AMONG the immigrant groups in Finland, the Afghans are somewhere in the middle when compared in size: according to the 2011 figures of the Population Information System, there are fewer than 3,000 Afghans living in Finland.

The Afghan populations in other Nordic countries are markedly greater, however. This is mostly because Afghans have been arriving in Finland only for about ten years now, says Zakir Ehsani, a 19-year old Afghan living in Tampere, and one of the people running the Facebook group Suomessa asuvat afganistanilaiset (Afghans Living in Finland).

As we find ourselves already two months into the year, it’s as good a time as any to contemplate the bigger questions.

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” Professor Stephen Hawking, scientist

A recent change in the law axed a programme that helps fresh graduates get into working life.

ANYONE who has been unemployed knows that those days of labour-free time aren’t easy. Money is sparse, but bills and rent don’t pay themselves and keeping your head together with all of the free time while sending job applications only to receive responses such as, “We regret to inform that we didn’t select you”, can be challenging.

How is the current economic climate affecting immigrant job prospects?

Freedom of movement; the fundamental right of a citizen of a state in which the citizen is present to travel, reside and/or work in any part of the state where one pleases. A noble, empowering idea of ethnic and cultural integration espoused by the EU and its member states. An idea that when filtered through the harsh realities of Finland’s immigration laws and an impending economic downturn can suddenly seem quite restrictive, particularly to the 2.9 per cent who make up Finland’s foreign populace.

Coming to terms with the Angry Birds phenomenon.

FAIRYTALES for some include tales of sleeping maidens, dashing princes, a little over half a dozen dwarves and other assorted characters. For the team of Rovio Entertainment Ltd, their fairytale came in the shape of small, round birds with anger management issues, sold in 99c increments as the main focus of a game for smartphones. Going on to become one of the most successful ever, this winning merger of birds and green pigs has produced revenues previously unheard of in the app world.