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Monday's papers: Immigration attitudes, curriculum revamp, mystery skull

The Metro freesheet headlines a recent YouGov survey indicating that half of all adults in Finland hold anti-immigrant, nationalist, and authoritarian attitudes. Among other items in the morning newspapers are a look at changes in elementary school teaching, and reports of a skull in a plastic bag found on a Helsinki beach.

Daily newspapers.
Image: E.D.Hawkins / Yle

_Metro's _main print edition front page headline is "Immigration splits the Finns". Based on a September poll in 12 European countries by the YouGov organization, the article says that findings indicate that 50% of adults in Finland hold what it calls "“authoritarian populist” opinions, meaning anti-immigration sentiments and opposition to human rights laws, EU institutions, and European integration policies.

The largest group falling into this category in Finland was found to be men. 31% were over the age of 60.

The poll found authoritarian populist opinions to be most prevalent in Romania (83%) and in Poland (78%). In the UK, 48% of those polled held these attitudes. The lowest rate, 18%, was found to be in Germany.

YouGov sampled the opinions of 1711 people in the UK and no less than 1000 people in the other 11 countries covered by the poll which was conducted in late August - early September.

Drawing on an article published by Buzzfeed, Metro quoted YouGov's head of political research as saying that the results show that the traditional left-right political divide has been replaced by a much more complicated, nuanced mix of political groupings, with profound implications for politics across Europe.

What's changing at school?

A new elementary school curriculum in Finland is a source of confusion in many homes this autumn, according to the nation's largest circulation daily, Helsingin Sanomat.

The paper looks in depth at the issue, providing explanations of each of the key changes in the curriculum and their practical implications. Helsingin Sanomat breaks these down into five main categories.

Projects: During the school year, each pupil will be required to carry out at least one cross-disciplinary project. This is aimed at bringing together and combining skills learned in different subjects.

Grading: It will continue to be possible to give elementary pupils grades, but many schools will be introducing oral and written evaluations.

Classrooms: There will still be classrooms, but learning will not necessarily take place at the pupils' desks.

Language teaching: Children will start Swedish and English lessons at an earlier age, and the emphasis is increasingly on practical use of languages.

Discipline: In place of traditional after-school detention, the new curriculum favours "softer" means of discipline, such as discussions.

The paper suggests that parents uncertain about the changes look into the curriculum at their children's school, usually found on the school's website, and not hesitate to ask questions on parents' evenings.

Not just cosmetic

Turun Sanomat, the main daily in the southwestern coastal city of Turku, says that ten thousand Finns a year would benefit from weight loss surgery, but most never make it into the operating room.

According to the paper, the Hospital District of Southwest Finland (Tyks) has the capacity to increase the number of weight loss procedures, but it does not get as many referrals as it could handle.

While it is estimated that up to 10,000 people annually would benefit from these procedures, less than 1,000 actually have surgery.

Turun Sanomat quotes Tyks Chief Physician Paulina Salminen as saying that the situation is in part a result of biased preconceptions. Weight loss operations may be seen by many as cosmetic surgery, even though they are intended to deal with very serious conditions associated with obesity.

Referral and access to weight loss surgery in the public healthcare system varies by region, with the most in relation to population carried out in Vaasa and the fewest in Helsinki.

Mystery skull

Many of the morning's papers, including the newsstand tabloid Iltalehti, carry reports of the chance discovery on Sunday of a skull in a plastic bag found on a beach in the Hietaniemi area of Helsinki.

A local couple out walking their dog came upon the gristly find, but police were not immediately able to confirm whether or not is was a human skull.

Interviewed by Iltalehti, the couple said that the bag definitely contained a skull and one that looked too real to be part of a prank. They also stated that there was a second plastic bag nearby the one containing the skull, but they didn't look inside before calling the police.

The finds have been sent to the Coroner for further study.

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