The first day of the year saw Finland cut the number of municipalities in the country from 336 to 320. Rumours of cutbacks in local services in many areas proved well-founded. Also, the country’s biggest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, changed its size from broadsheet to tabloid. In true Finnish fashion, no-one cared.
A 10,000 tonne meteorite entered the earth’s atmosphere and exploded over Chelyabinsk Oblast in southern Russia with the force of 500 kilotons of TNT. On the same day Asteroid 2012 DA14 passed Earth at a distance of merely 27,700 km. We’re all doomed! Where’s Bruce Willis when you need him?
Finland’s first ever ‘citizen’s initiative’ parliamentary vote – a proposed ban on fur farming debated after well over 50,000 people signed an online petition calling for it – was comprehensively rejected by parliament, leading to suggestions that maybe our politicians actually couldn’t care less what the people want. As if!
Team unique of Finland won the synchronised skating 2013 World Championships in Boston. Finland has only missed out twice on a top-three place since the competition started in 2000, but still, who knew, right?!
Two Finns and one Austrian held captive in Yemen since December 2012 are released. Finland’s Foreign Ministry makes a surprise recommendation that Finns do not travel to that country, a mere five months too late.
The sun rises in Lapland and remains up for a couple of months, as cinefiles flock to Sodänkylä to celebrate the Midnight Sun Film Festival; five days of fantastic films, special guests and disorientating daylight.
Finland was closed, like every year.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden received temporary asylum in Russia and had to leave the airport he was holed up in. His time as a de facto Tom Hanks comes to an end.
Russia arrests 30 Greenpeace activists including one Finn and locks them up on trumped-up piracy charges. Months pass before they are freed on bail. Decent people the world over protest, and quite right too. Also, Microsoft buys Nokia’s mobile phone business. We’re doomed (again)!
No round-up would be complete without a mention of a member of The Finns party doing something stupid. This year it’s James Hirvisaari who was photographed giving a Nazi salute in the Finnish Parliament. He was expelled from his party as a result, which is something of an achievement in itself.
The fallout from an YLE documentary that ‘exposed’ racist behaviour in Finland continues. Research shows negative attitudes towards immigrants prevail. Non-European immigrants are unsurprised.
The Finnish Christmas season gets off to a raucous start as the police are summoned hundreds of times to pikkujoulu (‘Little Christmas’) parties. “Alcohol explains most of the call-outs,” understates a police spokesman.