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Friday’s papers: Tooled-up Finland, Åland politicos’ redundancy and the best shop in the world

Finnish newspapers on Friday include the surprising news that a commuter-belt hypermarket has been named the ‘best shop in the world’.

Haulikko ja kanttarelleja syksyisessä metsässä.
Outdoor pursuits are popular in Finland. Image: Jouki Väinämö / Yle

Finland likes guns. The country has some of the laxest gun laws in Europe and gun ownership is pretty common, and on Friday Helsingin Sanomat attempts to map out just where the weapons are concentrated.

It is focused on places where hunting is a popular pastime, and in some of those towns, there are more firearms than people.

In the northern towns of Suomussalmi and Sodankylä, for instance, there are 110 licensed guns for every 100 people.

The most popular licensed weapon in Finland is the shotgun. The paper also reports that guns are an older person’s hobby, with nearly three in four weapons licensed to someone aged 51 or over.

Åland election redundancies

Iltalehti reports on efforts in Åland to change the way representatives in the provincial parliament are compensated when they lose an election.

The losing politicians are entitled to payments amounting to between 28 and 60 percent of their salary as a representative, which means around 1,092-3,000 euros per month, depending on their income.

The controversial aspect of this arrangement is that dividend income and capital gains are not counted when calculating deductions.

This led to a situation where former representative Bert Häggblom could claim the money for twelve years even though he was taking a decent income through dividends from his own company.

There is an initiative to change the practice to align with redundancy payments made by the Finnish parliament, which were reformed in the spring, but the government may yet decline to make the changes.

Best shop in the world?

Finland was all a-flutter earlier this year when a supermarket in Järvenpää was named as a finalist in the IGD ‘Store of the Year award competition.

The award is an industry ceremony where grocers gather each year to network and celebrate their excellence, and this year the K-Citymarket in the Helsinki commuter belt managed to win.

The local paper Keski-Uusimaa spoke to store manager Markku Hautala from the awards ceremony in London, reporting breathlessly that he was in tears at his victory.

Most other Finnish news outlets soon followed, glorying in a Finnish triumph on the world (International Grocery Distribution) stage.

Apparently the judges said that the Järvenpää outlet’s sushi was a clinching factor in its victory.

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