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The final series of Game of Thrones may be over a year away, but fans of the hit HBO show won't have to wait that long before returning to Westeros.

While most of us are dreaming of sandy beaches and sky-high temperatures, some GoT fans are preparing themselves for a uniquely freezing experience as they book into Finland's first ever Thrones– themed ice hotel.

 

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Sitting at the centre of Lapland's SnowVillage, the famous Snow Hotel boasts 25 snow rooms and suites as well as an Ice Restaurant, Ice Bar, Ice Chapel and outdoor galleries of snow ice and art, every inch of which has been inspired by the popular fantasy series.

It's a dream getaway for any devoted Game of Thrones fan – if you can get past the -5C sleeping temperatures that is.

But, there's a catch.

 

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Just like all good things, Finland's GoT ice hotel won't last forever.

As temperatures begin to rise the structure will melt away for another year, when a new theme will be born.

The SnowVillage will remain open until Sunday, April 8 – meaning you'll need to act fast if you want to book a spot.

For more information click here.

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Let's be honest, we don't generally use the word 'vegan' and the term 'fast food' in the same sentence, but that could be set to change if recent reports are anything to go by.

According to Food & Wine, global fast food giant, McDonalds, are keen to entice the vegan community into the MaccyD family by trialing a new creation.

That's right ladies, it's time to meet the McVegan.

Made with a soy patty and served with vegan fries on the side, the new creation will – for the time being – only be served at a branch in Tampere, Finland.

However, it all comes done to public interest, and if the vegan community bite, then we may be welcoming this exciting new creation to our shores.

Welcome to the future of fast food, ladies.

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Police in Finland are treating yesterday's knife attack as a terrorist act. 

Two people were killed and a further six were injured in the attack in the busy Turku region. 

The attacker was an 18-year-old Moroccan teenager. 

He was shot in the leg by police at the scene and detained in custody. 

The city centre was locked down as police told people to avoid the area following the attack. 

Five other suspects were arrested under suspicion of involvement.

'There was a raid and we have now six suspects in custody, the main suspect and five others,' Det Supt Markus Laine of the national bureau of investigation told The Guardian. 

 'We will interrogate them, after that we can tell you more. But they had been in contact with the main suspect,'

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According to emerging reports, Finnish police have shot an individual responsible for stabbing a number of people in the city of Turku this afternoon.

It has been established that a group of individuals armed with blades went on a violent rampage in the city centre.

Reports claim that the individual was shot by police in the leg, and is now in custody.

Authorities are urging the public to avoid the city centre, and security at Helsinki airport and surrounding train stations has been heightened in the wake of the attack.

It has been reported that at least six people were injured in today's attack.

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With easy access to maps, planes, trains and boats, it's safe to say the world has been thoroughly explored by now.

However, much like people who believe the earth is flat, this Reddit user believes that Finland doesn't exist.

The user, named Raregan, baffled the Internet with his theory, as he believes Finland is just Eastern Europe and the 'imaginative' country was named after fish…

Oh, and he also claims that the UN has altered maps of the world as part of a worldwide conspiracy theory.

Raregan writes: "The idea that an entire country is made up seems so bizarre that nobody would ever believe it, making it easy to do."

He continued on to say that Japan is at the heart of the lies, since Finland's biggest company, Nokia, is Japanese.

And apparently, Russia and Sweden "go along with it."

Raregan continues: "Finland's main company, Nokia, is apparently owned by the Japanese and they're a main player in this.

"Now as for 'why' people would want to invent Finland as a country that's a bit more in depth and there's a few reasons as to why Sweden and Russia go along with it but it's mostly to do with Japanese fishing rights.

"You see the Japanese love their sushi but tight fishing regulations and public outcry mean they can't fish as much as they want.

"So after the Cold War they agreed with Russia to create a 'landmass' called Finland where they could fish. 

"The fish is then transported through Russia where a small percentage of the food is given to the population, and then is shipped to Japan under the disguise of 'Nokia' products.

"Japan is apparently one of the worlds largest importers of Nokia products despite the fact that 'nobody there owns a Nokia phone' apparently.

"The crux of all this however, and my favourite part, is the homage that the Japanese gave to this entire conspiracy theory.

"What do fish have? Fins. Therefore they named their imaginary country Finland."

Err… Are you as confused as we are?

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In today's current political climate, the vast majority of us prioritise safety above much else when shortlisting potential holiday destinations.

Considering this, it may be worth noting research collated by the World Economic Forum and published in its Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report.

According to the data which focussed on 136 economies, Finland is the safest, most secure country to travel to in the world.

"Finland remains the safest destination globally, despite rising concerns in most Europe, including Finland, regarding terrorism," reads the report 
 

According to reports featuring the data, researchers came to the conclusion based on 'sets of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which in turn, contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country."

