Somali philology at Helsinki University
Helsingin Yliopisto (HY, Helsinki University) is going to establish a new study programme in Somali language and cultural studies by 2017.
HY will offer a pathway for native speakers of Somali within the programme as well as one for non-natives studying Somali as a foreign language. A number of up to eight students will be accepted annually according to current plans. Although a full bachelor's and master's degree will be offered with the fall semester 2017 as a starting point, the forthcoming semester already offers an opportunity to complete a set of 15 credit points in Somali language studies.
The establishment of Somali philology at a Finnish university may seem surprising at first sight. Considering the fact that immigrants from Somalia form the third biggest minority in Finland after Russians and Estonians, the decision to create a study programme focusing on that language and culture seems like a reasonable decision. In the early and mid 1990s students from Somalia first arrived via Soviet universities, whereas later more and more people arrived directly from the Eastern African country, many of them via family unification programmes.
Besides Somali, other flourishing language studies like Arabic, Chinese and English are aimed to be strengthened by raising the number of students getting accepted each year by 15 respectively 20-25 students. Other programmes offered by the Department for Modern Languages of HY such as French and German studies will have to face cuts as a response to their downswing in popularity.
Finnish Lions lose World Championship
Hockey fans in Finland faced heavy disappointment when the Lions (Leijonat) lost the final match in Moscow during the Ice Hockey World Championship to the Canadian team.
The 2-0 result of the deciding match on Sunday May 22nd does not seem too surprising. Even though the under-18 and under-20 World Championships could be decided in their own favour, the Finns did not seem powerful enough throughout the whole game to have a decent chance and defeat Team Canada. Already by 11:24 Canadian Conor McDavid managed to score, the second hit followed at 59:59 by Matt Duchene. Any promising attempts by the Finnish team to take over the game remained unsuccessful.
Young Patrik Laine, who with his team won the Gold medal in this year’s Ice Hockey World U20 Championship, looked devastated after the match, despite being declared tournament MVP and clearly being a current media favourite.
Ice Hockey as a sport was embraced relatively late in Finland through Russia and Sweden around the beginning of the 20 th century, and officially adopted by both the Skating Association and the Finnish Ball Association in 1927 before the Finnish Ice Hockey Association was founded two years later. It was a long road until the Finnish team, ever since known as Leijonat, reached the quality to be counted as medal contenders during international tournaments. Since their first World Championship medal win, the Finnish ice hockey team managed to continue winning medals at a fairly regular rate. Today hockey is enormously popular in the northern European country, which managed to become a world power in this sport.
Finnish alcohol law to be loosened
One thing associated with Finland is strict alcohol regulations. A forthcoming change is meant to affect both the selling and serving of alcohol and might include even more changes to how alcohol is currently dealt with in public.
The current regulation allows the selling of alcoholic beverages with a maximum of 4.7 percent alcohol by volume in supermarkets and retail sales. A rise in the alcohol level up to 5.5 percent forms the goal set for 2017 including beers, ciders and long drinks. Broadened possibilities to advertise alcoholic products and eased regulations on home brewing and the serving of alcohol in various contexts are further steps towards loosened alcohol restrictions, which Yle, Finland's national broadcasting company, listed up in their online appearance.
The three governing parties The Centre Party of Finland (kesk., Suomen Keskusta), The Finns Party (PS, Perussuomalaiset) and The National Coalition Party (kok, Kansallinen Kokoomus) now agree on the upcoming changes, which were favoured by kok and PS for a longer time and which have been discussed intensively. Kesk uttered concerns about an increase in overall alcohol consumption once such changes come into effect. The results of the debate were compromises, which are now to all appearances planned for 2017. A finalising statement from Juha Rehula, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Service (kesk), on this matter is expected by late June.
The alcohol regulations in Finland are very strict. The sale of alcoholic beverages of any kind to persons under 18 is prohibited by law and only persons 20 years and older are allowed to buy strong alcoholic drinks with a percentage of higher than 22. Beers and ciders with a maximum alcoholic percentage of 4.7 can be sold in supermarkets and retail establishments during the day until 9 pm, whereas beverages with a higher alcoholic content including wines, all hard liquors and spirits, but also stronger beers can only be purchased in the Alko state monopoly stores.