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Thursday's papers: Black Friday in Finland, selective transport infra improvement, kids at work

Local newspapers look at Black Friday sales forecasts, a ministry plan to give preferential treatment to busier motorways, and a workday with kids.

Nainen työntää lastenvaunuja puistossa.
Off to a not-so-typical day at the office Image: Valery Sharifulin / AOP

Helsingin Sanomat features a story on Black Friday sales in Finland, which are expected to break records again this year. The local retail sector has embraced the US custom of blow-out discounts on the third Friday of November, although Finland does not celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday behind the shopping bonanza.

Considered the start of the Christmas shopping season, Black Friday has been the busiest shopping day of the year in the US since 2005. In Finland, the logistics company Postnord tells the paper that it is forecasting a 33 percent increase in online shopping over last year. Gigantti and Power, two big-box chains selling electronics and home appliances, are also anticipating record-breaking turnover.

HS reports that the Finnish Commerce Federation has noted that November net sales do not differ significantly from sales in other months, but the home appliance industry does see a spike in transactions. Many furniture chains have also joined in with Black Weekend and even Black Week sales, the paper writes.

The Finnish site of the online service PriceSpy advises customers to look past the percentage discounts offered in various companies' advertising and focus on the prices, as last year it was noted that some retailers' sales prices were actually higher than normal during Black Friday sales, the paper states.

Transport haves and have-nots

The tabloid Iltalehti reports that the Finnish Ministry for Transportation and Communications will roll out a new transport infrastructure plan at the turn of the year that will prioritise areas that it considers growth centres, and take repairs and modernisations down a notch in areas with slower economic development.

IL notes that the Kainuu region in north-eastern Finland and the eastern parts of Lapland will be demoted to the latter group as of 1 January 2019, for example, while the "best maintenance and repair" will focus on the country's main motorways and rail connections that serve over 6,000 people daily.

In the coming year, the Ministry will invest in road improvement on motorways 6, 8, 9, and 21, including connections between the southern cities of Hamina and Kotka and roads leading to the Turku and Vuosaari ports.

The tabloid cites the ministry's bulletin, which states that the transport infrastructure deficit in Finland is "large and dramatic, even though the current government has granted more funding to address it".

The ministry responded to criticism of its prioritisation of certain roads and railway routes, saying "such concerns are not warranted, as the new decree will not decide on investments". It says funding decisions will be made by the next government, as part of a future 12-year transport system plan, IL reports.

Sharing a workday with the kids

And the Joensuu-based newspaper Karjalainen carries a story on Friday's "Bring Your Child to Work Day" in Finland.

The third-annual theme day gives children the opportunity to see how their parents or other adults spend their days at the workplace, "as many children do not necessarily even know or cannot explain what their parents do for a living".

Children's Ombudsman Tuomas Kurttila says 800 companies have signed up to join the 23 November campaign this year, meaning that children will be visiting offices, ministries and municipal buildings throughout the country for either a few hours or a full day.

"The Bring Your Child to Work Day seems to have established its status as part of the Children's Rights Week. The day brings family members closer together with a shared experience. We are grateful to every business that has decided to take part," Kurttila tells the paper.

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