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Monday’s papers: Javelin’s golden boys, Stubb’s political party cachet, cheese hoarders and trackers for cruisers

Monday’s papers in Finland all lead with the gold medal upset by “always the bridesmaid never the bride” javelin athlete Antti Ruuskanen at the European Championships in Zurich, Switzerland Sunday. The local dailies also highlight a new political poll that shows Prime Minister Alexander Stubb’s National Coalition Party pulling away from the competition, in spite of recent criticism of the PM's seemingly glib approach to government. Putin's cheese and tracker bracelets for cruise ship passengers are also in the news.

Image: Lehtikuva

Finland's sporting triumph in Zurich Sunday received ample coverage in all of the nation’s dailies Monday morning, with the tabloids leading the effort in terms of acreage in their front and sports pages. According to tabloid Iltalehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun), Savo resident Antti Ruuskanen restored Finland to gold medal standing in the European Championships for the first time since 1974, when Hannu Siltonen last claimed topped the scoreboard in Rome. Ruuskanen executed a personal best performance Sunday, throwing the javelin 88.01 metres.

Ilta Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) meanwhile congratulates Ruuskanen on his accomplishment, noting that his herculean hurl provided financial as well as personal satisfaction – apart from a gold medal, Ruuskanen also took home a 15,000-euro championship bonus provided by the Finnish Amateur Athletic Association SUL. Former Finnish champion Tero Pitkämäki walked away from the competition with an extra 5,000 euros for his bronze medal performance.

National Coalition accelerates in voter support poll

Turning to another kind of arena, the leading circulation daily Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) leads its Monday morning coverage with the results of its latest political barometer. The numbers show Alexander Stubb’s National Coalition Party pulling away from the three other major political parties and increasing its share of voter approval from 20.5 percent from May - June to 22.1 percent – its highest voter approval rating since April 2012.

The results aren’t as encouraging for the other major political forces, says HS, with the opposition Centre and Finns parties slipping to 19.9 and 15.9 percent respectively. The other main government partner the Social Democratic Party led by new Finance Minister Antti Rinne finds itself with much food for thought as it continues to trail the big four with just 14.9 percent voter support.

HS notes that the poll results run counter to an ongoing public debate about the comportment of National Coalition chair and Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, whom some have criticised for his unique approach to the premiership. Moreover the paper notes that if the balance of power represented in the poll is reproduced in next spring’s general election, the National Coalition would be the party forming the government while the Centre Party would displace the SDP to become the second biggest winner and the SDP would likely transition to the opposition benches.

The HS poll ran from July 15 to August 12 and was conducted by pollster TNS Gallup. It specifically asked just over 2,000 respondents which party or candidate they would vote for if they went to the polls for a parliamentary election now. The margin of error in the case of the larger parties was around two percentage points in either direction.

Cheese hoarders forced to chill out

In other news the Tampere-based Aamulehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) warns locals looking to hoard cut-price Russian-labeled Oltermanni cheese  -- also known as Putin's cheese and produced by dairy company Valio - that new stocks won’t reach supermarket shelves until later in the week. The paper writes that the cheaper alternative retailed in Finland because of a Russian food embargo imposed week-before-last, but sold out in short order once it was introduced last Friday.

Tracker bracelets for cruise ship passengers

Coming out of southwest Finland the widely-read paper Turun Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) headlines a report on a new European Union-funded project to introduce compulsory tracker bracelets for cruise ship passengers. The devices would allow shipping officials to better monitor travelers, especially in emergency or evacuation situations. So far eight EU member states are participating in the project, which was spawned by the Costa Concordia shipping accident two years ago when 34 people remained trapped in the vessel unbeknownst to officials.

The bracelet would incorporate state-of-the-art sensors and transmitters that would also transmit real-time data to remote monitors about body temperature, hydration levels and other vital signs, and would be particularly useful in rescuing passengers in poor health.

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