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Newsletter 1/2011
BotNia atlaNtica iNstitute – why?
Dear Reader,
publications more closely through our homepage, You have now received the first of 6 newsletters which is:
from the Botnia Atlantica Institute. The BA-
Our comparative research is undertaken by Institute is set up to promote development in
doctoral students, professors and researchers em- three administrative regions, Nordland in Nor-
ployed in the universities of Vaasa and Åbo Acad- way, West Bothnia in Sweden and Ostrobothnia emy in Finland, Umeå in Sweden and Nordland in
in Finland.
Norway. The Levón Institute in Vaasa and Nordland Research Institute in Bodö are involved as well. The Our institute is looking for new ideas and sugges- institute secretariat and the institute leader are lo- tions for improvements of regional development cated at the University of Vaasa. We are financed by strategies. Ideas leading to new policies are devel- the universities, the regions and the EU Botnia At- oped through comparative transnational research, lantica Interreg program through the LUBAT project seminars, conferences and discussions involving coordinated by the University of Umeå.
our transnational network of planners, policy mak- ers and politicians. Once new ideas and sugges- You will find information on the LUBAT project on its tions are discovered, we will evaluate them through homepage (you will find it through): dialogues and feedbacks in our network, promote
them and study if and how they are implemented. > Botnia_atlantica > LUBAT More specifically, we work in four areas: Information on the Botnia Atlantica Interreg pro- gram you will find here:
The BA-Institute is responsible for long-term net- working between researchers, experts and policy- makers in Nordland, Ostrobothnia, West Bothnia Since you have received this newsletter, consider and beyond. In this way, we develop new meth- yourself one of us. The newsletter will bring you ods of transnational learning, which we share with updates on our activities, upcoming seminars, con- other international researchers and European level ferences, and publications. It will also provide snap- policymakers. By 2013, the BA-Institute will present shots of findings, new ideas and conclusions from a European level research program on transnational discussions. You can follow us, our activities and our learning. why are oecD aND eu regioNal
DevelopmeNt policies chaNgiNg?
We believe that experiences in developing
In the 1990s and 2000s national economic develop- strategies of growth in relatively rich Northern
ment and competitiveness was by many regarded European regions, such as Ostrobothnia, West
as driven by economic growth mechanisms, such as Bothnia and Nordland, are relevant at a Euro-
cluster development processes in large metropoli- pean level. This is why we are focusing on the
tan areas and big cities. Regions like Ostrobothnia, development of methods to transfer good prac- West Bothnia and Nordland were seen as lagging
tices between countries through transnational
behind, peripheral, and at best uninteresting. comparisons.
Today, however, in institutions such as the OECD and EU, there is a rapidly growing interest in Newsletter 1/2011
conditions for economic development in “periph- policies, with a new emphasis on development of eral” regions with rural areas and small and medium the rural hinterland. sized cities. In recent OECD documents (Regions and innovation policy, OECD 2011) it is argued that A third factor which is increasingly important is the the diversity of regional economic and innovation financial crises in the EURO system, where Greece, profiles should be acknowledged. There is a need Portugal and Ireland are the first victims. Before to mobilize different regional resources in national 2008, these three countries experienced a rapid systems of innovation. In order to do so, accord- economic growth, which in various ways was sup- ing to the OECD, regional governments can play a ported by the financial industries, in particular Ger- determining role in identifying opportunities for man banks, blowing bubbles. When these bubbles burst, the countries were left not just with large According to OECD, regions can play a deter- debt burdens, but also with structural problems, mining role in improving the quality of policy-rele- such as too much reliance upon tourist markets vant evidence, and develop monitoring and analyti- which are now failing (Greece), and an inability to cal capacities to support evidence-based policies. compete with Asian countries in attracting foreign Regions can be relevant laboratories for policy, investments (Greece and Portugal). where