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Monday’s papers: Volcanic tension, populist alliance, insect farming and glamour in Kilkenny and Vegas

Finnish papers start the week without blockbuster stories on the domestic or international fronts, but a palette of light and serious stories from near and far.

Mount Agung is poised to erupt within days, say Indonesian authorities. Image: Made Nagi / AOP
Yle News

Finland's main Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet (HBL) leads off on Monday with a dramatic image of the volcano Agung on the Indonesian island of Bali, which is poised to erupt at any moment. The evacuation zone has been expanded and the holiday island's only international airport shut. According to the Finnish Foreign Ministry, there are at least 367 Finns on Bali now – but that only includes those who have filled out the ministry's notification form.

HBL also reports on the right-wing Sweden Democrats party in Finland's western neighbour, who held a conference in Norrköping this weekend in the run-up to next year's elections. The anti-immigration party is now openly aligned with the Finns Party (siirryt toiseen palveluun), following that populist party's split last summer. The more hardline wing of the Finns Party retains the party name while its founder Timo Soini and his successor Sampo Terho now leading the rival Blue Reform, which recently became an official political party.

IS: Glitzy Kilkenny and Vegas

Bestselling tabloid Ilta-Sanomat breathlessly announces that Finnish director Aku Louhimies’ popular remake of the Finnish war classic The Unknown Soldier is “reaping awards in Europe” (siirryt toiseen palveluun) and that one of its actors, Eero Aho, had to be flown in at the last minute to make it to an awards ceremony on Sunday. He earned the Best Actor award while Louhimies was honoured as Best Producer. This was far from the glamour of Berlin and Cannes, though, as the prizes were awarded at the Subtitle Spotlight European Film Festival, a well-kept secret in the small Irish town of Kilkenny.

On a glitzier note, IS describes the surprise Miss Universe win by South Africa’s double-barrelled Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, who spoke out about how women earn one quarter less than men for the same work in her home country. The runners-up in Las Vegas were from Jamaica and Colombia, while Finnish contestant Michaela Söderholm did not make it into the final 15.

Sweets tax strikes back?

IS also reports on government efforts to encourage Finns to maintain their figures with a sweets tax possibly making a comeback. The government abolished the confectionary tax at the beginning of this year, arguing that it violated EU regulations.

The government is now commissioning a study on how to encourage residents of Finland to eat more healthily. Among the options on the table: higher taxes on foods deemed unhealthy with lower taxes to steer consumers toward more wholesome choices at the grocery store. If those don't do the trick, warning labels might also be attached to items with a lot of sugar, salt and/or saturated fats.

The Finance Ministry is studying the options in tandem with three other ministries. However it could be two or three years before any changes in legislation take effect.

MT: Bugs and art

The agrarian daily Maaseudun Tulevaisuus jumps on the trendy bugs-as-food bandwagon, urging Finnish farmers to consider switching to "mini-cattle" (siirryt toiseen palveluun). It notes that the current supply cannot meet the quickly-growing demand for domestically produced insects for use in food products. There are so far only about 10 companies in the insect-food sector Finland, with an even smaller number of bug farmers. Last week, one of Finland's biggest bakery firms launched what it describes as the world's first large-scale commercial bread product featuring cricket flour.

MT also ensures the cultural enlightenment of its readers with a story on a previously unshown painting by Finnish master Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946). The Gösta Serlachius Art Foundation has bought a little-known Schjerfbeck portrait of actor Matti Kiianlinna. The work, completed in 1927, was sold at Helsinki's Hagelstam auction house on Saturday for 445,000 euros.

The Serlachius museums have been buying up Schjerfbecks in the past five years, now holding about 20 works. Its director notes that the Finnish painter's stock has been steadily rising on the international art scene. The portrait of Kiianlinna has remained in his family's ownership for 90 years, never having been exhibited in public.

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