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Wednesday's papers: Protection for politicians, dirty trains and Metallica rocks Finland

Images of politicians used as target practice, VR suffers cleanliness lapse, and top rock band donates to Finnish kids.

Kansallismielisten liittouman nettisivu
Images from a summer camp arranged by the far-right Nationalist Alliance appeared to show politicians being used as target practice. Image: Kansallismielisten liittouma

Tabloid Iltalehti reports on the continued fallout from the news that images of certain Finnish politicians were used as ‘target practice’ at a summer camp arranged by the far-right organisation Nationalist Alliance. Images released from the camp appeared to show attendees firing bows and air-rifles at a number of different targets, which had portrait photographs placed over them - although the faces were obscured in the published images.

Leader of the Left Alliance and current Minister for Education Li Andersson, whose image appears to have been one of those used, tells the paper that she hopes ministers and parliamentarians can continue to be in public without the need for personal bodyguards or security guards.

“I think it is terrible, that such exercises are arranged,” Andersson told Iltalehti. “No one involved in politics should be concerned about their own personal security or physical integrity. If such a culture becomes more common, it is a real problem for Finnish democracy.”

In a separate story, the tabloid also reports that Jussi Halla-aho, leader of the Finns Party, has begun an internal party investigation to discover what role - if any - members of his party may have had in the controversial summer camp.

“We will send a request for clarification to those members of the Finns Party who can be assumed to have participated in this so-called camp to get a proper picture of what has happened there and who has participated,” Halla-aho told Iltalehti.

“Dust balls, debris and dirt”

Main daily Helsingin Sanomat reports that the level of cleanliness on national rail company VR’s trains has declined noticeably since the operator changed cleaning contractors in June. According to HS, both passengers and staff have become frustrated by the apparent drop in standards since the contract moved from previous incumbent Sol to RTK at the beginning of last month.

The paper details the experience of passenger Riitta Lassander, who recently took an early morning train from Helsinki to the city of Joensuu in central Finland. Lassander described the “dust balls, debris and dirt” which were evident along the corridors of the train, and the “crumbs and various stains” in the restaurant carriage.

Vesa Pippuri, chief operating officer of VR, admitted to HS that the transitional phase of moving from one contractor to another had produced challenges, but that feedback from both customers and staff has been very welcome.

“There has been a certain rush at the start,” Pippuri told HS. “However, working together with the service provider, we are constantly trying to improve the situation.”

Rock band's donation to children's charity

Many papers in Finland cover the concert by American heavy metal band Metallica, which was attended by 55,000 people in the southern Finnish city of Hämeenlinna on Tuesday evening.

Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports that in advance of performing at the sold-out gig, the band donated 55,000 euros to the Finnish children’s charity Hope - one euro for every member of the audience. The charitable rockers have a habit of donating to a local charity whenever they perform.

Eveliina Hostila, executive director of the charity, is pictured receiving the giant cheque from members of the world-famous band, and she told IS that the money will be used to support the hobbies of over 200 children for a full year.

As if this was not enough to endear Metallica to their Finnish audience, the tabloid further reports that the band included a Finnish language song in their set - and not for the first time. Bassist Robert Trujillo - singing in Finnish - covered Kuuma kesä (Hot Summer) by Tampere rock band Popeda.

According to IS, Trujillo also sang in Finnish during the band's last appearance in Finland, at Helsinki's Hartwall Arena in May 2018, covering Hassisen kone's Rappiolla track.

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