the diversity and the unpredictability of the Since they belong to the EURO area, they innovation process generate the need for policy ex- cannot react to these problems by just writing perimentation (OECD 2011, regions and innovation down the value of their currency. Instead, the EURO is kept on a high level, thanks to the impressive in- dustrial performance of Germany, Finland, Austria This is precisely what the BA-Institute is set up to and other richer EURO members. As a result, there is deliver. In the EU context, territorial cohesion and a growing center-periphery divide within EU, where place based development strategies are two buzz- the rich center is forced to “bail out” the poor pe- words. There are several reasons why this policy ripheral countries. shift in global institutions is coming now. The root In these poor countries, financial assistance cause is the global financial and economic crises of from EU and IMF is given under strict conditions of large cutbacks in public spending, increased taxa- The crises led to changing trajectories in sev- tion, and other measures, which lead to even deep- eral sectors, where sectors and regions experienc- er economic problems. It seems that this develop- ing rapid growth in high tech metropolitan clusters ment will send these poor countries in the southern in the 1990s, such as ICT, suffered setbacks. This is periphery of Europe into an even deeper long term the case in Finland, where the ICT agglomerations dependency on transfers from a rich center. This in Helsinki, Tampere and other major Finnish cities leads to political conflicts, as the rich EURO coun- are falling behind, due to layoffs in NOKIA. At the tries, like Finland, have problems of poverty of their same time, the Vaasa region in Ostrobothnia, with own. This has become a threat to the EURO, and to an industrial backbone in electro-technical and the stability of the European and world economies. mechanical industries, is now one of the growing 12–14 May this year, the EU Cost Action pro- gram financed the conference on “Systemic Risks, Similarly, the global crises hit the growth in Financial Crises, and Credit” in Paris. In a debate on the Chinese coastal metropolitan clusters, which by “The European Sovereign Debt Crises” several lead- 2008 relied heavily upon export of industrial con- ing researchers, such as Michel Aglietta, Peter Wahl sumer market products to the rest of the world, in and Brigitte Young, pointed out that there is a need particular to the US and European markets. This led to develop policies which may create growth in to the by now well-known strategic shift in Chinese these peripheries. Newsletter 1/2011
DeN österBottNiska
kommuNreformeNs Nuläge
När den stora kommunreformen i Finland inte
Starka landsbygdskommuner är också mera likvär- förverkligades började staten i början av 1970-
diga förhandlingsparter med städer än små kom- talet uppmuntra kommunerna till frivilliga sam- muner.
gångar. Ungefär 20 sammanslagningar genom-
Också i det finskspråkiga Kyrolandet upp- fördes men efter några år lugnade sig takten. År stod idén om en stark landsbygdskommun. Poli-
2005 startade regeringen kommun- och ser-
tikerna i Laihela, Storkyro och Lillkyro misslyckades vicestrukturreformen (KSSR). Under de senaste
med att hitta konsensus om en gemensam kom- åren har samgångarnas takt blivit snabbare och mun. Nu är det sannolikt att det historiska Kyrolan-
på kort tid har över 100 kommuner strukits från det skall splittras: Storkyro skall gå mot Seinäjoki
kartan. Nu har Finland 336 kommuner.
I början av 1970-talet förverkligades sammanslag- Tuff match för en samgång
ningar flitigt i Österbotten. Många svenskspråkiga små kommuner slogs samman med större kom- Lillkyro har redan gjort sitt val. Förhandlingarna muner. På det sättet bildades nuvarande Korsholm med Vasa om samgången har kommit långt. I den och Kristinestad. Landskapets centrum Vasa var inte riktgivande folkomröstningen var en knapp ma- joritet emot samgången med Vasa. Trots detta är det sannolikt att Lillkyro kommunfullmäktiges ma- Politiker grälar, strukturer förblir stabila
joritet skall rösta för samgången. I Finland finns det prejudikat att fullmäktige inte har respekterat Hindren för den stora flerkommunsammanslag- folkomröstningens resultat om det har varit emot ningen i Vasaregionen var i början av 1970-talet, samgången. I media har man också fött en föreställ- och också nuförtiden, frågetecken kring svenska ning om samgångarnas kritiker som utvecklingens språkets ställning, fruktan att landsbygden skulle motståndare. I Vasa är alla eniga att det är nödvän- försvagas och oklarhet kring hur en behörig kom- digt att gå samman med Lillkyro.
