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Tuesday's papers: Children's event vs. far-right march, euthanasia, top Finns, and tax refunds

Developments surrounding a planned far-right procession in Helsinki, views on assisted death, and a reminder that today is the day for 2016 tax refunds are all to be found in Tuesday morning’s Finnish newspaper press.

Daily newspapers.
Image: E.D.Hawkins / Yle

The newsstand tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports outrage by the organisers of a children's event marking Independence Day that is being moved to accommodate a far-right demonstration in Helsinki on Wednesday (see: Children's Independence Day event to make way for far-right procession in Helsinki ).

Police say that they received notice of the rightist demonstration before being told of plans for the children's celebration, and so the latter will have to be cancelled or moved elsewhere, citing safety concerns.

Ilta-Sanomat notes the backlash on social media including comments from Jukka Hilppö, one of the volunteer parents who have been active in putting together the children's Independence Day celebration.

"What does it mean that we cannot safely hold this celebration? We live here. Does this also mean that we can't safely walk down our own street on the evening of Finland's Independence Day?," Hilppö asked.

Ilta-Sanomat reports that the first offer of an alternative location for the children's event was made Monday by the CEO of the HJK football club who said that the club's stadium is available as a venue.

Euthanasia debate

The daily Helsingin Sanomat today carries the results of a new poll on euthanasia indicating that more people are uncertain about their position on assisted death.

According to the HS survey 73% of those questioned would back a change in the law to permit euthanasia, down from 77% in a similar poll last spring.

Opposition was also down from 14% last spring, to 9%. However, the number or people who chose neither option and checked off "uncertain" rose from 10% in April to 18%.

Parliament began the process of debating euthanasia following the introduction of a citizens' initiative signed by 60,000 voters last February.

The initiative proposes that the law be changed so that anyone who is terminally ill and in pain that cannot be relieved by reasonable medical care be allowed to request an assisted death.

Right now, says Helsingin Sanomat, MPs do not seem favourably inclined to permit euthanasia.

One voice in strident opposition is Foreign Minister Timo Soini of the Blue Reform party who the tabloid Iltalehti reports published a personal blog posting on the topic in the early hours of Tuesday.

"Human life is sacred to me. From the womb to the grave. I will not stoop to the level of a murderer," Soino wrote.

The Foreign Minister also hit out at the media, especially Helsingin Sanomat  for coverage of the issue, writing that "Once again Helsingin Sanomat is rubbing Gallup-soap into the eyes of the people."

Top Finns

Turku's main daily, Turun Sanomat, carries a feature by the Finnish News Agency STT in which a range of political leaders, academics, athletes, artists and business people were asked a series of questions including who they consider the most significant individuals in Finnish history.

For many, top of the list was wartime military commander and Finland's sixth president, Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim.

Another, more recent name of an influential Finn brought up was Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux computer operating system.

Yet others included the current president Sauli Niinistö, long-time president Urho Kaleva Kekkonen, the former chairman and CEO of Nokia Jorma Ollila, the composer Jean Sibelius, the 16th-century Lutheran clergyman Mikael Agricola, the 19th-century philosopher and statesman J. V. Snellman and the original "Flying Finn" Paavo Nurmi.

This heavily male-dominated list was expanded by some respondents with the addition of the 19th-century writer and social activist Minna Canth and diplomat, lawyer and politician Helvi Sipilä who was the first-ever female Assistant-Secretary-General of the United Nations and who in 1982 was the first female candidate for the Finnish presidency.

Cha-ching

The Oulu-based Kaleva reminds readers that if they are elgible for a refund on their 2016 taxes, today is the day it should appear in their bank accounts.

However, anyone who is getting a return, but did not give the tax authorities a bank account number will have to wait for a money order that will be issued on the 13th of this month. Because of the handling costs, the tax office does not issue money orders for refunds under 15 euros, unless specifically requested to do so.

Kaleva also notes that if a bank account number is out of date, the refund will bounce back to the tax authories - but you'll receive a notice and payment can be made within a week of application for it.

The date for payment of the first installment of 2016 tax arrears was last week and the next installment is due on February 1st.

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