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Friday's papers: Aho's China switch, war games, and snow-covered Helsinki

Recent snowfall has left Helsinki with more snow coverage than Rovaniemi.

Former Prime Minister Esko Aho (Cen) was named the chair of the China Office of Finnish Industries Image: Markku Tuhkanen / Yle
Yle News

Uusi Suomi (siirryt toiseen palveluun) reported on Finnish politican Esko Aho's (Cen) recent career moves. The former PM— who served from 1991 to 1995— started his year on the board of the Russian state-owned Sberbank until he resigned on 24 February when Russia invaded Ukraine. 

US wrote that Aho now finds himself heading the China Office of Finnish Industries, which was established by 21 Finnish firms in June. While not an export promotion agency, the group is a think tank and information centre for Finnish companies to assess the opportunities and risks in the Chinese market. 

The paper pointed out that this is a notable departure for Aho, who spent the previous decade involved in Russia-focused organisations like the East Office and the Finnish-Russian Chamber of Commerce. 

Aho told US that his experience with Russia might not be a massive aid in dealing with China and its business climate. 

"Not terribly much, although politically China and Russia seem to be close to each other. However, there is a huge difference between the two. Russia is a producer of energy and raw materials with a limited role in the international economy, while China is a large industrial manufacturer and producer of consumer goods , which has a large domestic market," the former PM pointed out. 

The former Sberbank board member also addressed any possible moral dilemmas in conducting business with China. 

"We must always remember that companies do not make foreign policy, but operate within the limits set by the state in its foreign and security policy. This is an important principle with regard to both Russia and China. In areas where there are no politically defined limits, we must be able to trust that the activity is acceptable," Aho noted. 

War games

Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) reported on the Kontio 22 military exercises which begin on Friday in North Karelia. 

HS wrote that according to a press release from the Finnish Army, 8,000 soldiers will participate in the exercise, with about 2,000 of that number coming from the reserves. Additionally, 1,400 vehicles will be utilised for the military training exercise. 

The regional units of the Kainuu, Pori, and Karelian Brigades make up the bulk of the training force, in addition to the Armoured Brigade. Participants from the special forces Utti Jaeger Regiment, the Finnish Air Force and the Border Guard will also join the exercise. No international units will join the exercise. 

The military exercise will last for a week, ending on Friday 2 December.

More snow in Helsinki than Rovaniemi

Iltalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) covered a bizarre quirk of this November's weather—Helsinki has more snow than Lapland's largest city Rovaniemi. IL remarked how this has turned "winter on its head". 

Despite the snow coverage discrepancy between the two cities, Finland's highest snow depth on Thursday was recorded in the Lapland municipality of Enontekiö, with the snow reaching 23 centimetres deep at the Kaaresuvanto observation station. 

IL pointed out that Kumpula neighbourhood in Helsinki measured 7 centimetres of snow on Thursday. The deepest snow in southern Finland was recorded in the municipality of Jokioinen in Kanta-Häme. 

"The current thickness of the snow cover in the south is due to snowfall last weekend and early this week. Precipitation associated with the low pressure centre around the Baltic Sea also reached the southern part of the country during Saturday, Sunday and Monday, increasing the amount of accumulated snow in the south," Foreca meteorologist Joanna Rinne told IL. 

The meteorologist also noted that much of Lapland has been affected by high pressure and has had little to no snowfall as a result. According to Rinne, there is no immediate change to the current weather pattern in sight. 

"It looks like the weather will continue to be mostly cloudy and almost totally without precipitation. Temperatures will remain below freezing across most of the country, but the very south and south-west coast may see occasional temperatures near zero. Freezing temperatures will remain mainly in the single digits throughout the country. This type of weather seems to be continuing for now, so the 10-day forecast does not yet show an end to it," said Rinne.

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