MeThink: 590 000 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.
13-08-2008: 160 000 hits.
08-09-2008: 170 000 hits.
27-09-2008: 180 000 hits.
15-10-2008: 190 000 hits.
03-11-2008: 200 000 hits.
18-11-2008: 210 000 hits.
03-12-2008: 220 000 hits.
21-12-2008: 230 000 hits.
18-01-2009: 240 000 hits.
05-02-2009: 250 000 hits.
22-02-2009: 260 000 hits.
10-03-2009: 270 000 hits.
26-03-2009: 280 000 hits.
13-04-2009: 290 000 hits.
29-04-2009: 300 000 hits.
15-05-2009: 310 000 hits.
04-06-2009: 320 000 hits.
25-06-2009: 330 000 hits.
17-07-2009: 340 000 hits.
13-08-2009: 350 000 hits.
09-09-2009: 360 000 hits.
27-09-2009: 370 000 hits.
14-10-2009: 380 000 hits.
01-11-2009: 390 000 hits.
19-11-2009: 400 000 hits.
06-12-2009: 410 000 hits.
28-12-2009: 420 000 hits.
21-01-2010: 430 000 hits.
18-02-2010: 440 000 hits.
08-03-2010: 450 000 hits.
26-03-2010: 460 000 hits.
17-04-2010: 470 000 hits.
09-05-2010: 480 000 hits.
03-06-2010: 490 000 hits.
10-07-2010: 500 000 hits.
09-08-2010: 510 000 hits.
05-09-2010: 520 000 hits.
30-09-2010: 530 000 hits.
18-10-2010: 540 000 hits.
05-11-2010: 550 000 hits.
21-11-2010: 560 000 hits.
08-12-2010: 570 000 hits.
05-01-2011: 580 000 hits.
26-01-2011: 590 000 hits!!!

MeThink: 580 000 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.
13-08-2008: 160 000 hits.
08-09-2008: 170 000 hits.
27-09-2008: 180 000 hits.
15-10-2008: 190 000 hits.
03-11-2008: 200 000 hits.
18-11-2008: 210 000 hits.
03-12-2008: 220 000 hits.
21-12-2008: 230 000 hits.
18-01-2009: 240 000 hits.
05-02-2009: 250 000 hits.
22-02-2009: 260 000 hits.
10-03-2009: 270 000 hits.
26-03-2009: 280 000 hits.
13-04-2009: 290 000 hits.
29-04-2009: 300 000 hits.
15-05-2009: 310 000 hits.
04-06-2009: 320 000 hits.
25-06-2009: 330 000 hits.
17-07-2009: 340 000 hits.
13-08-2009: 350 000 hits.
09-09-2009: 360 000 hits.
27-09-2009: 370 000 hits.
14-10-2009: 380 000 hits.
01-11-2009: 390 000 hits.
19-11-2009: 400 000 hits.
06-12-2009: 410 000 hits.
28-12-2009: 420 000 hits.
21-01-2010: 430 000 hits.
18-02-2010: 440 000 hits.
08-03-2010: 450 000 hits.
26-03-2010: 460 000 hits.
17-04-2010: 470 000 hits.
09-05-2010: 480 000 hits.
03-06-2010: 490 000 hits.
10-07-2010: 500 000 hits.
09-08-2010: 510 000 hits.
05-09-2010: 520 000 hits.
30-09-2010: 530 000 hits.
18-10-2010: 540 000 hits.
05-11-2010: 550 000 hits.
21-11-2010: 560 000 hits.
08-12-2010: 570 000 hits.
05-01-2011: 580 000 hits!!!

