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Thursday's papers: Budget delays, Helsinki bridge and an Olympian fallen on hard times

Thursday's papers included a varied approach to the lack of news on government budget talks, coverage of Helsinki's decision to construct a huge bridge connecting islands to the city centre, and an Olympic gold medallist who's now so poor he's selling his medal to fund renovations.

Newspapers, lehdet, sanomalehti
Image: Yle

Wednesday's cancellation of a press conference on the government's budget plans left some space to fill for many papers. The government was threatened with the collapse of its competitiveness accord thanks to dissent from municipal workers' unions over possible budget cuts, and therefore had very little to say about the budget itself which is due to be agreed on Thursday.

Helsingin Sanomat had a roundup of the day's events, including the threats from the municipal unions and the lack of a response from the government. Iltalehti headlined their story 'Difficult start', while business daily Kauppalehti described the Mexican stand-off as a 'Test of nerves' on its front page.

Helsinki to build big bridge

Helsingin Sanomat might have a circulation of more than 350,000 and be regarded as the nation's main 'quality' paper, but it's also a local news outlet for the capital and it's not above reporting on municipal matters. Indeed council meetings are a staple of HS's local coverage, and on Thursday they had a momentous meeting to cover.

That's because Helsinki has finally confirmed the decision to build a 259 million euro bridge connecting the island of Laajasalo in eastern Helsinki with the city centre. It will effectively be three bridges linking Laajasalo, Korkeasaari and Kalasatama, and it won't have room for cars--just pedestrians, bikes and trams.

That decision is controversial for some Helsinki politicians. HS reports that Kauko Koskinen, a centre-right National Coalition Party MP from the northern suburbs, criticised the decision but some of his party comrades were in favour. In the end the voting was a formality with 63 councillors favouring the project and just three voting against.

Whatever the merits of the car-free bridge, it should be ready by 2026.

Olympian selling medals

Finland might have had a disappointing Olympics this year, but it hasn't always been like that. Weightlifter Kaarlo Kangasniemi has a gold medal from the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, and a total of 25 medals from European and World championships.

They can now all be yours, reports Ilta-Sanomat, for the princely sum of 100,000 euros. He'd been an amateur in his day--Olympic qualification rules were tighter then--and he's now struggling to pay the bills.

Specifically the bill for a plumbing renovation, which will come to around 50,000 euros. Kangasniemi is due to vacate his flat for a month next week, and is looking for a wealthy benefactor to take his medals off his hands.

Sources: Yle, Ilta-Sanomat, Helsingin Sanomat, Kauppalehti, Iltalehti

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