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The Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta Swedish: Republiken Finland) is a Nordic country in northeastern Europe, bordered by the Baltic Sea to the southwest, the Gulf of Finland to the south and the Gulf of Bothnia to the west. Finland has land frontiers with Sweden, Norway and Russia. The Åland Islands, off the southwestern coast, are under Finnish sovereignty while enjoying extensive autonomy. The Finnish name for Finland is Suomi; in Swedish it is Finland.
Finland gained independence from Russia on 6 December 1917. Prior to that, it had been part of the Kingdom of Sweden and an autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland under Imperial Russia. After fighting two wars with the Soviet Union in the mid-20th century, it has grown quickly from a largely agrarian society to one of the world's most developed countries. Finland has a high standard of living, one of the best educational systems in the world, and it has been the birthplace to many technological phenomena such as Nokia, sms, Linux, Angry Birds and IRC.
Finland has been a member of the European Union since 1995.
Gyromitra esculenta is an ascomycete fungus from the genus Gyromitra, widely distributed across Europe and North America and one of several species of fungi known as false morels. It normally sprouts in sandy soils under coniferous trees, in spring and early summer. The fruiting body, or mushroom, is an irregular brain-shaped cap dark brown in colour which can reach 10 cm (4 in) high and 15 cm (6 in) wide, perched on a stout white stipe up to 6 cm (2.4 in) high. Although potentially fatal if eaten raw, Gyromitra esculenta is a popular delicacy in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and the upper Great Lakes region of North America. It may be sold fresh in Finland, but it must be accompanied by warnings and instructions on correct preparation. It is eaten in omelettes, soups, or sautéed in Finnish cuisine. Once popular in the Pyrenees, it is now prohibited from sale for consumption in Spain. Although it is still commonly consumed after parboiling, recent evidence suggests that even this procedure may not make the fungus entirely safe; thus raising concerns of risk even when prepared properly. When consumed, the false morel's principal active agent, gyromitrin, is metabolized into the toxic compound monomethylhydrazine. The toxin affects the liver, central nervous system, and sometimes the kidneys. (more...)
Photo credit: Petteri Sulonen
The VR warehouses in Helsinki on fire on May 5th 2006.
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Panoramic photo shot of Helsinki, Finland.
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