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Tuesday’s papers: Minister powerless, over-keen cloudberry picking, and carphone contrasts

The press on Tuesday has stories on the fallout from Friday’s hit-and-run incident, berry picking shenanigans, and a guilty secret many Finns apparently share.

Poliisi onnettomuuspaikalla Annankadun ja Lönnrotinkadun risteyksessä.
Police seal off the scene of Friday's hit and run in Helsinki. Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

The media has extensively covered a hit and run incident on Friday that saw a 51-year-old man drive a Jaguar round central Helsinki at high speeds while drunk, before hitting several people on a zebra crossing. One of them died and five were injured.

It was a shocking incident and it was compounded by the news that the motorist had mental health issues. Indeed, Iltalehti reported on Saturday that his family had even written to Interior Minister Paula Risikko requesting help in getting him the appropriate treatment.

They received no answer.

On Tuesday Helsingin Sanomat asks Risikko about the case. She says the message isn’t in her email inbox, and even if it had arrived in time she would have been unable to help. Influence comes through legislation, says Risikko, not interference in official agencies’ daily work.

Cloudberry harvesting issues

Berry pickers have been in the news recently, with their pay under the microscope in particular. Some Thai pickers had even sued for better treatment, but lost their case.

This weekend a new problem emerged, according to Iltalehti. Some cloudberry pickers in Sotkamo have, apparently, been picking unripe berries—a practice outlawed in Finland. Forest berries are free to pick according to the Finnish everyman’s right, but there are restrictions.

On Tuesday the tabloid has more, with readers in Puolanka sending in pictures of allegedly unripe cloudberries kept under plastic sheets in an effort to ripen them.

It’s not a new problem, and in some cases there have been prosecutions for picking berries before they're ready according to one berry firm boss interviewed for the story. Unscrupulous berry hawkers have been known to add water or yellow soft drinks to try and make cloudberries appear riper than they really are, but that is against the law.

According to Simo Moisio of Arktiset Aromit, the western half of the country already has ripe cloudberries but the east will have to wait. The harvest will be good, says Moisio—so long as people just wait till the berries are ready to be picked.

Phone use survey

Helsingin Sanomat has news of a survey revealing conflicted Finnish attitudes towards using a mobile phone while driving. The survey asked just over a thousand people about the topic, with 79 percent of them holding a driving licence.

Three quarters of respondents said that using a phone while driving was unacceptable. But if a car stopped at traffic lights, just over half of those answering said they considered it a serious traffic offence.

Even so, 73 percent of respondents had used their phone without a handsfree kit in the last year. Some 41 percent had sent an email, and a hefty 56 percent had read their email while driving.

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