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Wednesday's papers: Active model cuts, Russian expulsions down the years, and warmer weather on the way — maybe

Wednesday's papers look at benefit cuts, the expulsion of Russian diplomats and hope of a warmer shift in the weather.

Venäjän Suurlähetystö Suomessa.
The Russian embassy in Helsinki will soon be one diplomat down. Image: Yle

Aamulehti on Wednesday reports on the first impact of the controversial 'active model', which aims to encourage unemployed people to be more active in their job searches, and have their benefits cut if they fail to meet the stringent conditions laid down in the plan.

The Tampere daily says that, according to figures from Finland's Social Insurance Institution Kela, some 54 percent of unemployed people have failed to meet the conditions and are therefore set to have their benefits cut from the start of April. The figures were provided based on Kela's data from 25 March, so small changes could be possible to the headline figure before the cuts take effect.

The 'active model' demands that jobless benefit recipients must perform 18 hours of paid work over three months, or enter a government-sanctioned job-related training scheme, or have their benefits cut by 4.65 percent.

A citizens' initiative looking to abolish the 'active model' is currently under consideration by parliament. 

Diplomat expulsions nothing new, but publicity is

On Monday Finland announced the expulsion of one Russian diplomat, in a move designed to show solidarity with Britain following the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter in Salisbury for which Britain blames Russia.  Some 26 countries have now expelled Russian diplomats so far. 

Helsingin Sanomat attempts to delve into the history of diplomatic tit-for-tat, noting that the individual to be expelled is suspected of forking for Russian intelligence rather than conducting normal diplomacy, and reporting that such expulsions are nothing new or indeed unusual.

Between 1975 and 2003 some 45 diplomats were expelled, reports HS, mostly for conducting illegal espionage or attempting to recruit Finns as intelligence assets. Those instances were not, however, publicised, but rather handled on the quiet. Countries have the right to declare anyone persona non grata under the Vienna convention governing international diplomacy, and they are not required to provide a reason.

Last week Finland's security Intelligence Police Supo gave Russian intelligence a special mention in its annual assessment of security threats in Finland.

Warmer weather on the way?

Long-range weather forecasts in tabloid newspapers might rouse suspicions in some readers, but as it's still icy cold and we're heading into April, Ilta-Sanomat's optimistic outlook is eye-catching.

The paper reports that after Easter weather across Europe will improve, with warmer conditions for everyone--including Finland. Even so, reports IS, thermal spring is around 2-3 weeks late arriving in Finland.

And even if the weather gets warmer than the sub-zero conditions prevailing this week, it still won't be as warm as the seasonal averages.

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