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Friday's papers: "Jurase Park", Selänne controversy, and NHLers swerve service

Friday's newspapers include a mixed bag of stories, with one odd project in Vantaa getting a going-over and continuing rumbles from Teemu Selänne's outburst on immigration among the main stories.

Daily newspapers.
Image: E.D.Hawkins / Yle

Finland continues to debate the merits or otherwise of a proposed Guggenheim Museum in Helsinki, but one planned visitor attraction in Vantaa has also been getting some media attention recently. 'Jurase Park' is a dinosaur-themed venture that will, it claims, bring tourists to Kivistö to wander through parks containing plenty of large, dinosaur-like structures.

The reader may already have identified one possible copyright issue with the name, and there are similarities between the project's logo and that used by the Universal Pictures franchise, Jurassic Park. The man behind the project, Jorma Leppäniemi, told Suomen Kuvalehti this week that "we haven't got rights to the Jurassic Park name, and that's why the place has a slightly different name".

That's not the only problem. Helsingin Sanomat reports on Friday that after recent publicity Vantaa municipality wants an explanation before it allows the project to proceed. Leppäniemi has no official role in the project, his wife Sumalee SaeLeaw is officially the managing director. But she doesn't speak Finnish, so Leppäniemi is handling contacts with the media.

He has a string of serious fraud convictions but claims the project's 13 million euro budget will be covered by 10 million euros from Chinese investors and 3 million from crowdfunding via the website. He promises 'guaranteed' 7 percent returns for five years--but admitted to MTV Uutiset that there are no guarantees about the capital invested in the project. His crowdfunding partner and several other firms listed as partners on the Jurase Park website have distanced themselves from the project.

Selänne's adventures on social media

One of the bigger tabloid and social media stramashes of recent months occurred this week, when ex-hockey player Teemu Selänne took a stand on the issue of immigration. That's immigration to Finland, not to southern California where he currently lives. Selänne retweeted a diatribe about asylum seekers and their welcome into Finland posted by TV presenter and basketball club owner Aleksi Valavuori, then went on to demand harsher sentences for rapists.

There followed a flood of reaction, much of it negative, some even mentioning racism. Selänne went on to clarify his opinions in a blog post in which he appeared to suggest the Geneva Conventions, on which modern approaches to warfare and refugee protection are based, are outdated.

This was a wildly political intervention from a revered figure in Finland, and like all political statements carried with it some risk for the person making it. Selänne has had such a wholesome image in Finland that he has his pick of companies to endorse. He's advertised milk for decades and is the kind of positive figure that any company would like to use as its public face.

Ilta-Sanomat appeared to confirm that on Friday when it asked his Mum Liisa Selänne what she made of Teemu's statements.

"At first I was surprised that Teemu had come out with something like this," said Liisa. "Then after that I was pleased that he had come out with comments about an issue as important as rape."

NHL stars face conscription

IS also covers another issue important to hockey stars based in North America: conscription. All Finnish men are required to spend six months to a year in the military, and many hockey players have not yet done their duty.

Some 15 current NHLers have not yet completed their service, including big names like Sasha Barkov and Teuvo Teräväinen, and IS interviews the head of the military's sports school to ask why. He expresses the hope that the issue will be dealt with soon enough, and adds that four members of the victorious World Juniors squad will soon join up for a stint.

It shouldn't be too strenuous for sportsmen, anyhow. The last NHLer to complete his service was Mikko Koivu, who did so in 2011 at the age of 28. His spell as a soldier 'included lots of holidays', according to the tabloid.

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