WHILE the rise in popularity of such US-based ‘icons’ Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian in recent years represents a dearth in the genuine nature of celebrity culture, whereby one can now be admired and lauded for doing pretty much nothing at all, this global phenomenon coincides with an increase in a fascination for pets. Once seen as a humble member of the family, and often required to sleep outside in a kennel, domestic pets such as dogs have enjoyed a prominent increase in status of late. Having become the ultimate fashion accessory for the elite, pets now enjoy a situation whereby many people are often taking the same care of them to the same degree that they would their own children.

The school year is ending, and many students are taking flight. What happens to their stuff?

It’s not only the birds who will be setting out for a new roost as the snow melts and spring takes hold in Finland. Apartments all over will see students ending their studies, and at that time there will be a number of leases that come to an end.

It may not come as a surprise to anyone, but new statistics nevertheless confirm what many probably already suspected: Finland is one of the most expensive countries in the eurozone.

According to Eurostat’s figures, reported recently by Helsingin Sanomat, the price of foodstuff in Finland is over 12 per cent above the eurozone average, while housing is up to 26 per cent more expensive. Alcohol and tobacco prices stand out the most, because of heavy taxation, being 42 per cent higher than the average.

Worried you’ll be lost in translation searching for a home? An expat couple’s trick to shopping like a local: use a local.

BUYING a house in your home country can be a daunting task. Adding the complications of a new language, new market and a new economy can make things much harder, as one couple trying to make Finland their permanent home found.

The future of a young graduate or unemployed in one of the Southern European crisis countries does not look rosy.

In January 2013, among the EU Member States, the highest unemployment rate was recorded in Greece, which hit its record of 27 per cent last November. Nearly a third of the population are expected to live in poverty by the end of the year, while Spain (26.2 %) and Portugal (17.6 %) continuing to trail close by. Youth (under 25) unemployment rates are even higher, with Greece in the lead, once again, with 59.4%, followed by Spain (55.5 %) and Italy (38.7 %), all indicating clear increases from the previous year.