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Tuesday's papers: Measuring air pollution, police body cams, dolphin transfer memories and neo-Nazis in Tampere

Our Tuesday press review looks at the revolutionary OMI satellite, police plans to introduce the widespread use of body cameras, a 2016 midnight dolphin transfer, and a neo-Nazi group rally planned for Saturday in Tampere.

Meteosat-10-satelliitin kuva maapallosta.
A Meteosat image of Earth, combining 10 satellite photos. Image: Eumetsat / ESA

Finland's largest-circulation daily Helsingin Sanomat reports on a Dutch-Finnish invention that is revolutionizing the measurement of air pollution.

The Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) is a joint project of the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programmes (NIVR), the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA).

OMI has been orbiting the planet in space on board NASA's Aura satellite for the last 13 years. It uses ultraviolet and visible radiation to produce daily high-resolution maps of the planet that are so accurate that mathematicians can distinguish between different aerosol types, such as smoke, dust, and sulphates. It can also measure cloud pressure and coverage.

FMI's Johanna Tamminen tells HS that the world's largest cities are easily distinguishable, as large amounts of people go hand-in-hand with pollution. The updates also show if a country has really implemented promised climate change initiatives, as changes are clearly visible over the 13-year span.

"You can even trace the routes of ships at sea," she says.

The device combines the satellite images to pinpoint where the skies are most polluted. Results show that, over the last decade, air quality has improved considerably in the US and only slightly in Europe. In Helsinki, nitrogen dioxide levels have fallen by 20 percent.

One for every department

The Satakunnan kansa paper out of western Pori continues this Tuesday with a story about police body cameras in Finland. The National Police Board is currently preparing guidelines that they hope will presage the widespread use of police body cameras.

Finnish Police currently have 30 body cams being trialled by the Helsinki Police department. The pilot began in October 2015, and currently gives officers 24 hours to delete the material that was recorded after it has been uploaded to a computer, or cut and archive footage for use in an investigation. The Board is now considering extending this period to 96 hours, meaning that the video material must always be stored for four days before it is erased.

Finland's top law enforcement body says that current legislation allows them to use the cameras in their work, especially in public places. Technical devices that help them do their work fall under their mandate to provide general surveillance.

"You have to remember that we have always used video, whether it is in our hand, on our uniform or shot from a helicopter," Superintendent Sami Hätönen tells the paper.

Of course the situation is different if the police are actively seeking information about a certain individual or are infringing on people's personal space – like entering homes - with their cameras. Hätönen says that these kinds of operations require permits and police training to know the basic rights of Finland's residents. 

The Finnish Police hope that police body cameras will become an everyday tool in Finnish law enforcement. Plans are underway to purchase them for every department in the country, if the money can be found, SS writes.

A major covert operation

Next, the paper Helsingin Uutiset takes a look back at a controversial midnight run that took place in 2016. Jyrki Similä was the truck driver in charge of a massive transport operation to move four dolphins from the defunct Särkäniemi dolphinarium in Tampere to the airport in Helsinki.

Animal rights activists had been demonstrating against the attraction for years, and the amusement park administration made the decision in October 2015 to shutter the facility and transfer the remaining dolphins to the Attica Zoological Park in Athens, Greece.

Similä says the stressful stealth operation to move the dolphins was planned a year in advance, in secret, to avoid the press and protestors. He says every detail was ironed out with a team of veterinarians, Särkäniemi's animal trainers and Tampere city leaders.

"People reacted to the transfer in so many ways, even though there was no way the dolphins could stay in Finland any longer. There would have been a terrible backlash if the transfer would have failed," he tells the paper.

An exceptional number of people were involved in the operation. A vet accompanied the animals on the trip and in the cargo plane to monitor and hydrate the dolphins. A fire brigade supplied the water at the right temperature, and the police were on hand to see that there was no trouble. Similä says he stayed at the airport until he saw the plane's wheels leave the ground.

News outlets reported this January that Delfi, one of the four dolphins that had been transferred from Finland to Greece, had died at the age of 37 of heart failure in Athens. He had been captured in the Gulf of Mexico when he was about six years old.

Still no permit

And a paper out of the southern city of Tampere Aamulehti caps off our Tuesday paper review with a story about a neo-Nazi group protest planned for this coming Saturday in Tampere.

The Nordic Resistance Movement white supremacist group says it will demonstrate in Finland's second largest urban area on October 21. Two counter-protests are already being assembled.

The neo-Nazi group's demonstration coincides with a court case that will be heard in the Pirkanmaa District Court next week on banning extremist groups like the Nordic Resistance Movement in Finland. Although the event has been advertised on the group's website for weeks already, Tampere Police say they have still not received an application for the right to assemble.

"Two counter-protest applications have been submitted to the police, but the resistance movement has still not informed us about their intention to demonstrate on that day," Chief Inspector Harri Nojonen of the Tampere Police tells the paper, adding that the group must inform the police six hours before the demonstration begins at the latest, if they wish to convene in a public area.

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