mundelsförvaltning i den nya, stora kommunen skall organiseras. Kryddan i samgångssoppan är ro är intressant också i allmänhet därför att kom- kommunalpolitikernas funderingar och kalkyle- munerna inte har en gemensam gräns. En ny kom- ringar om maktpositionernas möjliga förändringar i munindelningslag trädde i kraft den 1 januari 2010. den stora kommunen. Det beror på person, bonings- Enligt optimistiska tolkningar är det nu möjligt att plats och parti om man är för eller emot flerkom- också separata kommuner kan grunda en gemen- munsamgång i Vasaregionen. Det är också besvär- sam kommun om kommunerna ligger på samma ligt att Vasaregionens största parti, Svenska Folk- pendlingsområde. Vasa och Lillkyro fyller detta krav. partiet (SFP), inte är enigt om samgångsfrågor. Det Kommunerna som ligger mellan Vasa och Lillkyro finns stora spänningar mellan ledande SFP politiker. skulle delta i en speciell utredning om kommunin- Också utanför Vasaregionen har Österbot- delningen. Under utredningen skulle klargöras de- tens kommunstruktur förblivit ganska stabil på ras villighet att delta i den planerade samgången. 2000-talet. Den mest betydande förändringen har I fallet Vasa-Lillkyro betyder den här principen att varit grundandet av Vörå kommun efter tre små Korsholm skulle delta i processen.
kommuners samgång. Vörå är en ny slags brokig Korsholms åsikt om samgångar är känd: full- landsbygdskommun. Sådana kommuner är viktiga mäktige har fattat beslut att Korsholm skall bevaras därför att den stora landsbygdens Finland behöver suveränt. Korsholm är inte ens intresserade att göra starka landsbygdskommuner. Landsbygdens fram- delsammanslagningar. Om Vasas och Lillkyros full- tid är inte bra om den stympas till städernas periferi. mäktige röstar för sammangången mellan två sepa- Newsletter 1/2011
rata kommuner skall framställningen om detta skick- as till statsrådet. Det måste avväga om Korsholm skall tvingas till en speciell utredning om kommunindel- För Lillkyro har man planerat en lite mer be- ningen eller om det räcker att Vasas och Lillkyros hörig kommundelsförvaltning än vanligt i samgån- fullmäktige vill genomföra en samgång mellan två gar mellan stad och landsbygd. Om en separatkom- mun annars är möjlig att grunda, är det i statsrådet dock nödvändigt att bedöma om Lillkyros planerade En ny kommunkategori?
territoriella behörighet är tillräcklig. Även kommun- delsförvaltningens behörighet är en mycket viktig Hittills har grunden för Finlands kommunindelning punkt eftersom en möjlig separatsammangång varit gränsmässigt kontinuerliga och funktionellt mellan Vasa och Lillkyro skall vara ett prejudikat. effektiva kommuner. Nu utmanar Vasa och Lillkyro denna princip. Om samgången mellan Vasa och För mera information, kontakta:
Lillkyro förverkligas, kommer en ny kommunka- Hannu Katajamäki tegori, separatkommun, att se dagens ljus i Finland. Professor i regionalvetenskap I separatkommuner är det nödvändigt att organis- Filosofiska fakulteten era kommundelsförvaltningen med stark behörig- Vasa universitet het; det skulle vara orättvist om beslut gällande till exempel planläggningen eller närservice skulle fat- Publikation: Kan kommuner lära av varandra över
the planning process. The planning process is very regioNal plaNNiNg iN a NorDic
much a regional affair and the dialogue in the ex- regioN – the case of ostroBothNia
pert groups is free from control, but there are com- plaints on how the programme is written. Specific In 2009, an extensive planning process was
issues are discussed in the expert groups while the realized in Ostrobothnia in the preparation of
programme has a visionary character and the issues the new Regional Development Programme.
