Picture: Summer in Helsinki

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Helsinki 19.07.2008, originally uploaded by micpohling.

MeThink: 150 000 Hits!

Well, it happened few days ago when I was on vacation. Nevertheless, I am still happy to celebrate the 150 000 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.
30-04-2008: 110 000 hits.
18-05-2008: 120 000 hits.
03-06-2008: 130 000 hits.
25-06-2008: 140 000 hits.
18-07-2008: 150 000 hits!!!

MeThink: Jokes to Share :)

USSR Version:
Three Soviet prisoners were put into the same jail cell.
The first said, “I was always late to work, so I was accused of stealing from the people.”

The second said, “I was always early to work, so I was accused of brown-nosing.”

The third said, “I was always on time to work, so I was accused of wearing a Western watch!”

US Version:
Three executives convicted under anti-trust law were sitting at the same table in the prison cafeteria.
The first said, “I charged more than others and was convicted of price-gouging.”

The second said, “I charged less than others and was convicted of predatory pricing.”

The third said, “I charged exactly the same as everyone else and was convicted of collusion!”

Link*

WVS: Life Satisfaction by Marital Status

Actually, I have posted it before long time ago. But with the fancy graph from Swivel, there is a something attracts my attention: actually there are some countries, being a dirvocee could have better life satisfaction than being single. For example:

Canada, Sweden, Luxembourg, Norway, Italy, Greece and Japan.

Married vs. Divorced vs. Single/Never Married

Picture: Wild Daisy in Close Up

Akalla 06.2008, originally uploaded by micpohling.

 

OECD Social Protection 1994 – 2005: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden

Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
1994 32.5 33.7 27.4 36.5
1995 31.9 31.5 26.5 34.3
1996 31.2 31.4 25.8 33.6
1997 30.1 29.1 25.1 32.7
1998 30.0 27.0 26.9 32.0
1999 29.8 26.2 26.9 31.7
2000 28.9 25.1 24.4 30.7
2001 29.2 24.9 25.4 31.2
2002 29.7 25.6 26.0 32.2
2003 30.9 26.5 27.2 33.2
2004 30.9 26.6 25.9 32.7
2005 30.1 26.7 23.9 32.0

Source: Eurostat

Weekly Highlight: 15.07.2008

Denmark:

Denmark slides in affluence ranking
14.07.2008

OECD figures show Denmark’s GDP has been overtaken by other countries.
Denmark fell to 11th place in May 2008 from 7th place in 1996 in terms of gross domestic product per capita, adjusted for purchasing power, according to figures from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Although Denmark has had a strong economy, falling unemployment and rising private consumption, its GDP per capita was overtaken by Canada, Australia, Ireland and the Netherlands in the period from 1996 to 2008.
The OECD also sees economic growth in Denmark reaching only one percent a year from 2010 to 2014 – the lowest growth rate among the organisation’s 30 member states. This means that Denmark’s GDP growth will be overtaken by Sweden and Britain.
‘There is a very large group who could be active in the labour market, but who receive transfer incomes because they are ill or on early retirement, or who receive other welfare benefits,’ said Jens Lundsgaard, who heads the OECD’s office for Denmark and Sweden.
‘This means that the overall number of people available for work is not as high as we believe. In addition, we don’t work as many hours as in other countries.’ Productivity is also comparatively low, he added. (mdl)

Finland:

Half a Million People in Finland Feel Discrimination
Published 11.07.2008, 18.27 (updated 11.07.2008, 18.28)

Over half a million people in Finland have experienced discrimination, according to a Eurobarometer study. Some 15 percent of the population says they were discriminated against last year.
Discrimination due to age and gender was the most widespread. A large portion of ethnic minorities also felt discriminated against.
Nearly two-thirds of Finns say they know their rights if they are discriminated against. Throughout the EU, that number was on average just one-third.
Finns also say they are satisfied with government’s programmes to prevent discrimination. Nearly two-thirds say the government does enough to stop discrimination. Again, in the EU, that number was just one-third.

Neighbourly Feelings Don’t Extend to Roma

The poll also asked respondents how they would feel if a member of an ethnic minority moved next door. A large number of Finns say they would be disturbed if a member of the Roma community became their neighbour.
However, according to the research, Finns are more often friends or acquaintances with Roma than EU citizens are on average. In addition, nearly half of Finns have an acquaintance who is an immigrant or a member of an ethnic minority. Throughout the EU, that number is slightly higher — or 55 percent of the population.
Seventy percent of Finns have friends or acquaintances with different religions or beliefs. That number in the EU is 60 percent. Some 1,000 people in Finland participated in the survey carried out in February-March of this year.

