names Antti Sarpila, Jukka Eskola and Eero Koivistoinen meant nothing to me and most likely they mean nothing to you if you live outside Finland and I’m really sorry because if you like jazz because there is absolutely no excuse for not knowing these names. There is one good chance to live in a small Finnish town for fifteen days beside a fantastic river and feel the beat of the jazz music; ladies and gentlemen, only three days remain of this year's Pori Jazz festival and if you have missed it then you have time to organize next year's trip to jazz Finland - it starts on July 12th 2008.

For this year's festival line-up let me give you a list of names: Ziggy Marley, Steely Dan, Elvis Costello, Sly and the Family Stone, Paul Anka, Natalie Cole, Bianca Morales and Blood, Sweat and Tears. This is only the cream because the real coffee is there waiting. Phil Minton plays the trumpet alongside Roger Turner, Ted Curson and many many others. Imagine a whole jazz street beside the river in a country where, at midnight, you can still see the sun, and then at four in the morning sitting by the river with a glass of chilled white wine with eyes closed you allow Eti Carinae to move you with Latin rhythms.

When I said 'jazz street' I meant it literally because for a fortnight a street becomes the center of jazz music, with the Jazz Café, the Voodoo city café, the Klubi and the Klubi Garden and the Teatteri. The ultra music nightclubs become jazz stages and across the river on an island is the Kirjurinluoto Arena, a big stage with dance and magic! In the middle of all that are small tents with ethnic aromas to satisfy the stomach hunger after the soul with selections from Thai rice to Greek feta.

Naturally for some of these events there is an admission fee but there are so many other happenings going on for free that you feel that whatever you paid it was …too little. One evening – well, in Pori eight o’clock in the evening is not exactly evening with the sun burning your back - in the middle of the Jazz street on a stage sponsored by Nova radio and without ticket I saw one of the best progressive jazz performances I have ever seen in my life by a Swedish musician playing trumpet and playing only his compositions, but unfortunately I cannot remember his name.

Another night in a small pub not listed among the jazz clubs and events was a man from Peru with a guitar playing Tanita Tikaram in jazz style and on another night a trio (guitar/bass/violin) from Finland held another pub’s stage for three hours playing the best country I have ever heard outside the USA. On another night a Finn with an electric guitar and Bob Dylan-style harmonica took us all the way back to the '70s with his performance of artists from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin. With those last few examples, I wanted to show you that jazz street not only hosts jazz music but a great deal of good music and fantastic musicians.

I left Antti Sarpila to last because ever since I came to Finland there is no swing music for me without Antti Sarpila. I have all his records, I have seen him dozens of times in Helsinki and every time I watch a gig of his I have real fun and I mean it - I even find myself dancing and for the ones who know me that comes as a …surprise! The man is jazz all the way.

One last thing, when you get to Pori remember that all these nice people who help, all these young boys and girls who make sure that you have good time and do not feel like a foreigner for a minute, are all volunteers and they do this job just from love and joy.

If you want more information just check online at and make sure that you are going to join me next year for the 43rd Pori Jazz Festival. At the moment I’m packing my bag because another fantastic festival starts in Finland …the Savonlinna Opera Festival!

Tuesday, July 3

Greek - Report

Today is the turn of Greece in our new Ovi magazine Euro Reporter section.

Attica’s worst fire in decades

The worst forest fire in more than a decade ravaged some 3,000 hectares of Mount Parnitha, one of the few oases of green in Attica's concrete jungle, as ash rained down on the capital. Meanwhile fires in other parts of the country, many of which had started last Thursday, continued to burn, some threatening homes.

Troops joined hundreds of firefighters in efforts to contain the blaze on Parnitha, which started on Thursday afternoon at Dervenohoria, some 15 kilometres away. Several water-dropping planes spearheaded fire fighting efforts from the air. Light rainfall yesterday evening made the firefighters' job easier.

One of the first questions I have to deal with every time somebody realizes that you are living far away from your country is, what do you miss most. The usual answer is my family, my friends but then most of us go to more personal details or better things that make us feel home when we are in our country. However odd it might sounds for me has always been mountains. I miss maintains living in Finland. For years I had my morning coffee looking the top of Imitos, one of the three mountains that surround Athens.

