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Tuesday's papers: Parliament returns, Tor drug case begins, snow cancels flights

MPs get back to work, a Finnish man faces charges for selling drugs on the Dark Web and Finnair announces flight cancellations due to blizzards.

Finnair cancelled more than a dozen flights on Tuesday. Image: Suzanne Plunkett / AOP

Members of Finland's Parliament return to their duties on Tuesday, and tabloid Ilta-Sanomat writes (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that MPs will first tackle potential changes to the notice period for large political demonstrations.

The main argument for extending the minimum notice period of organised protests from six hours to 24 hours is that police need enough time to assemble and safeguard the security of protesting citizens, said Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen.

IS writes that the preliminary debate is meant to resolve which committee should handle the drafting of the bill.

Government previously planned a three-day minimum notice period for large-scale demos, but scrapped the proposal after the Parliamentary ombudsman criticised the proposed time frame for being unnecessarily long. Even if Parliament approves the one-day change, smaller spontaneous demonstrations will still be allowed with less than a day's notice, IS writes.

Another item still dangling on Parliament's to-do list is the social service and health care industry renovation, known as "sote". The Constitutional Law Committee continues its round of expert consultations on Tuesday, but no news is forthcoming yet on the committee's schedule or stance on the future of the nationwide reform, said the group's chair Annika Lapintie.

Webmaster's drug charges

In a historic case in Finnish law, a Vantaa court on Tuesday begins hearing the case of a 45-year old man suspected of aggravated drug trafficking after maintaining a website in the off-the-grid Tor network that openly sold illegal narcotics.

The case is the first one in Finland in which a court has brought drug trafficking charges against a website administrator.

Local daily Aamulehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) writes that the man allegedly founded and maintained a clandestine website called Sipulikanava ("Onion channel") from 2014-2017, and trafficked illegal substances through the site.

The Eastern Uusimaa District Court told AL that the accused has admitted to founding and maintaining the Dark Web page, but has denied the drug offense charges.

Apart from being unique in its charges, the case is also unusually extensive, with a 17,000-page pretrial report and eight scheduled days of hearings, said prosecutor Anna-Riikka Ruuth in AL.

"We need to determine if managing a website that users use to procure drugs is offense enough to warrant an aggravated drug charge," she said.

Snow snarls runways and roads

Meanwhile the weather is frightful in Southern Finland on Tuesday as daily Helsingin Sanomat reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that flag carrier Finnair has cancelled at least 14 flights due to severe snow conditions.

A majority of the cancellations are domestic afternoon flights, with one Helsinki-Brussels connection also called off due to weather conditions slowing air traffic, Finnair announced.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute also said in HS that driving conditions would also be poor in at least 11 regions in Satakunta, Central Finland and Southern Karelia.

Some 10 cm of snow is expected across Finland on Tuesday and Wednesday, said meteorologist Kaisa Solin.