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Monday's papers: Storm strikes Finland, tech industry labour dispute resolved and bedbugs strike

A storm that hit Finland overnight knocked out electricity and the tech sector settles on a new collective agreement.

Tyrskyjä Helsingin Uunisaaressa perjantaina 3. tammikuuta.
Finnish Meteorological Institute has issued a storm warning for almost all sea areas. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

The storm that has been wreaking havoc across Europe struck Finland on Sunday night and has knocked out power to thousands of customers, felled a large number of trees and disrupted ferry schedules.

The tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports that the intense low-pressure system raging in Europe brought heavy storm gusts of more than 20 metres per second in Finland that have cut off electricity to nearly 12,000 customers, mostly on the southwest coast.

The daily reports that power cuts in southern Finland extended to Lappeenranta.

The strong winds have also cut down a large number of trees, according to numerous notifications made to the Emergency Response Centre Agency. The Finnish Meteorological Institute issued a storm warning for almost all sea areas.

The strongest winds on Sunday were measured on the island of Utö in the Finnish Archipelago at 28.6 meters per second.

Trade union and technology industries reach an accord

Trade Union Pro and Technology Industries of Finland agreed a new collective agreement for white-collar workers late on Sunday night, reports Iltalehti.

Pro’s board of directors and the industry advisory board will discuss the outcome of the talks on Monday at noon. If accepted, a strike starting on Monday will come to an abrupt end.

On Saturday Pro said that the strike that targets about 90 companies and 10,000 employees would continue until the first day of March, a week longer than previously announced, if an agreement was not reached.

Pro had previously threatened additional strike action affecting the entire industry that would begin on February 24 and continue until early March, affecting a total of 22,000 workers.

On Saturday, Pro rejected a settlement proposal and negotiations resumed on Sunday evening. The technology industry strike was supposed to start in late January but was postponed by two weeks by a decision of the labour minister.

The main sticking point of the labour dispute was an extra unpaid 24 hours added to most salaried employees' annual workload back in 2016. That was part of the centre-right Juha Sipilä government's so-called competitiveness pact ('kiky'), aimed at boosting Finnish exports.

Bedbugs spread in Finland

Helsingin Sanomat carries a story on the spread of bedbugs in Finland, which has been expedited by dumpster divers recycling furniture left in skips.

Although most pieces of furniture sold by recycling centres are in good shape, those left in skips can often be ridden with the tiny pests.

The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency Tukes tells HS that modern bedbugs have substantial resistance to chemicals used to control them, and therefore steam cleaning is usually necessary to deal with an infestation.

Cheap flights and an expansion in international travel have spurred the spread of the insects, but according to Tukes, Finland now has its own population.

The paper then offers a quiz for readers to test their ability to recognise different pests.

How do you like your coffee?

Finns can never have enough coffee and Hesari (Helsingin Sanomat) runs a lifestyle article outlining the downsides of too much consumption of the black gold.

The paper spoke with nutritional therapy professor Ursula Schwab of the University of Eastern Finland, who pointed out that the phytochemicals in beverages such as coffee, tea and cocoa can weaken the body’s ability to absorb iron.

She added that drinking coffee with milk compounds the effect since calcium also affects the absorption of iron.

Surprisingly, she recommended instant and paper-filtered coffee as the best options for coffee connoisseurs. That’s because unfiltered coffee and coffee prepared with the use of a metallic filter can contain fatty substances that increase blood cholesterol levels.

Coffee drinkers might also want to consider laying off the cream and sugar as they add calories to a relatively calorie-free drink. On the upside, regular coffee consumption can reduce the risk of cirrhosis of the liver, especially in cases where the organ has been damaged by alcohol.

However people who enjoy both coffee and the liquor would do well to remember that the benefits of drinking coffee do not fully offset the potential damage caused by heavy alcohol consumption.

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