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Monday's papers: New government optimism, Finnish pastor attacked in Tallinn, Helsinki Day and cue summer

Finnish news outlets carry reports of a knife attack on a Finnish pastor at a gay bar in Tallinn.

Senaatintori Helsingissä.
'Helsinki Day' is celebrated on 12 June. This year, the capital turns 473 years old. Image: Sasha Silvala / Yle
Yle News

"Could this be the week that government negotiations are wrapped up?," Tampere-based Aamulehti asks on Monday morning, as the potential coalition partners enter their seventh week of talks.

Monday marks 71 days since the election, making this the second longest government formation period since the Second World War, Aamulehti notes. Urho Kekkonen's 1951 coalition currently holds the record for the longest period from election to government formation, taking 79 days to agree on a government programme.

NCP party chair Petteri Orpo, who is leading the current talks, told news agency STT that he was confident the negotiating parties would find common ground on the remaining unresolved issues this week.

This however depends on finding common answers to questions concerning the economy, social welfare and health care, as well as development cooperation funding.

Swedish People Party (SPP) chair Anna-Maja Henriksson has not expressed the same optimism as Orpo, Aamulehti however notes.

At her party's congress in Tampere, Henriksson said it was still uncertain whether a government consisting of the NCP, Finns Party, SPP and Christian Democrats would be formed at all.

She added that if a government was formed, it would not be a happy marriage, but rather a necessity given the current circumstances.

"The fact that we are negotiating means it is not yet a yes. It is a maybe. And we still have big issues on the table," Henriksson said.

"A religiously-motivated hate crime"

Multiple papers report on Monday that a Finnish pastor was attacked in a gay bar in the Estonian capital Tallinn during the weekend.

Lappeenranta-based Etelä-Saimaa reports that the pastor, Patrick Tiainen, had just finished speaking at a Baltic Pride event on Sunday when a 25-year-old man stormed in, attacking Tiainen with a knife.

"I had just apologised to those present that had been hurt and offended in the name of God when a young man came up and asked where the gay pastor was," Tiainen wrote in an Instagram post, adding that the man proceeded to punch him and wave a knife at him.

Bar staff eventually tackled the man to the floor before authorities arrived at the scene and apprehended him. Three people were taken to hospital in connection with the attack, Etelä-Saimaa writes.

The event's attendees described the attack as a "religiously-motivated hate crime".

"We will not let hate win," Tiainen concluded on his social media post.

Capital Birthday

Finland's capital Helsinki is celebrating its 473rd birthday on Monday, newspaper Ilkka-Pohjalainen writes.

'Helsinki Day' will be celebrated with about 170 free events around the city ranging from concerts and pop-up theatre shows to park discos and late-night basketball tournaments.

The celebration dates back to 1959 and involves numerous traditions, including a morning coffee date with the mayor at City Hall and the appointment of the Helsinki Day baby at the HUS Women’s Hospital.

It's getting hot in here

Better late than never, summer is expected to arrive in Finland this week, Helsingin Sanomat writes.

Finland could even see the 25-degree 'heatwave mark' surpassed on Monday, with meteorologists also forecasting readings closer to 30 degrees Celsius by the weekend, according to the paper.

Southern and Central Finland are expected to see the hottest temperatures this week, while Lapland is forecast to be considerably cooler, with cloudy skies and rain showers on the far northern horizon.

The rest of the country is expected to stay dry however, with forest fire warnings in place daily throughout the early part of the week.

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