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Wednesday's papers: Killer freedom bid, Swedish exams, crickets as food

Finnish dailies feature a variety of news today, including a convicted cop murderer bidding for freedom, the Prime Minister on obligatory Swedish exams and speculations on insects sold as foodstuff.

Hepokatti ruspolia differens.
Protein-rich insects are already being cultivated in Finland. Image: Vilma Lehtovaara

Several Finnish papers carry news of Steen Christensen, a Danish man who killed two police officers in Helsinki in 1997, vying for freedom from his lifetime jail sentence.

Normally Denmark allows for lifers to apply for freedom after 12 years' incarceration, writes tabloid Ilta-Sanomat. Christensen is serving three different terms in prison, however, having been imprisoned in 1992.

The infamous killer applied for freedom in the Glostrup Court, the paper writes, where his case was heard behind closed doors.

Christensen is serving sentences for bank robbery, taking hostages and rape. He is 52 years old, having been jailed at age 27.

Christensen was allowed to have an unguarded holiday in 1997, during which he escaped to Finland's capital, where he committed two murders. He killed two policemen during a failed robbery in Helsinki's city centre. The Finnish judicial centre of health care deemed Christensen to have acted out of full reason.

PM: Swedish exams back

In domestic news, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä surprised the Minister of Education by saying that obligatory Swedish exams should be brought back to Finnish high schools, writes Helsingin Sanomat.

Swedish-language think tank Agenda released a report on Tuesday with the PM's comments. Sipilä told HS that forcing Swedish on teenagers is not likely to be the way to improve the language skills of Finnish officials, and that better incentives should be put in place.

"The rights of our Swedish-speaking minority are important to me," Sipilä wrote by email. "Swedish language proficiency among officials has gone down in the long term, and the removal of compulsory Swedish in school may be part of it."

In spring 2005 the structure of the Finnish matriculation exam was changed so that only the Finnish language test is mandatory for all high school students. The other three matriculation exams can be chosen from among a foreign language option, mathematics, Swedish and general studies such as the sciences.

Not surprisingly the Swedish People's Party was thrilled by the news, HS writes, while the Finns Party said that talking about language learning is good, but that bringing Swedish back is not a viable consideration.

Yummy bugs on the way

Tampere region paper Aamulehti runs a piece on insects such as crickets arriving as a foodstuff in Finnish grocery stores as early as next year.

Insects are already being bred for sale in Finland. Chef Topi Kairenius says in AL that Finland is in fact a pacemaker in European bugs-as-food policy.

"There are pig farmers in Ostrobothnia who have taught themselves to raise house crickets," says Kairenius. "Pens are being exchanged for insect-breeding environments. Only the Netherlands and Belgium are ahead of the curve in Europe."

Insects are rich in protein and an ecological source of nutrition, AL reminds readers. Crunchy crickets can even be marinated in cola and served with nachos.

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