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Monday's papers: PM on Isis, after hours texting, schools ablaze

Papers look at Prime Minister Antti Rinne's views on Isis, group chatting outside of work hours and another burning school.

Pariskunta selailee nettiä matkapuhelimilla.
Following group messaging outside of the workplace can be stressful, Tehy said. Image: Kristiina Lehto / Lehtikuva

Prime Minister Antti Rinne went on national broadcaster Yle's traditional 'Question Time' programme on Sunday and spoke on a variety of issues; local daily Turun Sanomat highlighted a few key topics, among which was Rinne's cautious view on the repercussions of the recent death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of terrorist group Isis.

"The fight against Isis troops is still not over. If these dramatic events are true, the death of the leader effectively raises the risk of retaliatory terrorist strikes," TS quoted Rinne as saying.

US President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that American troops cornered al-Baghdadi in Idlib, Syria where the terrorist leader committed suicide by detonating an explosive, also killing three of his children.

TS wrote that Rinne saw little chance of the European Union reacting quickly to the developments in Syria due to the EU's principle of unanimity. He said that Finland's view has long been that issues of foreign policy should be decided by majority vote in the EU for faster responses to crises.

Rinne also touched on other phenomena, such as abolishing daylight savings time in Finland in favour of a permanent 'summer time'. The European Parliament has already approved a bill that would put an end to moving the hour hands twice a year in all EU states by 2021. EU governments still have to agree on the proposal.

"We would have more sunlight in the evenings. The 2021 deadline seems unfeasible," said Rinne.

Off the clock, on the phone

The breakneck pace of working life and the stress it can bring are always hot topics, and one reason is that social media and other modes of online communication may blur the distinction between labour and leisure.

Daily Helsingin Sanomat runs a piece reporting that employee organisations and health professionals alike are worried about the effect of workplace group chats on instant messaging platforms such as Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger taking up precious free time.

Service workers' union Pam featured an article in its members' magazine a week ago that urged employees and employers to seek common rules when it comes to allowing their work to follow them home.

The health risks of after-hours message floods are also of concern to the Union of Health and Social Care Professionals (Tehy). Negotiation manager Riikka Rapinoja said in HS the union's stance is clear: work should stay at work, and no one should be expected to constantly follow Whatsapp notifications after they've clocked out.

"Employees contract out their working time to their employers, for which they are paid a salary. This is the deal," Rapinoja said.

HS wrote that the pressure to stay in group chats can be high even if it isn't an official responsibility. Psychology professor Ulla Kinnunen said she does not endorse strict lines between work and leisure time, as working life expands and changes.

"It goes two ways. Employees might be more inclined than before to sort out personal errands while on the job, as well as work after they've gone home, although spillage in this direction is much rarer."

Second Nurmijärvi school burns

The Southern Finnish municipality of Nurmijärvi was shocked early on Monday morning when a local school caught fire. Most Finnish papers, including Ilta-Sanomat, carried the story of the blaze that firefighters said would take most of Monday to quell.

Fire chief Yrjö Jalava said the Valkjärvi school building would be completely destroyed. The fire department was able to salvage some personal property before the fire expanded out of control. The school used to teach grades 1—6, IS wrote.

The fire was the second to shock Nurmijärvi in a short period, after the Lepsämä school burned down on Saturday a week before. Police are investigating the Lepsämä fire as arson, while the cause of the Valkjärvi fire is still unknown.

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