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Monday's papers: Delayed provincial government, avoiding family fights, and Markkanen's difficult Chicago start

Monday's papers include more on the government's long-running reform of social and health care, the difficulty of coaxing teenagers out of the city for the summer, and Finnish basketball star Lauri Markkanen's baptism of fire in Chicago.

Lauri Markkanen
Lauri Markkanen among the other young hopefuls at the NBA draft. Image: AOP

The biggest scoop in Monday's papers is Lännen Media's report suggesting Finland's long-awaited provincial elections could be delayed. While not exactly big news in itself--such a delay has long been foreshadowed by anonymous sources and leaks--Lännen Media has quotes from Interior Minister Paula Risikko, a key figure in negotiations over the social and healthcare reforms intricately linked to the provincial government plan.

Risikko's position is that if as expected parliament's constitutional law committee opines that the government's plan to expand private provision in public healthcare is constitutionally problematic, then the government will propose a new law on health care choice and plans to create 18 new provincial governments will also be suspended so that both proposals proceed at the same time.

Risikko's position is that, as the new regional authorities will have little else to do besides commission and manage health and social care contracts, the whole package should be looked at together to allow parliament to gain a full picture. Her National Coalition Party has pushed for expanded private provision via 'freedom of choice' in healthcare, while coalition partner the Centre Party has been focused on creating a new layer of regional government that will likely be dominated by Centre Party representatives.

The 'sote' plan, which originated out of a desirte to control growth in health and social care costs, caused a government crisis in 2015 when the Centre Party forced through plans to create 18 authorities. That is 6 more than experts recommended as a maximum to ensure costs are minimised. The National Coalition reluctantly agreed, but only on the condition that 'broad freedom of choice' was enshrined as a central principle in the reform--something that has also been criticised by experts in the field as raising costs for the taxpayer.

Reluctant teens avoiding cottage holidays

Helsingin Sanomat carries a story on summer holidays with teenage children. In short, they prefer spending time with their friends than their family and therefore trips to the forest to mess about in boats and chop wood don't hold much appeal.

HS interviews several teenagers and one family to find out what if anything can be done to resolve the problem.

"None of my friends like going to the cottage," moans 13-year-old Kolja from helsinki, who wants to stay in the city, spend time with his friends and play football.

Experts advise not leaving children at home along if they're not mature enough to handle the responsibility, even though Finnish kids tend to take on more responsibility at younger ages than their counterparts in other countries.

The children, meanwhile, suggest taking lots of activities and, if possible, friends along. That way time in the wilderness doesn't get so boring and big family fights can be avoided.

Down to earth with a bump

Lauri Markkanen's big night at the NBA draft on Thursday was the fulfilment of a childhood dream as he was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the seventh pick, but since then he's been brought back down to earth with a bump. Reaction from Bulls fans has been hostile, not necessarily because of Markkanen himself but also because of the trade that sent him to Chicago.

To recap, that trade entailed the Bulls sending Jimmy Butler, widely regarded as one of the best players in the league, to Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn--three young prospects yet to prove themselves.

Reaction from fans was merciless, and the media hasn't been much better. Bill Simmons slammed the trade in his podcast, for example, and Finnish media has noticed the lack of euphoria around the most promising Finnish basketball prospect ever.

A comment piece in Ilta-Sanomat on Monday details the problems of moving to a Chicago team in the midst of rebuilding. They are likely to do badly next season, which could lead to pressure from fans and hinder Markkanen's development. The controversy around the trade is also counter-productive, as Markkanen will now be seen as the man replacing Jimmy Butler, and not just a rookie trying to make his way in the NBA.

With all that in mind it's probably a good thing that, as IS reports, Markkanen's Dad Pekka will be moving to Chicago with his son. They won't live in the same apartment, but Pekka will be on hand to help out with any small issues around the transition and to ensure Lauri can focus on his basketball. He'll need to, given the reception he's had since last Thursday.

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