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Friday's papers: Hate crimes by politicians, shipyard boost, a rally legend passes, and an ugly duckling finds love

Three new cabinet ministers take up their posts today. The new Minister of Justice says he is worried by an increase of politicians being convicted of hate crimes. Luxury cruise ship orders for Meyer Turku shipyard are expected to boost employment in the southwest. And, Finnish rally driving legend Timo Mäkinen has died at the age of 79.

Hitsaaja Pirjo Lundell-Lindqvist on ollut töissä Turun telakalla jo yli 40 vuotta, nyt Meyerin Turun telakalla. Kuva 16.9.2016
New shipyard orders will bring new jobs to Turku and farther afield. Image: Kalle Mäkelä / Yle

Many of the day's newspapers, such as the Oulu-based Kaleva, noted that three new cabinet ministers formally join the government on Friday. The Centre Party's Jari Leppä is taking over the agriculture and forestry portfolio, the National Coalition's Antti Häkkänen becomes Justice Minister, and Sampo Terho of the Finns Party is assuming responsibility for culture, sports and European affairs.

Kaleva explains that plans for the expansion and reshuffle in the cabinet started this past winter when Prime Minister Juha Sipilä became worried that Jari Lindström of the Finns Party was being overburdened by being charge of both employment and justice.

Crime and punishment

The new Justice Minister, Antti Häkkänen, has told the media that he is concerned by the rise in criminal convictions of active politicians. In practice, the criticism in his interview with the Finnish News Agency STT, carried by dailies including Savon Sanomat, was directed at the Finns Party. Finns Party MP Teuvo Hakkarainen, MEP Jussi Halla-aho and a number of municipal council members have been convicted of incitement to ethnic or racial hatred and in some cases of breaches of the sanctity of religion.

Häkkänen told STT that in his opinion there is no justification for civil disobedience in a country like Finland.

"All parallel justice systems which adhere to personal desires, morals, religion and considerations of human rights policies should be put aside in a constitutional, rule of law country such as Finland," he stated. "A majority of Parliament decides what the law is. That should be followed. And, say, those MPs which have been convicted should accept the decisions of the courts without a murmur and respect the doctrine of the division of powers."

Häkkänen views on civil disobedience have come in for criticism in the past. For example, Political Science Professor Marja Keränen of the University of Jyväskylä criticized Häkkänen's stand in an interview with Uutissuomalainen, arguing that civil disobedience has had a critical impact on social reform in Finland and is a feature of its strong tradition as a civil society.

More ships, more employment

Turun Sanomat reports that a major new order has been confirmed for the Meyer Turku shipyard that will boost employment in the city.

The order from the American operator Royal Caribbean Cruises is for what will be two of the world's largest luxury cruise vessels and may carry a price tag of up to two billion euros. The ships are scheduled for delivery in 2022 and 2024.

According to Turun Sanomat, the project means that the shipyard in Turku will need large numbers of new workers. At present, Meyer Turku directly employs 1600 people and its economic impact provides work for up to 7000. With the construction of the two new vessels, the number of shipyard employees is expected to rise to over 2000, while the employment boost will extend to around 20,000.

Meyer Turku's CEO Jan Meyer called the new orders a unique opportunity both locally and nationally for Finland to remain a global forerunner in this highly technical industry.

Rally legend Timo Mäkinen passes

The newsstand tabloid Ilta-Sanomat was the first to report today that Finnish rally driving legend Timo Mäkinen has died at the age of 79.

Mäkinen won Finland's 1000 Lakes Rally (now Rally Finland) four times (1965, 1966, 1967 and 1973), the national championship three times, and was the first Finnish driver to win a world championship race. He also won the prestigious RAC three times in a row.

Timo Mäkinen was known both as "The Flying Finn" and "The Maestro". He is credited with sparking the rise in Finnish rally sport by driving his Mini Cooper S to victory in the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally.

Lucky duck

The freesheet Metro today includes the tale of an duck, once shunned for being different, now apparently experiencing the joys of ”marital” bliss.

Not an true albino, but rather an example of a pigmentation condition known as leucism, an all-white male mallard duck is paddling around Helsinki’s Töölönlahti Bay for the second year in a row.

Last year he was an outsider, seen either on his own, or on the fringes of a flock. Back then, Teema Lehtiniemi of Birdlife Finland explained that, ”a pure white male does not correspond in the best way to what female mallards consider their ideal of beauty.”

But, obviously beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Metro reports that this year he’s being seen regularly in the company of one particular female

Kirre Mether, who often bikes along the bay, has been keeping an eye on the white male and his new friend, ”It looks like he’s dating. They paddle around together and they look like a couple – I think it’s so cute. I’ll have to watch to see if little white ones appear. I'm no birdwatcher, but this is just so eyecatching.”

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