Quality Over Quantity

Text and photos by Violetta Teetor

Helsinki Distilling Company may not be big, but they’re uncompromising when it comes to quality. The old power station at one end of the Teurastamo district where the old abattoir used to be housed, pumps out as much punch today as it did in the days when it was used for lighting and heating. Nowadays it’s a full-blown distillery complete with restaurant and bar.

The European Journalist Network visits the Helsinki Distilling Company.

With a capacity of generating over 2000 bottles of booze per week, Helsinki Distilling Company prides itself on the fact that it produces London-style Helsinki Dry Gin and is the very first whiskey maker in this city after prohibition ended. The uniqueness of all their products is the fresh, pure taste of Finnish water. Combine this with distinctive flavours of Finnish rye and barley, berries from the forests and fells of Lapland, and herbs and spices grown locally, put it in the hands of Head Distiller Mikko Mykkänen with partners Kai Kilpinen and Séamus Holohan and you’re left with a winning formula. In fact, the entire team at HDC= and Tislaamo Bar and Restaurant are as enthusiastic about their products as they are of their company.

EJN’s tour guide at the Helsinki Distilling Company

Our guide Marietta is a delightful lady whose knowledge of the history of distilling in Finland as well as the intricacies of the methods and blends which they manufacture, takes us through a 45-minute tour of the place where the action happens. This is followed by a tasting of 4 of their products. No sugary, cloying, stick-to-the-roof-of-the-mouth long drink in their Helsinki Long Drink. This is a refreshing mix of their herby gin and pink grapefruit that could well be your choice at the end of a long week. The colour alone lifts the mood. Helsinki Dry Gin digs deep into the Finnish forest to bring you slightly tart Arctic lingonberry perfectly blended with the quintessential juniper and other herbs and stuff for you to discover. Helsingfors Fiskehamns Akvavit, a nod to the popular Swedish liquor, is again handcrafted with enough caraway seed to give it that distinguishing taste. I’m told Finland is the biggest caraway seed exporter in the world. Go figure.


Guided tours of the distillery with a tasting afterwards need not be booked if there are only a few of you and take place weekly on Fridays and Saturdays at 6 pm. Tislaamo Restaurant is open from 5 pm from Wednesdays to Saturdays.

Tasting at the Helsinki Distilling Company

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Multiple murders of journalists in East and West ignored by 53 Commonwealth leaders at summit in London

Source: Association of European Journalists (AEJ.org)

Multiple murders of journalists in East and West ignored by 53 Commonwealth leaders at summit in London

Commonwealth leaders who met in London last week proclaimed their ‘proud history’ of promoting democracy and human rights. But they turned a blind eye to well-publicised cases of journalists being threatened or killed with impunity in member states – not only in Pakistan and India but in Malta, where anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed six months ago by a car bomb after alleging widespread corruption in high places.

William Horsley says the high-profile gathering in London turned a blind eye to increasing violence and censorship that have given cover to abuses of power in too many countries.

Foreign ministers from the organisation’s 53 member states meeting in London heard powerful appeals for the Commonwealth to do more to protect media independence and the lives of journalists who face threats and acts of violence for their work. But proposals which were described as ’Important and timely’ were submitted for the attention of Commonwealth leaders by an expert Working Group for a new ’code’ on media-government relations, but they were ignored in the final Communique.


If the prime ministers and presidents of Commonwealth member states stretching from Asia and Europe to the Caribbean had been alert they should have been aware of the rising tide of demands for them to take determined action together to strengthen protections for free expression and free media wherever it is under attack. On 11 April the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the Commonwealth Journalists Association hosted a well-attended event in London where prominent figures from around the Commonwealth called for its leaders to prioritise protections for independent media to enable free elections and to counter corruption and arbitrary misuses of political power.

The newly-published “Commonwealth Principles on Freedom of Expression and the Role of the Media in Good Governance”

www.cja-uk.org are designed to be a ’manual of good practice’ on the media’s dealings with governments, parliaments and courts. They were published before the summit and were commended to the attention of leaders through an established process by which initiatives from the Commonwealth’s partner organisations are put forward for the attention of the leaders at summits like the recent one in London..

The Communique did, however, re-affirm the leaders’ commitment to the Latimer House Principles on the democratic separation of powers which are accepted as expressing the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values. Heads requested the Commonwealth Secretariat to work in partnership with other Commonwealth organisations to promote dialogue with the three branches of government.

(Read more at Association of European Journalists (AEJ.org))

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Anti-Money Laundering: MEPs Vote To Shed Light On The True Owners of Companies

Source: European Parliament (EuroParl.Europa.eu)

  • Identify beneficial owners of companies operating in the EU
  • EP to back closer controls on virtual currencies
  • Greater protection for whistleblowers

To shed light on the true owners of letterbox companies, any citizen will, in future, be able to access data about the beneficial owners of firms operating in the EU.

MEPs supported on Thursday — by 574 votes to 13 votes, with 60 abstentions — a December agreement reached with the Council, which also proposed closer regulation for virtual currencies, like Bitcoin, to prevent them being used for money laundering and terrorism financing.

The agreement represents the fifth and latest update to the EU’s Anti-money laundering Directive and is partly a response to the terrorist attacks of 2015 and 2016 in Paris and Brussels, as well as the Panama Papers leaks.

(Read more at European Parliament (EuroParl.Europa.eu))

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Yanis Varoufakis: Marx predicted our present crisis – and points the way out

Source: TheGuardian.com

By Yanis Varoufakis

The Communist Manifesto foresaw the predatory and polarised global capitalism of the 21st century. But Marx and Engels also showed us that we have the power to create a better world.

