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Monday's papers: Campaign funders, killer flu, underground museum

The week in print news begins with pieces on presidential candidates running late with their campaign funds reporting, a child killed by the flu and the BBC listing a coming Helsinki landmark as one of the most interesting worldwide.

Amos Rex -museon rakennustyömaa Lasipalatsin aukiolla.
Underground scene: the Amos Rex art museum and cultural centre is "innovative" according to the BBC. Image: Vesa Marttinen / Yle

A majority of the candidates in the upcoming presidential elections have yet to report on the origins of their campaign funds, tabloid Iltalehti writes this Monday. Their campaign budgets typically run into the hundreds of thousands of euros.

With only two weeks to go until the first round of voting, only Left Alliance candidate Merja Kyllönen and incumbent president Sauli Niinistö have made use of a pre-campaign fund reporting service to announce their figures. The National Audit Office of Finland (VTV) told the paper that the practice is crucial to the openness of the elections.

"Voters should have access to information on candidates' funding at an early stage, as such information may affect whom citizens choose to vote for," the quoted VTV line goes.

The audit office does not oversee the use of its online report form.

Kyllönen announces her campaign funds have run up to some 148,000 euros, of which 30,000 euros was given to her campaign by private donors. Kyllönen reports that she has not received any individual personal or corporate donations of above the 1,500 euro maximum.

She has, however, received some 10,000 euros from the Industrial Union and a total of some 7,000 euros from two small and little-known associations, Pohjolan yhteisö ("Nordic community") and Punajuuri ("Beetroot").

Fellow presidential hopeful Niinistö's sums are shown in the IL article to be downright inflated by comparison, with the premier gunning for a second term with no less than 1.5 million euros. About 727,000 of that comes, he says, from private donors and some 513,000 from corporate coffers.

Flu season claims child

In health news, a child died from complications from an influenza virus infection in Finland, writes daily Ilta-Sanomat. The age and gender of the otherwise healthy child are not specified, but the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) confirms the death as a rare casualty of the ongoing national flu season.

"Influenza-related deaths in children of otherwise sound health are extremely uncommon, but not impossible," says THL doctor Hanna Nohynek.

She says that THL does not receive specific reports on the number of flu-related fatalities, but that the flu season tends to claim anywhere between 500 and 2,000 lives each year depending on the strain of flu.

Both so-called A and B variants of the current flu are in circulation, with doctors recommending flu shots even this far into the season, writes IS. Last flu season 32 percent of young children (aged 6-25 months) and 47 percent of over 65-year-olds were vaccinated.

Amos Rex intrigues BBC

Finnish architecture is a cultural export staple, and international broadcaster BBC has pegged one ambitious ongoing project that puts a new spin on the idea of underground art.

As top circulation domestic daily Helsingin Sanomat reports, the BBC's Culture journalist Jonathan Glancey listed nine "innovative buildings" opening in 2018, with the mid-renovation Amos Rex cultural centre in Helsinki the second featured location.

No pedestrian in downtown Helsinki will have likely missed the building work going on in and around (and indeed under) the Lasipalatsi commercial compound and square. The Amos Rex complex represents a complete overhaul of the Amos Anderson Museum, expected to occupy some 2,000 square metres once it's finished on August 1, 2018.

"Sculpted skylights clustered around a streamlined 1930s clock tower mark the museum's presence," the BBC feature page describes the coming structure. "The exhibition hall connects to a cinema-auditorium and restaurant housed in a much-loved Modernist pavilion (1936) designed by the young Finnish architects Viljo Revellin, Heimo Riihimäen [sic: Riihimäki] and Niilo Koko [sic: Kokko], and since sympathetically renovated by JKMM."

The museum is set to feature contemporary art on the fringes of technological expression.

"There will be brand new pieces as well as very old works on display," says museum director Kai Kartio in HS. "We're quite prepared to take some risks with the formats, bringing in cinema, music and VR artwork alongside more traditional paintings and sculptures."

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