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All Points North Podcast #18: Lauren Stevens talks marriage equality, LGBT rights and Helsinki Pride

This week's All Points North welcomes Lauren Stevens to discuss gay marriage, LGBTQ rights and the importance of Pride events.

Audio: All Points North Podcast
Audio
Audio: Yle News

In this week's edition of All Point North - and our last episode before a quiet summer break - we meet Lauren Stevens, a British blogger and self-described activist who has been studying and living in Tampere for the past couple of years.

Thanks to Finland's relatively recent decision to legalise same-sex marriage, she's set to marry her female partner in 2019. We talk to Stevens about how the new law has affected her life and also hear about the obstacles she has overcome as a gay person who was once close to the Christian faith. We also hear about the differences she's noticed between life as a gay woman in Finland and back home in the UK.

News roundup

As always, All Points North reviews the week's main news stories, starting with the life sentence handed down to Moroccan Abderrahman Bouanane by a Turku court for a bloody knife attack in Turku last summer that killed two people and wounded eight others. The 24-year old was convicted on terrorism charges and has also been ordered to pay over 450,000 euros in compensation to the victims and families.

Meanwhile a report published on Thursday suggested that Finland needs to speed up handling of asylum applications to try and prevent alienation of asylum seekers like Bouanane.The group said that a negative asylum decision which is handed out quickly is often better for the applicant than a long, drawn out period of uncertainty.

Another new report has slammed the immigration service for failings in the asylum process, particularly in translation services and treatment of families and children. Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen commissioned the report in May following controversial asylum decisions relating to families and minors.

Police in London arrested a 29 year-old Finnish man on Monday on suspicion of involvement in a terror plot. Finland's security and intelligence police outfit Supo said that it is cooperating with UK officials on the case.

A record number of citizenship applications were approved in 2017, according to Statistics Finland.Russians accounted for the largest number of new Finns.Other countries high in the ranking include Somalia, Iraq and Estonia.

Finnish prosecutors are calling for a prison sentence for Ilja Janitskin, the founder of the nationalistic anti-immigrant website MV-lehti. Janistkin's trial on charges of aggravated defamation and persecution of an Yle journalist began on Wednesday. Along with a co-defendant, Janitskin faces more than 20 charges in the trial. He has denied all of the charges.

Finns' faith in the police remains solid with 95 percent of respondents to a recent poll saying they trust the police. However, four in 10 respondents said they consider it likely that there is corruption and unethical behaviour within the police force -- up from one in 4 in previous surveys.

Meanwhile another poll found that four out of five social workers said that the government failed to reduce inequality. Respondents also said that there was room for improvement in national benefits policy -- up to 70 percent said that the level of basic benefits such as labour market support, are currently too low.

Keep in touch with APN

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 page or Twitter account, or at yle.news@yle.fi.

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

This week's show was presented by Egan Richardson and Denise Wall with guest Laura Stevens. The show's producer was Mark B. Odom and this week's sound technician was Laura Koso.

Have a great summer in Finland, or wherever you are, from all of us at All Points North!

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