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Thursday's papers: PM's breakfast, Viking Sally drama, bring your own pen

A former PM's wife criticises Sanna Marin and a murder trial has some technical difficulties.

Päivi Lipponen.
Former MP Päivi Lipponen (seen here in a file photo from 2012) said she always bought her own groceries, cooked and cleaned while living at Kesäranta. Image: Yle
Yle News

A story in Thursday's Iltalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) pits the wife of a former PM against the current Prime Minister, Sanna Marin (SDP).

The tabloid quotes a Facebook post by Päivi Lipponen, a former MP and wife of ex-Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, who criticises Marin for having food – mostly breakfast items – provided for her and her family at the official prime ministerial residence, Kesäranta.

The cost of this benefit is roughly 300 euros a month, Iltalehti writes.

"It would never have occurred to us to have the state pay for our meals," Lipponen wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.

According to Iltalehti, Marin addressed the issue on Tuesday following the European Council summit. "This practice has been the same for previous prime ministers," she said.

The issue, Iltalehti writes, is one of tax. The paper claims that the cost of the food ought to be classed as a taxable benefit. The Prime Minister's Office says it is part of the Prime Minister's tax-free housing benefits.

"I want to be sure of how the Prime Minister's meal benefit is treated in taxation. I will file a tax return when this is clear. Hopefully the matter will be clarified quickly," Marin told Iltalehti.

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Court drama at Viking Sally murder trial

The third day of a trial over the alleged murder and attempted murder of a German couple on board the ferry Viking Sally in 1987 began in dramatic fashion, according to Swedish-language Hufvudstadsbladet (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

After the Southwest Finland District Court briefly discussed another possible suspect, it moved to hear from a witness in Denmark via video link.

However, a surprised Danish judge appeared onscreen and told the court it had called him by mistake, HBL reports.

The court later heard that the defendant, a Danish national born in 1969, had behaved threateningly towards the plaintiffs and their lawyer, Timo Engels.

According to HBL there was another surprise in store, as the defendant's ex-wife announced that, due to health concerns, she would not testify against him as expected.

The defendant's lawyer Marina Kronström called the decision a big surprise and said it was a setback for the prosecution, HBL writes.

The trial, which is being held in Swedish, continues on Thursday.

Early voting has begun, but bring your own pen.

Advance voting for the municipal elections began on Wednesday, and Tampere local Aamulehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) has asked an expert what voting during a pandemic will be like.

Official advice is for voters to bring their own pens to the polling booth in order to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus, the paper writes.

"We recommend a ballpoint pen if the voter wants to use the same pen to enter a number on the ballot paper and sign when receiving the ballot. When signing, a ballpoint pen is always better," Tampere electoral commissioner Katja Korhonen told Aamulehti.

Pencil lovers needn't worry, however. Ballots filled out and signed for will also be valid, the paper says.

Pens will still be available at polling stations, with special measures taken to reduce the risk of infections.

"The Ministry of Justice and THL have provided hourly procedures for cleaning surfaces and equipment," Korhonen told the paper.

If you want to learn more about voting, try our really simple guide to Finland's 2021 local elections.

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