Finland tests an unconditional basic income

JUHA JARVINEN, an unemployed young father in a village near Jurva, western Finland, brims with ideas for earning a living. “I’m an artist and entrepreneur. Sometimes I’m too active, I don’t have time to stop,” he says. He just agreed to paint the roofs of two neighbours’ houses. His old business, making decorative window frames, went bust a few years ago. Having paid off debts, he recently registered another, to produce videos for clients.

Mr Jarvinen says that for six years he had wanted to start a new business but it had proved impossible. The family got by on his wife’s wages as a nurse, plus unemployment and child benefits. Mr Jarvinen had a few job offers in the main local industries—forestry, furniture-making and metalwork. But taking on anything short of a permanent, well-paid post made no sense, since it would jeopardise his (generous) welfare payments. To re-enroll for benefits later, if needed, would be painfully slow. “It is crazy, so no one will take a bit of work.”

Source: Economist

Commonwealth grants recognition to LGBT Equality Network · PinkNews

The Commonwealth has granted legal recognition to an LGBT group for the first time.

The group of countries, comprised primarily of former territories of the British Empire, have a poor record on LGBT rights.

 Many maintain anti-gay laws that are a part of British colonial legacy, with archaic penal codes and laws criminalising gay sex that were simply never repealed across the vast majority of the Commonwealth.

However, over the past few years activists have made a concerted push to get the Commonwealth to address LGBT issues.

In a win today, the Commonwealth approved the accreditation of the Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN), making it the first LGBTI-focused organisation to be officially accredited by the Commonwealth.

More: · PinkNews

Russia’s ‘Gay Propaganda’ Laws Are Illegal, European Court Rules – The New York Times

Russia’s prohibition of what it considers the promotion of homosexuality is discriminatory and violates freedom of expression, Europe’s top human rights court ruled on Tuesday, in a stinging rejection of laws that rights groups say have been routinely used as cover for abuse and violence.

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, but gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are often subject to discrimination, persecution and worse.

The prohibition, which was codified in national law in 2013, has been seen as a central plank of President Vladimir V. Putin’s nationalist appeal, one that has positioned Russia as a defender of Christian and traditional values, and the West as decadent and godless.

More – The New York Times

Britain: The End of a Fantasy | by Fintan O’Toole | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

To understand the sensational outcome of the British election, one must ask a basic question. What happens when phony populism collides with the real thing?

Last year’s triumph for Brexit has often been paired with the rise of Donald Trump as evidence of a populist surge. But most of those joining in with the ecstasies of English nationalist self-assertion were imposters. Brexit is an elite project dressed up in rough attire. When its Oxbridge-educated champions coined the appealing slogan “Take back control,” they cleverly neglected to add that they really meant control by and for the elite. The problem is that, as the elections showed, too many voters thought the control should belong to themselves.

More at:The New York Review of Books

GroundUp: South Africa is making progress against its most deadly disease | Daily Maverick

South Africa is making progress against tuberculosis (TB) but much more needs to be done. This was the message presented by Dr Nazir Ismail, the head of the Centre for Tuberculosis at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD). He was speaking at the South African Aids Conference in Durban on Wednesday.

Ismail was presenting results from a study conducted between 2004 and 2015 that was published earlier in 2017.

The study found that over the 12-year period, there were over three million microbiologically confirmed pulmonary cases of TB. However, this excludes KwaZulu-Natal for the period 2004-2010 for which data was unavailable. But rates of TB are dropping. In the last three years of the study, TB cases dropped between 4% and 6% year on year.

Source: GroundUp: South Africa is making progress against its most deadly disease | Daily Maverick

Everyone said Old Europe was dying. Sure doesn’t look like it now. – The Washington Post

Frence President Emmanuel Macron, centre, poses for a photo

Remember Old Europe? It was said to be dying, it was becoming irrelevant, it was a “corpse” to which British Brexiteers did not want to be shackled — and now, suddenly, it isn’t. Suddenly it looks more stable, more hopeful and especially more consensual. There is talk of reform and renewal, not revolution. Growth is up. Predicted far-right surges have failed to materialize.

Paris and Berlin are united and confident, while Washington and London are divided and dysfunctional. Something is rotten in the Anglo-Saxon world, or at least its U.S.-U.K. axis. Although it’s too early to be definitive, here are some guesses as to why:

Source:  – The Washington Post

How to turn a chaotic election result into a better Brexit

THERESA MAY called a snap election two months ago to build a “strong and stable” government. How those words will haunt her. On June 8th voters decided that, rather than transform her small majority into a thumping one, they would remove it altogether. The result is a country in an even deeper mess. Mrs May is gravely wounded but staggering on. If and when she goes, yet another election may follow—and its plausible winner would be Jeremy Corbyn, of Labour’s far-left fringe. On the eve of the Brexit referendum’s first anniversary, the chaos it has unleashed rumbles on unabated.

With negotiations due to begin in Brussels in days, the circumstances could hardly be less promising. Yet the electoral upset has thrown up a chance for Britain and the European Union to forge a better deal than the one which looked likely a week ago. Because Mrs May’s drastic “hard Brexit” has been rejected by voters, the question of what replaces it is back in play.

More at Economis

European support for EU surges in wake of Brexit vote

Support for the EU among its citizens has jumped sharply since the Brexit vote, even as Europeans expressed doubts about Brussels’ handling of migration, trade and the economy.null

Countries including Germany, France and even the UK all reported a big rise in the number of people with a favourable view of the EU as the bloc’s reputation recovered from a series of crises in recent years.

Britain’s vote in June last year to leave the EU has helped coalesce support for the bloc among the 10 countries surveyed, according to the analysis by Pew Research Center, which surveyed just under 10,000 people.

More at Finacnial Time

The people changed their minds on Theresa May so why not Brexit too? – dailyrecord.co.uk – Daily Record

The general election proves there is no appetite for a hard Brexit – and now is the perfect time to change our minds.

After Theresa May’s disastrous election gamble, it is clear the British public have rejected her plans for an extreme job-destroying Brexit.

MPs are now scrambling to find a softer option that includes staying in the free trade area.

However, once the sad reality of this Norway-type deal becomes clear, who is to say the people won’t change their minds again?

The option of remaining in the EU must be put back on the table.

Source: The people changed their minds on Theresa May so why not Brexit too? – dailyrecord.co.uk – Daily Record

World Pride Madrid 2017: Spain’s Prado Museum opens the closet for Madrid Pride 

When the Florentine Renaissance artist Baccio Bandinelli insulted his rival Benvenuto Cellini by calling him a “filthy sodomite,” Cellini replied that he obviously hadn’t been singled out by the gods and that those who engaged in sodomy were just imitating those higher beings – a reference to the free sexual practices of the Olympians.

This is just one of the stories that visitors to Madrid’s Prado Museum have been able to discover since the gallery on Thursday opened its new exhibition, The Other’s Gaze. Spaces of difference. Timed to coincide with the World Pride 2017 event in Madrid, it contains 30 works of art, most from the museum’s permanent collection and in their usual positions.

The exhibition aims to get visitors thinking about the historical reality of relations between people of the same sex and also about the nature of sexual identity.

More at El Pais