MeThink: 570 000 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.
13-08-2008: 160 000 hits.
08-09-2008: 170 000 hits.
27-09-2008: 180 000 hits.
15-10-2008: 190 000 hits.
03-11-2008: 200 000 hits.
18-11-2008: 210 000 hits.
03-12-2008: 220 000 hits.
21-12-2008: 230 000 hits.
18-01-2009: 240 000 hits.
05-02-2009: 250 000 hits.
22-02-2009: 260 000 hits.
10-03-2009: 270 000 hits.
26-03-2009: 280 000 hits.
13-04-2009: 290 000 hits.
29-04-2009: 300 000 hits.
15-05-2009: 310 000 hits.
04-06-2009: 320 000 hits.
25-06-2009: 330 000 hits.
17-07-2009: 340 000 hits.
13-08-2009: 350 000 hits.
09-09-2009: 360 000 hits.
27-09-2009: 370 000 hits.
14-10-2009: 380 000 hits.
01-11-2009: 390 000 hits.
19-11-2009: 400 000 hits.
06-12-2009: 410 000 hits.
28-12-2009: 420 000 hits.
21-01-2010: 430 000 hits.
18-02-2010: 440 000 hits.
08-03-2010: 450 000 hits.
26-03-2010: 460 000 hits.
17-04-2010: 470 000 hits.
09-05-2010: 480 000 hits.
03-06-2010: 490 000 hits.
10-07-2010: 500 000 hits.
09-08-2010: 510 000 hits.
05-09-2010: 520 000 hits.
30-09-2010: 530 000 hits.
18-10-2010: 540 000 hits.
05-11-2010: 550 000 hits.
21-11-2010: 560 000 hits.
08-12-2010: 570 000 hits!!!

MeThink: 560 000 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.
13-08-2008: 160 000 hits.
08-09-2008: 170 000 hits.
27-09-2008: 180 000 hits.
15-10-2008: 190 000 hits.
03-11-2008: 200 000 hits.
18-11-2008: 210 000 hits.
03-12-2008: 220 000 hits.
21-12-2008: 230 000 hits.
18-01-2009: 240 000 hits.
05-02-2009: 250 000 hits.
22-02-2009: 260 000 hits.
10-03-2009: 270 000 hits.
26-03-2009: 280 000 hits.
13-04-2009: 290 000 hits.
29-04-2009: 300 000 hits.
15-05-2009: 310 000 hits.
04-06-2009: 320 000 hits.
25-06-2009: 330 000 hits.
17-07-2009: 340 000 hits.
13-08-2009: 350 000 hits.
09-09-2009: 360 000 hits.
27-09-2009: 370 000 hits.
14-10-2009: 380 000 hits.
01-11-2009: 390 000 hits.
19-11-2009: 400 000 hits.
06-12-2009: 410 000 hits.
28-12-2009: 420 000 hits.
21-01-2010: 430 000 hits.
18-02-2010: 440 000 hits.
08-03-2010: 450 000 hits.
26-03-2010: 460 000 hits.
17-04-2010: 470 000 hits.
09-05-2010: 480 000 hits.
03-06-2010: 490 000 hits.
10-07-2010: 500 000 hits.
09-08-2010: 510 000 hits.
05-09-2010: 520 000 hits.
30-09-2010: 530 000 hits
18-10-2010: 540 000 hits.
05-11-2010: 550 000 hits.
21-11-2010: 560 000 hits!

MeThink: 550 000 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.
13-08-2008: 160 000 hits.
08-09-2008: 170 000 hits.
27-09-2008: 180 000 hits.
15-10-2008: 190 000 hits.
03-11-2008: 200 000 hits.
18-11-2008: 210 000 hits.
03-12-2008: 220 000 hits.
21-12-2008: 230 000 hits.
18-01-2009: 240 000 hits.
05-02-2009: 250 000 hits.
22-02-2009: 260 000 hits.
10-03-2009: 270 000 hits.
26-03-2009: 280 000 hits.
13-04-2009: 290 000 hits.
29-04-2009: 300 000 hits.
15-05-2009: 310 000 hits.
04-06-2009: 320 000 hits.
25-06-2009: 330 000 hits.
17-07-2009: 340 000 hits.
13-08-2009: 350 000 hits.
09-09-2009: 360 000 hits.
27-09-2009: 370 000 hits.
14-10-2009: 380 000 hits.
01-11-2009: 390 000 hits.
19-11-2009: 400 000 hits.
06-12-2009: 410 000 hits.
28-12-2009: 420 000 hits.
21-01-2010: 430 000 hits.
18-02-2010: 440 000 hits.
08-03-2010: 450 000 hits.
26-03-2010: 460 000 hits.
17-04-2010: 470 000 hits.
09-05-2010: 480 000 hits.
03-06-2010: 490 000 hits.
10-07-2010: 500 000 hits.
09-08-2010: 510 000 hits.
05-09-2010: 520 000 hits.
30-09-2010: 530 000 hits
18-10-2010: 540 000 hits.
05-11-2010: 550 000 hits!!!

