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Tuesday's papers: Traffic accident hotspots, state-supported companies and Niinistö's campaign launch

Tuesday's newspapers include a look at a Helsinki accident hotspot (and plans to slow down dangerous drivers), Finland's top companies for state-funded contracts, and the hullaballoo surrounding Sauli Niinistö's campaign for re-election.

Liikennettä Runeberginkadun ja Mannerheimintien risteyksessä
The streets of Helsinki can be dangerous for pedestrians, as HS reports on Tuesday. Image: Mårten Lampén / Yle

Traffic in Helsinki can get a little hectic in the rush hour, and on Tuesday Helsingin Sanomat reports on one accident hotspot. Three pedestrian crossings in Töölö, surrounding a single block, all see an above average number of road traffic accidents each year. That makes the block one of the most dangerous in the country for traffic accidents, according to HS.

The paper's website also carries a video showing dangerous driving in the same neighbourhood, and also asks traffic expert Jussi Yli-Seppälä from the local council for a comment. He declined to confirm this particular block as the most dangerous in Finland, but said it does feature every possible form of transport (trams, buses, cars, pedestrians and cyclists) in a small space--and that raises the risk of accidents.

One issue can be looked at, however: speed limits. Yli-Seppälä says the 50km/h in force at that section of road is clearly too high, but that may change if a proposal before the city council is accepted towards the end of this year.

State-funded firms

Kauppalehti takes a look at the companies in Finland that make the highest percentages of their turnover from state-funded procurement contracts. Luona, which runs asylum reception centres, is the clear winner with 101 percent of its turnover coming from contracts awarded by the state.

This looks at some four billion euros in state spending, across everything from road infrastructure to ICT services via personnel costs and travel budgets. The biggest chunk, some 296.6 million euros, went to state property management firm Senate Estates.

The company most reliant on government contracts, however, was Luona. The firm is a subsidiary of Barona Group and operates in the health and social care field, but has recently expanded heavily into the asylum reception centre business. It made some 53.6 million euros in 2016 from government contracts, which equates to 101 percent of the company's turnover for the year.

Niinistö mania

Monday was the big day when Sauli Niinistö, current President of Finland, officially launched his re-election campaign. He'd already decided to run as an independent rather than via his National Coalition Party, and had collected nominating signatures all summer long. The threshold is 25,000, but Niinistö announced on Monday he'd gathered some 156,000 supporters.

That equates to more than 5 percent of the turnout in the second round of the last election in 2012, and it reflects the incumbent's extremely strong position. Ilta-Sanomat compares the numbers to other parties, noting that the rebel Finns Party faction has managed just 4,000 of the 5,000 signatures required to register as a party, while evergreen Eurosceptic Paavo Väyrynen will only admit to having support numbering in the 'four figures'.

IS suggests that the most exciting question about the election could end up being whether or not Niinistö makes it through in the first round--although you won't hear such talk from the campaign itself, so wary of they of sounding arrogant.

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