Belgium: HIV Cases 1990 – 2006

HIV cases reported from year 1990 to 2006 in Belgium:

Year — Total Cases / Cases per 100 000 population
1990 — 813 / 7.81
1991 — 802 / 7.82
1992 — 977 / 9.49
1993 — 949 / 9.11
1994 — 807 / 7.85
1995 — 768 / 7.41
1996 — 720 / 6.85
1997 — 700 / 6.64
1998 — 755 / 7.08
1999 — 801 / 7.63
2000 — 952 / 8.96
2001 — 966 / 9.08
2002 — 992 / 9.34
2003 — 1052 / 9.92
2004 — 1002 / 9.55
2005 — 1074 / 10.24
2006 — 995 / 9.29

Source:
1. WHO Regional Office for Europe – CISID

Weekly Highlight: 29.04.2008

Denmark:

Study: Danes well paid
25.04.2008 
 
A new study shows that Danes leave poor paying jobs in record time compared to other countries.
Denmark is one of the countries in the world where the least number of citizens have low incomes, shows a new study.
According to the study, Denmark has a record high minimum wage in comparison to the other countries in the study.
‘In fact, our minimum wage corresponds to the median wage in the US,’ said professor Niels Westergaard-Nielsen, project manager of the study. ‘Approximately 50 percent of Americans earn less than, or just as much as a Danish worker on minimum wage.’
The study, conducted by researchers from Copenhagen Business School and Århus University, also indicated that Danes left poor paying jobs in record time.
Only France matched Denmark in terms of workers quickly switching from a lower income job to a better one. Countries such as the Netherlands, the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom were also included in the survey.
‘We’re talking about two world records – at least two international high scores, since these are some of the world’s strongest nations we’re comparing ourselves with,’ said Westergaard-Nielsen.
He also pointed out that most low income positions were generally held by students who were on their way into the job market. And once they finished their studies, they tended to move onto better paid jobs.
However, Westergaard-Nielsen said that the high salary levels here could affect the country’s competitiveness and force Denmark to outsource much of its production to countries where labour costs were substantially lower.
He also said that five percent of the country’s gross national product was used for maintaining the social safety net on the labour market, which was the highest level of the world. (LYT)

Finland:

Drug Patients Take Hospital Beds from the Elderly
Published 28.04.2008, 10.26

The number of patients receiving treatment for drug abuse in health centres and hospitals has increased in recent years. The rising demand for beds has meant that senior citizens have not had access to the care they need.
According to a report in the Keskisuomalainen newspaper, figures recently released by Centre for Research and Development of Welfare and Health, STAKES, indicate that in 2006 health centres and hospitals treated more than 21,000 Finns for drug abuse. The majority of patients admitted for such treatment were in the 21 – 64 year old age group.
At the same time increasing numbers of senior citizens seeking treatment at hospitals and health centres have had to queue for beds. At the state level, rehabilitating patients have also commanded most of the beds available since the year 2004.
However, the situation is variable across larger cities. In many cities, the demand for places for drug rehabilitation has been declining. Exceptions to this trend include Kuopio and Jyväskylä, where the demand has been growing. In Espoo the number of beds devoted for drug rehabilitation has also been on the increase.

Netherlands:

White Dutch kids play together
Monday 28 April 2008

Only one in 10 white Dutch children play with children of other nationalities when playing outside, according to research published today.
But over one-third of ethnic minority children play in mixed groups, says the children’s play lobby group OMO.

