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Thursday's papers: Easy ambulance call-outs, a tragic parking accident and ex-PM's pay raises eyebrows

Are Finns too quick to call an ambulance? That's on Helsingin Sanomat's agenda on Thursday. Elsewhere the press covers a fatal accident in Lapland, a coming heatwave, blue-green algae in Helsinki and Jyrki Katainen's new salary as an EU Commissioner.

Henkilö lukemassa sanomalehtiä.
Image: Yle

Helsingin Sanomat reports on what it calls 'the new helplessness' in making 112 calls. The paper has spoken to medical professionals about how easily people are ready to call for medical help when they don't really need it. Even though the number of emergency calls dropped slightly last year it was still high at 900,000. According to HS many of those callouts are unnecessary, with people calling an ambulance to help them through sore throats, a tummy upsets or even headaches.

The experts say this sensitivity is often down to loneliness. Markku Vänttinen, who worked in Helsinki before moving to the eastern town of Kuopio, says that when people have diminished circles of friends, relatives and acquaintances, small problems can begin to loom larger. That's less of an issue in Kuopio, he says, where people have better connections to friends and neighbours and are more prepared--or have more opportunities--to ask for advice.

"Before there were symptoms and suffering, now we have diagnosis and illness," said Taina Salo of the Vuosaari health centre in eastern Helsinki. "We don't remember that a certain decrepitude is part of life."

Heatwave on the way?

Hesari also covers the spread of blue-green algae in the capital's Vantaanjoki river. Experts and environmentalists are stumped as to what is causing the spread of the algae, which makes swimming a hazardous pursuit at many of the capital's beaches. Researchers are continuing to look into the case, which according to Tiina Rastas of the city's environmental health unit is unprecedented.

Ilta-Sanomat, meanwhile, carries news of a tragic accident in Rovaniemi. A woman had left the hand brake off when parking her Volkswagen, which then rolled into the Kemijoki river, crushing a man to death on its way. Police arrived on the scene quickly but there was nothing they could do.

In happier news IS also brings the kind of long-term weather forecast Finns love to see. The tabloid is predicting a heatwave next week with temperatures as high as 29 degrees Celsius in the warmest spots. More weather information is available, as ever, from the Finnish Meteorological Office.

Ex-PM Potteresque?

Most of the papers cover Jyrki Katainen's new job as EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, but Iltalehti chooses to focus on his salary--just under 25,000 euros a month including housing benefits and allowances--which the paper says will allow him to live 'extravagantly' in Brussels. Iltalehti journalists have also been scouring the foreign press, digging up some superb quotes from Corriere Della Sera.

"If Rehn was tough, Katainen is like a granite icicle," said the Italian paper, which according to Iltalehti also pointed out that Finland's former Prime Minister looks a bit like Harry Potter.

And finally, the New York Times reports that Microsoft's mooted layoffs could well be announced today. HR staff at the firm have reportedly been booking conference rooms, which the paper's sources interpret as an indication that the axe is set to fall today. Staff based in Finland who used to work for Nokia, which Microsoft acquired this year, are expected to bear the brunt of the cutbacks.

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