A process of local government restructuring is underway in Finland. Responsibilities are being passed horizontally from small municipalities to major municipalities as Finland works to reduce the number of local authorities in the country. The process began in 2005 with the introduction of the Project to Restructure Local Government and Services (PARAS).
In the last seven years the number of municipalities in Finland has fallen by one quarter.
The largest merger by the turn of the year happened in the northern town of Oulu, where four neighboring municipalities became part of Oulu, making the city’s population swell from 144,000 to more than 185,000.
On New Year’s Eve Some 10,000 spectators gathered in the Raksila stadium to celebrate Oulu’s re-birth as Finland’s fifth largest city, YLE reports.
Oulu is also the fifth largest city in the Barents region, surpassed by the Russian towns of Arkhangelsk (356,000), Murmansk (307,000), Petrozavodsk (263,000) and Syktyvkar (235,000).
Oulu is known as a major high-tech center with one of Finland’s largest universities.
Oulu is also known as the home town of the Air Guitar World Championship and the men’ choir Mieskuoro Huutajat (Screaming Men).
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Northern Fleet’s “Admiral Kuznetsov”, has finished repairs and is ready to leave the port of Murmansk. According to a Russian news agency, the vessel will sail to Syria.
A century and a half ago, Norway was home to roughly three thousand brown bears, the majority of bears in all of Scandinavia. By 1930, the bears were virtually extinct. Decades of aggressive management tactics and bounties had wiped out one of the area’s most iconic species.
Microplastics, the tiny plastic particles that are accumulating in marine waters and big lakes around the world, are now showing up in the Arctic waters south and southwest of Svalbard, Norway, a new study says.
REYKJAVIK: The climatic changes taking place in the Arctic are a call to action for the world. We must answer with more international cooperation and more research, says Tore Hattrem, State Secretary of Norway’s Foreign Ministry.
“Partnership should and shall shape the development of the Arctic, therefore cooperation is the starting point for our Arctic policy,” Vladimir Barbin, Senior Arctic Official and representative to the Arctic Council, said at the Arctic Circle 2015 assembly.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende has asked Russia for an explanation to the high number of asylum seekers coming to Norway via Russia. Syrian refugees that have lived in Russia for a long time, will be stopped on the border and sent back.