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Thursday's papers: Finlandia fuss, police on drugs, presidential beginnings and two princes in Finland

The newspapers on Thursday carry a range of stories from literature prizes to presidential elections, and police on drugs to princes in Finland.

Sampo Terho Juha Hurme.
Finlandia winner Juha Hurme (left) and Culture Minister Sampo Terho.

Juha Hurme won the Finlandia Prize on Wednesday for his novel Niemi ('Peninsula'), a re-telling of Finland's ancient history starting some 14 million years ago. He hit the headlines for his win, but also for his speech, some of which was delivered in Swedish.

He ended that portion of the speech by imploring those who didn't understand to 'learn Swedish, hicks. It will open up your world view'. That prompted a strong reaction, as Hurme no doubt intended, and Helsingin Sanomat and others report that Culture Minister Sampo Terho took to Twitter to demand an apology from the author.

Terho is chair of the Association of Finnish Culture and Identity, a group associated with promotion of the Finnish language often at the expense of Swedish, Finland's other official language. On Yle's morning television programme Hurme did make an apology, for his "gentle humour" which "you didn't understand at all" and caused this hasty outburst "from your spiritual closet".

Hurme also offered season's greetings and the hope that Santa Claus would bring the Minister of Culture a bigger winter hat.

"Now an apology has been given so everything's fine," concluded Hurme.

High police

Ilta-Sanomat reports a rare case of a police officer being prosecuted for using drugs while on duty. The case involves an officer suspected of six crimes, including two counts of use of drugs, official misconduct, driving under the influence, traffic endangerment and a firearms offence.

The prosecutor says that the charges relate to three separate incidents, two of which occurred outside of working hours. He did not provide IS with any more details about the type of substance in question, when the incidents occurred or how the police discovered the misconduct.

The officer in question is not currently at work, according to Länsi-Uusimaa police department.

Election machine

IS also reports a little on its 'election machine', a particularly Finnish device whereby candidates answer questions or rate statements on policy matters, their answers are collated, and then voters can answer the same questions and see which candidates' answers most closely matched their own.

They picked out one question from their machine on whether Finland's constitution should be changed to allow a citizen not born in the country to become President. They found that only one candidate--Laura Huhtasaari of the Finns Party--fully supported article 54 of the Finnish constitution, which requires the president have a Finnish birthplace.

The others all either fully or partly agreed with the statement that the president 'does not need to be a citizen born in Finland'.

Princes on parade

Much of the media covers the arrival in Finland of two princes: Daniel of Sweden, and the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William. Ilta-Sanomat led with 12-year-old Eemil, an ice hockey goalie who struck a deal with William to let him score a goal at a practice session.

The paper also reports that he spoke a couple of words of Finnish ('kiitos paljon', or 'thank you very much'), and presented a letter from the Queen to President Sauli Niinistö.

Prince Daniel, the Swedish royal who is also in Helsinki this week attending the startup extravaganza Slush, was treated respectfully at a presentation at Aalto university. So respectfully, in fact, that IS reports that nobody sat next to him. Finns might love royalty, but they still apparently adhere to old stereotypes about disliking small talk.

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