Netherlands:

Survey backs Dutch only in public
Monday 14 July 2008

Some 66% of the native Dutch think people who live in the Netherlands should only speak Dutch on the street, according to a survey by MCA Communicatie for De Pers newspaper.
Men are keener on Dutch than women: 76% of men think other languages should be ruled out, compared with 56% of women.
The paper does not make it clear if people think speaking Dutch should be enforced by law, or that it is simply preferable.
The paper says ‘the good news’ is that younger immigrants are more in favour of speaking Dutch on the streets than their parents. Nevertheless, the large majority of newcomers think they should be free to speak which ever language they like, De Pers says.
Meanwhile, the Volkskrant reports that special classes at primary school for children who need help with Dutch are proving a success. The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam began experimenting with the extra classes two years ago.
‘Children whose Dutch is not well-developed are followed by it their entire school career,’ said The Hague’s education executive Sander Dekker. ‘These classes are a first-class way of dealing with that.’

Norway:

Researcher urges more complaining in Norway
First published: 14 Jul 2008, 16:30

Norwegians often criticize themselves for being too quick to complain when they don’t receive the goods or services they expect. Wrong, claims a Norwegian researcher. He doesn’t think his compatriots complain enough.
“It varies from branch to branch, but research shows that more than 80 percent of (Norwegians) don’t complain when they’re dissatisified with something,” Bård Tronvoll, a lecturer at the College of Hedmark, told newspaper Aftenposten.
That’s too bad, Tronvoll maintains, because complaints can be positive. “By making it easy for customers to complain, companies can learn what’s wrong and use the opportunity to make it right,” said Tronvoll, who holds a doctorate degree in the subject of service.
Foreigners in Norway may tend to agree with Tronvoll. While Norwegians often accuse each other of complaining and never being satisfied — here’s even an expression for it, en kulture of sutring (a culture of whining) — outsiders often have a different impression.
Many of Aftenposten’s non-Norwegian readers, for example, have sent in comments over the years, bemoaning “Norwegian passivity.” Norwegians, they claim, merely accept everything from the country’s high prices, to the varying quality of produce in the market to the huge role the state plays in many aspects of human life.
“Sometimes I want to want to scream to my fellow shoppers in the grocery store, ‘why do you put up with this??'” wrote one immigrant from the US who had moved to a town on Norway’s southern coast a few years ago and was still reeling from the effects of sticker shock combined with a limited variety of goods on offer and poor, often unfriendly, service at the cash register.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease, after all, and honest feedback from customers can boost business, Tronvoll believes.
“If customers don’t have a means of effectively complaining, they’ll simply be dissatisfied and have a poor impression of the business,” he said. “And they’ll pass on that impression to others.”
A recent survey conducted by research firm Synovate for an organization that promotes higher levels of service, HSMAI, found that the retail and travel branches scored slightly higher than the bank and indsurance branch and much higher than public services and the high tech/telecoms branches. But none of them scored much better than average.
“That’s not good enough, and there’s no excuse for it,” said Per Morten Hoff, secretary general of the information technology association IKT-Norge.
As Ingunn Hofseth of HSMAI put it: “Complaints aren’t a problem, it’s how they’re handled,” she said. “And here in Norway, we have a lot to learn.”

Sweden:

Study: violence increasing on streets of Stockholm
Published: 15 Jul 08 08:42 CET

Street violence in Stockholm is rising, according to a study by Stockholm South General Hospital (Södersjukhuset).
The study is based on data gathered over several years on patients admitted to the hospital’s emergency room.
“We have more injuries resulting from violence than we have heart attacks, and we have the most heart attacks of any hospital in the entire country,” said the hospital’s Sören Sanz, who authored the report, to Sveriges Radio.
While the study also reveals that there are fewer patients being admitted with knife and gunshot wounds, that doesn’t necessarily indicate that Stockholm’s streets are any less violent.
Rather than firearms and knives, attackers instead cut their victims with broken bottles, or kick them violently.
Kicking wounds have increased roughly six-fold since 2000, now accounting for nearly 45 percent of emergency room admissions due to violent injuries.

