Helsingin Sanomat carries a story on child marriage in Finland. The UN General Assembly's human rights committee adopted a resolution in November urging member states to end "child, early and forced marriage". A 2012 UN report claimed that some 37,000 children are married every day, the majority in the third world.
Finland, however, is currently flouting this UN exhortation. HS reports that the Finland, Sweden and Belgium are the only countries in Europe where there's no lower age limit for getting married. Those brides and grooms-to-be who are aged under 18 have to seek special permission from the Justice Ministry.
The Children's Ombudsman, however, says this system does not offer enough protection. A simple written application is enough, and that does not give the ministry enough information to detect cases where the applicants may have been pressured into marriage.
Hesari also has a story on the growth of Vantaa. Helsinki's neighbour is currently building some 3,500 new dwellings, a vote of confidence in the municipality's future--and more than in neighbouring Espoo, where hundreds of newly-nuilt flats remain unsold.
The building frenzy is reminiscent of the 1980s, when large suburbs sprang up around the capital. HS interviews Ari Pauna, of housing loan provider Hypo, who says that he expects Vantaa's new properties to retain their value thanks to excellent transport connections. There is a mainline rail station at Tikkurila, and a new commuter line will soon link up two separate train routes and the airport, offering much improved connections to Helsinki City Centre, provincial Finland, and the rest of the world.
And lastly, you may remember a controversy last year when Swedish channel SVT remarked that Finland's beloved Christmas pastries looked a little like swastikas. The joulutorttu is an integral part of Christmas in Finland, and Finns were quick to remind their neighbours that the cake is a delicacy and has no ideological overtones.
Well, Ilta-Sanomat has tested a range of ready-made pastries to see which is the best for the creation of plummy Christmas tarts. This method of cooking is pretty much idiot-proof, requiring as it does only defrosted puff pastry, a spoon, plum jam and a knife. The winner, with 58 points, is the Myllyn Paras brand.