Norway:

99 out of 100 thieves go free
First published: 28 Apr 2008, 11:37

A new report by the justice minister, Knut Storberget, shows that 99.2 percent of all serious robberies on the streets of Oslo are never solved.
Last year, 11,033 crimes were reported, but just 80 were solved.
And the wave of robberies is increasing rapidly. Yesterday 33 people were the victims of serious crimes in Oslo. In the first three months of 2008, serious robberies in public places have increased by 10 percent.
Many city officials blame the increase in crime on begging and prostitution by people from other lands, mostly Eastern Europe.
A ban on begging in the streets was lifted in 2005.
But while the criminals go free, the politicians and police argue about what can be done. City Council head Erling Lae has sent a letter to the justice minister asking that “pågående” (insistent, or aggressive) begging and prostitution be forbidden.
“Beggers with Eastern European ethnic backgrounds represent a far more aggressive and insistent begging behavior than we have previously been accustomed to. There are also strong indications that they are behind much of the criminality in the form of pickpockets, break-ins, and shop robberies,” wrote Lae.

Sweden:

High school students ignorant of their geography
Published: 26 Apr 08 12:27 CET

High school students in Umeå were unable to name Finland’s capital city in a recent survey which showed an alarming ignorance of basic geography.
Students from Umeå University in the north of Sweden interviewed 200 high school students aged 17-19-years-old on their geography skills.
More than 68 percent responded that they do no know where the European Union has its headquarters, 75 percent could not place Teheran in Iran and 96 percent could not name two Swedish national parks.
“This is the level of knowledge on which they will then make their decisions,” said dismayed student Christian Lund to Västerbottens-Kuriren.
Lund wonders how the students will later be able to develop their opinions in democratic and societal issues such as the environment, sustainable development and politics without some basic knowledge of geography.
The results of the study will be sent to schools minister, Jan Björklund.

Picture: More Stockholm Sakura

Stockholm Sakura 04.2008, originally uploaded by micpohling.

Sakura viewing at Stockholm Kungsträdgården park on Sunday.

Netherlands Alcohol Drinkers (Part I) 1988 – 2000

Percentage of Dutch people who are drinkers from year 1988 to 2000:
a) according to gender – male and female.
b) according to age group – 20-44, 45-64, and 65 older.


Legend:
a) square – male, cross – female
b) X – 20-44 years old
Y – 45-64 years old
Z – > 65 years old.

Note:
Part I: % of Dutch people are drinkers
Part II: % of Dutch drinkers who drink more than 6 glasses of alcohol at least once a week

Source: Statistic Netherlands – Health and Welfare, Aspect of (un)healthy Behaviour

Netherlands Smokers (Part III) 1988 – 2000

Number of cigarrettes smoked by Dutch smokers per day from year 1988 to 2000:
a) according to gender – male and female.
b) according to age group – 20-44, 45-64, and 65 older.


Legend:
a) square – male, cross – female
b) X – 20-44 years old
Y – 45-64 years old
Z – > 65 years old.

Note:
Part I: % of Dutch people are smokers
Part II: % of Dutch smokers smoke more than 20 cigarrettes
Part III: Number of cigarrettes per Dutch smokers per day

Source: Statistic Netherlands – Health and Welfare, Aspect of (un)healthy Behaviour

Picture: Spring, Sakura and Stockholm

Stockholm Sakura 04.2008, originally uploaded by micpohling.

Sakura viewing in Kungsträdgården park in Stockholm, Sweden. Obviously every Stockholmer is out of house and sunbathing here 😛

Weekly Highlight: 22.04.2008

Denmark:

Organ donor rules increase death count
22.04.2008

While its Nordic neighbours have improved their donor transplant figures a growing number of Danes die waiting for a new organ.
As long as it is up to Danes themselves to sign up to be organ donors, Denmark’s figures for people who die on waiting lists will continue to rise.
A new study from organ procurement co-operative Scandiatransplant shows that Denmark lags far behind its neighbours in saving lives through organ transplants, with waiting lists that are much longer than its Nordic neighbours.
And the reason, according to both Scandiatransplant and numerous medical experts, is the country’s donor volunteer programme.
In Finland, Sweden and Norway, adult citizens are automatically registered as organ donors and must themselves contact the authorities if they wish to be taken off the donor list. In Denmark, citizens must sign up to be organ donors – and often do not.
‘Donor number are increasing in the other countries while it is falling in Denmark,’ Preben Kirkegaard, liver surgeon at University State Hospital, told Berlingske Tidende newspaper. ‘And a larger donor pool is crucial if we’re going to make a dent in the waiting lists.’
The number of Danes who die waiting for a lung, for example, is equal to that of all three other Nordic countries combined. Those countries have also reduced their organ transplant waiting times while in Denmark the period continues to grow longer.
And the lack of donors is glaringly obvious in the number of organs Denmark imports and sends out to other countries for transplants. Hearts are a prime example, as between 2000 and 2006 Denmark received 44 hearts from foreign countries while exporting only six.
The Nordic countries successes were based on the Spanish model of the self opt-out, instituted some years ago. And instead of using millions on advertising campaigns to lure donors, Spain created a central governmental agency to handle all the nation’s transplant activities. The country now leads the world in the number of potential organ donors.
Yet despite the alarming figures here in Denmark, a Berlingske Research survey indicated that 10 out of 13 members of parliament’s health care committee are against changing the volunteer donor rules. (RC)

Finland:

Report: Depression Costs Society 1bn a Year
Published 17.04.2008, 18.36

The costs of clinical depression to Finnish society are higher than previously thought — about one billion euros annually, according to a report broadcast Thursday by YLE television’s current affairs programme “Silminnäkijä” (“Eyewitness”).
That figure includes the costs of disability pensions, sick leave, rehabilitation, medications and decline in productivity. In the past, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health have estimated the cost to be about half a billion annually. However its figures only included disability pensions and sick leave costs.
Every year, about 200,000 people in Finland are diagnosed with clinical depression. The number of people granted early retirement because of depression has increased tenfold since 1985.
The use of antidepressant drugs has also risen tenfold over the past two decades. They are now used by nearly 400,000 Finns, about seven percent of the population.
Meanwhile, the number of suicides has dropped by about one third. It peaked around 1990 at about 1,500 a year. Over the last three years it has been about 1,000.

Netherlands:

Obesity costs €600m in absenteeism
Monday 21 April 2008

Overweight workers are costing Dutch industry €600m a year, according to health ministry figures, quoted in the economists’ magazine ESB, reports news agency ANP.
People who are too heavy are more likely to be off sick and take longer sick leave, the magazine is reported as saying.

Norway:

Record number of visiting workers
First published: 18 Apr 2008, 16:10

Over 85,000 foreigners had legal work permits in Norway in March, a huge jump from the same time last year.
Polish workers are the largest group of “foreign workers” in Norway, according to the country’s immigration agency UDI (Utlendingsdirektoratet).
This has led to many Polish workers applying to bring their families in to Norway, said the UDI.
In the first three months of the year, 1,015 family immigrant permissions were granted to Polish citizens. This is almost double the number in the same period of 2007.
In total, 4,800 have been granted permission so far this year, 25 percent more than during the same period last year.

Sweden:

Nurses demonstrate for higher pay as strike looms
Published: 20 Apr 08 12:14 CET

Nurses took to the streets in Stockholm and Gothenburg on Sunday to demonstrate for higher pay. A strike beckons on Monday as mediators called off talks on Saturday.
Negotiations between healthcare employers and unions broke off in deadlock on Saturday afternoon. A strike now seems inevitable on Monday as nurses and other healthcare professionals demand higher pay.
The Swedish Association of Healthcare Professionals (Vårdförbundet) sat down in a final attempt to secure a deal with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) on Saturday.
According to SALAR’s press spokesperson Claes Bertilson, by late afternoon negotiations had broken down in stalemate.
“This means that everything indicates that a strike will break out on Monday.”
Around 1,000 healthcare professionals marched from Götaplatsen to Gustaf Adolfs torg in Gothenburg’s town centre as a show of union strength in preparation for the pending strike. Among them were nurses Evelyn Sjöberg and Marianne Persson.
“We are ready for conflict but it is clear that something is wrong when one has to go out on strike,” the nurses said to news agency TT as the demonstration wound its way through the western Swedish town.
The demonstrators held up banners bearing slogans such as “We want fair pay,” “We are worth it,” and “Undervalued but vital.”
“People study to become nurses today, but it doesn’t pay. At the same time we have to accept substantial responsibility.” said Evelyn Sjöberg.
If the strike is not avoided at the eleventh hour then 3,500 nurses will go on strike across Sweden on Monday. This will have an immediate effect on scheduled healthcare, such as the need to re-schedule planned operations. Problems for the third-party to the conflict–the patients–are expected to be substantial.