Reading that one, the highest, the biggest and the most majestic of the mountains that surround Athens is on fire made my heart beat a bit louder. Greece is not exactly the place you find forests everywhere. There are very few anymore and they are very valuable for the people and the environment. Losing them is the last thing anybody would ever want; however it looks like that for one more time people are responsible for the loss of thousands of meters of forest and the total destruction of the nature. One of the last forests, on the sides of mount Parnitha seems to get lost in the name of populated with luxurious houses and mansions. What the governments do? Make pompous announcements in the beginning and then let them built more and more. Instead of carefully guarding the burned places they always come one day to find that whole communities have been build in the place of the burned forest and in the end they are forced to accept the situation and just start …taxing the new houses. The result? More and more opportunist find the chance to …burn some new forests and replace them with new luxurious mansions and of course instead of growing trees to grow more money!

For Ovi magazine the Euro Reporter


HIV man jailed

A 26-year-old HIV carrier from the island of Rhodes was jailed for 10 years yesterday after being found guilty of knowingly transmitting the virus that can lead to AIDS. A court on the island of Kos heard that the unnamed man transmitted the virus by having unprotected sex with two women even though he knew they might become infected.

Judges found the 26-year-old, who was arrested last year, guilty of intentionally causing grievous bodily harm. The two victims – a 24-year-old woman who lived with the accused and a younger woman who had a brief relationship with him – testified before the court that the man had not told them he was HIV positive before having unprotected sex with them.

However much understanding you might have for the bitterness the 26-year old might carried and his dispirit need for revenge since he obviously got the virus without knowing it, still you cannot accept that he turned his anger against more like him innocent victims. And how can you punish somebody who knows that he has already been punished the worst possible way, to die young!

For Ovi magazine the Euro Reporter

Monday, July 2


Today is the turn of Estonia in our new Ovi magazine Euro Reporter section.

Tunnel vision

The mayors of Tallinn and Helsinki want to launch a feasibility study into building an undersea rail tunnel between the two capitals. Edgar Savisaar met with Helsinki Lord Mayor Jussi Pajunen in Finland on June 19 and agreed to launch the feasibility study. The likelihood of the project is doubtful, since the tunnel would need to stretch over 80km. The longest undersea tunnel in the world is the English Channel Tunnel, which runs for over 50km.
The undertaking of such a task is estimated to cost around €2 billion and would be partly funded by the EU, but is the project economically feasible? In May this year the company that built and funded the Channel Tunnel project, and now runs the shuttle services has been in financial difficulties. Some of the attempts at solving the problems have included cutting the number of trains per hour, reducing staff and streamlining the business.

It does not seem possible that a Baltic Sea tunnel could turn a profit or ever regain its construction costs, especially considering that the ferries crossing the Sea of Helsinki are already facing their own financial difficulties after the lowering of tax on alcohol in Finland and offer particularly cheap tickets.

For Ovi magazine the Euro Reporter

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Streamlining foreign workers

The process of bringing foreign workers to Estonia is to be streamlined under a plan to ease the country’s worker shortage. The quota of foreign workers will be doubled to about 1,300 and the bureaucratic paperwork slashed by November under an Economy Ministry proposal. Economy Minister Juhan Parts said the bureaucratic simplifications were an obvious solution to give companies faster access to skilled labour.

Parts has said that it was “unacceptable” that “good qualified brains” were having difficulty entering the Estonian labour market, but that didn't mean that Estonia would be opening their borders to low-skilled workers, especially while there are 380 million available workers within the European Union. However, employers seeking long-term permits for workers will have to commit to paying a salary of at least 1.24 times the average Estonian salary, which currently sits at 9,600 kroons.

The problems will begin once Estonians realise that foreign workers are earning 1.24 times the local wage and this is hardly going to promote good feelings. Estonia is not the only EU country facing this problem, with its neighbour Finland also in a similar position.

For Ovi magazine the Euro Reporter

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A huge LEGO set

A historic London building has been dismantled, packed in crates and shipped to Tallinn for reassembly. The building is known as The Baltic Exchange, a grandiose marble hall that once served as the main centre for trade between Baltic Sea ports and England. It was badly damaged during the 1992 IRA bombings and was removed piece-by-piece from its central London location.

The €1.1 million purchase of the building was made by Estonian businessmen Heiti Haal and Eerik-Niiles Kross, who are now negotiating to find a suitable location for the building in central Tallinn. However impressive this all sounds, much of the building will actually have to be built from new, as only the expensive stone elements were preserved. It is like being a dozen Duplos bricks and then building the remainder with BIONICLE LEGO… well, sort of!

