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Wednesday’s papers: Aid waste, desirable leftovers, asylum seeker IDs, busy Gaga and tropical garden for sale

The midweek front pages feature now-perpetual asylum seeker stories as well as an array of other domestic and international topics.

Gardeniassa oli kesä talvellakin.
The Gardenia centre closed at the end of 2015 after about 15 years in Helsinki's Viikki district. Image: Yle / Tuomas Keränen

Turun Sanomat of Turku carries a report estimating that one third of all EU external development cooperation funds go to waste. EU documents obtained by the Lännen Media newspaper group indicate that projects abroad are chronically late and that the expected results remain unrealised. The situation is particularly bad regarding projects in the Mediterranean region, where an estimated four euros of five go to ventures that fail to meet their goals.

TS also looks into the first confirmed case of transmission of the Zika virus in the United States. The virus, which is usually mosquito-borne, was apparently transmitted through sexual contact in Texas, by an individual who had picked it up on a recent visit to Venezuela.

On a lighter note, TS tells its readers that pop star Lady Gaga will appear on this month's most-watched US television broadcasts. This Sunday the 29-year-old, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, will sing the National Anthem at the American football's Super Bowl championship game, before giving way to halftime performers Coldplay and Beyoncé. On Feb. 15 she will lead a tribute to one of her role models, David Bowie, at the Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

Metro: Fighting food waste, selling tropical gardens

The capital region’s commuter freesheet Metro leads off with the surprise popularity of the online service ResQ. The app allows users to buy cut-rate food from restaurants in the afternoons, food that is left over from lunch. Taking part so far are half a dozen restaurants and 1600 registered users – while some 2,000 people are on a waiting list to become customers.

Also on Metro’s front page: Helsinki University and the city of Helsinki are trying to find a buyer for the Gardenia indoor tropical garden, which they closed down in November due to financial losses and a desire to divest real estate.

The paper also reports that South Karelia District Court has sentenced an asylum seeker to nearly three and a half years in prison for aggravated rape, assault, voyeurism and other offences at the Konnunsuo reception centre in Lappeenranta. The perpetrator and victim are both adult men.

VN: IDs for asylum seekers?

Västra Nyland, the Swedish-language paper of Western Uusimaa, meanwhile reports on a visit by Swedish People’s Party (SPP) parliamentarians to an asylum seekers’ reception centre in Evitskog, Kirkkonummi. Former justice minister Anna-Maja Henriksson, ex-defence minister Carl Haglund and others met with some of the 300 residents, mostly Iraqi and Afghan men, on Tuesday. The politicians were hosted by the centre's director, local Finns Party politician Pekka M. Sinisalo. Afterwards the SPP parliamentary group called for all asylum seekers to be issued with official identity cards. This would allow them to open bank accounts and therefore to work, it said.

Meanwhile VN notes that Kirkkonummi is the only municipality in Western Uusimaa that is growing. Last year Hanko, Raseborg, Ingå, Siuntio and Lohja all posted population declines, according to new figures from Statistics Finland. Kirkkonummi's population meanwhile edged close to 39,000. VN quotes the municipal director as saying most of the growth comes from families with children moving from Espoo and Helsinki in search of more living space.

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