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Thursday's papers: Porvoo shooters, layoffs and a racist island in Karelia

Porvoo shooting developments, global economic uncertainty hits Finland, and a curious case of institutional racism.

Porvoon ampumisesta epäiltyjen veljesten vangitsemisistunnot järjestettiin Vantaalla Itä-Uudenmaan käräjäoikeudessa 29. elokuuta 2019, kuvassa vanhempi veljeksistä.
At the end of August, the Itä-Uusimaa district court in Vantaa remanded the brothers into pre-trial custody on suspicion of two counts of attempted murder, following an incident in which two police officers were shot in Porvoo, southeast Finland. Image: Pasi Murto / AOP

Investigators say the two brothers implicated in last month’s Porvoo shooting incident, in which two police officers were shot while responding to a routine call, acted alone, reports newsstand tabloid Iltalehti.

IL said it had not found any evidence that the brothers were acting on behalf of a third party, citing detective chief inspector Kimmo Huhta-aho, who said there was strong evidence indicating that the brothers acted independently.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said initial blood test results did not show the pair being under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the extent that it would have impaired their decision making.

Layoff season

Power systems company Wärtsilä is looking to slash 200 jobs in Finland, reports business daily Kauppalehti, as the firm continues to reduce payroll across all of its business segments globally.

Wärtsilä Finland’s managing director, Vesa Riihimäki, told KL the company was responding to the global macroeconomic situation, which has grown increasingly unstable over the past six months.

Autumn in Finland is the season of union co-determination talks, a legal pre-requisite for lay-offs, in many workplaces. At the moment, Finland's unemployment rate is just above 6 percent, according to national number cruncher Statistics Finland.

Listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange, Wärtsilä employs over 19,000 people in 80 countries. One-fifth of its workforce is based in Finland.

Institutional racism

The Institute for the Languages of Finland (Kotus) has rejected a proposal by a journalists’ association in northern Karelia to rename its local recreation island.

The island is currently known as “Neekerisaari”, using a racist term which was in widespread use in Finland until recent years.

The union chapter wants to change the island's name to “Uutinensaari”, reports Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet. But the linguistic watchdog said an offensive name wasn’t reason enough to request a name change.

"Although times have changed and the word 'neekeri' is now used offensively, place names currently in use cannot be removed from the map because the name is felt to be unpleasant," said the institute.

HBL reports that Finland’s National Land Survey has the final say on changes to place names, however, it will only accept name change applications supported by Kotus.

Commenting on racist traditions in Finland, activist and writer Maryan Abdulkarim previously told Yle News that it is not unusual for people who do not consider themselves racist to defend customs that others see as overtly bigoted.

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