For Ovi magazine the Euro Reporter

Friday, April 27

Sauli watches over Halonen’s power

Sauli Niinistö, the new speaker of the Finnish parliament and former chairman of the National Coalition party (Kokoomus) said on Wednesday 25th of April 2007 that the president’s participation at EU summit meetings should not be limited.

The surprise stands on the fact that the chairman of the Kokoomus Jurki Katainen, the successor and best pupil of Niinistö seems to have a different idea and he has openly talked about it. In an interview Mr. Katainen had emphasized the need for a debate on whether the president should be allowed to travel to the EU summits.

The truth is that Mr. Niinistö isn’t really defending the Finnish president Mrs. Tarja Halonen who made the government to feel a bit …uncomfortable last year when Finland hosted the presidency of the EU and for six months all the summits but he wants to make sure that the president’s seat will have a meaning when …he will step in.

It seems somehow that the seat of the speaker of the Finnish parliament is a step either to retirement or to the presidential palace and Niinistö is still young and very ambitious to let the top seat of his dreams to be chopped in …pieces even if that means a contrast with his own party and his favorite pupil.

Stasi’s list …classified

Once upon a time there was a secret police that had spies …just everywhere and obviously including Finland otherwise there is no explanation why Helsinki’s district court ruled on Wednesday 25th of April 2007, that the Stasi lists would remain classified as secret documents.

I’m not sure how the Finns feel about it that it makes me wander. How many names are included in these lists and most of all what positions and how important were or even worst are these people who are included in these lists?

You see Finland has already a rich past with spying cases and courts; from the other side Stasi was a secret service that made even KGB look like an innocent sheep, they were definitely the bad wolf of the cold war era. So it is natural when you rule something as ‘classified secret documents’ to raise more questions. Furthermore to leave alive suspicions for people who cannot prove their innocent like the case of Mr. Alpo Rusi as Stasi’s and KGB’s contacts during the cold war.

Mr. Rusi has already been victimized when he was under investigation from the Finnish Security Police suspecting him for spying for the former German Democratic Republic. That there were no charges brought against Mr. Rusi is natural that doesn’t make him feel very comfortable and it is his right to protect his reputation.

Actually it is the state’s responsibility, especially in a democracy to protect his reputation, everybody is innocent till proven guilty and by leaving something not clear covering it with ‘classified secret documents’ doesn’t help much … on the contrary!

Finland saves lives

In a period when 30,000 kids die in a daily base you can only congratulate the Finnish foreign office for granting 42.7 million euros in humanitarian aid to regions that are continually affected by long term crises.

The funds will be directed to the crisis areas through United Nations agencies which try to help over 27 million people in 19 countries or regions with Sudan and the Democratic republic of Congo the areas with the most needs.

The funds will be used to feed people, people or nations affected by HIV AIDS and of course improve lives of women and girls.

Think of it, if every country followed the example of Finland how many lives would have been saved every day and remember that Finland is a country of 6 million and not a country of 60 million like some others in out developed globe. If Finland can give nearly 43 million then countries like Germany should be able to give 430 millions and when it comes to USA save whole nations from extension.

We often mention in Ovi magazine the number of 30,000 kids dieing every day because it seems that most of the people can not understand it. In some places in Africa like Sudan, water and a plate of food can save lives. The humanitarian catastrophe has reached unbelievable levels and the only way to act is act now.

The former chief of the United Nations has organized a panel in Berlin asking for help and trying to alarm nations that they must help here and now because people die every minute. Let’s hope that others will follow Finland’s example!

Friday, April 20

A dark blue goverment with ...two green spots!!!

I suppose the members of the green party must be happy now they exchanged their thirty silver coins with two ministerial seats!

My only question if they will find voters for the next elections or if they are going to change their name into the non-green party or even better the deep blue party!!!

Just imagine, how would you feel if you heard that in France the conservative party of Mr. Sarkozy agreed a coalition government with Le Pen and the Green Party, or in England the Conservatives, the right member of the National Front and the Greens made a government, and please don’t answer that …this is Finland, because other than hypocrites, you are blind as well.

Thursday, March 8

Freedom of speech and turkey

Obviously the words 'freedom of speech' and the state of Turkey have nothing to do with each other despite the title 'Turkish democracy', but after all there were a lot of dictatorships in history that liked to add the word democracy on their title.

