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Tuesday’s papers: Young heroes and thieves, crayfish boom, algae growth and lightning analysis

Many Finnish dailies report on different types of theft or even schemes where people are being lured in and then scammed. In the aftermath of storm-filled days, the papers also carry general information on lightning strikes and how to avoid them. Other news includes the crayfish season, vast swathes of cynobacteria and Lake Saimaa’s international fame.

Laiva levälautan keskellä Suomenlahdella
Image: Rajavartiolaitos

In addition to its reports of coming tropical weather, the front page of daily Ilta-Sanomat carries the story of seven young men who are being hailed as heroes after they helped catch a thief in Kouvola, south-eastern Finland last Friday. The peace of the small district of Voikkaa was broken when an 80-year-old man was mugged outside a convenience store.

The group of young men, who regularly spend time outside the town supermarket, noticed the attack and gave chase both by car and by foot. The thief was caught and the stolen items were returned in full. Police detective Arto Hietanen says in the Ilta-Sanomat piece that the boys did an excellent job, and the youths themselves say they were happy to help – although it was only afterwards that they realised the man could have had a weapon.

“If an elderly neighbour is attacked, of course we’re going to jump in,” one of the young men says.

Summer schemes

Thefts are not uncommon during the summer, as top daily Helsingin Sanomat reports in one of its main stories. The newspaper runs with the news that property crimes committed by teenagers and young adults have risen ‘greatly’ during the last few years, reaching western European levels. The most common item of interest to thieves is the cellphone carried by their victim, who is often also in the same age group. The 75 percent rise in muggings has police worried.

“We are now looking into where and when thefts like these tend to occur so we can try to prevent them from happening more effectively,” police chief Seppo Kolehmainen says in the HS spread.

Youths themselves are not worried, according to the paper, saying that keeping one’s head on one’s shoulders is often a good way of avoiding trouble.

But simple rip-offs conducted in the blink of an eye aren’t the only type of property crime people can be subjected to. Daily Iltalehti reports that a man who has been fleecing especially women in Helsinki has finally been caught in an ironic turn of events. The man would approach women using Skype or the dating service Tinder and begin a relationship with them, during the course of which he would ask them for money on false pretences.

Now the man himself has been caught by some of the very women he targeted. The women invited the man on a date, which turned out to be a sting with police standing by. Police confirm in the Iltalehti piece that the man was caught thanks directly to the intrepid women.

Lightning tips, crayfish, algae and lake fame

Of the many newspapers that follow up this and last week’s lightning episodes, Aamulehti notes that the recent storm-related death and hospitalisations are unfortunate accidents, because this year’s lightning statistics are not dramatically different from the annual norm. Its tips for avoiding electrocution include staying indoors, waiting the storm out in a car and avoiding umbrellas and trees.

A favourite Finnish – specifically Finnish-Swedish – pastime in late summer and in the autumn is holding parties with crayfish and Schnapps, known as “rapujuhlat”. This year’s crustacean haul is said to be excellent, Aamulehti reports, saying that crayfish can be considered health food with no upper limit to their consumption.

“Crayfish have a lot of protein, and can be compared with fish,” researcher Heli Jokipalo tells the newspaper. Eating the river delicacies can be challenging, but the physical process and the social atmosphere of the parties they inspire are part of the fun, restaurant manager Eeva Kokko tells Aamulehti.

Water systems can also carry hazards, as many newspapers including Helsingin Sanomat widely report that blue-green algae may not be making an appearance on top beaches right now, but that the situation in the western Gulf of Finland is the worst in a decade. Cynobacteria that proliferate in the Gulf and in the Baltic Sea are a serious risk to sealife, because the algae use up oxygen that the animals need to survive.

And finally in water-based newspaper items, Ilta-Sanomat proudly reports that one of the world’s most widely read newspapers, the Wall Street Journal, has listed Finland’s Saimaa as one of the world’s greatest lakes. Saimaa is listed with Swiss, Kenyan and American lakes. The Journal says that “Lake Saimaa is just an hour's drive from Helsinki but feels a world away”, praising its rustic cabins (mökki) and warm swimming waters.

Sources: IL, IS, HS, AL, TS

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