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June Pelo
05-02-15, 20:36
Finns make most of their payments electronically. The Bank of Finland says that cash may fade into history by the end of the next decade. The central bank does not particularly favor cash payments, but is not trying to wean the populace off them - although manufacturing bank notes and coins is relatively costly.

Russian tourism to Finland has decreased sharply following the Ukraine crisis and the dramatic drop of the ruble. Estimates place the drop up to 50 percent for the Finnish tourism industry in 2014. Overnight stays for November 2014 by Russians were down 27 percent and some border cities reported a 70 percent drop for the New Year and Orthodox Christmas holidays. Lapland was also hard hit by the loss of Russian visitors. One ski tour operator said their resort lost 80 percent of their seasonal Christmas and New Year's business over the previous year.

Publishing Muhammad pictures from the French satirical weekly is allowed in Finland. Distributing the pictures would not bear hallmarks of hate crimes. In contrast to other EU countries, Finnish law regarding breaking religious peace is in force. According to the law, shaming a religious community publicly can lead to a verdict for blasphemy. Mika Illman said "The freedom to distribute such pictures must exist, but doing so is playing with fire. Such actions might lead to increasing tensions and violent outbreaks - although they do not justify them."

FAR February 2015