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Friday's papers: Farmer fears, sex crime rehab closure and taxi price cuts

Friday's newspapers look at how the dry spell is affecting farms, the closure of a rehabilitation course for sex offenders and taxi price deregulation.

kulottunutta nurmikkoa
Finnish fields are parched this summer. Image: Marja Väänänen / Yle

It will have escaped the attention of nobody in Finland that the weather right now is hot and dry. While this is a wonderful thing for those looking to hit the beach and enjoy the weather, it's not fantastic for farmers, and Ilta-Sanomat heads to Ostrobothnia to discover just what the epic dry spell means for them.

It's bad, according to Tero Kilpiö from Kauhajoki. He grows oats, rapeseed and peas and says it's especially difficult to get seeds into the ground right now because it is so dry. Some farmers have been forced to abandon planting, which brings a new danger for cultivators: the loss of their crucial share of taxpayer-funded subsidies.

If officials regard the fields as uncultivated because they haven't been planted, then the subsidies that farmers depend on could remain unpaid. They have until 30 June to get the fields planted, but if rain doesn't come until just before Midsummer, that might be too late for many crops.

Kilpiö says at this point light showers won't do, as the fields need a good soaking to create decent conditions for planting.

Sex offender rehab revamp

Iltalehti reports on the closure of a sex offenders rehabilitation programme at Riihimäki prison, which is to shut down. The programme was inspired by British courses which were mandatory for sex offenders before they were released from prison.

The problem, as revealed by British research, was that the programmes actually made re-offending more likely. Child abusers gathered in one place exchanged views and found reinforcement for their attitudes, and even in some cases swapped tips.

Nina Nurminen of the Finnish Criminal Sanctions Agency says that while there were some good outcomes to the courses, and that research shows the Finnish version actually slightly reduced the risk of recidivism, the difference was very small.

The courses will be replaced by a new programme inspired by Canadian rehabilitation efforts, which will be more tailored to individual offenders and focus on preparing for a life in the outside world.

Taxi price cuts

Finland's taxi deregulation comes into force in July, with new operators expected to join the fray and prices possibly tumbling. The established taxi operators have not been too pleased about this reform, it must be said, but Helsingin Sanomat carries a story about a Helsinki incumbent that has announced its response to the new rules.

Kovanen says that it will introduce a new ten euro fare in the city centre, with a 35 euro fare to the airport--but only outside peak hours. That means between 10am and 2pm and 9pm and 11pm, so there is a relatively small window for bargain-hunting taxi passengers.

The cheaper fares are offered by FixuTaxi-branded cars from 1 July.

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