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Tuesday's papers: Intelligence proposal, coming job boom, frozen statue

Papers this Tuesday look into the Finnish Security Intelligence Service and the Defence Forces possibly gaining new powers of secret information gathering, a business cycle index showing increased employment and one of Helsinki's most famous public statues feeling an April freeze.

Suojelupoliisi eli Supo
Supo's powers may be extended. Papers also look at jobs and cold weather. Image: Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva

Helsingin Sanomat reports this Tuesday that a team of working groups will on Wednesday publish a proposition to extend the surveillance powers of the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) and Defence Forces.

The HS headline warns that Supo could soon open private letters and conduct workplace searches as part of intelligence gathering, a phase preceding criminal investigation. The new powers could only be used in connection with severe threats to national security.

Public discussion has so far centred on whether either of Finland's main intelligence authorities could spy on citizens' internet traffic if it extends beyond Finland's cyber-borders. Neither Supo nor the Defence Forces may currently gather intelligence on personal traffic in this way.

Some European intelligence services in countries such as Germany and the Netherlands already copy (rather than seize) confidential information through clandestine gathering operations, HS writes, but in Finland the practice has never yet been implemented.

"These various international models have been used as part of the operations of the civilian intelligence working group," says Kauko Aaltomaa from the Interior Ministry, somewhat cryptically.

Capital region companies hiring

About a third of companies in and around Helsinki are set to increase their workforces in the next three months, according to a business index published by financial paper Kauppalehti.

The so-called KL index surveys companies to estimate how they will perform over the next three months, including in the areas of production, domestic and export orders and staffing. The index also rates how companies have developed these and other business areas in the past year.

Capital region companies in the Taloustutkimus report say that they will either be keeping their staff as is or hiring more in late spring to early summer. The figures appear to be breaking records, with the index rising above 60 percent in many categories, indicating clear growth compared to the previous year.

"Finland's situation is slowly improving," says consulting firm boss Anne Raudaskoski in KL. "The EU's circular economy package and the money it channelled have raised spirits."

Early spring chill

Finally free tabloid Metro runs a striking image of icicles more than a metre long hanging from the Havis Amanda fountain in Helsinki's Esplanade Park. The pedestal is topped by the famous statue of the same name, a bare naked lady looking out towards the Market Square and the sea beyond.

The cold weather that caused Amanda to be adorned with icy spikes will continue until May Day, or Vappu as it is known in Finnish, Metro writes.

"The weather could be a lot worse at the moment actually," says FMI meteorologist Henri Nyman. "It may be cold, but conditions are quite dry and the sun is sure to shine down in many places."

A low pressure front will move over Finland over the coming weekend, bringing clouds and rain.

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