Netherlands Smokers (Part II) 1988 – 2000

Percentage of Dutch smokers who smoke more than 20 cigarrettes per day from year 1988 to 2000:
a) according to gender – male and female.
b) according to age group – 20-44, 45-64, and 65 older.


Legend:
a) square – male, cross – female
b) X – 20-44 years old
Y – 45-64 years old
Z – > 65 years old.

Note:
Part I: % of Dutch people are smokers
Part II: % of Dutch smokers smoke more than 20 cigarrettes
Part III: Number of cigarrettes per Dutch smokers per day

Source: Statistic Netherlands – Health and Welfare, Aspect of (un)healthy Behaviour

Picture: Sakura in Stockholm!

Stockholm Sakura 04.2008, originally uploaded by micpohling.

Unbelievably beautiful, I almost thought I was in Japan 😛

MeThink: 5kg Rice for 2 days Not Enough?

According to this article, yes.

Waiting in line outside a warehouse last weekend to buy government-supplied rice was Julieta Casanova, 60, who lives with her two children and eight grandchildren in Tandang Sora, a slum outside of Manila.

“We can’t survive without rice,” Casanova said. The government rations the rice to five kilograms per person, which Casanova said would last two days.

So if the author of the article is not mistaking about 5kg rice per household or per person, I wonder how someone can eat 1.25kg rice per meal in 2 days? (Assuming 4 meals in 2 days).

 

Netherlands Smokers (Part I) 1988 – 2000

Percentage of Dutch people are smokers from year 1988 to 2000:
a) smoker according to gender – male and female.
b) smoker according to age group – 20-44, 45-64, and 65 older.


Legend:
a) square – male, cross – female
b) X – 20-44 years old
Y – 45-64 years old
Z – > 65 years old.

Note:
Part I: % of Dutch people are smokers
Part II: % of Dutch smokers smoke more than 20 cigarrettes
Part III: Number of cigarrettes per Dutch smokers per day

Source: Statistic Netherlands – Health and Welfare, Aspect of (un)healthy Behaviour

Picture: Number 9

Finland Oulu 03.2008, originally uploaded by micpohling.

Weekly Highlight: 15.04.2008

Denmark:

Swindle with Danish foreign aid
15.04.2008

Following a Norwegian revelation of foreign aid swindle in Tanzania, Danish development aid will be scrutinised to avoid inconsistencies.
Millions of foreign aid kroners are winding up in the wrong pockets in the African nation of Tanzania, reports DR public broadcaster.
According to Arthur Andreasen, a Danish accountant who has worked in Tanzania for 20 years, up to half of Danish foreign aid does not reach those who need it.
Andreasen had recently investigated Norwegian aid to the developing nation on behalf of the Norwegian government. His report, which caused a stir in Norway, showed that between a third and half of the Norwegian aid disappeared before it reached its intended recipients.
Danish aid to Tanzania amounts to over 500 million kroner annually, making Denmark the seventh largest donor to the country.
However, as was the case with Norwegian aid, up to half of the money has wound up in the pockets of corrupt officials and politicians, said Andreasen.
He said one way of swindling was allocating money for non-existent projects and persons. Another method was to write fictive or excessively high bills and receipts.
His findings caused the Norwegian development minister, Erik Solheim, to withdraw 250 million kroner in support from a nature regeneration project recently.
At the same time, the Norwegian government decided to strengthen monitoring of development aid, but Andreasen said that it was not enough for only one country to react.
‘If all governments follow suit, it would have an effect. However, if only one country does it, the recipient country might not react,” he said, urging the Danish government to heighten its controls for foreign aid.
Ulla Tørnæs, development minister, told DR that she would address the matter with her Norwegian colleague this week.
Denmark has given aid to Tanzania since the early 60s and finances projects targeted at gender equality, human rights, democratisation and corruption. (LYT)

