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Thursday's papers: Anti-austerity protests, academics slam gov't plans, and 1000 Nicki Minaj cut-outs flood Senate Square

Most papers report protests staged Wednesday around the country against planned cuts in spending on public pre-school programmes. Other widely reported items include the arrest of a man for making a bomb threat against a flight from Stockholm to Helsinki, and a promo stunt that filled the capital's main square with thousands of cardboard cut-outs of Nicki Minaj.

Vain kaksi kättä -mielenosoitus. Rautatientorilla Helsingissä 10. kesäkuuta 2015. Mielenosoituksessa vastustettiin varhaiskasvatukseen kohdistuvia säästötoimenpiteitä vastaan.
Vain kaksi kättä -mielenosoitus Rautatientorilla Helsingissä 10. kesäkuuta. Mielenosoituksessa vastustettiin varhaiskasvatukseen kohdistuvia säästötoimenpiteitä vastaan. Image: Anni Reenpää / Lehtikuva

Helsinki's main Swedish-language daily, Hufvudstadsbladet, reports that over 2000 people marched in Helsinki on Wednesday (other estimates were 3,000-4,000) to protest the government's plans to cut spending on pre-school programmes. Similar marches were seen in many other parts of the country.

Among those interviewed by the paper were Elisa Ruohomäki and Eveliina Toivonen, who recently completed their first year of studies in pre-school education at the University of Tampere and traveled from Kauhava and Salo to take part in the protest march.

Like many other participants, Ruohomäki was particularly concerned about spending cuts leading to crowding in pre-school programmes.

"Kindergarten groups are already too big, and they should be reduced, not expanded," Elisa Ruohomäki told Hufvudstadsbladet.

Women will pay

Finland's largest circulation daily, Helsingin Sanomat headlines a report that 85 professors and academic research directors have signed a petition protesting what they say is a total lack of any perspective of equality of the sexes in the government's programme.

They say that it is women who will pay the bill for the cabinet's intended austerity measures.

"Women and female-dominated sectors will pay an unreasonable bill in economic and human terms for austerity measures," it quotes the academics as writing.

They say it is of great concern that equality of the sexes is of no value to, and is not a goal of, the new government.

According to these academics, the coalition's programme ignores significant equality issues that have been well researched and documented.  For example, it lacks measures concerned with salary gaps, violence against women and differentiation in the job market.

They further say that planned government spending cuts will specifically weaken employment prospects for women.

Of the 85 academics who have signed the document, 68 hold professorships, the remainder are university presidents and research directors. 35 of them, that is 40%, are men.

They are demanding that the government makes a commitment that in future it will evaluate the impact of its austerity and structural reform plans on women, men and equality of the sexes.

Arrest for bomb threat

The newsstand tabloid Ilta-Sanomat was one of the many papers that this morning reported an arrest by Helsinki police following a bomb threat made against an SAS airliner making a scheduled flight from Stockholm to Helsinki.

Police confirmed to Ilta-Sanomat that it had taken a middle-aged foreign man into custody last night in connection with the incident.

The man is said to have made a threat against a specific SAS flight while at Helsinki-Vantaa airport. Finnish police reported the threat to Swedish authorities.

The 53 passengers booked on the flight were informed of the situation and transferred to another plane.

Nicki Minaj's bottom

The Finnish press, a good portion of the international media, and plenty of Helsinki residents expressed surprise to see a thousand cardboard cut-outs of Nicki Minaj in a provocative pose suddenly appear on the steps of Helsinki's Lutheran Cathedral yesterday.

As Iltalehti reports, it was a marketing stunt by the Summer Up Festival, where Minaj will be performing early next month.

Following a photo-op, the cut-outs were hidden around the city with notes attached urging people to take selfies with the "star" and to bring them along as a date to the upcoming concert.

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