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Tuesday's papers: Trial of top cops begins, Stubb hopes to be the next Juncker, and an award-winning hospital

Finland's papers analyse a possible dereliction of duty among Helsinki's police, Alexander Stubb's push to become the next European Commission president, and more.

Uusi lastensairaala
The New Children's Hospital in Helsinki. Image: Kimmo Hiltunen / Yle

Turun Sanomat starts out our review this Tuesday with news that an important trial concerning eight top police officers in Finland has begun.

The case revolves around improprieties between the years 2008 and 2013 with the police informant register. The district court prosecutor says the entire chain of command of the Helsinki Police knew that former narcotics unit boss and convicted drug crime offender Jari Aarnio regularly misused the register by, for example, failing to record his interactions with his contacts, but chose to turn a blind eye to what he was up to. The men are charged with dereliction of duty, and if they are found guilty, they will likely receive a four-month suspended prison sentence or heavy fines.

Former national police commissioner Mikko Paatero, suspended National Bureau of Investigation director Robin Lardot, former head of the Helsinki Police Jukka Riikonen and the current suspended director of the Helsinki Police Lasse Aapio are some of the top police officials on trial, joined by other lower rank law enforcement officials. Lardot and Aapio have both been suspended from their jobs during the legal proceedings, and Paatero and Riikonen have retired. They all deny the charges against them.

The Helsinki District Court has reserved 60 days in court to hear the case, and expect the trial to last until next spring.

Stubb sets his sights high

The country's most widely-read daily, Helsingin Sanomat, reports on a Financial Times story that says Finland's former prime minister Alexander Stubb is going to announce his candidacy as the conservative candidate for the position of European Commission President today.

The former front runner, France's Michel Barnier, withdrew from the race last week. Stubb confirmed that he would be speaking from Strasburg at 5 pm Finnish time in a Monday-night tweet. A noted polyglot, Stubb wrote his tweet in flawless German, French and English – mimicking the style of the current European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

According to the Finnish paper, FT said Stubb is preparing for a five-week "positive campaign", in which he intends to defend European values – taking a leave of absence from his current job as vice-president of the European Investment Bank to do so.

If Stubb is chosen as the lead candidate for the European People's Party in Helsinki in November, he will likely become the next EC president, HS writes. This is because the conservative parties of Europe are expected to win the most votes in the next European Parliament elections in May 2019.

Tenth consecutive year of high September temps

Next the Kajaani-based paper Kainuun Sanomat has a story on the unseasonably warm month of September that Finland enjoyed. It reports that the Finnish Meteorological Institute says it was the tenth year in a row with warmer-than-normal September temperatures, with the monthly average three degrees higher than usual.

The highest temperature of the month was recorded in the western coastal city of Rauma, where it was a balmy 26.1 degrees on 8 September. This was the 64th day of temperatures over the magical 'helleraja' (heat wave) of 25 degrees in Finland in 2018, falling just one day short of the all-time heat wave record from 2002.

In contrast, KS also reports that Finland has already had its first measureable snowfall of the season, as two centimetres of snow was recorded in the northwest municipality of Kilpisjärvi on 25 September.

New Children's Hospital wins Finlandia prize

And finally, the local paper Helsingin Uutiset carries news of the New Children's Hospital in Helsinki winning the coveted Finlandia Prize for Architecture. The prize was awarded for the fifth time by the Finnish Association of Architects yesterday at the Aalto University campus in Otaniemi.

Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District’s New Children’s Hospital opened on 17 September, and was designed by SARC Architects and Architect Group Reino Koivula. The winner was chosen by the famous Finnish forensic orthodontist Helena Ranta, who praised the architect teams for putting the hospital's young patients and their families front and centre in the design process.

Over 3,600 people worked on the construction of the 170-million-euro building, with a public fundraising campaign contributing nearly 40 million of the total.

The New Children's Hospital features eight floors above ground, a basement, and a machine room floor on the roof. It has over 2,000 rooms, including 12 operating rooms, 16 intensive care units, 118 wards and 220 consultation or rehabilitation rooms. The façade of the 48,000-square-meter facility is decorated with 180 brightly-coloured glass panels and over 13,000 ceramic planks.

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