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Thursday's papers: Delegating powers, the shelter of multilateralism, filling the fridge

Many of Finland's morning papers look at a plan to give regions more power to deal with the coronavirus epidemic.

Asiakas ostoksilla ruokakaupassa.
Finns have been grocery shopping less often in recent months, but buying more food at one time when they do. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

The Finnish government is looking at legislative amendments that would give increased powers to municipalities and regional administrative authorities to independently take steps to deal with infectious diseases like Covid-19 without the central government having to rely on its own emergency powers.

The tabloid Ilta-Sanomat writes that if approved, amended legislation would empower regional authorities to close shopping malls, quarantine residents, and transfer patients infected with the coronavirus to neighboring municipalities.

Under the plan, the authorities could, if necessary, impose restrictions on businesses, for example imposing special hygiene requirements on business premises.

However, religious gatherings and private family life will remain outside the scope of revised legislation.

In extreme cases, regional authorities would have the power to close premises which have been the source of infection chains for up to a full month.

According to Ilta-Sanomat, the types of premises that could be affected include facilities used for exercise or sport, amusement and theme parks and similar attractions, festivals and markets, concert halls and other facilities for the performing arts, cinemas, convention and meeting centres, museums, libraries, and shopping malls.

In addition, regional authorities are likely to be empowered to impose quarantines.

The cabinet is convening Thursday morning for talks aimed at working out the legislative changes it will present to parliament in order to implement the plan.

Easing residence status

The local Helsinki paper Helsingin Uutiset reports that the Finnish Immigration Service Migri has rolled out new guidelines to extend residence permits for people unable to return to their homes abroad because of current travel restrictions.

It quotes Migri official Olli Koskipirtti as saying that temporary residence permits have been issued due to the impossibility of leaving the country during the present epidemic and that by the end of August around 400 applications for such permits had been filed.

Applicants for extended permits are, for example, individuals who have been working or studying in Finland and would normally have had to leave the country after the expiry of their visa or residence permit.

Niinistö calls for unity

Oulu's Kaleva is among the papers that reports a review of national and international security issues presented by President Sauli Niinistö to the National Defense Course Association on Wednesday.

In his remarks, presented by video link, President Niinistö said that a more united voice needs to be heard from the EU, especially in its new role between China and the United States.

“In this world, power and money seem to do the talking,” Niinistö said.

“Member States have a lot of work to do to enable Europe to realize its enormous potential in the economic, and also in the military sense. We have 27 armies,” he pointed out.

He noted that both Russia and China have recently emphasized the need to develop a multilateral system in international affairs. At the same time, the United States, for its part, has withdrawn, and the situation may not change immediately, no matter how the country's presidential election.

In the midst of these changes, according to Niinistö, Finland must carefully consider the content of its own multilateral foreign policy cooperation in the future.

“Multilateralism is an extremely important value. It’s a shelter for the small players,” he stressed. “It is honest to admit that multilateralism largely has the imprint of Westernism. Now, it feels like new winds are blowing.”

What's in the fridge?

Finns have been grocery shopping less often in recent months, but buying more food when they do head to the shop.

That means that more food has to be stored for longer times, as well.

Helsingin Sanomat looks at some of the best practices for keeping food fresh, and whether or not the refrigerator is the best place for it.

Two tips on two good rules of thumb for filling the fridge are that dry products are better stored at room temperature and the rest in the refrigerator.

There is no need to store soft drinks in the refrigerator, at least for fear of spoilage. However, for many, they taste better when chilled, so it's a good idea to put them in the fridge to cool down only a few hours before drinking.

An opened package of coffee is something that doesn't belong in the fridge, as coffee easily absorbs other flavors from other items.

Some people keep bread in the fridge because they think it stays better in the cold.

HS experts say that if there's bread left over, it's better to freeze it and thaw it out when needed.

Bananas, on the other hand, do well at room temperature. If bananas , though they start to turn dark too soon, they can be peeled, sliced and saved for long periods in the freezer.

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