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Friday’s papers: Climate clamour, dairy mutants, royal guests and army gamers

Most Finnish papers on Friday morning lead off with reactions to President Trump’s announcement that the US will pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate, along with a smattering of domestic stories.

Valokuva Etelänapamantereen halkeamasta.
A massive crack in the Antarctic ice is growing amid sea temperatures rise. Image: NASA / John Sonntag / EPA

”Criticism rains down on Trump: "A shocking fail" is how the leading tabloid Ilta-Sanomat headlines its main story on the UN exit from the UN-brokered Paris Agreement.

Trump said at the White House on Thursday that he would begin the four-year process of withdrawing the US from the non-binding pact and in the meantime try to negotiate "a fairer deal" for the US.

Many analysts describe the move as a largely symbolic measure aimed at shoring up support among his political base in rural America. The Trump administration had earlier effectively ensured that the US will not meet its emissions reductions targets by gutting the Obama-era Clean Air Act and a series of other moves to remove environmental restrictions that it calls ”job-killing”.

"America has never been so small"

Ilta-Sanomat notes that a joint statement from the leaders of France, Germany and Italy insists that the long-fought agreement – under which virtually all the world’s countries set their own voluntary targets – cannot be renegotiated.

It quotes European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker as calling Trump’s decision "seriously wrong", and Finnish premier Juha Sipilä’s tweet calling the move "truly sad". Sipilä said the EU and China must strengthen their cooperation on fighting climate change.

His Centre Party colleague, Minister of the Environment and Energy Kimmo Tiilikainen tweeted: "I am so sad on behalf of American friends who worked hard for #ParisAgreement. Finland and other ambitious will carry on" [sic], adding in Finnish that "America has never been so small".

MT: Driving licenses and dairy tolerance

The national rural daily Maaseudun Tulevaisuus quotes University of Helsinki professor of environmental economics Markku Ollikainen as calling the decision expected but not catastrophic. He says that it may indeed be better if the US is openly outside the deal rather than quietly sabotaging it from within.

On the domestic front, MT reports on Transport Minister Anne Berner's proposed overhaul of driver's licence procedures. She wants to make it easier to get a driving license and is suggesting changes that could cut the cost of doing so by half. The costs can now rise above 2,000 euros for the required lessons for a new driver.

And the most-read story on the agrarian paper's website? Nutritional therapist Hanna Partanen's comments on how native Finns have an unusually high level of milk consumption and ability to metabolise lactose due to early dietary habits in this extreme northern climate.

"Milk has been so important in our diet that the ones who have survived are those who were lactose-tolerant...we are actually genetic mutants," said Partanen.

She was speaking at an event in Helsinki on Thursday marking World Milk Day, which was launched in 2001 by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Metro: We'll never be royals

The free commuter paper Metro's front page is devoid of any reference to climate, except for a picture of a vast crack in an Antarctic ice shelf which has grown rapidly in recent days and will soon calve one of the largest icebergs ever seen. The freesheet notes that the chunk of ice is 15 times the size of Espoo.

Otherwise the front page carries a big photo of Thursday's visit to Helsinki by the royals from Denmark, Sweden and Norway, who rubbed shoulders with the commoner leaders of Iceland and Finland. Iceland abolished its monarchy in 1944, and Finland has never had one, although it was ruled by Swedish and Russian monarchs for centuries.

Also on Metro's front page: the Finnish Defence Forces is considering recruitment of skilled electronic game players for its Sports School, a Finnish man who was detained at Helsinki's Katajanokka harbour on Thursday evening after allegedly trying to drive over a Border Guard official. The paper also runs a banner photo of a star of the new Baywatch movie American wrestler-actor Dwayne Johnson – who is renamed Wayne in the attached article.

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