Methink: 540 000 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.
13-08-2008: 160 000 hits.
08-09-2008: 170 000 hits.
27-09-2008: 180 000 hits.
15-10-2008: 190 000 hits.
03-11-2008: 200 000 hits.
18-11-2008: 210 000 hits.
03-12-2008: 220 000 hits.
21-12-2008: 230 000 hits.
18-01-2009: 240 000 hits.
05-02-2009: 250 000 hits.
22-02-2009: 260 000 hits.
10-03-2009: 270 000 hits.
26-03-2009: 280 000 hits.
13-04-2009: 290 000 hits.
29-04-2009: 300 000 hits.
15-05-2009: 310 000 hits.
04-06-2009: 320 000 hits.
25-06-2009: 330 000 hits.
17-07-2009: 340 000 hits.
13-08-2009: 350 000 hits.
09-09-2009: 360 000 hits.
27-09-2009: 370 000 hits.
14-10-2009: 380 000 hits.
01-11-2009: 390 000 hits.
19-11-2009: 400 000 hits.
06-12-2009: 410 000 hits.
28-12-2009: 420 000 hits.
21-01-2010: 430 000 hits.
18-02-2010: 440 000 hits.
08-03-2010: 450 000 hits.
26-03-2010: 460 000 hits.
17-04-2010: 470 000 hits.
09-05-2010: 480 000 hits.
03-06-2010: 490 000 hits.
10-07-2010: 500 000 hits.
09-08-2010: 510 000 hits.
05-09-2010: 520 000 hits.
30-09-2010: 530 000 hits
18-10-2010: 540 000 hits!!!

MeThink: 530 000 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.
13-08-2008: 160 000 hits.
08-09-2008: 170 000 hits.
27-09-2008: 180 000 hits.
15-10-2008: 190 000 hits.
03-11-2008: 200 000 hits.
18-11-2008: 210 000 hits.
03-12-2008: 220 000 hits.
21-12-2008: 230 000 hits.
18-01-2009: 240 000 hits.
05-02-2009: 250 000 hits.
22-02-2009: 260 000 hits.
10-03-2009: 270 000 hits.
26-03-2009: 280 000 hits.
13-04-2009: 290 000 hits.
29-04-2009: 300 000 hits.
15-05-2009: 310 000 hits.
04-06-2009: 320 000 hits.
25-06-2009: 330 000 hits.
17-07-2009: 340 000 hits.
13-08-2009: 350 000 hits.
09-09-2009: 360 000 hits.
27-09-2009: 370 000 hits.
14-10-2009: 380 000 hits.
01-11-2009: 390 000 hits.
19-11-2009: 400 000 hits.
06-12-2009: 410 000 hits.
28-12-2009: 420 000 hits.
21-01-2010: 430 000 hits.
18-02-2010: 440 000 hits.
08-03-2010: 450 000 hits.
26-03-2010: 460 000 hits.
17-04-2010: 470 000 hits.
09-05-2010: 480 000 hits.
03-06-2010: 490 000 hits.
10-07-2010: 500 000 hits.
09-08-2010: 510 000 hits.
05-09-2010: 520 000 hits.
30-09-2010: 530 000 hits!!!

