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Friday’s papers: Bullet trains, immigrant franchise ownership and Finland’s Eurovision losing streak

Parties in government formation talks propose a new fleet of fast trains, franchises appeal to Finland’s immigrants and Finland's poor Eurovision record.

Junan raiteet.
A nine-billion-euro rail project connecting Helsinki to three urban centres has a rocky road ahead. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Finland’s next government will explore the feasibility of three high-speed rail projects, reports national daily Helsingin Sanomat. New fast links would include connections from Helsinki to Turku, Tampere and, possibly, Kouvola.

A new high-speed rail network is estimated to cost some nine billion euros--funds that the state has not budgeted for. Parties involved in government formation talks have, however, earmarked some 200 million euros for planning costs, bringing the project one step closer to reality, writes HS.

The proposed high-speed connection would shave 30 minutes off the current Helsinki-Turku connection, which currently serves some 30,000 commuters daily, according to the paper.

Immigrants flock to franchises

The R-kioski convenience store chain tells business daily Kauppalehti that it is having a difficult time recruiting franchise owners in Finland.

However R-kioski managing director Teemu Rissanen said newcomers to Finland are breathing new life into the business as their proportion of store ownership continues to grow.

“During the last five years the share of immigrant background franchise owners has significantly grown. These are customer-oriented people,” he said.

Rissanen, whose company is looking to recruit around 100 franchise owners, criticised the government’s tax treatment of small business owners.

Scandinavia v Finland

Finland is the only Nordic country not to secure a spot in the the Eurovision song contest finals on Saturday in Tel Aviv, reports Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet. Contestants from Sweden, Norway and Denmark made it through the semi-finals on Thursday night.

Finland’s entry, Look Away, performed by Sandstorm hit-maker DJ Darude and Sebastian Rejman, did not make it past this year’s first semi-final on Tuesday.

Finland has competed in the Eurovision song contest 52 times, but only won the competition once in 2006 with heavy metal monsters Lordi and their song Hard Rock Hallelujah.

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