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Thursday's papers: Unread crime reports, slot machines in hospitals, the sun returns

The press reveals how Finnish police missed 2,000 child sex abuse tip-offs, policy review at Veikkaus, and the last of summer.

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Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

Finland's biggest selling daily Helsingin Sanomat carries a report on how police may have left up to 2,000 tip-offs about suspected sexual crimes against children unopened in an "email inbox somewhere".

According to HS, Finnish police were slow to react when people began reporting allegations or suspicions of online sex crimes against children a number of years ago, and did not allocate enough resources to properly deal with the sudden influx of reports.

"What happened in Finland was that when these things started to grow on the web a few years ago, those tips and messages were left somewhere in an email inbox. And we only had two people in the department who ever opened them," commissioner Sari Sarani of the police's cybercrimes unit told HS.

However, according to Sarani, the police's practices for recording warnings about the targeting of children online have now changed, with more staff than ever currently handling the reports and investigating of such cases.

Sarani also told HS that the police seek the public's assistance in tackling sexual crimes against children.

Location of slot machines under review

Tabloid Iltalehti reports on the decision by Finland's gaming monopoly Veikkaus to "quietly" remove eight slot machines from sites which may have been deemed inappropriate.

The gambling firm has been under considerable pressure recently to review the location of some of its machines, as a citizens' initiative calling for their removal from shops and kiosks has now garnered more than 25,000 signatures.

According to IL, some of the vending machines which have now been removed were located in shops or cafes connected to hospitals and rehabilitation centres. The tabloid, in a previous report, had raised concerns that certain medications may contribute to gambling addiction.

Marko Peltokorpi, director of sales at Veikkaus, told IL that the firm is reviewing the practice of placing slot machines near hospitals, health clinics and rehabilitation centres.

"Veikkaus' point of sale criteria state that slot machines should not be placed in premises where the clientele consists mainly of minors," Peltokorpi told the tabloid. "This paragraph has now been interpreted as also extending to locations whose main clientele consists of the sick and elderly."

Here comes the sun

HS's sister tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports that the recent unsettled weather is expected to take a turn for the better, as a high pressure system will bring the sun back to Finland this weekend.

"The eastern part of the country will be largely clear and sunny on Saturday," Iiris Viljamaa, a meteorologist at the Finnish Meteorological Institute tells IS. "Temperatures should rise to at least 23-24 degrees Celsius."

Central and southern areas can also expect similar conditions, according to Viljamaa, and she advises people to make the most of the mellow conditions while they last.

Immediately after the weekend, the wind, rain and unstable weather will return to Finland.

Therefore, the tabloid advises, this weekend is an ideal time to start picking mushrooms and berries in the rain-soaked forest, or even just to get outside and enjoy the sunshine, as it may be the last opportunity to do so this summer.

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