What’s the latest from the Turkish ‘democracy’?

A Kurdish politician in Turkey has been sentenced to six months in prison for referring to jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan as "Mr Ocalan".

A court in the south-eastern city of Diyarbakir said the use of "Mr" by Ahmet Turk implied respect for Ocalan.

And this country wants to join EU?

Wednesday, February 21

KONE in a cartel

“The European Union (EU) has imposed a record fine of 992m euros ($1.3bn; £666.8m) on four lift and escalator manufacturers for price-fixing. Germany's ThyssenKrupp, US-owned Otis, Kone of Finland and Swiss firm Schindler were fined for taking part in a market-rigging cartel.”

Probably the amount of 992m € seems unbelievable high for the average person but how much these companies really profited creating a cartel and then the next question should be, how many more cartels like that exist?

There are only very few places in Finland without KONE lifts and it makes you wander how they managed to preclude any other company. And please don’t tell me that this has to be with KONE been a Finnish company. If that was true then every Finn should have a NOKIA and I can say that Erickson is not doing bad at all in this country!

Friday, February 16

It takes ball to do so...

Funny, I wrote an article about CIA flights this week for Ovi magazine and now it comes this one on the news, “An Italian judge has ordered 26 US citizens - most of them CIA agents - to stand trial over the kidnap of an Egyptian cleric in Milan in 2003. Osama Mustafa Hassan was allegedly seized by the CIA and flown to Egypt, where he says he was tortured.”

I’m really wondering when it will come the time for some justice in all the things happened in this world the last five years. Is any judge in any country having the political support to prosecute for example Tony Blair? Furthermore after all these lies he said to lead a nation and nearly a continent into a war is any European judge or better a British judge who will have the balls to do so?

Thursday, February 8

Ovi Bad Boys: Sunday Feb 4th

Ovi Bad Boys: Sunday Feb 4th

This week Thanos presents the Ovi Bad Boys show alone.

Music has been edited out, but you can enjoy 45mins of chat here:


Feb 8th Ovi Articles

Rob Jenkinson's Letters from America #18 by Rob Jenkinson
I held it off for almost a year, but I can see it spreading around my midsection and it's upsetting me a lot. If you know me, you'll know that I'm incredibly vain. Being a fatty is just not an option for me. (Read more)

Citizens of the Earth by Rene Wadlow
In a mixture of the titles of the "Citizens of the World" and the "Friends of the Earth" the representatives of 40 governments speaking as the "Citizens of the Earth" called for an improved UN system of ecological governance. (Read more)

Lobster, Zen & motorbikes by Asa Butcher
Rave reviews, millions of copies sold in twenty-three languages, a description in the press as 'the most widely read philosophy book, ever' the book's name: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. (Read more)

"because" by Bohdan Yuri
"Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary." - Kahlil Gibran (Read more)

Saturday, February 3

Italian football halted by violence

“The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has suspended all matches indefinitely after a policeman was killed at a Serie A match between Catania and Palermo. Officer Filippo Raciti died as violence flared during the Sicilian derby.”

This was on the news all the time yesterday and today and I’ve been wandering if they stop football for a weekend or for a month even for a year; do they think that they are going to sauced in anything?

The problem is social and till they understand it nothing is going to change!

Tuesday, January 16

Ovi Bad Boys Radio Show : Jan 14th

Ovi Bad Boys: Sunday Jan 14th

This week the Bad Boys are joined by the editors of Finland's latest English language magazine, Eduardo and Antonio from

Music has been edited out, but you can enjoy 45mins of chat here:


Fire, Sarkozy, Red Cross & The Famine

Crying fire by Thanos Kalamidas
There is no way to win an argument when the other side starts with the idea that you just oppose everything they say without suggesting anything. In this case either your opponent has never heard your argument or never cared to hear. (Read more)

Sarkozy, Royal et (Pauvres de) nous by Europe & Us
229.203 votants. 98,1% de voix recueillies en sa faveur. Comme l'ecrit Paul Quinio, journaliste a Liberation, Nicolas Sarkozy, au moins au sein du parti qu'il dirige (l'UMP), est bien Monsieur 100%, ou presque. (Read more)

The world's humanitarian organization by The Ovi Team
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is the world's largest humanitarian organization, providing assistance without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. (Read more)