MeThink: 520 000 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.
13-08-2008: 160 000 hits.
08-09-2008: 170 000 hits.
27-09-2008: 180 000 hits.
15-10-2008: 190 000 hits.
03-11-2008: 200 000 hits.
18-11-2008: 210 000 hits.
03-12-2008: 220 000 hits.
21-12-2008: 230 000 hits.
18-01-2009: 240 000 hits.
05-02-2009: 250 000 hits.
22-02-2009: 260 000 hits.
10-03-2009: 270 000 hits.
26-03-2009: 280 000 hits.
13-04-2009: 290 000 hits.
29-04-2009: 300 000 hits.
15-05-2009: 310 000 hits.
04-06-2009: 320 000 hits.
25-06-2009: 330 000 hits.
17-07-2009: 340 000 hits.
13-08-2009: 350 000 hits.
09-09-2009: 360 000 hits.
27-09-2009: 370 000 hits.
14-10-2009: 380 000 hits.
01-11-2009: 390 000 hits.
19-11-2009: 400 000 hits.
06-12-2009: 410 000 hits.
28-12-2009: 420 000 hits.
21-01-2010: 430 000 hits.
18-02-2010: 440 000 hits.
08-03-2010: 450 000 hits.
26-03-2010: 460 000 hits.
17-04-2010: 470 000 hits.
09-05-2010: 480 000 hits.
03-06-2010: 490 000 hits.
10-07-2010: 500 000 hits.
09-08-2010: 510 000 hits.
05-09-2010: 520 000 hits!!!

Global 500, year 2008: Pharmaceutical

# Phamarceutical  Rank Revenue Profit % profit per
revenue
1 Johnson & Johnson 107 61,095 10,576 17.3
2 Pfizer 143 48,418 8,144 16.8
3 GlaxoSmithKline 151 45,447 10,432 23.0
4 Roche Group 175 40,315 8,135 20.2
5 Sanofi-Aventis 178 39,977 7,204 18.0
6 Novartis 181 39,800 11,946 30.0
7 AstraZeneca 265 29,559 5,595 18.9
8 Abbott Laboratories 312 25,914 3,606 13.9
9 Merck 332 24,198 3,275 13.5
10 Wyeth 381 22,400 4,616 20.6
11 Bristol-Myers Squibb 427 19,977 2,165 10.8
12 Eli Lilly 453 18,634 2,953 15.8

 Revenue, profit in USD Millions

source: Global Fortune 500

MeThink: 190 000 Hits!!!

Huurray!

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.
13-08-2008: 160 000 hits.
08-09-2008: 170 000 hits.
27-09-2008: 180 000 hits.
15-10-2008: 190 000 hits!!! 🙂

Picture: Tulip in Neighbourhood

Stockholm Spring 05.2008, originally uploaded by micpohling.

Tulips around the neighbourhood.

Weekly Highlight: 06.05.2008

Denmark: no more free school choice?

Free school choice to end
02.05.2008

A majority in Copenhagen’s city council are ready to put an end to parents’ ability to send their children to the school of their choice.
Free choice of city schools for primary and secondary school students will be a thing of the past if city council passes a new proposal to limit children to two or three local educational facilities, reports Berlingske Tidende newspaper.
Currently, parents may send their kids to any school lying within Copenhagen municipality. But a majority in city council are set to change that in the interests of furthering integration.
‘If we’re going to have a real community school, then everyone in the local districts should be represented,’ said Jan Andreasen, Social Democratic member of the city’s Children and Youth Committee. ‘Integration will only succeed if parents don’t flee from their local schools.’
Many parents of children with ethnic Danish background do not want to send their children to schools where many of the students are Muslim, while Muslim parents are often hesitant to break the pattern of sending their children to the same schools.
Parents’ organisation School and Society indicated it doesn’t believe that forced integration is a solution to the problem.
‘We already have a very large number of parents applying to send their kids to private schools and I think this proposal would just make the situation even worse,’ said the organisation’s president, Thomas Damkjær Petersen.
The proposal will be taken up in the Children and Youth Committee before being sent on to the Education Ministry, where its approval would mean a law change. (RC)

