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Friday's papers: Rich retirees, reasonable rents in new Vallila district, and art for Muslim kids in school

Pensioners make up the richest segment of the population, Oreck says rents will be affordable in Vallila, and a debate erupts over art education in schools.

Nainen katselee kun ihmiset kalastavat Coruchessa Portugalissa.
Pensioners hold some 40 percent of all household equity in Finland. Image: Mario Cruz / EPA

Finnish retirees are on average far wealthier than wage-earners, finds a fresh study by Statistics Finland cited in national daily Helsingin Sanomat. Pensioners hold some 40 percent of all household equity, up from some 22 percent three decades ago. In addition to enjoying long and steady careers, many retirees paid off their homes before leaving the workforce and have also benefited from greatly appreciating property value.

Vallila district to model NYC and London?

American businessman Bruce Oreck is says he’ll charge ’reasonable’ rent from tenants in the market area he plans to build in VR’s old shed complex in Helsinki's Vallila district. Last month the former US ambassador to Finland bought the disused railroad shed facility from national rail company VR for 11 million euros. At a town hall-style meeting regarding the venture on Thursday Oreck said the new marketplace would include premises for locally-sourced food as well as a gym.

”I don’t want to be a landlord to multinational corporations such as Starbucks and H&M," Oreck told Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet.

Oreck says he's looking to New York City's Chelsea area and London's Camden Market for inspiration for three of the old Konepaja buildings, known as the Paint Shop, the Assembly Hall and the Electric Train Building.

Debate over art for Muslim kids

A discussion on whether Muslim kids can draw at school has sparked a social media buzz following a visit by a group of children of Iranian background to a Finnish school where the principal asked chaperones whether the children would be allowed to draw. Tampere daily Aamulehti reports that Middle East researcher Alan Salehzadeh, who arranged the visit, criticised the principal’s question on microblogging site Twitter and in his Iltalehti blog, asking 'Why the Finnish National Agency for Education follows Sharia law—I haven't even seen rules like this in Iran.' The Finnish National Agency for Education responded via Twitter that 'depicting humans is discouraged in Islam.'

Salehzadeh pointed out that students in Muslim countries have art in school, no different from their Finnish peers and that children should be seen as children, not as representatives of their respective religious groups.

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