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Monday's papers: Putin's victory, Nokia's future, Finnish profs mull British exodus, and busy roads

Finland's papers this Monday consider Nokia's status on the brink of the 5G roll out, hard choices for Finnish academics ahead of Brexit, and the motorways with the most traffic.

Vladimir Putin pitää puhetta ja osoittaa vasemman kätensä etusormella jotakin.
Vladimir Putin on March 18 Image: Sergei Chirikov / AFP

The newspapers in Finland start the week with news of Russian President Vladimir Putin's re-election. The most widely-read daily Helsingin Sanomat says Putin's voter tally was over 75 percent, after most of the votes were counted on Sunday evening.

A gathering marking the fourth anniversary of the Russian annexation of Crimea began near Moscow's Kremlin once the polls were closed, an event that HS writes "expectedly turned into a celebration of Putin's victory". Official results will be confirmed on Monday, the paper says.

Nokia CEO says the future is bright

HS then moves on to an interview with Nokia's current CEO Rajeev Suri, who has high hopes for his telecom and network equipment firm. Suri tells the paper that he expects business to improve significantly starting next year, when the new generation 5G networks make their way into the commercial market. The new wireless system will potentially offer performance as high as 20 gigabits per second.

"Our product selection is very strong. The 5G mobile technology won't be successful if it only focuses on radio technology, for example. Nokia's competitive ability is fortified by the fact that we can provide comprehensive solutions," the Nokia boss tells HS.

By comprehensive solutions Suri means that teleoperators will be able to buy all of the technology they need from one company. He says that of all the network providers on the market, only Huawei and Nokia have this capability. The CEO says that this means that phone companies will save 30 to 40 percent by working with Nokia.

Suri says the end-to-end portfolio of services will also translate into better quality and hasten deployment by 8 to 16 months. Nokia has participated in several mergers and acquisitions in the last few months to improve its product selection. The most significant was the purchase of French competitor Alcatel-Lucent in 2015 for 15.6.billion euros, going down in history as Finland's largest corporate deal ever.

Suri tells HS that 2018 has also started out with a noteworthy change. The State of Finland's investment firm Solidium announced last week that it is investing 844 million euros in Nokia shares. The decision was unprecedented, as Finland had never directly invested in Nokia in the past. The support makes the State of Finland the fifth largest shareholder in the company, with a 3.3 percent stake.

"I think it's wonderful that Solidium has invested in Nokia. Solidium has recognized Nokia's strengths in technology, which naturally makes me very happy."

Finnish academics in Britain consider getting out

The Tampere-based paper Aamulehti continues with a story on UK-based Finnish academics considering leaving Britain due to Brexit.

A Lännen Media reporter speaks with professor of theoretical physics Arttu Rajantie, who says that conversations are taking place about the kinds of opportunities Britain's exit from the European Union will create for researchers to further their career in other countries.

"Ireland and France, for example, have sent messages from quite high up in their ranks," Rajantie tells the paper.

He says two years ago, he would have rejected the thought of leaving Britain outright, but now he and many of his Finnish colleagues are considering it. His research team at London Imperial College receives 20 to 25 percent of his funding from the EU, so the future of their work is also in jeopardy. Rajantie says he has had to start thinking about whether his children would adapt smoothly to life in a new country.

"I'm not sure I would stay if the situation got to the point that I would be required to apply for British citizenship," he says.

Oulu University research rector Taina Pihlajaniemi says that she has noticed a clear increase in professors from Britain applying for their tenure track programme.

"I've started to see signs that people are looking for research positions outside of Britain. No mass migration, mind you, but there are signals. There's career uncertainty in the air, even in illustrious institutions like Cambridge," she tells the paper.

Close to 100,000 vehicles daily on Ring I

The paper Turun Sanomat features a story this Monday on the most travelled roads in Finland. It says that there are over 400,000 kilometres of asphalt that span the country, but the areas with the most traffic are all located in the capital city area.

Kehä I, or Ring I that circles Helsinki, has the most traffic - specifically the stretch to the east of the Hämeenlinna motorway, between the residential areas of Maununneva and Länsi-Pakila. Statistics from the Finnish Transport Agency estimate that an average of 95,000 cars drive here on a daily basis.

Over 50,000 vehicles travel on Ring I at any point between Espoo's Leppävaara and Helsinki's eastern district of Itäkeskus in a typical day, the numbers show. Second place goes to Ring III near the Jumbo shopping complex and airport, with 87,000 cars daily. The only other cities with traffic exceeding 50,000 vehicles daily on some roads are Tampere and Oulu, the Turku paper reports.

Flying the flag for Minna Canth

And today the flags are flying in Finland in honour of social equality and the legacy of Minna Canth, the Oulu-based newspaper Kaleva reports. March 19 has been a flag day in Finland since the year 2007. Canth was the first Finnish woman to be honoured with a day for waving the flag, and the eighth Finnish person in general to be remembered in this way. Born in 1844, Canth was a writer, journalist and social activist. Many of her works addressed the issue of women's rights.

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