Finland:

Midwives Call for More Natural Births
Published 06.05.2008, 10.56 (updated 06.05.2008, 10.59)

All births in Finland are treated as though they are high-risk, according to the Federation of Finnish Midwives. The group says that Finland provides too many unnecessary caesarean sections, induced labours and epidurals.
In Finland, 70 percent of women giving birth for the first time receive an epidural, while 20 percent undergo a C-section. Meanwhile, half of all women receive an epidural. Just one decade ago, only around one-quarter of women underwent a C-section. Furthermore, hospitals vary considerably in their practices.
According to the federation, hospitals cater too much to patients.
“It’s unnecessary to administer an epidural to a mother who demands one when there is no medical reason to give it to her,” says the director of the federation, Terhi Virtanen.
“If an epidural is given too early, the birthing process can be halted. Then medications are needed to speed up the birth, which can lead to assisted suction deliveries and serious tears,” she adds.
Virtanen says women who have previously had C-sections are the most frequent recipients of the operation.
The federation has prepared a report on natural births. It says it hopes to work with physicians to compile recommendations for handling low risk births.

Netherlands:

Cabinet to tackle high baby death rate
Tuesday 06 May 2008

Health minister Ab Klink is working on plans to try to tackle the death rate for new born babies in the Netherlands, which some say is high among western European countries, the NRC reports on Tuesday.
‘Of every 1,000 babies, 13.4 die during the pregnancy or in the first month after birth,’ the paper says, quoting health council figures.
Klink is setting up a special committee which will be charged with reducing the baby death rate, the NRC says. In the meantime, he wants to involve social and healthcare groups in improving help to parents. The plans are contained in a concept letter which is circulating in medical circles.
Klink stressed that the Dutch tradition of encouraging home births was not at issue. ‘Far too many women, gynaecologists and researchers think it is a good institution,’ the paper quoted Klink as saying. ‘Home births cannot be regarded as being responsible for the higher baby death rate.’
In particular, Klink thinks improving prenatal care to immigrants and low-skilled households will bring positive results, the NRC says.

Norway:

Norwegians stump out cigs at record rate
First published: 05 May 2008, 12:45

In 1976, four out of 10 Norwegians smoked cigarettes daily. In 2007, the number had sunk to 2 out of 10.
“There’s no other country that has a faster rate of reducing smoking than Norway,” said Karl Erik Lund, a researcher in the Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research (SIRUS).
He attributes this to a combination of official campaigns, increasing restrictions and high taxes. But he also says the symbolic idea of smoking has “turned upside down – from positive to negative.”
More women than men smoke in Norway now. While 23 percent of women say they smoke daily, 21 percent of men say they do.
However, the amount of men who use snuff has been growing rapidly. Among men between 16 and 44 years, there has been a tripling of snuff use since 1985.
Lund also thinks the smoking numbers will continue to fall.
“There is nothing that indicates we have met the bottom of the smokers yet. The number of smokers will continue to go down in the years that come. It is natural to believe that we will come down towards the 5-10 percent level of daily smokers in Norway,” he said.

Sweden:

Swedish for Immigrants enrolment hits all time high
Published: 4 May 08 10:17 CET

65,222 students attended Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) courses in 2007. The highest number ever and 24 percent up on 2006.
The number of beginners starting SFI courses in the 2006/07 academic year was the highest since 1993/94 when 35,500 signed up.
Over 130 language groups were represented in the 2006/07 academic year. Arabic was the most common mother tongue, with over 20 percent of students speaking Arabic as a first language. Many of the languages were spoken by only a handful of students.
62 percent of the beginners who started SFI courses in 2004/05 passed one of their courses and of those almost half gained top grades.
The level of prior education varies greatly among SFI students. The Swedish Board of Education (Skolverket) reported in a memorandum that there is a close correlation between the basic education of students and success in the SFI course.
Those with Polish as a mother tongue typically had the highest number of years of basic school education with over 90 percent having a minimum of 10 years school education before signing up for the course. Only 20 percent of those of Somali origin had more than 10 years school education.
The Board’s statistics also indicated that younger students proved more successful than older and that there were clear differences among different language groups depending on the similarity of their mother tongue to Swedish.
The average age of SFI students in 2006/07 was 32-years-old and 57 percent of the students were women.
SFI courses were offered in 251 of Sweden’s 290 local authorities in 2006/07.

