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Monday’s papers: Pipeline politics, a new hope for treating depression and electric scooters

Possible US sanctions against a Russian gas pipeline could prove difficult for Finland, a new treatment for depression and Helsinki kicks off electric scooters.

Maakaasuputkia varastoituna Nordstream 2-projektin satamassa Lappohjassa etelä-Suomessa.
The construction of a pipeline under the Baltic Sea delivering gas to Europe from Russia is fraught with geopolitical significance. Image: Sasha Silvala / YLE

In the aftermath of the Finnish government's recent collapse, Russian media focused on one thing only - the future of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea stretching from Germany to Russia, writes Helsingin Sanomat columnist and former Yle correspondent Jarmo Mäkelä in HS.

The stretch of two parallel pipelines in Finnish waters measures some 374 km in length, with the entire pipeline covering some 1,200 km.

Russian news agency Tass reported that Finnish permits would remain unchanged under the caretaker government. Mäkelä said Finland could find itself in an awkward position if the United States decides to impose sanctions against the Russian-backed pipeline.

The US has expressed concern that the pipeline transporting Russian gas to Europe will increase Russia’s geopolitical influence in the continent.

Treating depression

In health news, a new ketamine-based drug to treat depression, marketed as Spravato, could change the way physicians treat depression, writes regional daily Turun Sanomat. Last month, Yle reported that more than 400,000 people in Finland take anti-depressants.

Spravato, developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, is the first new depression treatment to come to market in years.

Turku University Hospital, which has administered ketamine-based therapies for years, recently raised the upper limit for ketamine treatments to six months from three.

However, Tero Taiminen, who heads the psychiatric unit at Turku University Hospital, said the effects of long-term ketamine use are still unknown.

Studies suggest that more than seven percent of adults in Finland annually suffer from clinical depression, with up to one in five experiencing at least mild symptoms.

Helsinki kicks off controversial electric scooters

Helsinki’s yellow city bikes will be available again on April 1, but on Monday 120 motorised electric scooters will descend on city streets, deployed by a Swedish company, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

Unlike city bikes, electric scooters have no docks. Riders consult an app to locate available scooters and leave them behind after they are done.

Several cities, including San Francisco, have banned electric scooters for cluttering sidewalks and endangering traffic.

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