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Tuesday’s papers: Parental leave fail, luxury liner order, falling long-drink sales

Finnish newspapers on Tuesday weigh in on the cabinet's abandonment of a parental leave project, as well as an array of business, transport and sports news.

Mein Shiff 5 merellä
A German shipping company is buying another luxury liner from the Turku shipyard. Image: Meyer Turku

The south-western broadsheet Turun Sanomat reports that the governing coalition has failed in its attempt to reform Finland’s generous parental leave system. After a Monday evening meeting at the prime minister’s residence, he and the leaders of the other two government parties all tweeted that "a common model could unfortunately not be found" and that the matter will not be revisited during the final year of the legislative term.

Bigger news locally in Turku is that Germany’s TUI Cruises has ordered another large luxury liner from the Meyer Turku shipyard, securing jobs well into the future. The ship, which will carry some 2900 passengers, is to be ready in 2023. According to German media reports the price tag is around the same as previous TUI orders in the same series, some half a billion euros.

TalSa: Construction cuts & the last aristocrat

The financial daily Taloussanomat, published in conjunction with the tabloid Ilta-Sanomat, also writes about the TUI order and leave reform, as well as news that the giant construction firm YIT will cut up to 460 jobs this year, at most 240 of them in Finland. The bulk of the rest will be in Russia. The losses will mostly be in administrative positions following YIT’s merger with another big building firm, Lemminkäinen in early February. The firm says the redundancies will not be focused on people actually working on construction sites.

TalSa also observes Helsinki Stock Exchange's loss of its only so-called 'dividend aristocrat' – an informal term bestowed on a company with many years of consecutive dividend increases. In the US, this usually refers to a firm with at least a quarter-century of steadily-rising dividends, but in Finland you can earn the title with a decade of increases. The last firm to do so was the food company Raisio, best known for its Benecol and Elovena brands. Between 2006 and 2016 its dividends climbed from three cents per share to 17 cents. On Monday its board decided to keep its 2017 dividend unchanged at 17 cents a share.

Metro: Box-office boom, more Espoo buses

The capital region’s commuter freesheet Metro, also published by the Sanoma group, strives for a folksy tone to its front page, with the main headline noting a sharp drop in sales of popular ‘lonkero’ pre-mixed long drinks at state-run Alko shops since the start of the year. That's attributed to a new law that lets grocery stores, kiosks and filling stations sell stronger drinks with an alcohol content of up to 5.5 percent, from the previous 4.7 percent.

Also on Metro’s front page: a remake of the classic war movie Unknown Soldier has become the biggest box-office smash in Finland since the ‘60s, now close to breaking the one-million-viewer mark; plus news that Helsinki Regional Transport (HSL) is ready to open local transit to private competition and that Espoo will put more buses on the roads to calm commuters’ anger about slower connections since the western branch of the Metro opened late last year – as well as the beaming face of snowboarder Enni Rukajärvi, who won Finland’s second Winter Olympics medal in the women’s slopestyle event – which she argued should have been rescheduled due to hazardous winds.

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