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Tuesday's papers: Rumour rebuttal, incest case, boulevard plans and Turku football row

The newspapers on Tuesday carry stories about a new service aimed at rebutting scurrilous and unfounded rumours about asylum seekers and refugees, the latest on an incest case in court in Oulu, the origins of a plan to shake-up Helsinki's city planning and a remarkable spat between Turku's two football clubs.

Kriittinen pyöräretki Länsiväylällä vuonna 2011.
Urban activiists protest in support of 'boulevardisation' of some of Helsinki's main highways in 2011. Image: Yle

Since large numbers of asylum seekers began arriving in Finland in 2015, the country has been awash with rumour and falsehoods about the new arrivals. Often focusing on rape or sexual assaults, these stories have done real damage, confusing many people in smaller towns and hindering attempts at integration.

Helsingin Sanomat reports on Tuesday on a new service aiming to report, counter and rebut these false rumours. Huhumylly.info includes a map marking each rumour's date, who spread it, the location and the police or authorities rebuttal. The service opened on Monday and by the evening it already had 70 rumours marked on the map.

"We wanted to promote fact-based discussion, so that false stories spread in bad faith don't take up too much space in the public discourse," said Johanna Vehkoo, one of the site's founders.

Open court in incest trial

An unusual court case got started in Oulu on Monday. The case concerns a man who stands accused of sexually abusing his own daughter between 1999 and 2008.

The alleged victim in the case asked on Monday for the proceedings to be heard in open court, waiving her right to anonymity as she said that she wants the case known far and wide.

On Tuesday Iltalehti carries the story on the front page, with a feature interview inside in which she explains her reasons. The story also includes the fact that the defendant was a lay member of the court, and so none of his colleagues can sit on the case. Instead a trio of judges will decide on his guilt or innocence.

Yle is not publishing either the defendant or complainant's name or identifying information, in line with normal policy on criminal trials.

Helsinki boulevards

The capital has a city council meeting on Wednesday to decide on new zoning plans. It's a controversial meeting, as the plan does include some housebuilding in the city's lush central park.

That's unpopular with many residents, and the Left Alliance has vowed to vote against it. The building, though, is part of a broader scheme to turn the main arteries into the city into residential streets--so called boulevards similar to the Mannerheimintie route through Töölö.

It is part of Helsinki's desire to become more densely populated, and would result in slower traffic and more tram routes. As such has been associated with the city's left-green bubble dwellers, but on Tuesday Helsingin Sanomat publishes an interview with the man who first proposed the boulevardisation of the highways: a Spanish student named Carlos Lamuela.

Ten years ago Aalto University student Lamuela published his thesis on the possibility that the route to Espoo could be turned into a tree-lined street with residential buildings and offices, as well as tramlines and cycle lanes. Since then he's fallen in love, had kids and settled in Helsinki, and now he might see his project finally come to fruition.

Turku spat resolution?

Football lovers will know that the final place in next season's Veikkausliiga will be decided this week by a two-legged play-off between TPS and Inter, the two teams in Turku. It's an eagerly anticipated match-up, and will draw big crowds--but possibly not as big as they might have been.

That's because TPS have long since vacated the city's football stadium, in Kupittaa, in protest at what they say are high rents charged by the stadium management company--which is chaired by Inter owner Stefan Håkans. Instead they play at an athletics track with inadequate floodlights and run-down facilities, and so their 'home' leg of the play-off will take place at 3pm this Wednesday, rather than later in the evening when most spectators will have finished work.

Turun Sanomat reports on Tuesday that the municipality--which owns the stadium and rents it out to the management company--has pressed the two sides together and forced them to the negotiating table in an effort to resolve the dispute and return TPS to Kupittaa. If those talks fail, and TPS win, their sojourn in the Finnish top flight could be fraught with similar facilities-based worries.

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