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.

Finland: Politician and Private Life

I am not interested in the bigger issue involving Finland Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen and his ex-girl friend’ legal issue, but I guess this remark in this article do press the hot button on me:

The power exercised by a prime minister in Finland is so great that the rest of us citizens would do well to be aware of what sort of life he spends outside of working hours. 
If Vanhanen shows up as a wild and woolly bachelor in bars and on online dating sites, it perhaps poses the question of whether or not we have a PM who can be taken seriously.

I mean, does Finnish people really choose their leader based on their private lives or choices over partners? If the politician go to bar and use online dating services, how should it affect their working capability? Isn’t it that the politicians enjoy the same right as like the other ordinary people on what they want to do over their private lives between the mutual consenting adults, e.g. going to bar or engaging on online dating sites? My husband and I got to know each other via online dating service (match.com), does it mean both of us can’t be taken seriously if we want to become the politicians to serve the country?

Sale: Selling my Books!

I have 2 more months to stay in Kyoto, and therefore now is the time for me to clear off some of my stuffs, including some books I brought or purchased here. If anyone who stays in Kyoto/Osaka area and interested in the item list below, please leave your message in the comment for further contact.

1. Collapse – Jared Diamond (1000 yen)

2. 1000 Films to Change Your Life – TimeOut (1000 yen)

3. The Interpretation of Dreams – Sigmund Freud (400 yen)

4. The 9/11 Report, National Commision on Terrorist Attack Upon United States (400 yen)

5. Kanji Starter 2 – Daiki Kusuya (450 yen)

6. Basic Connections, Making Your Japanese Flow – Kakuko Shoji (900 yen)

7. Basic Kanji Book, Vol.1 (1200 yen)

8. Basic Kanji Book, Vol.2 (1200 yen)

Important! Must learn this trick!

Useful for me, at least.

How to create an HTML link in a blog”

 <A href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/micpohling/”>michelle’s pictures on flickr</A>

Minimum Wage in Malaysia?

Went through a guy’s blog and saw his post on minimum wage, a response on the letter written to Malaysia Kini. Curious to know why he said that the author made a strong case for minimum wage, I spent a little more time in reading through the letter again. And me, (stress) not an economist, seeing what I can think of to rebute her arguments. Readers are welcomed to point out my failure as well.

In our headlong rush towards modernisation, higher GDP per capita and accumulating riches undreamed of in our father’s generation, we have forgotten that as a nation, we must move together and share our resources, spoils and tribulations in good times or bad times.

Hmmm, I am not sure what kind of resources she is referring to. May be it was something about the land which my father bought 10 years and it was a good land producing a lot of crops. Now since the land is so fruitful and productive, it is time to share – freely? Sharing the crops or sharing the land? Anything close to property right there?

Some of us have the luck and ingenuity to move ahead, earn wealth and live happily ever after while some sections of society, whether through their own fault or not, are still stuck in poverty even if they work 12-hour, 6-day weeks.

More importantly, is this “luck” something detestable? I hit jackpot, thousands did not, and am I supposed to be responsible for those thousands who did not hit the jackpot?

Someone commented that we should not implement minimum wage legislation but instead educate the poor so that they can lift themselves out of poverty. Have we forgotten that not all of us have the gift and ability to be educated and learn new skills? Wages and salary, whether high or low, are still a market reflection of supply and demand of labour with particular skills, as well as the person’s ability to negotiate high wages.

