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Thursday's papers: Independence day party and protests

The main story in Thursday's newspapers is Finland's hundredth birthday celebration.

Anna ja Alma Suomen 100-vuotisjuhlavuoden itsenäisyyspäivän vastaanotolla Helsingissä.
Singer Alma (on the right) and her twin sister Anna attending the independence day party on Wednesday. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

Thursday's papers focus on last night's party at the President’s castle in Helsinki where the crème de la crème of Finland was invited to celebrate the country’s first 100 years as an independent nation.  

Tabloid Iltasanomat says the internationally renowned singer Alma undoubtedly was one of the stars of the party. Alma Miettinen, the songwriter behind hits such as "Karma" and "Dye my hair," attended the party with her twin sister Anna, both donning black outfits, boots and Finnish lion pendants.

According to Iltasanomat many guests, including president Sauli Niinistö and Foreign Minister Timo Soini, posed in photographs with the yellow-haired star. "My grandfather was in the war, got injured and died in hospital. I respect him and the others who fought for Finland's independence," the 21-year-old said.

Alma also explained that she wears the lion pendant to make Finland proud – a country she considers multicultural.

"Fabulous trains"

In its coverage of Finland's most watched party, Helsingin Sanomat says the clothing of the guests this year reflected the special anniversary, with many dresses including long sleeves, sequins or "fabulous trains."

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Sauli Niinistö ja Jenni Haukio aloittavat tanssin.
The Presidential couple had the first dance. Image: Derrick Frilund / Yle

The palace had been decorated with 3,500 domestic flowers in blue and white, and the first lady Jenni Haukio had chosen the national flower, lily-in-the-valley, to decorate her hair and wrist. Haukio, who is scheduled to give birth in February, wore a simple emerald green dress designed by Heidi Karjalainen, who in September was selected as the Young Designer of the Year. More pricey jewellery was on show too, with dancer Aira Samulin, 90, wearing 250,000 euros worth of diamonds.

In contrast, tabloid Iltalehti lists the flops of the party dresses. Making an appearance on this unfortunate list was National Coalition Party MP Susanna Koski, whose choker was made of mink, a questionable choice for an event hosted by animal rights activist Jenni Haukio.

"Snow queen"

Meanwhile the paper somewhat cruelly says that Marketta Häkkinen, the wife of Formula 1 driver Mika Häkkinen, resembled the "Snow Queen" in her long white dress accompanied by a large, impractical handbag made of fur.

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Mika ja Marketa Häkkinen saapuvat itsenäisyyspäivän vastaanotolle Presidentinlinnaan Helsingissä
Mika and Marketta Häkkinen arrive at the ball. Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

In other news, the independence day demonstrations remained largely peaceful despite three ideologically opposed groups gathering in the capital on Wednesday, Helsingin Sanomat says. Helsinki police said about 450 people joined the Neo-Nazi march while the "Helsinki without Nazis" protest attracted 1,000 marchers.

Altogether, 11 people were arrested including protesters and counter-protesters, the police said. 

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