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Monday's papers: EU on Turkey, school holidays, flu jabs

Among the items in the morning's Finnish newspapers are EU plans for an arms embargo on Turkey, the start of a week's school holidays and a delay in seasonal flu vaccinations.

Turkkilaisia panssareita asemissa.
Photo released by Turkish Defense Ministry shows Turkish army tanks in its military operation into northern Syria. Image: Turkin puolustusministeriö

Kuopio's Savon Sanomat was among the morning papers reporting that EU foreign ministers, among them Finland's Pekka Haavisto, are to gather in Luxemburg on Monday to formulate a common position on Turkey's military incursion into Syria.

The European has already issued a condemnation of the Turkish action, and now the foreign ministers are expected to review the situation and further EU reaction, the paper writes. So far the EU has cut some aid payments to Turkey.

In addition, the threat by Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to open the gates to Europe for the some four million refugees in his country is also likely to be under discussion.

Finland's leading Swedish-language daily, Hufvudstadsbladet, reports that the foreign ministers will also be looking at imposing a full arms embargo on Turkey.

German and France have already suspended arms deliveries.

Last week, the Finnish government called on Turkey to end its bombardment of northern Syria and said that it does not condone Ankara’s actions, while President Sauli Niinistö also voiced his condemnation of the attack.

Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne decreed that the government will not approve any new arms export permits to Turkey or any other country waging war.

The announced freeze on new permits does not mean a halt to Finnish arms exports to Turkey as current contracts will still be honoured.

School holidays start

Many school children had a chance to sleep in on Monday morning as they started a week of autumn holidays. Those whose school did not shut their doors this Monday will be on holiday next week, notes Jyväskylä's Keskisuomalainen.

Schools are closed for the week, in areas including the Greater Helsinki Region, Tampere, Vaasa, Joensuu, Jyväskylä and Kajaani.

The National Agency for Education has declared the week a "reading holiday", urging families to take some time to read together.

For those many families that most likely won't spend the whole of the holiday sitting with books, Helsingin Sanomat provides an extensive day-by-day listing of activities for the kids in the capital region, most of them free of charge.

The same listing can be found on page 8 of Monday morning's HS Metro freesheet.

Flu jab delays

The winter flu season in Finland has not yet started, although a few cases have been reported, most contracted during travel abroad, writes Helsingin Sanomat.

However, the season will soon be upon us and Finnish health officials have ordered 1.7 million doses of vaccine for injections, plus 116,000 nasal spray inoculations for 2-6 year-olds.

Deliveries are several weeks late because of a change last spring in the composition of the vaccine ordered by the World Health Organization which delayed production. The first shipments are expected to arrive in Finland this week.

Last winter, around 42 percent of children between the ages of two months and two years were inoculated against the flu, 30 percent of 3-6 year-olds, and over half of all residents over the age of 65.

Officials from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL, interviewed by Helsingin Sanomat, stressed the importance of flu vaccinations for over 65 year-olds, saying that a bout of flu can have serious consequences for older people, even those who are otherwise in good health.

The flu can also have an impact on pre-existing health conditions such a diabetes, asthma or cardiac problems.

Flu vaccines do not, however, provide complete immunity, but it does help. Statistics show that among people of working age a vaccination prevents catching the flu in 5-8 cases out of 10, and has around 50 percent effectiveness in the over-65 age group.

Space junk

The tabloid Iltalehti reports that stargazers at Helsinki's Ursa Astronomical Association spent the weekend analysing data from a spectacular meteorite seen over southern Finland last Thursday, and came to the conclusion that the light show in the sky was man-made space junk reentering the earth's atmosphere.

The event, accompanied by a reported rumbling lasted for nine seconds and was seen across wide areas of southern Finland despite mostly cloudy weather. One observer described the phenomenon as looking like a mass of wax melting across the sky.

One main indication that it was a man-made object was the recorded speed of 16km per second which is slow for a natural meteorite.

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