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All Points North #34: A look back at 2018

2018 was a big year in Finland and so APN revisited the top news stories, focusing on topics like jobs, workers' rights, discrimination and Donald Trump.

All Points North Podcast
Image: Yle News
Yle News

Our final podcast of the year examined the most prominent news stories in 2018, with important insights from many of the interesting guests we've had the pleasure of speaking with during the past year.

A top ongoing story that continues to capture the world's attention has been the impending UK withdrawal from the European Union, better known as Brexit. The significant UK expat community in Finland makes the details and negotiation of the divorce even more pertinent to our audience. We return to episode #7 for a very personal reaction to the Brexit vote from British citizen Joel Willans, founder of the popular meme site Very Finnish Problems.

Next, we look back at conversations from episode #19, when Finnish Institute of International Affairs' Charly Salonius-Pasternak walked us through the policy implications surrounding the meeting of US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, which Helsinki famously hosted on 16 July.

Another huge news story in 2018 was the government's basic income experiment, which provided 2,000 randomly-selected recipients of unemployment benefits a no-strings-attached monthly payment of 560 euros for two years. In episode #31, we spoke with Marjukka Turunen, change director from the state benefit agency Kela that carried out the trial, along with Juha Järvinen, one of the trial's participants who said the guaranteed money helped him establish businesses and get back on his feet.

Two labour market experiments in one year

If the basic income trial can be considered a carrot, the same cannot be said of the government's so-called activation model that claimed to activate passive jobseekers. Episode #8 saw the Yle News team discussing the punitive policy, which came into effect last January, with Pamela Spokes, a Canadian budding entrepreneur who has personally felt the pressure of the new requirements. We look back on how she called the model a "slap in the face", and recall how her April conversation with policy think tank EVA head Matti Apunen became very animated. This week's podcast also delves into the latest developments in this area, as the heads of state are still working out kinks in the plan.

On a related note, we also revisit episode #24, where Edem Agbekey-Taylor discussed immigrant entrepreneurship in Finland, and episode #16's comments from Romani filmmaker and writer Carmen Baltzar about xenophobia and racism in the Finnish media. We finished by gleaning the highlights from four other thought-provoking episodes from last year featuring guests Faith Mkwesha, Maryan Abdulkarim, Lauren Stevens, and James MacDonald.

If you have any questions, or would like to share something on your mind, just contact us via WhatsApp on +358 44 421 0909, on our Facebook or Twitter account, or at

The All Points North podcast is a weekly look at what's going on in Finland. Subscribe via iTunes (siirryt toiseen palveluun) (and leave a review!), listen on Spotify (siirryt toiseen palveluun)and Yle Areena or find it on your favourite podcatching app or via our RSS feed (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

This week's show was presented by Mark B. Odom, Zena Iovino and Denise Wall, and was co-produced by Mark Odom and Pamela Kaskinen. Oursound technician was Antoni Wickström. Other presenters and contributors in 2018 were Egan Richardson, Eddy D. Hawkins, Ronan Browne, Lydia Taylerson, Wif Stenger and the rest of the Yle News team.

Thanks to all our podcast listeners this year. Be sure to tune in again in 2019 to hear more insights on what's happening in Finland.

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