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Thursday's papers: Restrictions overruled, zombie fish, winners and losers in the housing market

As the government's lockdown plans go back to the drawing board, the papers ask how they got so far in the first place.

Tuomas Pöysti pimenevässä illassa Senaatintorilla. Tuomas on pukeutunut tummansiniseen pukuun. Vaaleansinisen kauluspaudan parina on punainanen kravatti ja rintataskusta pilkistää punaisilla ympyröillä koristeltu valkonen liina.
Experts in Helsingin Sanomat levelled criticism at Chancellor of Justice Tuomas Pöysti. Image: Retu Liikanen / Yle

After the government's proposed lockdown legislation was shot down by the Parliamentary Constitutional Law Committee on Wednesday, Thursday's Helsingin Sanomat asks how a law deemed unconstitutional made it so far through the legislative process.

Legal experts quoted by the paper levelled significant criticism at Chancellor of Justice Tuomas Pöysti.

"The Constitutional Law Committee's opinion raises tough questions about the quality of the government's legal advice," said Helsinki University constitutional law professor Tuomas Ojanen, "especially when the committee has already made repeated criticisms of bills or regulations under the Emergency Powers Act over the course of the coronavirus pandemic year."

Pöysti has defended the decision to bring forward the legislation, saying it was an exceptional proposal made in exceptional circumstances.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) echoed the Chancellor's comments, HS reports, telling reporters on Wednesday that "the situation is truly exceptional."

'Zombie' fish startle onlookers in Oulu

Rural affairs-focused Maaseudun Tulevaisuus reports on an unusual phenomenon in Oulu caused by a parasite brought to Finland by accident.

Nature photographer Veera Kalevaleinen told the paper how she spotted a large number of fish jumping and twitching on top of the ice off Oulu's Toppilansaari.

"It looks pretty wild when there's an endless number of fish jumping on top of the ice," she said. "It was pretty shocking."

What makes the phenomenon more unusual, Maaseudun Tulevaisuus writes, is that the fish are dead. Despite this, they hop onto the ice and continue to bounce, twist and jerk, the paper reports.

"The parasite appears to have arrived in Finland via a cargo ship's ballast tank," expert Jaakko Viheltäjä of the Finnish Museum of Natural History told MT.

"We don't think they pose an immediate danger to humans. However, I personally would not touch them with bare hands," he added.

Winners and losers

Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat focuses on inequality in the Finnish property market with a review of a new book on the subject by financial journalists Karla Kempas and Veera Tegelberg.

The book, A Finland of Winners and Losers, argues that during the last decade property values in big cities began to diverge sharply from those elsewhere, IS writes, dividing people into winners and losers, depending on where they live and whether they own property.

According to Ilta-Sanomat, the book compares the case of a woman in North Karelia who attempted to sell her apartment for years, eventually offloading it at a significant loss to that of a man who bought a property in Helsinki in the mid-1990s and now finds himself with a home worth 1.7 million euros.

The article quotes Finnish Confederation of Professionals (STTK) economist Antti Koskela, who says the government should aim to support the growth of cities across the country as rapid growth in big cities raises house prices and increases regional divides.

The number of real estate transactions in Finland increased by almost 10 percent last year, despite the coronavirus epidemic.

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