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Friday’s papers: Gambling block, vaccination survey and possible school lunch disruptions

November starts with a wide array of news and views in Finnish newspapers on Friday.

Tiilikkajärven kansallispuistossa Rautavaaralla on hyvät puitteet esimerkiksi retkeilyyn.
Tiilikkajärvi National Park in Rautavaara as captured by images by nature photographer Tea Karvinen. Image: Metsähallitus / Tea Karvinen

Gambling monopoly Veikkaus unveiled a new strategy on Thursday aimed at tackling addiction, including compulsory ID checks, fewer slot machines and less advertising. A day later, the largest provincial daily, Aamulehti from Tampere, runs an op-ed by the state-owned firm’s board chair, Jukka Gustafsson, in which he says that the number of public slot machines should be cut by up to half.

Gustafsson also says that “four out of five of those with gambling problems who seek help have problems with foreign gambling firms’ offerings”. In response he argues that the government’s planned revision of the Lotteries Act should include a provision whereby the state could block Finnish citizens from playing on “unauthorised sites”. Gustafsson points out that 21 European countries already have such laws.

In local news, AL reports on the opening of Tampere’s largest electric car charging park, the Noutoparkki parking lot near the railway station, where 50 of the 62 parking spots are reserved for electric vehicles. Ten of them offer 11kW rapid charging points while the rest have slow 1.8kW chargers, encouraging commuters to leave their cars charging while off at work for the day, for instance.

TS: No school lunches?

School lunch services could be interrupted in Turku at least if the Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL) goes ahead with a threatened strike – that’s the lead story in Friday’s Turun Sanomat.

The southwestern daily quotes local JHL boss Maaret Laakso as saying the 600 employees of the city-owned catering firm Arkea are ready to walk off the job due to what they call arm-twisting, threats and wage-cutting moves from their employer. The union says it expects to finalise plans for the job action on Friday.

TS also reports on a survey of more than 4,000 physicians and nurses who work with vaccinations gauging their views on such shots.

As you might expect, nearly all said that vaccinations are safe and beneficial. Ninety-six percent of those with children reported accepting all childhood vaccinations for their own offspring.

Asked how they respond to patients who are hesitant about giving their youngsters childhood vaccines, nearly 14 percent said they do not guide the patient in any direction. However less than half a percent of the healthcare workers reported that they guide hesitant patients towards not vaccinating at all.

The study, published in the journal PLOS One, was carried out by the city’s two universities, Åbo Akademi and the University of Turku, in conjunction with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and the University of Bristol.

KS: Gritty streets, scenic views

In southeast Finland, Kouvolan Sanomat previews the upcoming winter on local roads, reporting that the city began applying sand to streets, bike paths and sidewalks on Tuesday.

The city and its main road maintenance contractor, YIT, swear they are ready for whatever this winter will throw at them. They’re equipped with 3,000 tons of salt and 10,000 tons of sand for the rural roads and motorways outside the city centre, along with some 15,000 tons of grit and gravel reserved for city streets.

And the paper offers some scenic viewing: images by nature photographer Tea Karvinen, who has published coffee-table books in Finnish and English.

She has spent the past nine years exploring all of Finland’s 40 national parks, including Repovesi NP just north of Kouvola, the subject of a photo gallery in the latest KS for your weekend perusal.

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