Finland:

Wages, Inflation Up Briskly in Recent Months
Published 15.04.2008, 10.30 (updated 15.04.2008, 11.56)

Overall gross wages and salaries during the December-to-February period were up by 8.7 percent compared with a year earlier. Inflation is also up significantly.
According to Statistics Finland, year-on-year growth in the same period of 2006-07 was 5.2 percent.
Pay rose in all sectors. The briskest growth was in construction, where wages were up by 11.1 percent from a year earlier.
Wages climbed almost as steeply in private health care and social services (10.5 percent) and financial services (10.3 percent).
Even in sectors where growth was moderate, there was still considerable improvement in paycheques. Growth was the slowest in private-sector educational services, where pay was up by 6.2 percent.
Inflation Hits 8-Year High
Meanwhile inflation is rising faster than it has since the year 2000. In March, inflation was 3.9 percent higher than March 2007, and had also risen from February’s rate of 3.7 percent.
Inflation was seen particularly in the cost of clothes and vegetables. The actual cost of living has also increased, as seen in price hikes for fuel, housing and home loans.

Netherlands: How many times have you cried lately?

‘Men cry an average of nine times a year’
Tuesday 15 April 2008

Men burst into tears an average of nine times in 2007 while women cried on 33 occasions, according to an internet poll in the May issue of Psychologie Magazine, reports ANP news service today.
This is significant because research shows young boys are more likely to cry than girls, the magazine says. ‘The way they are brought up and the influence of male hormones appears to make it harder for men to cry,’ it concludes.
Of the 800 people polled, 65% said the last time they cried was because they were sad, 38% said powerlessness was the reason and 26% said they were touched by something.
Women are more likely to cry out of rage, fear and disappointment than men, the poll showed. The magazine said that this may be because men are more likely to become aggressive when frustrated or faced with a situation they could not influence.
But men do have a soft side. The poll showed that they are more likely than women to cry tears of joy or to cry at a poignant situation.

 Norway:

New study reveals less materialism, more idealism
First published: 09 Apr 2008, 12:31

While the media constantly serves up the results of opinion polls, consumer statistics, market analyses and predictions, Norsk Monitor, a comprehensive biannual market-research survey, strives to map out Norwegians’ changing values, beliefs and attitudes over the years.
Subscribers pay some NOK 300,000 (USD 60,000) each for the results of the nationwide survey, which has been carried out every other year since 1985.
The 200-page report is based on questionnaire responses and extensive interviews with some 4,000 Norwegians about everything from how often they go to the movies, to how much organic produce they consume, to their religious and spiritual beliefs.
“All of the answers are used to draw up a kind of map that shows what powers are influencing us,” explained Erik Dalen, a director in research firm Synovate (formerly MMI), which produces the biannual report.
Dalen says the survey gives important insight into more than consumption, opinions and behavior. “We’ve developed a tool that can measure more than how much TV we watch or which party we vote for,” he told newspaper Aftenposten. “We can measure the socio-cultural development in Norway.”
And according to Dalen, the winds have shifted in the past couple years. “Ever since we began [the survey] in the mid-80s, we’ve seen Norwegians getting more materialistic,” said Dalen. “We’ve become more and more preoccupied with enjoyment, consumption, and things.”
Change underway
The latest results, however, show that for the first time in more than 20 years, Norwegians are now becoming more worried about the environment, more interested in the differences in the world, and more positive towards foreign aid –- and they are more satisfied, too.
“Our satisfaction didn’t grow when we were moving in a materialistic direction,” commented professor Ottar Hellevik, also involved in the Norsk Monitor survey. “We’ve changed our course, and are moving from materialism towards idealism.”
Hellevik says that Norwegians are now back at the same place on the “idealism/materialism axis” as they were in the early 1980s.

