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Thursday's papers: Coalition choices, cancer breakthrough, war games

Among the items featured in Thursday’s newspapers is a new poll with more evidence of a shift leftwards in Finnish politics

Boeing F/A-18 C/D Hornet.
Boeing F/A-18 Hornet Image: Puolustusvoimat

The tabloid Iltalehti writes that the results of a new voter opinion poll it published today shows that "leftist winds are blowing".

The survey by the pollster Taloustutkimus, commissioned by Iltalehti, asked a random sampling of voters what kind of coalition government they would prefer to see in Finland after the next parliamentary elections in April 2019.

The paper points out that all the latest polls have shown the opposition Social Democrats as being the single most popular party in the country, with an Alma Media survey in September indicating support by 22.2 percent of voters. It was followed by the conservative NCP (19.9%), the Centre Party (15.1%), the Greens (12.3%) and the Left Alliance (9.5%).

At present,the government is comprised of a coalition of the Centre, the NCP and the BlueReform.

The Iltalehti poll presented respondents with five different combinations of parties that could make up a new coalition government, plus a "none of the above" option.

The most popular, gaining 26 percent support in the poll, was found to be a "Red-Green" government made up of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Alliance.

Iltalehti points out, however, that it is unlikely that these three will gain a majority in next spring's elections, so they would need at least one more partner in order to rule.

The least popular was a conservative coalition made up of the Centre, Finns Party and the Christian Democrats. That option received the backing of only 8 percent of voters polled.

Cancer breakthrough

Helsinki's Helsingin Sanomat reports on what it calls a "breakthrough" in the development of cancer treatment by the Finnish Orion pharmaceutical company.

On Wednesday, the company announced that it had successfully completed third phase trials of a darolutamide in partnership with Germany's Bayer. The medication has been developed for the treatment of patients with non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (nmCRPC).

The company says that prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed malignancy in men in worldwide, and approximately 70 percent of patients have the non-metastatic form of the disease.

Darolutamide has now been granted fast track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment in men with nmCRPC.

Helsingin Sanomat also reports that following the news, Orion's share price rose by close to 10 percent on the Helsinki Exchange.

Flu vaccine runs out

Finland's National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) says it has exhausted its stocks of influenza vaccine.

According to an article in today's Turun Sanomat, the supply of flu jabs dried up this week because of high demand and delays in deliveries.

A THL representative says that the problem affects the whole of the country. Altogether 1.7 million doses of flu vaccine are on order. The first shipment ran out quickly and the second shipment arrived in the country only late last week.

As a result, for example, Tampere's University Hospital has had to cancel vaccinations for staff that were scheduled for this week.

Healthcare officials in some municipalities began offering flu jabs to the public this week. However, THL is recommending that vaccination programmes be delayed until November to make sure that enough vaccine is available.

War games

The Oulu-based Kaleva was among the dailies that carry articles on the start of NATO maneuvers in Norway, "Trident Juncture 18" that will include contingents from non-NATO members Sweden and Finland.

Described as the largest NATO war games of the decade, the two weeks of maneuvers will include around 50,000 personnel, hundreds of ships, vehicles and aircraft.

Around 600 Finnish military personnel from the army, navy and air force will take part. Rovaniemi, in Finnish Lapland, will be one base of air operations with Finnish Hornet fighters joined by US and Belgian warplanes.

At the same time, Baltic waters will see the "Northern Coasts 18" naval exercise. Some 1,800 Finnish military personnel will take part, alongside units from Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the US and Germany.

World wrestling title

Most papers, including the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat carry reports on Wednesday's victory for Finnish woman wrestler Petra Olli at the World Wrestling Championships in Budapest - the first championship for a Finnish contender in the event in 21 years.

Up against Canada's Danielle Lappage in the women's 65kg finals, Olli was given the gold, but only after a challenge that saw the judges change the lead twice after the match had finished.

This was Olli's second medal in the World Wrestling Championships, having won silver in Las Vegas in 2015. She also carries the European Championship title for 2016 and 2018.

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