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Friday's papers: Government infighting, power price complaints, weekend snows

Tensions within Finland's centre-left coalition are now spilling into parliament.

Pääministeri Sanna Marin puhuu eduskunnassa 9.11.2022
Prime Minister Sanna Marin addressing parliament on 9 November 2022. Image: Pekka Tynell / Yle
Yle News

Several morning newspapers look at the lack of agreement and infighting within the Finnish coalition government, including Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

HS political reporter Teemu Muhonen writes that no one knows what the rules of the game are anymore.

On Thursday, the government reached a strained agreement on the bills that will still be submitted to the parliament during the present session. Most of the 15 or so controversial motions under consideration failed to get full cabinet approval. 

The end result, says Muhonen, is proof that the government is broken. Government cooperation is now so frail that under normal circumstances the government could resign.

However, due to the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, the governing parties have decided to keep the coalition together. In this case, important decisions can certainly still be made if necessary.

At the same time, the government parties can continue to fight against each other in parliament on smaller domestic political issues.

As the HS reporter points out, government cooperation is usually based on the fact that the government agrees on the motions to be presented to the parliament and then backs them in the parliament. In Sanna Marin's (SDP) government, these rules don't seem to apply anymore.

For the rest of the term, the various government parties can try to push through issues that are important to them in the parliament with the support of opposition parties and reject anything they don't like.

The Centre Party has wanted to publicly break with the government's left-wing parties and the Greens. After the clashes of the last few weeks, it has certainly become clear that the Centre does not agree with its government partners on almost any issue.

Muhonen wraps up by writing that the remaining term of parliament doesn't look good for any of the governing parties.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled on 2 April 2023.

Record electricity price?

Tampere's Aamulehti reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that on Thursday the national Energy Authority, the agency which regulates and promotes operation of the electricity and gas markets in the country, revealed that pricing complaints against 14 electrical power utilities are being investigated at the moment.

One of those which operates in Aamulehti's home region, Omavoima, has customers who have been paying what the paper believes is an all-time high contract price of 63.30 cents/kWh from the beginning of October. These contracts are subject to price review at three-month intervals.

The law stipulates that an electricity seller with a significant market presence in any area of the distribution network must deliver electricity at reasonable prices and on reasonable terms. The law does not, however, currently say what is meant by a reasonable price.

The Energy Agency has now started preparing a definition of what is to be considered reasonable, reports Aamulehti.

Snow and more snow

Looking ahead at the weekend weather, Iltalehti writes (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that southern parts of the country may well see 5-15cm of snowfall before Monday rolls around.

The whole of the country has had sub-zero temperatures in recent days. A new autumn low of -25.9 Celsius was set at Enontekiö in Finnish Lapland on Thursday. Cold temperatures are forecast to continue into next week, so any snow is likely to stay with us for the time being. 

The paper also points out that driving conditions will be hazardous in many areas, so now is the last chance to change to winter tyres before the south gets its first taste of winter. 

Only light scattered snow showers are expected in southern parts of the country on Friday. On Saturday, snowfall will spread across the region, but is expected to remain light. 

On Sunday, the southwest and Uusimaa will see heavy snows and windy weather, bringing up to 10cm of snow cover. 

Central parts of the country are forecast to get a light accumulation of no more than 3cm.

Don't eat the green taters

Higher supermarket prices have made many people increasingly food conscious and focused on avoiding food waste.

However, the farmers' union paper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus warns readers (siirryt toiseen palveluun) to avoid eating any potatoes that have turned green.

A potato turns green when it is exposed to light, for example in the field or in a store. The light produces a toxic alkaloid called solanine. Potatoes that are green or showing green patches should not be eaten, the paper says.

If a potato shows dark green patches with sharp borders, this is a sign that it was exposed to light in the field. Last summer, for example, in Ostrobothnia's main potato production area rainy weather and heavy thunderstorms washed away soil cover in the fields, allowing the sun to shine directly on the crop.

A light green colour without clear edges indicates that the potato has be subjected to light in the store. This happens especially when potatoes are sold in bulk in open boxes.

MT advises that potatoes are best stored in a dark and cool place, where the temperature is five degrees Celsius. If the temperature falls below three degrees, the potatoes get watery and easily rot. In temperatures above 10 degrees, they will shrivel and start to germinate.

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