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Wednesday's papers: Finland's own mini-NASA, an underage bride, and a Finnish journalist sentenced to jail in Turkey

Our paper review this Wednesday looks at how territorial tendencies at Finland's ministries have slowed space industry development, a Turku man suspected of bringing an underage wife into the country from Iraq, and a Finnish-Turkish journalist in Turkey's crosshairs.

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Image: Yle Uutisgrafiikka

The capital's leading paper Helsinki Sanomat features a story on how self-serving ministries have held back the establishment of a dedicated space administration in Finland.

Finland's Ministry of Transport and Communications released a plan yesterday to develop its satellite navigation sector. It proposes that Finland concentrate all of its space-affiliated operations in one government unit, something people working in the field have called for since the 1980s.

Currently, the various projects linking with Finland's space exploration are sprinkled through three ministries and several organizations. Experts say this has significantly hampered Finland's space research and industrial developments.

"Ministries out to defend their own resources have always scuppered the idea. They don't want to relinquish anything or see it taken over by someone else," Hannu Koskinen, Helsinki University's physics department professor tells the paper. 

In addition to the larger countries of Europe, Sweden and Norway both have their own space administrations. In Sweden, everything space-related is organised under the Rymdstyrelsen, the Swedish National Space Board. 

"The Swedes have their own mini-NASA that they organized already in the 70s. Their space industry is several times more comprehensive," says Koskinen.

The Ministry's 14-point plan aims to make Finland one of the top countries in the world in the deployment of satellite navigation systems. It says Finland is in a state of transition, as the first small satellites of Finnish origin have recently been developed and new businesses are creating innovative space technologies.

Not 19, actually 14

The tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports on an unusual case in Southwest Finland, in which a man in Turku is suspected of bringing an underage bride into the country from Iraq.

The marriage took place in 2014 in Iraq and the man returned to Finland, where he has lived as a dual Finnish-Iraqi citizen since he was a child. The girl travelled from Iraq to Turkey, where she applied for a residence permit from the Finnish embassy.

At this point, she presented a passport that said she was 19 years of age. She was granted a Finnish ID number that said she was born in 1995.

A suspicion that the girl was in fact much younger arose when a second passport arrived from Iraq. The birth date on the second passport indicates that she was only 14 years old at the time of the wedding. The first passport is now believed to have been a counterfeit.

The Southwest District Court ordered the 27-year-old man detained on suspicion of aggravated sexual abuse of a minor, aggravated rape, aggravated deprivation of liberty, human trafficking and counterfeiting. The investigation began last spring, and the man has denied the charges, according to the paper.

Turkey clamps down on journalist

And Finland's second tabloid Iltalehti carries news of a Finnish journalist being sentenced in absentia to two years and one month in prison in Turkey.

Finnish-Turkish citizen Ayla Albayrak writes for the Wall Street Journal. After a 2015 story she wrote about government conflicts with the Kurds, Albayrak was found guilty of producing terrorist propaganda and supporting Kurdish separatists by a Turkish court.

Albayrak was in New York when the verdict was announced, and says that even though the horrible court decision shouldn't come as a surprise, she was still shocked.

IL says the Finnish Foreign Ministry told the news agency STT that they have made contact with Albayrak and have also contacted the relevant Turkish authorities.

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