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Thursday's papers: EU eco criteria, sick leave spike, YouTube careers

Dailies this Thursday look into the European Union potentially changing the face of Finland's forestry industry, employees reluctant to return to work after their holidays and Finnish YouTube stars making an economic impact.

Metsä-Groupin hakattuja puita pinossa.
New EU regulations could drastically limit Finland's forestry industry. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Print news items are many and varied this Thursday, with largest Nordic daily Helsingin Sanomat running a piece about one of Finland's top industries, forestry and wood pulp production, and how new regulations may change it forever.

On Tuesday, HS reports, the Environment Committee of the European Parliament decreed that Finland's vast swathes of forest are not to be counted as carbon sinks, but as sources of emissions. Practically speaking, this means that Finland could be punished for increasing industrial utilisation of one of its most abundant natural resources.

According to the paper, however, the forestry industry needn't lose sleep over the statement just yet – the Environment Committee's stance may well be overturned in the European Parliament before it actually starts affecting Finnish industry standards.

"I strongly believe that the proposal will go through in terms that are agreeable to Finland's agenda," says Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä in HS. "The position of the European Parliament's other committees on carbon sinks has been completely opposite to the one now expressed by the Environment Committee."

Lintilä adds that one step should be taken at a time, and that no "panic button" or "plan B" is needed at this stage, with many phases in between the proposition and its potential implementation.

There is also another EU regulation that could affect Finland even more, says professor Antti Asikainen.

"Sustainability criteria for raw biofuel material could affect us more than the carbon sink stance," he says. "At worst, all biofuel factory projects using sawdust and living trees could go under."

Sticky start after summer fun

Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat interviews doctors for a topical story on people returning to work after their summer holidays. Not everyone is keen or even willing to cut their free time short, as doctor's offices see a spike in the number of sick leave applications around the summer season's end.

Being upset by poor weather can even be enough of an excuse for people to request an extension to their vacation time.

"Some people apply for sick leave as a sort of compensation for their botched holidays," says specialist Pippa Laukka in IS.

Another common reason cited by workers looking to postpone their return to the proverbial salt mines is a general feeling of illness followed by several weeks or months of steady tippling.

"Summertime alcohol consumption can leave people worse for wear. Instead of coming back with their batteries charged, employees can experience symptoms such as nausea and sleep deprivation due to an altered schedule that can be hard to tip back to the previous routine."

Stars of stage and screen

Financial paper Kauppalehti turns its attention to a booming, multi-million-euro international industry whose waves have also been beating on Finnish shores for some years. In the world of ubiquitous webcams and a thirst for role models, some enterprising young Finns have taken to YouTube – and chiselled out lucrative careers for themselves in the process.

A big part of getting young 'Tubers and their visions off the ground and into people's phones and laptops are the intermediary companies or social media network firms, who manage online talents and tailor web content for their customers using their roster of young and hungry multimedia specialists.

One such domestic company, Töttöröö Network, had a Q1-2 turnover of 2.3 million euros. More than half of the YouTubers get a piece of that pie as full-time professionals.

"Our goal is to help the artists forge a comprehensive income model composed of multiple sources," says Töttöröö CEO Joona Haatainen. "Pre-video ads, live shows and meets as well as brand licensing agreements are a part of these young people's livelihoods."

As recently as three years ago no one in Finland foresaw the massive growth in popularity that YouTube stardom would undergo. Now many of these young hopefuls have millions of fans and, in some cases, as many millions of euros in their accounts.

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