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Finland, Estonia and Greece ratify the Treaty of Lisbon

Finland, Estonia and Greece have all ratified the European Union‘s Treaty of Lisbon, also known as the Reform Treaty. This brings the total number of ratifications by member states to 18, with all 27 required to do so if the treaty is to come into effect.

The treaty, so named because the initial signing by the EU’s members was at Lisbon, Portugal, is a replacement for a failed constitution that aims to streamline the EU’s voting procedure and increase its efficiency, amongst other changes. It is also intended to simplify efforts and may even introduce the possibility of motions proposed by citizens. Read More…

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Iraqis begin second round of negotiations

Representatives of Iraq‘s main ethnic groups have begun a second round of negotiations in Finland to study successful negotiations in South Africa and Northern Ireland. The initial talks, in September last year, ended with the Helsinki I Agreement, which presented a series of recommendations aimed at bringing peace to Iraq.

The talks have been arranged largely by the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), a non-profit organisation founded in 2000 by then Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari. CMI has previously arranged a successfully arrangement between Indonesia and rebels in the province of Aceh, ending 30 years of fighting with talks in which Ahtisaari was chairman. He is taking no role in the Iraqi negotiations. Read More…

Finland is the world’s greenest country

A new survey into the world’s greenest and most livable countries has concluded that out of 141 countries reviewed, Finland is the greenest.

Some of the top 20, in order, were Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Australia, Uruguay, Denmark, Canada, Japan, Israel, Italy, Slovenia, France, Netherlands, Portugal, New Zealand and Greece. The poorest results went to African countries, which dominated the bottom of the table, with Ethiopia coming in last place.

Some other results were the United Kingdom at 25th, the United States at 23rd and China at 84. The study also looked at individual cities. Of the 72 examined, Stockholm came out on top, followed in order by Oslo, Munich and Paris. A total of four German cities were ranked in the top ten – Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Dusseldorf – and French cities Lyon and Nantes joined Paris in the top ten as well. New York came in at 15th and London at 27th. At the bottom end were mainly Asian cities, with Beijing‘s air pollution problems earning it the lowest spot in the table. Guangzhou and Shanghai were also near the bottom.