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Tuesday's papers: City board resigns, Tampere's tram test and new phobia takes hold

Finland’s press looks into political drama in Jyväskylä, a tram on a test run and a growing threat to mental health.

Jyväskylän kaupungintalon julkisivua.
File photo of Jyväskylä city hall. Image: Antti Seppälä / Yle

Jyväskylä-based daily Keskisuomalainen reports that the city’s entire board is resigning after the arrest of one board member, city councillor Teemu Torssonen, on suspicion of attempted murder.

KSML writes that the decision is a procedural move enacted to remove Torssonen from the board following his arrest.

"The criminal suspicions that have now emerged are so serious that the situation must be addressed immediately, and the board’s confidence and ability to continue with the current formation must be assessed," Jyväskylä city board chair Meri Lumela (Greens) told the paper, adding that Torssonen had been contacted but a resignation from the board on his own initiative was not forthcoming.

Under the terms of the Local Government Act, the council can dismiss the entire board if one or more members do not enjoy the full trust of the council, KSML writes. City officials announced on Monday that they no longer had any confidence in Torssonen.

The former Finns Party member was elected to the city council in the 2017 municipal elections with 458 votes, but was expelled from the party in spring 2019.

His position as a Jyväskylä city councillor will be affected by the progress of the criminal investigation, and whether he is formally charged in court.

Tampere tram test drives through city centre

Tampere’s long-awaited, and sometimes controversial, tram took its first test run into the city centre on Monday, and local paper Aamulehti went along for the ride.

The tram has previously been tested in the suburbs of Hervanta and Turtola, and the pilot was extended yesterday to the downtown areas of Itsenäisyydenkatu and Kaupinkatu, with further trial runs expected to continue throughout the week.

Project engineer Niina Uolamo told Aamulehti that the upper and lower speed limits of the tram will be tested on Tuesday, markings and views on Wednesday, and traffic light sytems on Thursday.

The paper further writes that a large crowd gathered along the test route on Monday, which Uolamo told the paper she was very happy to see, but reminded eager enthusiasts to keep a safe distance from the vehicle as testing continues throughout the remainder of the week.

The installation of a light rail system in Tampere has been under discussion since the 1970s, and the first viability studies were conducted as far back as 2001. The city council approved plans to construct the 330-million-euro system in 2016, with the aim of completing the first phase of the project in 2021.

A second phase, the construction of a line from the city centre to the suburb of Lentävänniemi, is due to be completed by 2024.

Stressed? Anxious? Dizzy? It could be NoMoPHobia

Helsingin Sanomat writes of a new and growing threat to mental health: nomophobia, or the fear of being left without access to a working mobile phone, which can cause anxiety, dizziness and panic.

The term NoMoPhobia comes from the English words no mobile phone, HS writes, and the results of several studies suggest that the phobia is becoming much more common, especially among teenagers and young adults.

Symptoms can include increased heart rate and blood pressure, shortness of breath, nausea and depression, and the condition can also lead to sleep disorders, which is one of the biggest health problems in Europe.

Jyrki Korkeila, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Turku, told HS that nomophobia is a form of separation anxiety, characterised by a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing, and is a new manifestation of FOMO, or fear of missing out.

"The same phenomenon is related to social media when there is a fear of being left out of something. A key feature of such concerns is separation anxiety. That old fear is now in a new context," Korkeila said.

Social anxiety disorders are common in Finland, HS writes, such as becoming nervous in social situations. However Korkeila pointed out that many other factors are required for nomophobia to become severe, such as a certain kind of hereditary background and being of a particularly sensitive or anxious nature.

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