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Wednesday's papers: Boris breezes in, labour dispute analysis and kids' fitness controversy

Boris Johnson's arrival in Finland is previewed in the press.

Boris Johnson.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Finland on Wednesday. Image: Hollie Adams / EPA
Yle News

Finland's big week of security debate and decisions continues on Wednesday with a visit from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson visits Finland on Wednesday, with Finnish leaders set to finalise their positions on applying for Nato membership on Thursday.

Tampere daily Aamulehti is one of several papers carrying STT's story on the visit, which quotes leading defence policy researcher Charly Salonius-Pasternak as saying that the visit is 'symbolically important, and will be interpreted as important'.

The story also recounts British Defence Minister Ben Wallace's comments last week that it would be 'inconceivable' for Britain not to help should Finland or Sweden come under attack while not members of Nato.

In recent weeks a succession of countries have offered similar reassurance as Finland ponders the risks and benefits of applying to join the western military alliance.

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Thorny labour dispute

Helsingin Sanomat has an analysis of Tuesday's proposal in the municipal labour dispute, suggesting that both sides might be dissatisfied with the plan — and nurses might reject it.

The proposal is for municipal workers to receive pay increases one percent above the line agreed by industrial employers for five years. This offers improvement relative to other workers, which was demanded by nurses and care workers, but falls well short of nurses' demand for 3.6 percent a year pay improvements on top of normal raises.

Industrial employers were dismayed at the proposal, reports HS, as it would increase pressure on them to agree lower pay deals.

Traditionally export sectors have agreed a raise that is seen as the higher bound of other pay deals, but this agreement would see their deal as the minimum demanded by other sectors. Industrial union leaders were lukewarm on the proposal for that reason.

At the same time, the proposal falls well short of the nurses' demands. Given that they have not yet used their most-feared weapon — setting a date for mass resignations — HS suggests they might reject the deal.

If other sectors accept it, they would be left to fight on alone.

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Kids' fitness

Ilta-Sanomat has a story on fitness and figure competition organisers' plan to start running competitions for children.

Up to now the competitions have only started at age 16, but the Fitness association in Finland plans to start events for 12-year-olds in 2023.

While they will include dance and weightlifting sections, there will also be a stage section where children's bodies are rated and scored by the judges.

The federation says this is a necessary step to 'keep children interested in the sport'. A former fitness model, however, told IS that the idea was a bad one.

Jutta Larm told IS that she'd be horrified if her 12-year-old kids became involved in these events.

"If they started to talk about training for fitness competitions and competing, I could never allow that. What kind of crazy person would put their children in for something like that?" said Larm.

She said nobody should start rating children's appearance at that age, and that doing so risked sparking eating disorders.

Organisers told IS they would work to prevent eating disorders by closely monitoring the Body Mass Index of competitors.

Larm rejects that idea, saying that fitness training involves a strict diet and there's no way to ensure children don't suffer from eating disorders.

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