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Thursday's papers: No-confidence vote, cyber attack fallout, hypermarket fashion

The new government faces its first vote of no-confidence and problems from a cyber attack continue in Lahti.

Pääministeri Antti Rinne eduskunnan täysistunnossa Helsingissä 11. kesäkuuta 2019.
Prime Minister Antti Rinne addressing Parliament on Tuesday. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

The Kuopio-based Savon Sanomat writes that Finland's new five-party coalition government, headed by Social Democratic Party chair Antti Rinne, is expected to breeze through its first challenge from the opposition.

The government's programme came in for sharp criticism on a floor debate on Tuesday and Wednesday. In the course of that debate the National Coalition Party, the Finns Party and the Christian Democrats each filed a motion of no-confidence.

As this paper points out, the Finns Party is critical of moves by the government which it says will raise the costs of housing and motoring, while the National Coalition Party has come down hard on the cabinet's economic policy proposals and is demanding action to improve employment.

The government, which includes the SDP, Centre, Greens, Left Alliance and Swedish People's Party, commands 117 votes in the 200 member parliament. In addition, Harry Harkimo, who is the sole MP of the Movement Now (Liike Nyt) group, has also announced his support for the government. The no-confidence vote is scheduled for early Thursday afternoon.

Network services still down in Lahti

Lahti's Etelä-Suomen Sanomat reports that network connections for the health and social services operations of the City of Lahti and the Päijät-Häme region have been suspended to prevent the spread of malware that infected Lahti's public sector computer system on Tuesday.

According to the paper, the infection started with a single computer and spread to around another one thousand.

Etelä-Suomen Sanomat tells its readers to expect significant disruptions in services at public healthcare centres and dental clinics. Clients of social services offices will also be impacted.

Patients in need of acute care are being advised to phone health advisory services. Appointments already booked at healthcare centres are being handled, but officials say that some procedures may not be possible and will require a new visit at a later date.

As of Thursday morning, computer-based patient records, laboratory results and x-ray images were unavailable, and the system of e-prescriptions was offline.

Officials are as of yet unable to say how long the disruptions may last. Further information is to be made available on Friday.

Impact of new rape law

Turun Sanomat presents some expert legal opinion on what newly proposed legislation redefining rape may mean in the courts.

If passed by parliament, the new rape law would be based on a lack of consent rather than threats or violence, as is the case now.

Matti Tolvanen, Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Eastern Finland, told Turun Sanomat that he does not believe that redefining rape will lead to significantly more convictions. He pointed to the fact that it will not change the problem of evidence, that there are rarely eyewitnesses to rape and cases often come down to one person's word against another's. This is very difficult for prosecutors.

Tolvanen added, though that while the change in the number of convictions may remain small, it will undoubtedly affect attitudes.

"In the long run, the effect may be quite significant. The message to society is that individuals have the right to self determination and that must be respected," said Professor Tolvanen.

Tolvanen also believes that the new law may lower the threshold for people to report rapes to the authorities.

Budget threads

Ask the average Finn where they got their latest summer apparel, and you're likely to hear something like, ”just past the sporting goods section, three aisles over from the frozen fish counter".

The capital daily Helsinki Sanomat reports on a fresh survey by the Finnish Commerce Federation showing that the most popular place for people in Finland to buy clothing is at hypermarkets and discount retailers.

The survey, carried out in March-April of this year found that first place was held by Prisma chain hypermarkets where 34 percent of shoppers said they had purchased clothing over the past year. In second place were the Tokmanni discount stores and in third were Citymarket chain hypermarkets.

Swedish-based clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz came in fourth.

HS points out that instead of fashion sense, the main criteria for Finnish shoppers is price. Finnish households spend less on average on clothing and footwear than most EU consumers.

In addition, according to Terhi-Anna Wilska, a professor of sociology at the University of Jyväskylä specialised in consumerism, the hypermarket phenomenon probably reflects the ageing population. The older one gets, she says, the more comfort takes precedence over fashion.

What Finnish consumers say they are looking for when they shop for clothes is comfort, practicality, and outfits that can be worn in as many different settings as possible.

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