are selected solely by the Regional Council. The Regional Council in Ostrobothnia gathered
up to 150 regional actors to contribute in the
gramme. The Regional Council have no financial development plan of the region.
means to implement strategies – they are only able to write the programme. What position the pro- For the purpose of investigating this process, in- gramme finally receives is therefore a matter of how terviews with the participants have been carried key actors perceive the status of the programme. A through, mainly to determine the level of inclusion commitment needs to be developed. For a vision to of society and the democratic value of the process. gain importance, it is crucial that the vision is adver- The interviews provide the basis for a scientific ar- tised and evaluated and discussed continuously.
ticle that will later be published in an international For more information, contact:
Overall, the planning process is good, re- Kenneth Nordberg gional stakeholders are engaged and new ideas Ph. D. Student in Political Science come forward. However, private entrepreneurs are Demography and Rural Studies seldom directly represented, which can be con- Åbo Akademi/Vasa sidered a problem. Inevitably, some parties will be Strandgatan 2, PB 311, FIN-65101 VASA dominant, because of superior knowledge and ex- Tfn: +358 (0)6 3247 467, GSM: +358 (0)50 5424307 perience and the possibility to dedicate oneself to Newsletter 1/2011
why is sweDeN still
leaDiNg iN wiND power?
Several factors, such as global warming, spiking harvesting. Besides, during the last 40 years of oil
oil prices and more recently also nuclear indus-
and gas production, Norwegian politicians have try disasters highlight the need for develop-
never really been worried about energy shortage. ment of green energy technology.
Sweden started to do strategic R&D investments in green energies after the oil crises of the 1970s, Due to its favorable location as a target area for low building the knowledge base. pressures from the Bay of Botnia and the Atlantic Sweden has also been relatively fast in learn- Ocean, the Botnia Atlantica region has lots of wind ing from the advanced experiences from Denmark. which could have been harvested, in particular According to an evaluation made in 2008 the lead- along the western coasts of Nordland and Ostro- ing position of Sweden at the time was due to a long term emphasis on research, coordination and However, despite a broad consensus that planning (Nifustep rapport 27/2008) combined wind power development is generally desirable, with early introduction of incentives to industrial actual development on the ground is lagging be- investors and compensation systems to local actors. hind, often due to concerns for environmental pro- tection (sea eagles, noise and other factors), highly Are things speeding up?
legitimate local interests, such as summer houses and conflicts of interest with other sectors, such as Never the less, after 2008, both Finland and Norway tourism. The solution to these conflicts is a well-de- have governments where green wind energy has a veloped planning system, where optimal solutions high priority. Several policy reforms such as Swed- taking conflicting concerns into due consideration ish style green certificates and feed in tariffs are in progress. In Finland, planning is being reregulated through a new law, with more clear national guid- Sweden fast in learning
Accordingly, things are speeding up at the There are historical national level differences in the regional and local level. Or are they? What are the ways in which Sweden, Norway and Finland have remaining bottlenecks? What is being done to re- responded to these challenges. In terms of green move them? What more can Ostrobothnia and Nor- energy promotion, Finland has rested on achieve- dland learn from the experiences of West Bothnia? ments in bioenergy, based on the forceful Finnish The race to catch up on Sweden will be analyzed forest industry cluster, combined with somewhat in the BA-Institute activity 5 coordinated by senior more controversial CO policies promoting nuclear researcher Bjarne Lindelöv, Nordland Research In- stitute, in cooperation with fil. Dr. Örjan Pettersson, Norway has kept a high green profile thanks Umeå University. to a well-developed hydroelectric power industry, and has been relatively slow in catching up in wind
Botnia Atlantica Institute is financed by:



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