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Tuesday's papers: Pol's fears of "alternate" realities, axing MP perks, are the kids OK?

A Helsinki politico warns of parallel realities, MPs gather pre-election to eliminate a controversial perk and young people worry about climate and terrorism.

Koululaiset osoittivat mieltään ilmastonmuutosta vastaan eduskuntatalon edustalla Helsingissä 11. tammikuuta
A new youth barometer shows young people are increasingly anxious about climate change but have less confidence than ever in politicians. Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

Helsinki deputy mayor Nasima Razmyar says she is concerned about the "alternate reality" that some immigrant groups occupy. Speaking to tabloid daily Ilta-Sanomat, Razmyar referenced a Helsinki stabbing attack just over one week ago, in which two adults and three children were injured, and where the assailant is still on the run.

IS writes that the assault is believed to be linked to "honour violence". The 33-year-old suspect, Hayder Al-Hmedav, had reportedly threatened his former wife with disfigurement because she had gone out in public without a veil.

Razmyar told IS that it is important to take this kind of "alternate reality" in the capital area seriously. "A large majority of immigrants and asylum seekers understand what integrating into a new society means. We still have a small minority that wants to live according to their own norms, to try crimes themselves and to hand down judgments in their own courts," she declared.

"A huge number of ethnic communities act as bridge builders to Finnish society, but a small number build walls instead," she added.

Razmyar said that one challenge that some immigrant women face is that they do not have the courage to speak to the authorities. Another issue is that the authorities do not take threats women receive seriously or they do not understand the situation.

MPs cosying up to voters?

MPs will gather on Tuesday to consider a bill that aims to eliminate parachute pensions for lawmakers. Hot off the presses in Turku, southwest Finland, Turun Sanomat writes that the term "adjustment pension" is itself a misnomer for the perk, since many who receive it have not reached retirement age.

In Finland, former MPs in Finland are entitled to adjustment pensions if they were elected to Parliament before 2011 and have served for at least seven years. On average, adjustment pensions amount to about 3,000 euros per month.

The draft legislation was prompted by a citizens' initiative that gathered support from 70,000 signatories, propelling it to Parliament in spring 2018. The initiative has proceeded through parliament along with a similar proposal drawn up by lawmakers themselves.

According to TS, there is broad support for the draft legislation although it will sharply reduce the income they receive from the parliamentary careers. TS speculated that one reason for the apparent enthusiasm is an attempt to curry favour with voters ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections.

The first reading of the bill takes place on Tuesday, with MPs likely to vote on the measure on Wednesday. A crucial second reading is then likely to take place next Monday or Tuesday.

Violence increasingly seen as a means of influence

Terrorism, climate change and global politics have contributed to a heightened sense of insecurity among young people in Finland, according to a new youth survey.

Leading circulation daily Helsingin Sanomat reports Tuesday that more than three-quarters of respondents in the annual poll said that they felt somewhat more or very much more insecure or uncertain about climate change. Ten years ago, climate change was a headline concern for 40 percent of respondents to a similar survey.

All the same, a clear majority of the 1,900-odd interviewees said they were optimistic about their personal outlook as well as that of the country, although there was a slight increase in uncertainty about the future of the world.

The survey revealed increasing interest in politics among 15 - 29-year-olds, indicating steady growth since the 1990s. Two-thirds of young people told researchers Elina Pekkarinen and Sami Myllyniemi that they were either somewhat or highly interested in politics. The research pair attributed the outcome to rising concerns about the climate.

However although young people may be paying more attention to politics, they said they have less faith in politicians, with one-third of survey participants declaring that politicians are unreliable. At the same time, confidence in political parties was found to be lower than in other societal institutions. Trust in the office of the president, however, rose sharply during President Sauli Niinistö's term to reach 93 percent in the 2018 survey.

HS reported that the researchers also found it worrying that more young people see violence as an increasingly effective means of creating impact, compared to previous barometers -- nearly one in ten said they believed it is possible to use violence to make a major difference.

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