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Thursday's papers: US arms, electric cars, Finland's biggest spruce tree

Morning papers report US approval for the sale over half a billion euros worth of advanced munitions to Finland.

Soldiers from the Finnish Defence Forces stand in front of a M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, operated by the Finnish Defence Forces, during the international military exercise Cold Response 22, at Setermoen, North of in Norway, on March 22, 2022. Image: Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP
Yle News

Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun)is among the newspapers reporting that the US State Department on Wednesday announced approval of a possible arms sale to Finland worth an estimated 535 million dollars, or about 545 million euros.

According to the release, Finland has offered to buy a total of 400 advanced munitions and related equipment for the Finnish Defense Forces' M270 rocket launchers.

HS reports that the reason behind the purchase is said to be Finland's effort to increase its stockpile of defense equipment in order to strengthen its land and air defense capabilities.

"The increased national stock is critical to Finland’s defense and deterrence due to the deteriorated security situation in Europe," according to the US State Department release, which continued that, "It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist Finland in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability."

Not hand-in-hand?

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is scheduled to start a visit to Turkey on Thursday and according to Ilta-Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun), the topic of his discussions there will most obviously be Finland's and Sweden's Nato membership application.

Turkey is the last Nato member that has not yet announced its decision to ratify Finland's and Sweden's applications. Hungary's ratification is still in process, but that country is expected to ratify the agreement in December.

So far, Turkey has shown more sympathy for Finland's Nato application than Sweden's, notes IS.

Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington, DC, told the Finnish news agency STT that it could be very likely that Turkey will ratify Finland's application before Sweden's.

"I think there is a real possibility that Turkey will give the green light to Finland before Sweden," he told STT.

The report points out that the situation is difficult not only for Sweden, but also for Finland as well, because this country's leadership has clearly stated that Finland would like to join Nato hand-in-hand with Sweden. The reason for this is, among other things, defense cooperation planning by the two neighbours, the fact that they submitted applications together, and have also been accepted together by other Nato member countries.

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Subsidies for electric cars

The business and economic news daily Kauppalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun)reports that the automotive sector is pushing subsidies of up to 5,000 euros for consumers buying new fully electric cars.

According to the automotive industry's estimate, in the worst case, fuel pump prices for petrol may jump another average 25–55 cents per litre.

Kauppalehti writes that next government will have to deal with this fuel "price bomb" at the beginning of its term, following elections at the beginning of April.

Among the proposals of the automotive industry sector to deal with price pressures is the introduction of a four-year support program for all-electric cars in the form of a purchase subsidy. 

It is suggesting that the subsidy the first year would be 5,000 euros per car, falling by 1,000 euros a year, so that in the final year it would be 2,000 euros. 

According to Tero Kallio, CEO of Association of Automobile Industry in Finland, the more electric cars there are on the road, the less fuel will be needed, which will in turn slow down inflation and the general rise in prices.

Getting ready to ski

Aamulehti asks (siirryt toiseen palveluun) when it will be possible to start skiing this season in the Tampere region, and comes up with the answer, "soon".

It reports that most municipalities have made preparations to set up public ski tracks using artificial snow just as soon as temperatures fall to below freezing.

As one of several examples, Aamulehti points to Lempäälä where the municipality's sports manager Sari Juuti says that the goal is to get a ski track ready by the end of November. Lempäälä has enough snow in storage from last winter for about 1.4 kilometers of track. All that is needed are a few frosty days so that the surface of the ground has time to freeze.

Finland's biggest spruce tree

Keskisuomalainen treats its readers to a feature (siirryt toiseen palveluun)presenting Finland's biggest spruce tree.

Located in Äänekoski in the Central Finland region, the paper describes the tree as being as tall as a 10-story building, having the volume of 15 normal full-grown spruce, and so thick that two long-armed people are needed to hug it.

The exact location of the tree, estimated to be at least 150 years old, is being kept under wraps. 

For now, it holds the title, but the Natural Resources Institute Finland and the Finnish Dendrological Society are collecting data on exceptionally large trees, a few of which have yet to be measured. 

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