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Wednesday's papers: Berlin attack, Saara Aalto sings, shortest day of the year

Many of Finland's newspapers Wednesday morning gave readers multiple articles with follow-up reporting on Monday's attack at a Christmas market in Berlin. On a lighter note, the triumphant return of UK X-Factor finalist Saara Aalto grabbed much of the attention of the tabloids.

Daily newspapers.
Image: E.D.Hawkins / Yle

Some papers Wednesday offered readers a dozen or more articles on various aspects of and updates on the Monday's Christmas market attack in Berlin.

Among those was Turun Sanomat  with an article featuring interviews with some of Finland's leading researchers in the study of terrorism and political violence. According to Leena Malkki of the University of Helsinki, the number of victims of terrorism in Europe has not yet reached the levels seen in the 70's and 80s, but there clearly is a wave of terror now sweeping the continent. Also, the impact differs from what was seen in the past.

"Attacks in different countries arouse feelings in a different way and also affect how the Finns feel about security," she told the paper.

For his part, Teemu Tammikko, a researcher at Finland's Institute of International Affairs, said he believes this latest attack will lead to even more cooperation among security officials on the EU level. There is already extensive cooperation and Tammikko does not believe that the upswing in attacks can be attributed to a failure by security authorities, rather it is a reflection of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Tammikko also warns that a harsh reaction aimed at the Muslim minority in Europe would make it even easier for radicals to recruit activists to their ranks.

"Confrontation and hate whip up confrontation and hate, and this is the fuel of wars," stated Tammikko.

Meanwhile several papers, such as Savon Sanomat carried short Finnish News Agency STT reports that the Finnish Security Intelligence Service SUPO has not upgraded the terrorism threat assessment level in Finland. As of Tuesday, officials were awaiting more information about the Berlin attack before carrying out a full review of the situation.

Savon Sanomat did note, however, that police in Helsinki have increased their presence at some key locations. This was done before the Berlin attack, immediately following the news of the murder of Russia's ambassador in Turkey.

Saara, Saara, Saara

Many of today's papers, especially the newsstand tabloids, are abuzz with details of the return home of UK X-Factor finalist Saara Aalto, and a impromptu show she put on at a Helsinki nightclub last night.

Saara Aalto keikalla DTM:ssä
Saara Aalto on stage in Helsinki Tuesday evening. Image: Yle

Ilta-Sanomat published a gallery of photos and reported that because she was suffering from a cold she only performed two songs, but she spent an hour on stage, giving fans the chance to take selfies with her.

The Oulu-based Kaleva gave readers details of a celebration this evening planned for that city's main square in Aalto's honour. She is schedule to perform at the free open-air event and meet with her local fans who will also be treated to a fireworks display.

The City of Oulu is presenting Saara Aalto with a 5000 euro artist's grant. Kaleva says that the City also plans to present her with "other special honours", but that those will only be revealed at this evening's celebrations.

The shortest day

Iltalehti reminds us that today, Wednesday, marks the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year.

The winter solstice in the northern hemisphere usually occurs on the 21st or 22nd of December. This year, it takes place today at 12:44 PM.

Sunrise is Helsinki is at 9:24 AM and sunset at 3:13 PM. Tomorrow, the sun will be above the horizon one minute longer.

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