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Monday's papers: Minister's heavy night in Sochi, sick pay incentives, and the cost of over-indulgence

Sports Minister Paavo Arhinmäki came under fire in the press for a drunken interlude at the Finnish ice hockey team's bronze medal party. Other stories include a plan to reduce sick leave in Tampere and the hidden cost of alcohol and drug use.

Warkauden Lehti ja Iisalmen Sanomat.
Image: Veli-Pekka Hämäläinen / Yle

Left Alliance leader Paavo Arhinmäki had an enjoyable Saturday night, celebrating with Finland's hockey heroes, until the point at which he passed out. That incident dominated the tabloids on Monday, with both Iltalehti and Ilta-Sanomat carrying the story on the front page.

IS reported rumours that Arhinmäki, who is known as a big supporter of Helsinki club Jokerit, was carried back to his hotel room by three members of the Finnish team. Arhinmäki himself told IL that he had enjoyed alcohol during the celebrations.

IS also reported the head of the Norwegian Sports Federation's demand for an apology after Arhinmäki had hinted that he believed Norway's medal haul may have been due to use of prohibited substances. The Sochi stories didn't end there: the Sanoma tabloid also renamed its sports supplment 'Teemu-Sanomat' in honour of the hockey team's 43-year-old retiring captain, Teemu Selänne.

Hidden cost of boozing

Helsingin Sanomat led with a report on the cost to the public purse of alcohol-induced criminal activity. The paper reckons that intoxicated miscreants cost the state some two billion euros each year in additional expenditure by increasing the amount spent on policing, social services, healthcare, sick pay, security and judicial proceedings.

Even though total consumption has fallen in recent years, HS interviews a doctor who reports that certain problems--such as cirrhosis of the liver--have become more common. He says that overdoses and alcohol poisoning are also more common in Finland than elsewhere in Europe.

The article quotes statistics from the National Institute for Helath and Welfare that show 39 percent of homicide suspects are under the influence at the time of the crime, and 55 percent of those suspected of assault were inebriated.

Tampere sickness bonus?

Tampere daily Aamulehti's front page carried a report on an attempt by the municipality's catering service to reduce the number of sick leaves taken by employees. Workers will get a bonus if the total number of sick leaves is five percent lower than it was in 2013.

The company's CEO justified the move by saying it was a clear metric that incentivised staff to take care of themselves and helped improve profits at the firm.

On the paper's website, the unseasonally warm weather was a focus of concern. The region's schools start their skiing holidays this week, and Tampere is set for unusually warm weather: it could be up to 6 degrees above freezing, making the cross-country trails an unlikely destination for many vacationing schoolkids.

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