OECD Social Protection 1994 – 2005: Iceland, Ireland, UK

Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) Iceland Ireland United Kingdom
1994 18.4 15.5 28.5
1995 18.9 14.8 28.0
1996 18.7 13.9 27.8
1997 18.5 12.9 27.3
1998 18.3 12.0 26.7
1999 18.8 14.6 26.2
2000 19.2 14.1 26.9
2001 19.4 15.0 27.3
2002 21.2 17.3 26.2
2003 23.0 17.8 26.2
2004 22.6 18.2 26.3
2005 21.7 18.2 26.8

Source: Eurostat

OECD Social Protection 1994 – 2005: Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain

Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) Greece Italy Portugal Spain
1994 22.1 25.3 21.3 22.8
1995 19.9 24.2 21.0 21.6
1996 20.5 24.3 20.2 21.5
1997 20.8 24.9 20.3 20.8
1998 21.7 24.6 20.9 20.2
1999 22.7 24.8 21.4 19.8
2000 23.5 24.7 21.7 20.3
2001 24.1 24.9 22.7 20.0
2002 23.8 25.3 23.7 20.3
2003 23.6 25.8 24.1 20.4
2004 23.6 26.0 24.7 20.6
2005 24.2 26.4   20.8

Source: Eurostat

OECD Social Protection 1994 – 2005: France, Germany, Netherlands

Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) France Germany Netherlands
1994 30.2 27.8 31.4
1995 30.3 28.2 30.6
1996 30.6 29.3 29.6
1997 30.4 28.9 28.7
1998 30.1 28.8 27.8
1999 29.9 29.2 27.1
2000 29.5 29.3 26.4
2001 29.6 29.4 26.5
2002 30.4 30.0 27.6
2003 30.9 30.3 28.3
2004 31.3 29.6 28.3
2005 31.5 29.4 28.2

Source: Eurostat

MV: Bird York – In the Deep

OECD: Early School Leaver 2005 vs. 2006

Comparison among Developed Countries for year 2005, 2006

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OECD Social Protection 1994 – 2005: Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland

Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) Austria Belgium Luxembourg Switzerland
1994 28.8 28.7 22.9 24.8
1995 28.8 27.4 20.7 25.6
1996 28.7 28.0 21.2 26.4
1997 28.6 27.4 21.5 27.3
1998 28.3 27.1 21.2 27.3
1999 28.7 27.0 20.5 27.3
2000 28.1 26.5 19.6 26.9
2001 28.4 27.3 20.9 27.6
2002 29.0 28.0 21.6 28.5
2003 29.3 29.1 22.2 29.1
2004 29.0 29.3 22.3 29.3
2005 28.8 29.7 21.9 29.2

Source: Eurostat

Picture: Yellow Wild Flower

Akalla Summer 06.2008, originally uploaded by micpohling.

Weekly Highlight: 08.07.2008

Denmark:

Poll: ban outdoor smoking
07.07.2008

The nation that up until a few years ago had one of the most relaxed attitudes towards smoking is now ready to force smokers even further into a corner. 
After resisting smoking bans while other European and North American implemented increasingly strict restrictions on lighting up indoors, Danes are ready to enact bans against outdoor smoking in public places, according to a poll carried out by weekly publication Mandag Morgen.
Nearly a year after a national ban on smoking in all indoor workplaces – including bars and restaurants – went into effect, the poll found 46 percent of Danes favour a ban against smoking in outdoor areas such as sidewalk cafés. Thirty-six percent said they were against such a measure.
Concerns about the effects of second-hand smoke were the primary reason many supported the ban.
Inge Hanustrup Clemmensen of the Danish Cancer Society said that even though studies show second-hand smoke present a health hazard, an outdoor smoking ban was neither practical nor necessary.
‘I’d rather see people show courtesy and not smoke in places where there are a lot of people gathered. The poll shows that people don’t want to be bothered by smoke outside, and it would be best if it became a custom that you just don’t expose others to second-hand smoke.’
Fact file | Smoking in Denmark
– The most recent revisions to laws against smoking in indoor public places went into effect on 15 August 2007.

– Smoking is banned in the vast majority of indoor public spaces

– The 2007 law specifically names workplaces, hospitals, schools, childcare centres and taxis as areas where smoking is not permitted

– Bars measuring less than 40m2 that do not serve food are exempt from the ban

– According to recent estimates 25 percent of Danes over 13 years smoke every day

– 12,000 Danes die annually from smoking-related illnesses (km)

Finland:

Food Costs Rising at Far Beyond European Average
Published 05.07.2008, 18.51

The cost of food in Finland has risen far more in the past year than the European average. Groceries are nearly ten percent more expensive than a year ago, while the European average has risen only by 6.4 percent.
Only a year ago consumers in Finland felt relief that food costs were rising far slower than in the rest of Europe. Now costs have leapt by 9.5 percent.
The rising price tag on dairy and meat products has been the biggest factor in the overall rise in food costs. For example, the cost of Edam cheese has increased by around 20 percent and the cost of fat-free milk by 25 percent.
A joint of beef is now a fifth more expensive, and wheat flour is more than 40 percent more expensive than a year ago.

