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Monday's papers: Wild boar scare, MP's taxi rides and unseasonably warm weather

On Monday, Finnish papers discuss a deadly swine disease, Green Party MP's taxi expenses and summery temperatures.

Villisika
Image: Eemeli Peltonen / Yle

Daily Maaseudun Tulevaisuus reports that a fence may be built between Finland and its eastern neighbour to keep out Russian wild boar. According to the paper, the Natural Resources Institute (Luke) wants to stop Russian boars from spreading the deadly African swine fever (ASF) to Finnish pigs, which could severely hamper the local pork industry.

Authorities in Russia were able to eradicate the highly contagious ASF in the Leningrad region, which borders Finland, in 2012 but the disease has resurfaced, the paper says. Katri Levonen from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry says the disease is likely transmitted through food.

"That’s why measures to stop the spread of ASF include increased checks of food imports at the eastern border and in the harbours. Just one sausage imported from the affected area can be a huge risk," Levonen says.

Luke is currently investigating the feasibility of building a fence.

"A fence would have an impact on different kinds of animals, so we must give the matter careful consideration," Levonen says.

ASF has recently spread to Belgium. There are fears that pork exports to non-EU countries from Europe could be shut down if the disease spreads to pigs in western Europe, Maaseudun Tulevaisuus says.

The disease is not dangerous to humans.

22,000 euros on taxi rides

Tabloid Iltalehti reports that Green Party MP Jani Toivola has spent 22,000 euros on taxi rides during this parliamentary term. From mid-April 2015 to the end of August, Toivola had used the taxi card 1,039 times.

There are no limits as to how often MPs can use the tax payer-funded taxi card within the capital region, as long as a single ride does not cost more than 70 euros. The average length of Toivola’s trips was 6.1 km, IL says.

According to Iltalehti, Toivola went on sick leave due to depression in December 2016 and subsequently missed 89 plenary sessions. Toivola confirmed to the paper that all his taxi trips are related to his parliamentary tasks.

"Despite my sick leave, I attended some previously scheduled engagements. During the term I have visited more than 100 educational institutions and spoken at more than 100 seminars or other events," Toivola told Iltalehti.

Asked by the paper whether using taxis was good for the environment, Toivola said he cycles or uses public transportation too. "However, when I need a ride, I take a taxi. I don’t own a car or a driver’s license," he said.

Summer ain't over yet

For those dreading the arrival of freezing temperatures, Ilta-Sanomat has some good news. According to the tabloid, daytime highs could get up to 20 degrees later this week.

On Monday, a low pressure area will move from the west to the east of the country, with rain expected in most parts except for Lapland, IS says. Daytime temperatures will hover between 7 and 11 degrees in Lapland and between 10-15 degrees in the rest of the country on Monday. Towards the evening, showers will die down but winds will be brisk, IS says.

On Tuesday, temperatures will rise to 15-18 degrees in the south and the west, and it will become even warmer by mid-week, IS forecasts. Finland will benefit from a stream of warm air from the south, and up to 20 degrees Celsius may be measured in southern parts of the country on Wednesday. It will be considerably cooler – about 10 degrees – in the north though.

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