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Friday's papers: Barcelona attack, Niinistö takes centre stage, and the ditching of dirty diesels

Friday's newspapers are dominated by the attacks in Barcelona, but also include a look at President Sauli Niinistö's prominent position in international diplomacy and Finnish consumers' attitudes towards polluting diesel cars.

Kylmä tankkausasema
Finns seem to be turning away from diesel motors. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Thursday evening's attack in Barcelona understandably dominated the newspapers on Friday, with every paper leading on that story. At least 13 people were killed and dozens injured when a van ploughed into crowds on the central La Rambla avenue in the city.

The routine is now familiar, but with Barcelona a familiar destination for so many across Europe, including Finland, the press was able to secure eyewitness accounts and get reporters on the scene quicker than for some other big stories.

Helsingin Sanomat carries accounts from three holidaymakers in its print edition, including Eija from Helsinki who said that the attacks would not diminish her desire to visit the city.

"There are loads of police everywhere, so in that sense it's a city that feels safe," said Eija.

Ilta-Sanomat, Finland's biggest online media as well as a daily tabloid, had many more eyewitness accounts including "Toni was leaving the beach for the hotel", "Antti fled into a museum", and "Janne just missed the attack".

Niinistö's moment

In its print edition, Ilta-Sanomat goes big on the announcement on Thursday that Sauli Niinistö is set to meet Donald Trump at the White House at the end of August. The paper includes a map of the White House with an expanded Oval Office, to show where Niinistö will meet the 45th president of the United States, property developer Donald Trump.

A column by the paper's political correspondent Timo Haapala notes that Niinistö is now meeting world leaders at a record pace, having this year held talks with Vladimir Putin and China's Xi Jinping before the trip to Washington was announced.

The paper notes that the security situation in the Baltic Sea is likely to be high on the agenda, with Russia's huge, likely 100,000-strong Zapad operations due in August. US forces will also be on exercises in Sweden around the same time, and this activity comes on the heels of a more active Russian policy in the region.

The paper notes that this is a working trip, not a state or official visit, and so presidential spouse Jenni Haukio will remain in Finland. Even so, Haapala reckons the trip, and the good relations it represents and maintains, are "worth their weight in gold" for Finland.

Diminishing demand for dirty diesels

Kauppalehti takes a look at the Finnish car market, in particular the demand for diesel motors. They have been popular in Finland, thanks largely to the long distances people travel making their fuel economy savings especially potent here.

However KL reports that this might change soon, with a survey showing that many diesel owners are no longer sure their next car will also run on that fuel. Just 55 percent of those driving a diesel right now say they will definitely or almost certainly buy a diesel next.

Of all motorists, 68 percent say they're sure or pretty sure they'll buy a petrol car next, while 28 percent say they are likely to want a diesel-run vehicle. Finland's position as a laggard in the march towards electric cars is confirmed by the figures, which show that just nine percent of respondents would consider an electric vehicle as their next set of wheels.

Vesa Väisänen of IROR Research, which carried out the survey, said that the decline of diesel's popularity is likely down to the Volkswagen scandal and reflects attitudes in Germany.

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