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Monday's papers: Finns in Konstanz, Espoo cabins, student benefit gap

The week in print news begins with two Finnish witnesses present at the night club shooting in Konstanz, Germany, the city of Espoo opening up its islands for summer cottage use and the new student benefit and loan system disadvantaging couples.

Punainen mökki pilkistää köynnöshortenssin ja omenapuun keskeltä.
Living is easy: summertime cottages are booming in Espoo. Image: Hemmo Heinonen

A 34-year-old man opened fire with what witnesses allege was an automatic weapon in the night club Grey in Konstanz, Germany on Sunday, killing one and injuring three. Domestic tabloid Ilta-Sanomat features an exclusive take on the violent events, as two Finnish exchange students were in the club when the shooting occurred.

The discoteque was packed, bystanders said, and everyone including the two 24-year-old students from Tampere had to scramble to avoid and hide from the gunman.

"We ran out with the rest through the back door and hid behind large crates in the outdoor storage area," one of the women told IS.

The ten minutes the women spent hiding from the shooter felt "like an eternity".

"The worst of it was not knowing where he was, with gunshots ringing out randomly both further away and really close," the other woman says, adding that once emergency services showed up she and her friend took a taxi back home, safe and sound though shocked, the paper reported.

The gunman was fatally wounded in a gunfight with police officers outside the music venue after they had rushed to the scene shortly after the incident at about 4.30 am local time. He died later in hospital.

The motive for the shooting was unclear, but officials ruled out a terrorist agenda, IS writes. One police officer was also injured in the exchange of fire.

Espoo islands zoned for more cabins

Closer to home, Helsingin Sanomat reports that the city of Espoo is setting up about 200 new island spots for future summer cottage construction and use.

HS writes that 94 completely new sites and 54 plots reserved specially for rental cabins are planned. The cabin plots are not cheap, with the best locations featuring views of both Helsinki's Lauttasaari and Estonia's faraway coastline – at a cost of some 2,000 euros per square metres of land.

The most popular of the 20-odd southern isles is Vehkasaari near the Helsinki border. The island is estimated to be the densest in Finland in terms of summer cottage properties, HS writes, with 63 existing parcels of land and 12 new ones in the works.

Zoning must take into account local nature, the area's cultural pedigree, domestic peace and also local services, as zoning manager Essi Leino tells HS.

"I think all of these things should be developed, because diversity improves the sustainability of island-goers' services."

Students driven to solo living

When August rolls around tomorrow Tuesday, the lives of many a university-level student will change. That's when the new student benefit system kicks in, bringing students' financial assistance under the umbrella of general housing allowance.

The change is not an automatic win for everyone, reports Tampere regional daily Aamulehti, especially as the universal study grant ceiling will fall from 336 euros to just 250 euros per month.

Solo student dwellers can get a maximum of 562.28 euros per month, whereas two-person households can, starting Tuesday, only get 478.58 euros per person, amounting to a yearly discrepancy of about 1,000 euros. Not only that, but a co-habitant's income can drastically affect the benefits received.

"Apparently 1,500 euros a month is too much money for two people to share, even though half of it goes straight into the rent," says Tampere student Henni Suhonen whose partner, chef Johanna Holmevaara's income means that Suhonen is entirely cut off from the Kela general housing allowance.

"I don't have much savings, my parents can only do so much to support me and Johanna's paycheck isn't huge. Starting university feels pretty terrifying, to be honest," Suhonen says in AL.

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