Prices Driving Inflation

Statistics Finland development director Ilkka Lehtinen says that the rising cost of food is responsible for a third of the inflation experienced in Finland.
“For a long time the effect of food on inflation was minimal, almost nonexistent, but now the situation is far different than it has been in many years,” says Lehtinen.
But experts cannot agree on exactly why the cost of food has risen so quickly in the past year. One factor in certainly the rising cost of fuel, which is used in abundance to produce any food in such a relatively cold climate. But this alone doesn’t account for the increases.
Some experts believe that retailers have upped prices to increase their own profit margin, other blame the industry producers. Taxation on food is also higher in Finland than the European average.

Netherlands:

Donald Duck tops student’s reading list
Tuesday 08 July 2008

One in ten Dutch students reads the weekly comic Donald Duck, making it the most popular magazine among college and university goers, according to research by marketing bureau StudentServices.
When they are not enjoying Donald’s adventures, students spend three hours a day watching television and five and a half hours on the internet, the research shows, according to news agency ANP.
The research also shows that sme 40% of female and 52% of male students still live at home. They spend between 25.5 and 27 hours a week studying and 10 hours a week working. Some 71% of the 1,775 students polled say they are never overdrawn and 64% have not borrowed money to be able to study.

Norway:

Immigrants keep Oslo going
First published: 07 Jul 2008, 14:38

New figures from the City of Oslo indicate that every fourth resident of Norway’s capital has a non-Norwegian background. They may have come from Sweden, the USA, Vietnam or Gambia, and they’re playing an important role in the job market and the culture.
“Without the immigrants who work hard and do a great job, we could just forget trying to keep the restaurant branch going,” said the boss of the company canteen at the large German industrial concern Siemens.
Of the 10 persons working in Siemens’ canteen, for example, only two were born in Norway. The others come from Denmark, Sweden, Pakistan, Mexico, Gambia, Turkey, Morocco and Kosovo. All contend that they don’t really think about the international diversity.
“But we do talk a bit about the countries we come from, said Yaya Jallow Olsen from Gambia.
“And we laugh a lot together and have fun on the job,” added Lene Halstvedt from Denmark.
“We learn a lot from each other,” confirmed Yonus Kaplan from Turkey.
New data from the city and state statistics bureau SSB shows that of Oslo’s 560,484 residents, 137,878 are immigrants. That’s up from 85,550 in 1998, when the city had a population of 499,693 and immigrants made up 17 percent, not the 24.5 percent today.
The largest single immigrant group continues to be from Pakistan, with 20,313 living in Oslo. Next in line is Somalia, with 9,708 immigrants and Sweden, with 7,462. Other countries with relatively large immigrant groups in Oslo include Sri Lanka, Poland, Iraq, Turkey, Vietnam, Iran and Denmark. Eastern Europeans as a whole make up nearly as large a group of immigrants as those from Pakistan, with 19,721 registered as living in Oslo.
Foreigners also make up a fairly large portion of the population in Stavanger, where many expatriates are working in the oil and offshore industries.
Erling Lae, head of Oslo’s Municipal Executive Board, is pleased with the amount of foreigners in the capital. “When every fourth resident has a foreign background, I ask myself what the city would look like if they weren’t here,” Lae told newspaper Aften. “Oslo would have been in a deep crisis.
“It doesn’t matter where they’re coming from, but that they’re doing well and have a job. And most do.”

Sweden:

House prices ‘will keep falling’
Published: 8 Jul 08 10:18 CET

House prices are set to continue falling in many parts of Sweden during the autumn, according to a new report from mortgage lender SBAB. Apartments and houses in Gothenburg and Malmö will fall in value during the third quarter, while prices in Stockholm are set to remain stable, the report says.
The dampened housing market means that the difference between asking prices and sale prices will get smaller and that homes will take longer to sell.
Real estate agents blame the fall in prices on the large number of homes for sale combined with weak demand. Further rises in interest rates from the Riksbank could lead to a further fall in demand.
“Estate agents are expecting the housing market to remain weak in the third quarter. The time it takes to sell, which has already become significantly longer, is expected to get longer still. Bidding on properties is also expected to continue to get weaker, particularly in Stockholm,” wrote Tor Borg, SBAB analyst, in a statement.
SBAB based its report on a survey of 220 estate agents taken between 9th and 23rd June.