Sweden:

Absolut retreat puts California back in US hands
Published: 11 Apr 08 15:56 CET

Amid a stampede of criticism, the makers of Absolut Vodka have pulled a controversial advertisement depicting large swathes of the United States as Mexican territory.
“We’re really very sorry,” said Jacob Broberg, a spokesperson with Vin & Sprit, the company which manufactures the popular vodka brand, to The Local.
“The ad should never have been approved.”
The controversial ad featured a map depicting how America looked prior to 1848, when California was still part of Mexico. The ad was part of print and billboard campaign launched in Mexico as a part of the ‘Absolut World’ campaign, and was not meant for a US audience.
But word of the ad spread quickly through on-line and traditional media, sparking a firestorm of criticism directed at Absolut, accusing them of ignoring sensitivities related to the issue of Mexican immigration into the United States.
“We’ve really learned a lot from this experience,” said Broberg.
“There is no such thing as a local ad in a global world.”
Broberg wanted to assure the drinking public that Absolut was taking the controversy seriously, which was part of why the ad was pulled.
“We’re working to improve our marketing practices so that nothing like this happens again in the future,” he said.

MeThink: 100 000 Hits!!!

Wow, it is 100 000 hits!

10-06-2007: 10 000 hits.
04-09-2007: 20 000 hits.
21-10-2007: 30 000 hits.
25-11-2007: 40 000 hits.
25-12-2007: 50 000 hits.
27-01-2008: 60 000 hits.
21-02-2008: 70 000 hits.
11-03-2008: 80 000 hits.
28-03-2008: 90 000 hits.
14-04-2008: 100 000 hits!!!!!!!

Asthma Death Rate 1980 – 2005: Finland, France

Death rate (per 100 000 men/women) due to asthma in Finland and France from year 1980 to 2005:

Sources:
1. Finland: Statistic Finland, Health – Causes of Death
2. France: Center for Epidemiology on Medical Causes of Death

Pneumonia Death Rate 1980 – 2005: Finland, France, Denmark

Death rate (per 100 000 men/women) due to pneumonia in Finland, France and Denmark from year 1980 to 2005:

Legend: square – man, cross – woman

Sources:
1. Finland: Statistic Finland, Health – Causes of Death
2. France: Center for Epidemiology on Medical Causes of Death
3. Denmark: Statistic Denmark, Population and Elections – Births and Deaths

Picture: Spring in Stockholm

Sweden Stockholm 04.2008, originally uploaded by micpohling.

Norway Suicide Methods: 1986 – 2005 (Part II)

Percentage (%) of suicide methods used in Norway from year 1986 to 2005, with the comparison between males and females:
d) firearms and explosive materials
e) cutting or piercing
f) jumping from high place

Legend: square – male, cross – female

Summary:
On average, males choose the suicide method by: hanging (35.5%) > firearms & explosive materials (32.7%) > poison (20.2%) > drowning (5.0%) > jumping from high place (4.1%) > cutting/piercing (2.5%).

On the other hand, females choose: poison (40.4%) > hanging (29.7%) > drowning (16.4%) > jumping from high place (7.8%) >  firearms & explosive materials (3.2%) > cutting/piercing (2.5%).

Source:
1. Statistics Norway – 03 Health, social, welfare and crime

Picture: Gamla Stan

Stockholm 04.2008, originally uploaded by micpohling.