Wait, if it is the politicians/policy maker/teachers/education who said this line “not all of us have the gift and ability to be educated and learn new skills”, what are we to think about them (read between the lines: some smart, and sorry for the stupid ones, education can’t help much)? Aren’t every human being is unique and talented at his or her own way? If a guy is good in science, let him work out his way (no hindrance please) to be scientist, similarly if the guy is good in handicraft, let him work out his way to be plumber,mechanics. The labour market is far away about the monotonous demand on doctors or engineers alone. Not everyone need to be doctors or scientist in a society, doctor can not fix my car problem if I have one!

If you are buddy with your boss, and your boss cannot do without you, it’s a no-brainer that you will be able to negotiate high wages. You are your own commodity and your ability to package and sell yourself is the key to your net worth and potential. Does anyone wonder why Siti Nurhaliza is in demand and highly paid?

Then make yourself indispensable in your boss bussiness (learnt that from a senior manager from my ex-company), and the best part is, make yourself so indispensable that even though you are your boss greatest headache, he will still have to pay you well for your worth. You are your own commodity and your ability to package and sell yourself is the key to your net worth and potential. Is it supposed to be a bad thing?

The government further undermines the labour market by doing almost nothing about rampant illegal worker immigration from neighbouring countries. There were cases in the past in Sabah whereby illegal immigrants were given citizenship, hence enlarging the pool of cheap labour.

See the symptom? The push harder for dealing with illegal immigrants. Besides, if you push for higher wages, more employer will be tempted to hire illegal immigrants who can take the job at lower-than-minimum wage pay. Logic?

Introducing minimum wage legislation would bring a lot of benefit to the country. Let’s say that we set minimum wage at RM5 per hour this year. Inefficient companies who cannot afford to pay this minimum wage will have to close shop, freeing labour resources to be employed elsewhere.

And what you get? UNEMPLOYMENT. Freeing labour resources to be employed elsewhere sounds like a good idea, but WHERE is that elsewhere? If the employer of next door is paying higher salary, why do you think the worker is still staying put in the old company? They would have gone long time already. Worker are FREE (they can go or resign anytime they want, can’t they?), but the only problem why they are stuck with the current low wage job is more likely that because there is no competition or demand out there, ergo NOT FREE to choose better jobs.

On the labour supply side, people who normally do not work because of other commitments or unattractive wages, might find RM5 per hour a good and start looking for jobs, thus contributing to the economy.

If people do not work because of unattractive wages, how they survive in Malaysia in the first place (especially the master of the house)? As far as I know, we are not a social welfare state like Sweden or Finland which paid some allowances to the unemployed to sustain their lives. But is there any case that Malaysian choose not to work because of low wage? Let the statistic speaks!

More people on the payroll would increase economic activity, contributing to higher economic growth. Companies would invest more, since the economic climate is rosier. This in turn will spur the country forward to make more capital investment and increase per capita productivity, since employers would not employ employees to do low-value jobs. It will also help employees on a low income as a higher income will ease their burden.

More people on the payroll? Yeah, make sure people are employed in the first place. Employers would not want to hire worker for low-value jobs, but then there is always a low-value job out there, whether we like it or not: construction builder, street sweeping, toilet cleaner, etc. Who is going to do those jobs? And can these jobs be nullified just because nobody want to do a low-value jobs? No, it would just mean that someone will do it, and doing it with a higher price than we used to pay!

Would a minimum wage law would reduce our competitiveness? Would FDI flow to other countries? That is shallow argument hiding the fact that competitiveness is equal efficiency in every aspect of our activity. Who is more efficient, a street sweeper using a truck or a few street sweepers using brooms and baskets?

Let’s say, Malaysia’s minimum wage is RM5 per hour [Malaysia’s GDP per capita (PPP) is USD11201], Vietnam [USD 3025], Thailand [USD 8368] is offering RM3 per hour, where does FDI go? Of course there are a lot of variables for foreigners to invest, but wage with the value of it, is one of them, an important one. Put more investment in education, train more knowlegable and skilled labours, that will be give us an advantage in competing with other low wage countries, and will definitely attract more high-end or high-value added technology.