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Wednesday's papers: London Finns on Brexit, civil war grave mystery, and summer payment delays

Wednesday's newspapers include stories on Finns in London worried about Brexit, a mass grave re-discovered recently dating back to the Civil War, and difficulties for small businesses as customers delay payments over the summer.

Hautaristi.
A grave in the forst in southern Finland is in the spotlight in Wednesday's newspapers. Image: Petri Lassheikki / Yle

Monday saw Britain unveil its proposals on safeguarding the rights of EU nationals in the UK after Brexit, a move with some significance for the large numbers of Finns who have made their homes in the British isles.

Helsingin Sanomat interviewed several for a feature story on their plans, views and feelings about the UK government's behaviour, and it is not a happy read. Some are applying for permanent residency and citizenship, but reluctantly: "I had to swallow my pride," says one.

Many of the Finns questioned were queasy about the planned register of EU nationals, with one asking why they didn't go the whole hog and ask EU citizens to wear some kind of mark on their jacket. A Finnish author who is close to receiving a British passport, found the process cumbersome. She was asked who had built which palace, and now has to prove she speaks English.

"I've only written six books in English, after all," she noted drily.

The article points out research that suggests the bureaucracy will mean EU citizens leave Britain, with some 47 percent expected to depart over the next five years. The tone of most of the people interviewed by HS is also negative. They've seen discourse about foreigners get more hostile over the last year, and one said he'd even started reducing his consumption of news so he didn't get too depressed.

Forest grave riddle

Finland's National Bureau of Investigation announced on Monday that it was seeking information about a grave found in the forest in Hausjärvi, southern Finland. Police had been investigating a possible serial killer, and came across a small cross in the woods. Every paper carries the story on Wednesday.

It was known to locals, some of whom had even brought flowers occasionally, but the identities of those interred there were a mystery. Police opened the grave and found the remains of four young men, who seem to have been killed in the final stages of Finland's brutal civil war in 1918.

Local lore had it that leftist Red Guards had been executed and buried there when German troops had arrived in the area to assist White forces led by General Mannerheim.

Ilta-Sanomat reports that police have contacted living relatives of one of the men, and are hoping to find relatives of the others too.

Payment problems

Kauppalehti has an editorial on the summer problem of unpaid bills. Finns are pretty good at settling debts, according to the business daily, but in the summer--when Finland effectively shuts down for July--things can get tricky for small and medium sized businesses in particular.

KL says that one in five businesses in Finland report liquidity problems they attribute to delayed payments, while one in six says the problem has prevented their growth. Two years ago a law mandated payment within 30 days, but allowed businesses to agree longer payment times between themselves.

That's quite a glaring loophole given the lopsided power relations in many business deals. From the start of this year VAT only becomes due on the day a client pays their bill, preventing small businesses from having to pay tax before they're received payment, but that only applies on invoices worth less than 500,000 euros.

KL wants the government to apply to raise that to two million euros, but also to remove the loophole allowing 'voluntary' extension of payment times.

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