My trial with black and white 🙂

Weekly Highlight: 08.04.2008

Denmark:

In love with our mirror images
07.04.2008

A survey shows that Danes are prone to finding partners like themselves, especially in terms of educational background. 
Danes have an increasing tendency of choosing partners with the same educational level as themselves, according to a recent study, and experts warn the trend may have serious social consequences.
The Epinion Capacent survey for newsletter A4 showed that two out of three of the 1504 Danes surveyed with tertiary educations invariably found themselves with someone who had an equivalent level of schooling.
Only every seventh person with a university level background coupled up with someone without.
The study also indicated that those without any formal training usually found like-minded partners.
Although this way of choosing partners is nothing new, the tendency has become more widespread than ever, A4’s study confirmed.
‘What we’re seeing is that more and more women are climbing up the educational ladder,’ said Jens Bonke, a sociologist. ‘This means that more well-educated women are coupling up with equally educated men.’
In the past, he said, a doctor would have paired up with a nurse or his secretary, but now, chances were that he would fall for a fellow student or someone from his dorm.
Experts fear that the tendency will have a negative effect on the gap between people without formal training and those with high-level educational backgrounds.
‘And we thought that higher levels of education among women was without side-effects and that it would play a part in minimising social inequality,’ said Bonke.
According to Bonke, there was a backlash to this development, where socially hereditary norms and backgrounds would become even more prominent in future generations.
Kenneth Reinicke, a gender expert, said that the real losers were men without impressive diplomas. With women becoming better-educated, these men were discarded as potential partners.
A ‘social ghettoisation’ was, according to another sociologist, Eva Steensig, where society was headed.
‘The study shows that we’re looking for people who are mirror images of ourselves when it comes to life values, norms and ways of living,’ she said.
‘We’re barricading ourselves against those who aren’t like us and this will affect those at the bottom who don’t have a choice. We’re heading towards a new class system.’ (LYT)

Finland:

Women with Kids Earn Less than Childless Peers
Published 05.04.2008, 15.28

The salaries of women with children are slow to rise years after they have returned to work, reports the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.
If a woman has been at home with her children for one or two years, she can expect to earn 8 to 11 percent less the first year back at work than women without kids. If a woman waits two or more years to return to her job, she may earn up to 19 percent less the first year back than women with no children.
It generally takes three years for the salaries of women with children to reach the salaries of women who are not mothers. The longer a woman stays at home with her children, the longer it will take for her salary to reach that of her female peers.
A similar salary gap for fathers was not witnessed.
The study was carried out by the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, the Labour Institute for Economic Research, and the Finnish Institute for Occupational Health.

Netherlands:

Starters’ salaries rise 10%
Monday 07 April 2008

Starting salaries for university and college graduates have risen 10% over the past two years, according to research by the Hay Group.
The average annual starting salary for someone with a degree is now €31,710.
Salary levels have been boosted by the shortage in qualified staff, the Hay Group said.

Norway:

Opera and ballet at bottom
First published: 04 Apr 2008, 14:22

One in four Norwegians have “an especially negative” view of the opera and ballet, according to a new opinion poll.
In the survey, carried out by Synovate for the Forum for Culture and Business, 23 percent of the respondents rated opera and ballet equally in the lowest spot on the cultural activities scale.
Marching bands and stand-up comics are also unbearable for many, with 16 percent of those surveyed rating each of these at the bottom of their list.
When asked which cultural activities are viewed as “especially positive”, ballet got the booby prize, with just 4 per cent of the votes, while opera, marching bands, and jazz each got the thumbs up from just 8 percent of those polled.

Sweden:

Swedish ice cream trucks ‘a form of torture’
Published: 7 Apr 08 12:30 CET

Selling ice cream and candy with enticing melodies ought to be outlawed because it is connected to child obesity.
The suggestion comes from Bo Sjöberg, a professor at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg, who compares the repetition of ice cream trucks’ jingle with modern torture methods.
“Selling with enticing melodies results in poor health and serious problems for many people,” writes the professor in a letter to consumer minister Nyamko Sabuni.

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