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Tuesday's papers: Gaza clash, end of Finland's Civil War, police drones, and no complaints about the weather

On Tuesday Finnish papers cover reaction to events in Gaza, the end of Finland's civil war 100 years ago, police drones, and the fine weather in Finland.

Rantalentopallopeli käynnissä Hietaniemen uimarannalla Helsingissä.
Playing volleyball on a Helsinki beach on Monday. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

Turku's Turun Sanomat is one of the many papers that carry a statement by Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini on clashes on the Gaza border that reportedly led to over 50 deaths and close to 3000 people being wounded on Monday.

In that statement, Foreign Minister Soini expressed Finland's concern about the extensive use of force and the loss of lives at the Gaza border demonstrations.

“We continue to urge for restraint and de-escalation. International law and human rights law, including the right to peaceful assembly, must be respected”, Soini stressed.

The newsstand tabloid Iltalehti reports a brief statement from an interview with President Sauli Niinistö, who characterised the situation as "extremely serious" and called for restraint and an end to the use of force.

"The situation is highly flammable. The region is like a powder keg," President Niinistö told the paper.

In a separate interview, former Foreign Minister and SDP Member of Parliament Erkki Tuomioja said that Israel must first end the violence and secondly give some ray of hope to the Palestinians that something can once again be done about the peace process.

"If you think about these young men and women under 20 years of age who have no future, who are continuously shut up in the world's largest open-air prison, Gaza, then it is no wonder that it is a breeding ground for terrorism," Tuomioja said to Iltalehti.

End of Finland's Civil War

One hundred years ago today, on May 15, 1918, Finland's brief but brutal civil war came to an end.

The Oulu-based Kaleva notes that the war is usually considered to have ended on that day with a battle in which White forces took the final Red stronghold, Fort Ino on the Karelian isthmus from its defenders.

The next day, units of the White army under its commander, C.G.E. Mannerheim, held a victory parade in Helsinki, which had been taken from Red forces by German troops around one month previously.

As the paper reports, the Civil War did not end with a negotiated peace or a peace treaty. Approximately 38,000 people, most of them Red combatants and supporters, died in the conflict. Many of the deaths on the Red side resulted from hunger and disease in camps where over 75,000 people were imprisoned after the war. Thousands of Reds also fled to the newly-established Soviet Russia.

The Civil War, notes Kaleva, left Finland a country deeply divided along social class lines for decades.

Eyes in the sky

The daily Helsingin Sanomat reports how drones have become an increasingly important tool for police in search and rescue operations.

According to HS, police in Finland now have at least 100 drones and they have been instrumental in saving lives.

"Saving even one single life pays back the cost of these devices. These successes have been occurring at a rapid pace. Only some of them have been made public," says Superintendent Sami Hätönen of the National Police Board.

Late last year, police began using 17 new drones equipped with infrared cameras that can "see" in the dark. In addition, a number of the drones are designed to work in conditions of extreme cold and snow.

The paper carries several accounts of how the drones are being used, including one from just last Friday when an 80 year-old man went missing in the forest at Pälkäne in the Pirkanmaa region. He was sighted during an aerial reconnaissance mission by one of these remotely-controlled aircraft and rescued in good condition.

Police say, however, that drones have not eliminated the need for more tradition methods of search and rescue. Manned helicopters and aircraft, as well as ground searches by teams on foot and by dogs, are all still used.

Locating mobile phone signals is another advance in search and rescue. Police urge anyone planning to spend time in wilderness areas to install the "112 Suomi" app. Any call to the emergency centre 112 number automatically relays the geographic position of phones with this app installed.

Exceptional weather

There don't seem to be any complaints in the press about the wonderfully warm, sunny weather Finland is enjoying, but there are several exploring the reasons why we are being so blessed.

Kuopio's Savon Sanomat reports that May temperatures have never before shown such a wide variation between morning lows and daytime highs.

As evidence, the paper points to Meteorological Institute readings in Lappeenranta on Monday where the morning low was +1 degree Celsius, and the daytime high 28.9 degrees.

The explanation given by FMI meteorologist Antti Jylhä-Ollila is clear skies and low humidity. Clear weather allows ground heat to radiate out into space at night and to absorb more during the day. If the air were humid, the heat would form fog, trapping in heat and keeping temperatures higher through the night.

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