The Famine: Chapter 1 by Bohdan Yuri
Working for the good of the State had become an extension of the Communist credo. Only, the twisted principle had imposed a judgment that whatever was grown on the land also became, legally, the property of that State. Why stop there they reasoned. (Read more)

Sunday, January 14

Fairtrade, Somalia, the lake & School

FAIRTRADE - is it fair? by Asa Butcher
Fairtrade ensures that disadvantaged manufacturers receive a fair price for their product. The decision to start marketing these products in Finland has taken too long, but the campaign feels as though supermarkets are promoting a new high-end lifestyle. (Read more)

Somalia offensive by Amin George Forji
The crisis in Somalia has now taken a new face, with the US military joining to track down suspected al Qaeda operatives. The US military launched military strikes on two villages in the south of the country. (Read more)

"the lake" by Bohdan Yuri
"A poet can survive everything but a misprint." - Oscar Wilde (Read more)

Dumbing down by Jan Sand
School are failing to teach basic logical analysis, how to deal with social situations, how the financial system works and the tricks of advertising, which means that a large number of kids in the USA are obvious red meat for scoundrels. (Read more)

Saturday, January 13

Updates are back! Brussels, EU, Power & iBite

Cheers Brussels! by Clint Wayne
Headquarters of the European Union's institutions and home to the Atomium, what else could Belgium's capital offer to the weekend visitor? (Read more)

Die Grenzen der EU by Newropeans-Magazine
Today we present Ovi magazine's first German language article courtesy of our new partner 'Newropeans-Magazine': "Die Grenzen der EU - Das Ende vom Mythos der unendlichen Erweiterung." (Read more)

Power of illusion and illusion of power by Jan Sand
The French Maginot line: the definitive symbol for false trust in an obsolete defense. (Read more)

iBite by Thanos Kalamidas
iBite is a snappy selection of news from around the world accompanied by a cynical, albeit humourous, comment from Mr T. Kalamidas... (Read more)

Thursday, January 4

If little Ashley was my daughter.

The truth is that reading this: “Parents of a severely disabled girl in the US have revealed that they are keeping her child-sized in order to give her a better life. The nine-year-old, named Ashley, has the mental ability of a three-month-old baby and cannot walk or talk.” It really makes you feel strange especially if you kids of your own.

But then when you try to put your self on her parents place you just …go more numb thinking the logic behind their decision. I suppose I have no idea what I would have done in their place, still and that’s for sure I would never like to be in their place and that’s what mainly stops me of going further to any other thought.

Their decision has brought a lot of controversy all around but despite all the controversy and all the negative feeling it seems that nobody can offer another solution except condemn the parents.
Is obvious that all of us stop in the thought how we would not like it if she was our kid and we can not …just see further than that.

Ovi magazine and the prestigious Grands Prix 2006 awards

Ovi magazine, an online daily magazine based in Finland, came second in Newropeans Magazine's prestigious Grands Prix 2006 awards.

They were nominated as one of the three finalists in its 'Citizenship - Information' section, along with Sitécon and Le courrier des Balkans, the eventual winner.

Newropeans is an independent magazine developed for the exchange of views on the future of a democratic Europe. The awards have been running annually since 2003 and are designed to reward the people or organisations behind the democratisation of the EU. Previous winners include the European Space Agency,, Cafe Babel, the European Court of Human Rights and Skype.

A registered jury of around 1,000 actors of the European civil society coming from 25 States voted online awarding Ovi magazine almost thirty per cent of the vote.

Read more here…

Ovi magazine was launched in December 2004 by Thanos Kalamidas, a Greek national, and Asa Butcher, a Brit, who both live in Helsinki with their families. Ovi is a non-profit magazine produced via voluntary contributions from its global team in a variety of different languages. Their aim is to promote positive discussion and the exchange of opinion.

Monday, January 1

Happy New Year with Ovi magazine

New Year’s Day is a day for wishes and expectations. Happy new year, healthy new year, peaceful new year! We are not going to complain and we are not going to remind you of all the bad things happening around us, we just want to wish you warm feelings for the next 52 weeks.

We want to wish to you, your families, your friends, and everybody you love and care about, a very fruitful and joyous year. Let’s hope that 2007 will make that difference we all deserve.

We wish you a creative, happy and healthy New Year and thank you for being with us in our daily efforts. Our resolution is to bring you even more innovative idea through the Ovi project.

Happy New Year!

Thanos & Asa