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Thursday's papers: #metoo, shopping centre city and daycare fee reduction

Thursday's media review has reaction to Yle's revelations on harassment, questions about Helsinki's planning and advice on daycare fee cuts.

Image: Esa Koivuranta / Yle

On Wednesday evening Yle revealed testimony from multiple women in the film industry alleging years of harassment from film director and former professor of film studies Lauri Törhönen. That story pre-empted investigations from other media, including the Long Play startup, which published its own story after Yle's.

Anu Silfverberg wrote that Törhönen's behaviour was an open secret, and that the university that employed him knew of and investigated at least one of the allegations.

"'Everybody knew', about Törhönen's harassment, according to many women in the film industry," wrote Silfverberg. "The same phrase that we heard in the US last autumn, when Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's misdeeds started to come out: the whole film industry knew!"

Silfverberg asks why, if everybody knew, did nobody intervene--and comes up with a simple and fairly disturbing answer. Perhaps nobody could imagine how things could be any different?

Do we need all these malls?

Helsingin Sanomat carries a big feature on the explosion in shopping centre space in the Helsinki region. The paper counts that there was in 2017 some 715,000 square metres of retail outlets in malls, and that is planned to rise to some 1,211,000 square metres in 2030. That's a hefty increase, given projected trends in online shopping, but the region is expected to welcome many new residents at the same time.

Many of the new centres are close to rail or metro hubs, and HS asks if they are really consistent with the city's (and mayor Jan Vapaavuori's) publicly proclaimed love for liveable cities and urban culture. If everyone spends their time at the mall, there's little space economically or physically for the small independent businesses expected to line the city's much-trumpeted new boulevards, according to Aija Staffans of Aalto University.

It's possible that the Finnish climate needs all this indoor space, says Staffans, but if so then city planners should speak honestly and openly about that. They should also try to build in such a way that the high towers planned at Pasila and Kalasatama, among many other spots in the region, do not create deeply unpleasant wind tunnel-like environments.

Daycare gets cheaper

Hesari also covers a happy development for parents of young children, who will soon receive the first reduced bills for daycare after central government decided to reduce the cost. Those couples earning 6,600 euros between them per month will now see their bill for two kids drop to 435 euros a month, resulting in savings of some 1,276 euros per year.

Some 6,700 families will benefit from completely free daycare after the income limits were adjusted, and more than 200,000 children will benefit from the reduced charges.

HS notes that parents should be careful to ensure their income has been declared properly to secure the correct discounts. Families earning just under 5,000 euros per month, for instance, were previously in the highest income band and may have therefore not declared their income. They are now in a lower band so will have to pay even less--provided their local municipality has the correct information.

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