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Friday’s papers: Health reform snag, Nazi prisoners, elk hunting call and a windy weekend

On the last day of June – and the last day before many begin a month-long summer holiday – Finnish newspapers cover the latest twist in the decade-long saga of planned reform of healthcare and social services, as well as a palette of other domestic and international stories.

Hirvi kävelee tiellä
A young elk on the road near Lappeenranta in May. Image: Tommi Parkkinen / Yle

Along with the latest on Donald Trump's partial travel ban and Twitter tantrums, leading daily Helsingin Sanomat comments on the latest setback for the government's long-debated reform of the social and healthcare system, known as 'sote'.

On Thursday the parliamentary Constitutional Law Committee declared parts of the plan to be unconstitutional, throwing into doubt the scheduled start date of January 2019 – a timetable that the committee slammed as unrealistic in any case.

In an editorial, HS asserts that "information provided by experts is apparently heard better within the Constitutional Law Committee than it was during the government's preparation" of the bill.

Hbl: Experts as "ideological cyclopes"

In the main Swedish-language paper, Hufvudstadsbladet, meanwhile, a leader of the business lobby EK accuses the experts who helped the committee shape its stance of being "ideologically cyclopean".

Ilkka Oksala, Director of Working Life at the Confederation of Finnish Industries, argues that many constitutional experts' negative view of the forced privatisation of public services is based on their own personal interpretations, and that their views have taken on an overly large role in the debate, overriding that of parliamentarism and democracy.

Turning to other topics, Helsingin Sanomat also carries a reportage on archaeological excavations in mainland Finland's southernmost town, Hanko, into a site at Tulliniemi where thousands of Nazi German prisoners were held in 1942-44, during the Second World War.

And HS, like most other papers, warns its readers of potentially dangerous winds in southern Finland on Friday. The capital region in particular faces two days of wet, windy weather, with highs only reaching the mid-teens Celsius. Elsewhere, too, the mercury will basically remain below 20.

Easterly winds could reach storm force of 21 metres per second in south-western sea areas, with waves of more than four metres. Showers are possible in Koillismaa and Eastern Lapland, too, with rain continuing overnight and on Saturday in the south.

MT: Let the moose hunters loose

Further afield, the rural paper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus quotes emeritus professor of forestry Matti Kärkkäinen as calling for an end to hunting permits for elk, known in North America as moose.

He notes that the population of the large animals has risen to the level where they should be fair game for all hunters without quotas, as is the case for roe deer.

Kärkkäinen called on the new Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Jari Leppä, to tackle the issue immediately.

Kärkkäinen was speaking at a forestry event in Puumala, South Savo, on Thursday. He argued that deregulation would save landowners - like himself - from forest damage caused by grazing elk, the state from needless red tape, as well as of course hunters from license fees.

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