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Thursday's papers: Climate protest, farmers' crisis, charging your battery

Helsinki police arrested 123 climate protesters late on Wednesday after they blocked one of the city's main bridges.

Protesters blocking Helsinki's Pitkäsilta bridge on Wednesday. Image: Kirsi Teräväinen / Yle
Yle News

Protesters from the Finnish branch of the environmental group Extinction Rebellion, known as Elokapina, blocked traffic from crossing the Pitkäsilta bridge near the centre of Helsinki for several hours late on Wednesday.

Police announced in a Twitter posting that 123 of the protesters had been taken into custody.

According to the daily Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun), the Elokapina organisation had announced in advance it would be staging an event on Wednesday near Parliament, so the protest that closed the bridge came as a surprise to police.

HS reporter Katja Kuokkanen wrote that just after the demonstration started, dozens of protesters were sitting on the road at both ends of the bridge. The bridge is a main route in and out of the city centre for both private and public transport. Buses were unable to pass through and turned back. A number of trams were also blocked from crossing.

Police estimated that between 100 and 200 protesters were present. According to HS, Elokapina said that a maximum of 250 people took part in the protest, including 25 researchers from Finnish universities.

Clash over conservation

Helsingin Sanomat also reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that new nature protection legislation being proposed by the government is being met by strong opposition from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the forestry industry.

If passed, the new law will provide more protection of waterways, some natural land features and nesting birds. The legislation has been drafted in line with the current government's programme, which aims to implement measures to halt the loss of biodiversity in Finland.

According to the Ministry of the Environment, one in nine Finnish species and almost half of habitats are endangered, so additional measures and protection are urgently needed.

The proposal extends the current prohibition on the deliberate killing or destruction of birds during the breeding season. What is news though, is a year-round ban on destroying the nests of endangered species.

In practice, in addition to large birds of prey, an estimated 20 species would be covered by the ban.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the forest industry oppose this section of the draft legislation, saying that landowners cannot be required to know and identify the nests of all endangered species, let alone which are in continuous use .

Farm prices crisis meeting

The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) said on Wednesday that farm yields have fallen to "catastrophic" levels in some parts of the country, and over all, production costs for fertiliser, animal feed and energy have all risen rapidly and unpredictably during the past year, significantly increasing production costs.

In addition, the drought brought about by Finland's unusually warm summer has reduced yields across the country.

The farmer's union paper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus reports that according to calculations by MTK, a 10 percent increase in production costs, combined with fixed purchasing agreements, has cut incomes in the sector by one-fifth.

The paper further reports that Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä (Cen) has now announced (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that he is convening a "crisis meeting" on Friday of representatives of agricultural producers, trade and industry to examine agricultural production profitability.

Maaseudun Tulevaisuus says pork producers are right now the hardest hit as feed costs have risen sharply, consumption has fallen and production continues to rise.

All of the country's major retail food trade groups, the K and S groups and Lidl have been invited to Friday's talks to look at producers' profitability and how domestic food production can be sustained.

Present purchases do not currently allow for price changes during the contract period. Primary producers have direct sale contracts for vegetables only, other products are usually sold through wholesale operations.

Charge up

The economic and business daily Kauppalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun)reminds readers that it probably won't be long before morning temperatures are well below freezing, and that can cause problems in getting one's car started. The most common cause, it writes, is poor battery performance.

A car battery can lose up to 35 percent of its effective charge when the temperature drops below zero, and up to 50 percent when the temperature drops further.

The past summer's unusually hot weather may also have damaged some batteries through evaporation. In addition, driving short distances, as is common in urban areas, poses a risk of battery problems because repeated engine starts and shutdowns put a strain on the battery.

The paper suggests avoiding battery problems by recharging regularly.

According to Pasi Ahola of the battery management solutions company CTEK, using starter cables after the battery is discharged and driving long distances or idling to charge the battery are common, but not necessarily good habits. Jump-starting can cause power surges, damaging the electronics of either vehicle, and unnecessary driving puts a strain on nature and your wallet.

A safer way to get your car moving is with a mains-independent fast charger.

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