Persons Receiving Social/Disability Benefits: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden

Number of persons (per 100 000 population) who are claiming social/disability benefits over the years in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden:

Years Denmark Finland Norway Sweden
1980 3909.5 3506.4
1981 3923.8 3572.9
1982 4011.8 3632.0
1983 4127.1 3695.7
1984 4448.6 3801.3
1985 5329.8 4527.9 3864.1
1986 5495.8 4659.9 3924.7
1987 5664.0 4952.8 4007.1
1988 5748.8 5156.7 4112.3
1989 6059.2 5395.3 4183.6
1990 3128.9 6240.0 5525.6 4222.0
1991 3149.9 6310.3 5596.7 4259.8
1992 3174.4 6347.4 5511.3 4420.3
1993 3177.9 6341.1 5389.5 4612.6
1994 3210.7 6330.8 5388.7 4676.4
1995 3295.3 6280.8 5420.7 4756.5
1996 3286.3 6111.0 5464.8 4738.0
1997 3264.6 5963.6 5596.6 4780.8
1998 3243.4 5813.7 5824.4 4763.5
1999 3233.6 5686.4 6047.6 4797.3
2000 3210.8 5569.5 6254.5 4936.1
2001 3301.5 5401.0 6322.1 5135.1
2002 3347.7 5377.8 6439.3 5474.0
2003 3527.9 5363.7 6598.5 5662.8
2004 3518.5 5344.6 6587.0 6000.3
2005 5367.7 6527.8
2006 5307.6 6443.2

Source: WHO – Europe regional Statistic

Persons Receiving Social/Disability Benefits: Belgium, Iceland, Ireland, Switzerland

Number of persons (per 100 000 population) who are claiming social/disability benefits over the years in Belgium, Iceland, Ireland and Switzerland:

Years Belgium Iceland Ireland Switzerland
1980 141.2
1981 144.8
1982 153.6
1983 166.2
1984 173.2
1985 1431.7 183.9
1986 1487.3 191.2 1810.5
1987 1555.1 192.6 1834.1
1988 1629.5 212.0 1859.5
1989 1724.6 198.2 1911.3
1990 1669.5 1823.4 206.7 1941.7
1991 1788.9 1959.7 213.6 1986.7
1992 1831.0 2049.8 221.1 2029.3
1993 1869.0 2260.4 232.4 2101.7
1994 1947.2 2458.7 241.1 2205.2
1995 1982.9 2684.3 249.3 2273.2
1996 2001.1 2817.8 258.2 2353.5
1997 1981.7 2870.3 266.0 2443.5
1998 2002.8 2914.6 275.0 2534.7
1999 2062.0 3129.0 282.7 2632.5
2000 2101.3 3318.1 288.3 2741.5
2001 2090.9 3430.9 291.9 2837.9
2002 2105.9 3631.6 296.4 3015.3
2003 2138.4 3871.4 299.0 3160.6
2004 2338.4 4105.1 300.8 3275.8
2005 2416.1 4311.1 308.1 3438.4
2006 2482.7 4347.2 295.3 3528.4

Source: WHO – European health for all database (HFA-DB)

Persons Receiving Social/Disability Benefits: Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands

Number of persons (per 100 000 population) who are claiming social/disability benefits over the years in Germany, Greece, Italy and Netherlands:

Years Germany Greece Italy Netherlands
1990 582.7 5891.1
1991 6716.3 635.3 5989.5
1992 730.2 6008.9
1993 7864.5 699.2 1662.5 6023.4
1994 740.1 1763.4 5785.7
1995 7955.5 757.4 1810.2 5537.2
1996 1809.0 5471.8
1997 8069.5 1762.0 5507.2
1998 967.9 1745.8 5684.7
1999 8081.1 1031.7 5769.6
2000 1123.8 6143.6
2001 8151.3 1237.9 1735.1 6097.4
2002 1914.5 6064.8
2003 8045.2 1993.2 5955.5
2004 2181.1 5828.6
2005 8181.7 2344.0
2006 2527.1

Source: WHO – European health for all database (HFA-DB)

Picture: Summer Sunny Day

Akalla 06.2008, originally uploaded by micpohling.

OECD: General Government Expenditure (% of GDP) 2007

General government expenditure in year 2007 for selected OECD countries as the % of GDP.

Country / 2007
South Korea — 31.7
Australia — 34.0
Switzerland — 34.0
Ireland — 34.7
Japan — 36.5
United States — 37.4
Luxembourg — 37.8
Canada — 38.6
Spain — 38.8
Norway — 41.0
New Zealand — 42.3
Iceland — 43.1
Greece — 43.2
Germany — 44.3
United Kingdom — 44.6
Portugal — 45.9
Finland — 48.1
Belgium — 48.3
Italy — 48.4
Denmark — 50.7
France — 53.0
Sweden — 53.8

Source:
Finland, World Statistic

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