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Monday's papers: Finns Party sacking, female soldier record, Nokia classic rebooted

This Monday's dailies start off the week with coverage of the sacked Finns Party politician Terhi Kiemunki, women joining the army more often than before and a slightly updated version of a beloved cell phone relic.

Puolustusvoimien varusmiehiä.
More women applied to enter basic training in the Defence Forces than before last year. Image: Laura Tolonen / Yle

Nearly all of Finland's papers carry an item on the conviction and firing of Finns Party politician Terhi Kiemunki, who has been in and out of the spotlight for her racist and hateful online comments. Tampere region daily Aamulehti has a time chart of her varied life in the public eye, and speculates on her future as a local politician.

Kiemunki has been expelled from the Finns Party, ostensibly because of confusion over travel expenses. But just last December Kiemunki was fined 450 euros for inciting hatred against an ethnic group. Her first scandal came as early as 2008, when she was fined 300 euros for perjury in a criminal case.

The local piece in AL states that with Kiemunki's dismissal the Tampere Finns Party's vice chair Antti Sirén and second vice chair Heikki Luoto are in line for the temporary post of chair. The local group will hold a meeting on Monday to discuss the party's municipal election roster, and to delve into the sudden lack of a chairperson in their organisation.

Even though Kiemunki is no longer a member of the Finns Party, she nonetheless intends to stay on as a candidate for the party in the local elections this April. A Justice Ministry spokesman explains how in a brief AL interview.

"It's simple: Kiemunki has been fired from the party, but a municipal election candidate does not need to belong to any specific party in order to run," says election specialist Arto Jääskeläinen. "The Election Act ensures that a local party organisation is completely in control of who it allows onto its electoral roster."

Women joining up

Meanwhile Helsingin Sanomat reports that a record number of women applied to join the Defence Forces last year. The paper says the figure, 842 women in total, is the latest in a steep three-year rise in the number of female conscripts.

Defence Command pedagogue Esa Janatuinen says that publicly discussed issues of gender equality are partly behind the increase.

"The word gets out when people have good experiences. We have a zero-tolerance policy on harassment," he says.

Two thirds of women who join up also go on to receive leadership training, and two careers are most often in mind for those with the ambition: police officer and peacekeeper.

HS reminds readers that the same criteria apply to voluntary female soldiers as to male conscripts: age 18-29, Finnish citizenship, good general health and suitability. The final sign-up opportunity for women wanting to start basic training this or next year is on Wednesday, Mar 1.

The one and only 3310

Telecom company Nokia of course pumped out a whole catalogue of cell phones during its golden age, but none stuck in the minds of consumers quite like the Nokia 3310. Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports that the company is bringing back the adored model, often called "indestructible" and featured in memes and posts the internet over.

IS says the stylistic upgrade of the 3310 was announced on Sunday at Barcelona's cell phone expo. HMD Global, who make Nokia's phones, announced the coming of Nokia models 6, 5 and 3 as well. The news of the reboot, done tongue-in-cheek according to CEO Arto Nummela, has already had international reach.

"The reactions have been great!" says HMD marketing manager Pekka Rantala in IS. "There have long been murmurs and speculations around the world."

The new and improved 3310 goes for some 50 euros per unit, and includes an undisputed classic: the mobile snake game.

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