In addition to being named the safest country, Finand was recently placed fifth on a United Nations' list of 'happiest countries'.

Coming in behind Finland in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report was the United Arab Emirates, Iceland, Oman, Hong Kong, Singapore, Norway, Switzerland, Rwanda and Qatar.

Oh, and while we have you; don't forget to have your say in the inaugural SHEmazing Awards this May! It's time to vote, and you can do it right here!

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In a move which has made countless headlines this morning, the government in Finland have announced that they plan to make the Nordic country 'cigarette-free' by 2030.

Officials initially understood that it would be 2040 before the goal could be properly realised, but new legislation indicates that the aims can be achieved over the course of the next 13 years.

The country is known for its limited tolerance towards cigarettes. Having banned the advertisement of nicotine products back in 1978, Finland then went on to ban smoking in the workplace in 1995 before implementing a ban in bars and restaurants in 2007.

With their 2030 goal in mind, the Nordic version of Business Insider reports that housing associations will enforce smoking bans on balconies as well as yards belonging to the housing complex.

It is understood that capsule cigarettes which activate a taste such as menthol or blackcurrant when squeezed will be receiving an outright ban.

Further to this, retailers will be charged for selling nicotine products and considering the increase in cost, this will render the endeavour almost non-profitable for retailers.

 

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It's something we'd more readily associate with Hollywood movies: two predators of the forest put their differences aside to strike up an unlikely – and lasting – friendship.

But it seems that, just occasionally, real-life can also imitate the big-screen.

Lassi Rautiainen is a 56-year-old Finnish photographer who regularly works in the wilds of the northern regions of his native country.

And it was there that he spotted a rather unusual sight: a male black bear and a female grey wolf who spent several hours together daily – even on occassion sharing food.

"It’s very unusual to see a bear and a wolf getting on like this," Lassi confirmed afterwards.

He spotted the animals together every night for ten nights, observing that they would usually socialise together during the hours 8pm and 4am. 

"No-one can know exactly why or how the young wolf and bear became friends," Lassi furthermore reported while in conversation with Mail Online.

"I think that perhaps they were both alone and they were young and a bit unsure of how to survive alone. It seems to me that they feel safe being together, and so every evening met up for their dinner."

Mr Rautiainen added: "It is nice to share rare events in the wild that you would never expect to see."

He also explained: "When I realised that no one had observed bears and wolves living near each other and becoming friends in Europe, I concentrated more and more on getting pictures to show what can happen in nature."

A former teacher, Lassi has worked as a photographer since 1978 and has had a number of books published featuring his work.

He says that after beginning with bears, he graduated to snapping wolverines and eventually wolves.

Lassi has also liaised closely with the Finnish government, advising it on the use of bait for photography, and on a ban on bear hunting. 

 

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If you thought Valetine’s Day was all hilarious cards and awkward Irish fellas trying to hide behind wilted roses then you’re wrong – all around the world different countries have very different traditions.

Giftcloud have put together some of the more unusual Valetine’s Day traditions that can be found worldwide, and we have to say some of them are very interesting indeed!

For example, guys not aware of tradition in Taiwan may want to count their red roses very carefully as 108 roses signifies a proposal – eep!

In The Philippines, many couples choose this day of love to tie the knot or renew vows, with over 4,000 couples getting married in 2013 and 2014. How romantic!

In Japan, Giri-choco which translates to ‘obligation chocolate’ is given by women to men they have no romantic attachment to such as friends or co-workers and it is generally low-quality and inexpensive. This is in comparison to Honmei choco which is given by Japanese women to men they are romantically involved with and it is generally more expensive and of a higher quality.

Perhaps our favourite Valentine’s Day tradition from around the world comes from Finland where the day is known as Ystävänpäivä, which translates to ‘Friend’s Day’ – a day in which people celebrate and spend time with their besties. Aww!

Do you wish Ireland would adopt any of these interesting traditions? 

To view the full infographic, click here

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Forget candlelight dinners and soft lighting – grab the girls and head to Finland this Valentine’s Day.

The beautiful country shuns the traditional loved-up romance of February 14th and instead calls the event ‘Ystävänpäivä’, which translates as ‘Friend’s Day’. Perfect if you’re a singleton or if you just fancy an alternative city break.

This winter is actually a particularly spectacular time to head to the Nordic country as it is classed as being the best time in 50 years to see the magical northern lights.

Enjoy a reindeer ride with mates in Lapland or if nightlife is more your thing, head to Helsinki. The city boasts a lively atmosphere and is packed full of contemporary and traditional restaurants.

Keeping with the Nordic tradition of sending friends cards and gifts, why not send your BFF a soppy card instead of your significant other.

Who said Valentine’s Day was just for loved up couples?

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