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Tuesday's print media round-up: Cut-price hobbies, cost-cut policing and the tablet that never was...

While many of the papers ran some kind of feature on the escalating crisis in the Ukraine, Tuesday’s domestic stories were as varied as ever in the Finnish press. After-school hobbies, cuts to policing, and Nokia’s best-kept secret all got a look-in in the print media as the working week gained traction.

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Ice-skating isn't one of the subsidised hobbies offered by the City of Helsinki... or at least Helsingin Sanomat doesn't mention it. Image: Adam Bellgrau/Yle

On Tuesday the nation’s most widely circulated daily paper, Helsingin Sanomat, chose to broaden the eternally rumbling debate on after-school hobbies for children. Last week the paper published a report into the high cost of keeping your child or children in extracurricular activities such as dance lessons, team sports and other afternoon or evening pastimes.

Helsingin Sanomat’s latest contribution to the discussion looks at cheaper, or even free options including municipally sponsored alternatives. For example, Helsinki City claims to have identified the problem some time ago and has been offering subsidised sporting activities for parents and caregivers who may otherwise find themselves unable to afford their child’s healthy social or sporting pursuits.

"There’s been tough demand," says Loikkanen, of Helsinki City’s Sports Department. The department has recently extended services such as basketball training and street dance to secondary students as well as primary-age children. Loikkanen says that price is all too often a bar to participation for the majority of families and furthermore, reaching out to children from a multicultural background is a challenge for the city.

Policing service will struggle under cuts

Tampere-based Aamulehti runs with a headline on cuts to police funding. Central Finnish policing head Markku Luoma estimates that the police department, currently around 1,000 people strong, will have to shed some 20-30 person-years of expenses over the course of the year. He says the cuts may be felt in certain areas, including lengthening the time it takes to conduct police investigations, but that they are nothing new for a policing service that is used to having to stretch its resources.

The entire policing budget for the year is 66.5 million euros, some 2.7 million euros less than what the police service would have liked. The cuts will result in the axing of jobs, rather than the closure of police stations, reports Aamulehti. Police are concerned that job losses and a resultant need to even more strictly prioritise will mean some cases may take a long time to be investigated fully and that others may never actually garner police scrutiny.

Nokia's "could've beens" a bitter pill?

Turku’s Turun Sanomat, like many of the papers, leads with a feature on the escalating situation in Ukraine, including front page photo reportage of the crisis. The paper covers Monday’s meeting of European Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg, where it was decided to expand upon a list of names of those would face sanctions in light of the current situation. At present 33 Russian and Ukrainian names appear on the EU blacklist.

Lastly, nationally circulating tabloid Ilta-Sanomat gets a look at Nokia’s fabled tablet computer that was developed nine years before the iPad hit the market. According to the paper, Nokia had its own innovative tablet device ready in 2001, but unfortunately it never made it to the shops. A former Nokia expert Esko Yliruusi says that the project was suspended a heartbeat before the tablet hit the market because it was thought that there was insufficient demand for such a device.

Would the IT world be vastly different if Nokia had released its tablet? It’s hard to say, comments an Ilta-Sanomat contributor. History is full of ifs and buts.

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Govt think tank says annual high school rankings misleading

Ylioppilashattu.

A government research institute's comparison of Finland’s upper secondary schools rates northern Savo's Leppävirta school as Finland's top performing high school, with Harjavalta school in western Finland coming in at the tail end. The report’s authors are quick to point out that the overall quality gap between the top and bottom schools is nevertheless marginal in Finland. Annual media rankings are also critiqued harshly, with researchers saying that the popular ratings are unreliable.

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