by Mingming Shi
1) Finland celebrated its Independence Day (Itsenäisyyspäivä in Finnish) on 6 December. The date is traced back to the same day in 1917, when the country gained its independence from Russia. This year, due to the social restrictions in place to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Independence Day Reception (Itsenäisyyspäivän vastaanotto in Finnish) at the Presidential Palace in the capital Helsinki was scaled down, as yle, the Finnish broadcasting service, reported.
2) James Raffan, a writer and geographer, has published a fiction book entitled Ice Walker: A Polar Bear’s Journey through the Fragile Arctic, featuring a story of female polar bear Nanu and her two baby cubs. The Canadian news agency CBC conducted an interview with the author, of which he shared the motivation and inspiration of his writing, as well as calling for further awareness of rights for Indigenous peoples in the Arctic and climate change.
3) According to RÚV, the University of Iceland, (Háskóli Íslands in Icelandic), reported that it is expecting a rising number of students to be registered for the spring semester 2021; up to an estimated 16,000.
4) The High North News reported that the Norwegian Government has published a new policy white paper [in Norwegian] on the Arctic. This document covers areas including the issues affecting the inhabitants of the country’s Arctic region, including social development concerns and increasing local economic performances. The document also discussed improving foreign and defence interests in the High North region, via cooperation with the United States and NATO, as well as to better address the security challenges posed by next-door Russia.