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Wednesday's papers: Dirty cities, Espoo bus cravings and celeb spotting

Wednesday's newspapers cover the hidden dirt all around us, Espoo residents' disquiet over public transport changes, and an unorthodox celebrity sales pitch.

mummo menee liukuportaita alas.
Escalators can be dirtier than you might think. Image: Eveliina Matikainen / Yle

Helsingin Sanomat leads its print edition with a tour of Helsinki punctuated by readings from an ATP measurement device. The device measures microorganisms on surfaces, to provide a picture of how dirty any particular location might be. The story, therefore, is a look at the hidden dirt all around us and a story that will ensure readers wash their hands more than usual today.

Top of the list, with a reading of 1,261, was a book from a Central Helsinki library. Still filthy were an ATM machine at 663, the handrail on an escalator at 495 and a toy in a play area at a shopping centre, at 386.

Not quite so mucky were a restaurant menu, at 80 and even a toilet seat on a commuter train, at 273. Experts interviewed by HS say that the reading itself, however, can't tell you whether the organisms might cause infection or illness. In any case, it's good to maintain good hand hygiene as you go about your daily business.

Espoo Metro angst

The western extension of the Helsinki Metro system has been a big success, judging by the reduction of traffic on the roads into Helsinki, but Swedish daily Hufvudstadsbladet reports on Wednesday that not everyone in the western suburbs is happy about the new infrastructure.

Residents of Espoo are used to bus services direct to the Kamppi terminal in Helsinki, and they travel different routes to the Metro. From 3 January the bus routes will change to funnel passengers towards Metro stations, rather than straight to the city, and Espoo commuters are unhappy about the change.

It will slow some journeys down, say residents, but the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) remains unmoved. Since the Metro opened usage of the direct buses into Helsinki has fallen by between 21 and 43 percent, says the head of planning at HSL. The bus changes are coming and those living west of Helsinki will have to adjust.

Giving a little back

Iltalehti has a story detailing a generous offer from biathlon star Kaisa Mäkäräinen. She will sell fan merchandise online, and donate all the proceeds to good causes selected by her fans.

The move echoes a previous venture when she sold products online and gave the proceeds to the Red Nose Day appeal, but this time she says she's cut down on the transaction costs and will have a greater percentage of the proceeds to give away.

She's open to suggestions of good causes to support, but wants to focus on sports and young people's hobbies--as well as biathlon fans as individuals, if they're nominated to receive some money.

The story gained huge traction on social media and features a picture of Mäkäräinen in her jacket, which sports the logos of nine sponsors who will doubtless be glad of the attention.

Prince in Finland

After the news that footballing royalty was in Finland on Tuesday, Finnish tabloids have another celeb to spot on Wednesday as the Duke of Cambridge, second in line to the throne in the United Kingdom, jets in to the capital.

Ilta-Sanomat has a lengthy list of the former helicopter rescue pilot's engagements, which include meeting a sports-focused NGO and a trip to the startup festival Slush. The best chance for ordinary folk to catch a glimpse of him will likely be on Thursday afternoon, when he takes a stroll down Esplanadi in Helsinki city centre.

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