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Wednesday's papers: Missile 'bombshell', MP's email procreation, and Finland's loneliness problem

Wednesday's newspapers include stories on Finland's role in the MH17 investigation, an unusual story about one MP's decision to start a family, and an academic's campaign against loneliness in Finland.

Newspapers, lehdet, sanomalehti
Image: Yle

On Tuesday it emerged that Finland had played a key role in the investigation of the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine in 2014 and went down, killing all 298 people on board. Finland has the same kind of weapon believed to have taken down that flight--Russian-made BUKs--and it had allowed investigators from Holland to carry out secret tests in Finland to determine the type of rocket that had hit the plane.

So far, so ordinary, but it turns out that the investigators have concluded that the plane was taken out by a Russian-made BUK, fired from an area controlled by Russia-backed separatists at the time. On Wednesday Iltalehti is rather excited about that, and more specifically Finland's role in confirming it. In an opinion piece next to the paper's lead story on the missile tests, reporter Olli Ainola describes the tests as a 'foreign policy bombshell'.

"Finland's contribution to the criminal investigation could be decisive," writes Ainola. "Finland could give the prosecutor evidence which came from a missile Russia provided for Finland. That would be a political bombshell. The Prime Minister's and President's cheeks would surely burn."

For that reason, suggests Ainola, Finland's government and foreign ministry are keeping lips tightly sealed on the topic.

Toivola's happy family

Green MP Jani Toivola has recently published a book, and Ilta-Sanomat mines it for stories on Wednesday. Toivola is the first black MP in Finland, and he's also gay, a combination which makes him unique in Finnish political history and a fascinating topic for journalists.

The book, which is called 'I'll be white when I grow up', contains one anecdote about how he became a father. It all started with an email from Kirsi, a woman he'd never met before. She explained in the email that she wanted a child but not a relationship, and suggested they have a baby.

Toivola was initially suspicious, not least because he was then in a relationship and his partner did not want kids. But after meeting Kirsi at the cafe in parliament, they started to meet regularly and discuss practical arrangements for starting a family.

Eventually he decided that a chance like that doesn't come along very often and that he had to take it. Now Kirsi looks after their now-three-year-old daughter at the weekend and Toivola does so during the week, and he's pretty pleased with that arrangement.

Loneliness: A Finnish disease

Helsingin Sanomat carries a story about loneliness based largely on Tampere University professor Juho Saari's comments. Saari believes that politicians and policymakers don't have a good handle on the real problems facing Finns, and that many of those problems come down to loneliness and a lack of social networks and support.

That's the theory behind his book, 'Lonely Finland', which was published last week. In it he argues that human values are more important than economic infrastructure.

"Loneliness and a lack of social relationships are serious gaps in Finns' basic security," says Saari. "No matter how much we invest in growth and employment, while this other side of things is not taken care of, it's a deep and chronic cause of suffering."

Saari says it's difficult to focus on the problem, as governments find it more natural to declare a fight against obesity, depression and substance abuse problems--even though loneliness might be a more serious issue.

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