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Wednesday’s papers: More lightning, Microsoft layoffs, derailment in Moscow and newborn arrives in transit

The front pages of the dailies today feature a broad variety of stories, though both Iltalehti and Ilta-Sanomat carry yesterday’s news of yet another lightning strike, less deadly than the one reported on Monday. Helsingin Sanomat follows up on talk of Microsoft’s coming sackings, and Iltalehti delivers news of a Moscow disaster – and of a child born healthy by the side of a road.

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Image: Marjut Suomi / Yle

The golf-course lightning death reported on Monday is followed by reports of another strike this morning. This time the victim is a Finnish teenage boy (originally erroneously reported to be 10 years old), though he is alive and has been helicoptered to the university hospital in Tromsø, northern Norway, Iltalehti reports as one of its lead print stories.

The boy is in a serious but stable condition, and the hospital is withholding further information, according to the newspaper. The thunderbolt reportedly ricocheted off of a rock as the boy was crossing the Saana fell in northernmost Lapland.

Ilta-Sanomat said that the lightning "bounced off" a boulder on the high fell due to the way that lightning functions.

"Approaching a natural electric conductor is dangerous," meteorologist Ari Mustala is quoted in the daily as saying. "The electric tension from a lightning bolt spreads across a whole area, and isn't just a single burn spot."

Ilta-Sanomat also says in its piece that the lightning strike record for this stormy summer has already been broken, with more than 13,000 separate strikes all over the country.

Microsoft hard on Oulu, technical admittance easing up

Software giant Microsoft may close down its R&D unit in Oulu and has already made preliminary plans to lay off 1,000 jobs in its Finnish branches, Helsingin Sanomat reports.

After Microsoft bought Nokia's mobile phone business last year, nearly 4,700 ex-Nokians moved over to their new jobs all over the country, a graphic on HS page A26 demonstrates. Should the Oulu branch be shut down, it would mean the loss of 500 jobs – half of the cuts planned by the software conglomerate. Employees, however, are reportedly calm despite the news.

"We're pretty hard-boiled up here in Oulu, we've been through a lot," shop steward Tiina Nortamo commented, referring to Nokia's cuts back in the day. "Speculations like these don't fluster us."

Helsingin Sanomat also carries a spread on how admittance to technical subjects in universities is getting easier, while the humanities are still the number one choice for the whole country despite an admittance percentage of just 17. Compared with that, almost 40 percent of applicants to technical or scientific subjects like mathematics get to study, sometimes without an entrance exam.

One of the 24 percent who did manage to get a place proves luck has little to do with it: Alana Saul read and re-read her entrance exam books 7-10 times before going into Asian Studies, Helsingin Sanomat said.

Deaths and entrances

Tampere daily Aamulehti has as its lead headline a story on the reasons behind a rise in armed robberies, citing an increase of a third from last year. Often, it claims, the motive behind an armed robbery is the need to pay off debts accrued from involvement in the drug trade or in firearms – which tend to go hand in hand.

Detective Chief Inspector Ilkka Laasanen says in the Aamulehti interview that offenders are well aware of the tough sentences for serious crimes, which are considered aggravated in cases of especial brutality or malice.

"What's more, the tightening of firearms regulations doesn't slow down the illegal arms business," Laasanen said.

Death was also a main story back in Iltalehti, which covered the metro train derailment catastrophe in Moscow this morning. At least 21 people have been reported killed, IL says. The paper goes on to claim in its webstory that derailments like these are "not possible" in Finland, according to the security chief of the Helsinki transit system.

In contrast to these bleak stories, the front page headline of Iltalehti is of a very different event: the birth of a healthy baby, if in unusual circumstances.

On the way to the hospital some 30km away, Minna Vilhunen, 23, went into labour. The driver stopped the car and together with the father-to-be helped the woman out onto the roadside. Staying calm despite his inner panic, the prospective dad tells the paper that he saw the head and, "caught it" in his hands, relieved that the healthy baby came out "in one piece".

Births on the road like this one are rare, Iltalehti says, with just 0.001 percent of all births (59,856 last year) occurring by the side of the road. Page 7 of the newspaper features the four-hour-old smiling with his eyes closed, snug in his parents' arms – and out of the traffic.

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