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Finland (Finnish: Suomi [suo̯mi] (About this sound listen); Swedish: Finland [ˈfɪnland]), officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta, Swedish: Republiken Finland) is a country in Northern Europe bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest, and Russia to the east. Finland is a Nordic country and, together with Scandinavia, is situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia. The capital and by far the largest city is Helsinki.

Finland's population is 5.5 million (2017), and the majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region. 88.7% of the population is Finnish and speaks Finnish, a Uralic language unrelated to the Scandinavian languages; next come the Finland-Swedes (5.3%). Finland is the eighth-largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. It is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital city of Helsinki, local governments in 311 municipalities, and one autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which produces one third of the country's GDP.

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Gyromitra esculenta

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...)

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Peugeot 206 WRC.jpg
Photo credit: Christopher Batt
Juuso Pykälistö in his Peugeot 206 WRC during the 2003 Swedish Rally.

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Selected biography

Henri Toivonen (August 25, 1956 – May 2, 1986) was a Finnish rally driver born in Jyväskylä, the home of Rally Finland. His father, Pauli Toivonen, was the 1968 European Rally Champion for Porsche and his brother, Harri Toivonen, became a professional circuit racer.

Toivonen's first World Rally Championship victory came with a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus at the 1980 Lombard RAC Rally in Great Britain, just after his 24th birthday. He had the record of being the youngest driver ever to win a world rally until his countryman Jari-Matti Latvala won the 2008 Swedish Rally at the age of 22. Toivonen switched to driving for Lancia before finally signing up for a full WRC programme in 1985. Despite nearly ending up paralysed at a rally in Costa Smeralda early in 1985, he returned to rallying later that year. He won the last event of the season, the RAC Rally, as well as the 1986 season opener, the Monte Carlo Rally, which his father had won exactly 20 years earlier.

Toivonen, driving a Lancia Delta S4, died in an accident on May 2, 1986 while leading the Tour de Corse rally in Corsica. His American co-driver, Sergio Cresto, also died when the Lancia plunged down a ravine and exploded. The fatal accident had no close witnesses and the remains of the car were merely blackened spaceframe, making it impossible to determine the cause of the accident. Within hours of the accident, Jean-Marie Balestre, then President of the FISA, had banned the powerful Group B rally cars from competing the following season, ending rallying's popular supercar era. The annual Race of Champions, originally organised in Toivonen's memory, awards the winning individual driver the Henri Toivonen Memorial Trophy.

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Flag of Finland.svg You are invited to participate in Finland WikiProject, a WikiProject dedicated to developing and improving articles about Finland.

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View of Lake Pielinen in Koli National Park
Photo credit: commons:User:KFP

Panorama of Lake Pielinen from a hill in Koli National Park, Finland.

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