For a manifesto to succeed, it must speak to our hearts like a poem while infecting the mind with images and ideas that are dazzlingly new. It needs to open our eyes to the true causes of the bewildering, disturbing, exciting changes occurring around us, exposing the possibilities with which our current reality is pregnant. It should make us feel hopelessly inadequate for not having recognised these truths ourselves, and it must lift the curtain on the unsettling realisation that we have been acting as petty accomplices, reproducing a dead-end past. Lastly, it needs to have the power of a Beethoven symphony, urging us to become agents of a future that ends unnecessary mass suffering and to inspire humanity to realise its potential for authentic freedom.

No manifesto has better succeeded in doing all this than the one published in February 1848 at 46 Liverpool Street, London. Commissioned by English revolutionaries, The Communist Manifesto (or the Manifesto of the Communist Party, as it was first published) was authored by two young Germans – Karl Marx, a 29-year-old philosopher with a taste for epicurean hedonism and Hegelian rationality, and Friedrich Engels, a 28-year-old heir to a Manchester mill.

As a work of political literature, the manifesto remains unsurpassed. Its most infamous lines, including the opening one (“A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of communism”), have a Shakespearean quality. Like Hamlet confronted by the ghost of his slain father, the reader is compelled to wonder: “Should I conform to the prevailing order, suffering the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortune bestowed upon me by history’s irresistible forces? Or should I join these forces, taking up arms against the status quo and, by opposing it, usher in a brave new world?”

For Marx and Engels’ immediate readership, this was not an academic dilemma, debated in the salons of Europe. Their manifesto was a call to action, and heeding this spectre’s invocation often meant persecution, or, in some cases, lengthy imprisonment. Today, a similar dilemma faces young people: conform to an established order that is crumbling and incapable of reproducing itself, or oppose it, at considerable personal cost, in search of new ways of working, playing and living together? Even though communist parties have disappeared almost entirely from the political scene, the spirit of communism driving the manifesto is proving hard to silence.

(Read more at TheGuardian.com)

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DiEM25 strongly condemns last night’s US-led strikes in Syria

Source: DiEM.org

DiEM25 strongly condemns last night’s US-led strikes in Syria. We condemn bombing as a cowardly, ineffectual move that will most certainly make the situation in Syria worse, not better. If chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime, the West’s bombs will not help the victims, nor avert further use of misanthropic weapons and methods by Assad or other combatants in Syria.

(Read more at DiEM.org)

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DiEM25 Workshop – Sheffield Conference

Showroom Workstation Creative Lounge, Sheffield

Saturday, 21 Apr 2018
2:00pm to 5:00pm

Part of Festival of Debate 2018 – www.festivalofdebate.com
In association with DiEM25

DiEM25 is a pan-European, cross-border movement of democrats, co-founded by Yanis Varoufakis, who have come together from our diverse political traditions to repair the EU for all Europeans, before it disintegrates. Brexit Britain is a key location in this task. Come and meet DiEM activists to discuss how we can plan local, regional, national and European projects together in the run-up to the European elections in 2019. All welcome.

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Finnish leaders react with apprehension to US, British and French air strikes on Syria

Source: Yle.fi

Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö and Foreign Minister Timo Soini agree the strikes were expected. Both say they are wary of Russia’s response, with Soini fearing a possible “cycle of retribution”.

The US, Britain and France implemented a missile strike on three targets in Syria in response to a suspected poison gas attack early Saturday morning, Finnish time. Finland’s leaders agree it was not a surprise.

Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö says the strikes were expected, considering the dramatic events of the last week.

“There had been talk of this already early in the week, when French President Emmanuel Macron said that a strike would occur within the next few days. He described the targets already then,” he said.

(Read more at Yle.fi)

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The accused FBI whistleblower indicted by Trump’s DOJ allegedly leaked secret rules for spying on reporters

Source: Freedom of The Press Foundation (www.Freedom.Press)

The Trump Justice Department escalated its crackdown on journalists’ sources and whistleblowers this week, charging former FBI special agent Terry Albury with two counts under the Espionage Act for allegedly leaking information to an unnamed news outlet, widely believed to be The Intercept.

The case is yet another example of the outrageous—and recently, far too common—use of the World War I-era law, to persecute the sources of journalists for the crime of informing the American public. The fact that whistleblowers have been thrown in jail with increasing regularity using a law meant for spies should be an outright scandal. As First Look Media, The Intercept’s parent company, said through their Press Freedom Fund, “The misuse of the Espionage Act chills truth tellers, impedes investigative reporting, and compromises the democratic process.”

(Read more at Freedom of The Press Foundation (www.Freedom.Press))

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Video: A Brief History of U.S. Intervention in Iraq Over the Past Half Century

Source: TheIntercept.com

(Read more at TheIntercept.com)

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End Julian Assange’s Isolation

Sign the petition:


We demand that Julian Assange’s isolation ends NOW!

“It is with great concern that we heard that Julian Assange has lost access to the internet and the right to receive visitors at the Ecuadorian London Embassy. Only extraordinary pressure from the US and the Spanish governments can explain why Ecuador’s authorities should have taken such appalling steps in isolating Julian.”

-Yanis Varoufakis

The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Deems the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Julian Assange as arbitrary

On 4 December 2015, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) adopted Opinion No. 54/2015, in which it considered that Mr. Julian Assange was arbitrarily detained by the Governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In that opinion, the Working Group recognized that Mr. Assange is entitled to his freedom of movement and to compensation. The application was filed with the Working Group in September 2014. The Opinion 54/2015 was sent to the Governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 22 January 2016 in accordance with the Working Group’s Methods of Work.”

Read more at United Nations Office of The High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR.org)

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