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Friday’s papers: Rinne revelations, Nokia nosedive, and the dullest town in Europe

The newspapers in Finland cover a new biography of the Prime Minister, problems for Nokia and a reputation problem for Helsinki.

Antti Rinne
Antti Rinne: Not a fan of shopping. Image: Katriina Laine / Yle

Prime Minister Antti Rinne’s sartorial habits, health, policy opinions and backroom manoeuvres are all in the news this week after a new authorised biography was published.

The book is by journalists Lauri Nurmi and Matti Mörttinen and covers Rinne’s journey to lead the government from childhood to the present day.

One story to emerge is that Rinne is positive about allowing Muslim congregations the same right to tax their members as Finland’s established religious denominations, as they have raised the issue in discussions with him.

"It shows that they want to integrate into society by themselves gathering resources to fund their operations," said Rinne in the book, adding that such a model could also prevent foreign funding of Islamic communities in Finland.

Helsingin Sanomat reports that the book also notes that while he was recovering from pneumonia and a heart attack earlier this year, Rinne asked an advisor if he might attend election debates in a wheelchair as former US President Woodrow Wilson did.

"Antti, you are not Wilson," he was told, and given a deadline to recover or the party would need to choose a successor to fight April’s election.

That ultimatum gave him additional motivation to recover, according to the book, and he was better in time to fight and win the election.

Ilta-Sanomat also has a story on his habit of buying his suits from fairly downmarket outlets near his home in the Päijät-Häme region, right up until he was Prime Minister and got marched to a swankier Helsinki outlet to purchase five near-identical blue suits and one black one.

"When I have clothes I like, I keep them so long they wear out," said Rinne.

Nokia shares tumble

It was a bad day for Nokia on Thursday, as they announced their third quarter results and said that they would not be paying a dividend this - or next - quarter.

The company’s share price tumbled on the Helsinki stock exchange, and that prompted Taloussanomat to wonder how much money individual, well-known shareholders had lost on what the paper termed 'Black Thursday'.

Nokia is of course a very popular share in Finland that enriched large numbers of people in the 1990s, so the paper’s list of MPs and celebrities is pretty long.

Some suggest that the price has fallen so it might be time for (other people) to buy the stock, but it remains to be seen if that will happen.

Business daily Kauppalehti took a different tack, wondering just how the company could have done so badly. The paper suggests that somebody might be willing to supply 5g networks at any price, undercutting Nokia and Swedish rival Ericsson.

That only leaves one company in the same market who might be the lower-cost provider: Chinese state-owned Huawei.

How dull is Helsinki?

Ilta-Sanomat picks up a story from Russian outlet Ria Novosti detailing the results of a poll of Russian tourists.

The somewhat surprising result? Helsinki is the dullest town in Europe, according to 30 percent of respondents.

The biggest problems for the Finnish capital were the weather and the lack of sights to see, according to the pollsters.

In second spot was Bratislava, and the third snoozefest vacation spot was the Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary.

IS notes that the provocative results did draw a reaction on social media from Saint Petersburg residents, who share a very similar climate at least with Helsinki.

“It’s not boring, just peaceful,” said one quoted in IS.

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