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Wednesday’s papers: Shadow budgets, tech’s diversity problem and winter power outages

The opposition offers an alternative spending breakdown, tech’s lasting inclusiveness problem and electricity scarcity.

Slush ei olisi mitään ilman vapaaehtoisiaan.
Slush is reliant on hundreds of young people working for free while venture capitalists make multi-million euro deals at the event. Image: Samuli Pentti / Slush

The Finnish media on Wednesday explores opposition parties’ alternative budgets. Many papers also devote space to tech industry event Slush, where investors with deep pockets can take huge bets on startups.

On Tuesday the IMF announced that it does not expect Finland to balance its state budget by the end of the current parliamentary term in 2023. On Wednesday opposition parties put forward their alternative state budgets in Parliament.

Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet reports that the conservative National Coalition Party says it would shave a billion euros off taxes, the Finns Party aims to slash development aid while the Christian Democrats would channel more funding to families.

This is the National Coalition Party’s first alternative budget after 12 years in government. The party has also proposed diverting funds from income-related unemployment support to education.

Inclusion in tech?

Helsingin Sanomat looks at the tech industry’s diversity problem as the tech industry festival Slush kicks off in the capital on Thursday.

The importance of diversity--whether pertaining to age, race or sex--has never really been on the agenda in Finland, Katja Toropainen, a former curator at Slush, told the paper. She now works with a non-profit, Inklusiiv, raising awareness on diversity in Finnish worklife.

As Yle reported earlier, a lack of cultural diversity is a problem in Finnish workplaces.

This year, women make up 39 percent of speakers at Slush, up by one percentage point from last year. In 2018, 33 percent of attendees were female.

Slush organisers, however, said they have attempted to bring diversity to the event. Earlier this year, Slush CEO Andreas Saari said he would no longer appear on all-male panels--an idea several male professors latched on to earlier this week.

This week the Yle News All Points North podcast meets Anne Badan, CEO and founder of The Shortcut about why diversity matters in startups.

Power to the people

With winter right around the corner, business daily Kauppalehti says Finland could face power shortages in the coming months as Sweden will have less electricity available for export due to power plant closures.

Grid operator Fingrid said it has become more difficult to obtain imported electricity for heavily import-dependent Finland during winter consumption peaks.

An electricity shortage is possible if the whole of Finland is hit by a severe and prolonged sub-zero cold spell, according to Fingrid.

In such a case Fingrid estimates that, in a situation of peak consumption, electricity consumption in Finland will rise to approximately 15,300 MW and one-fifth of the electricity, approximately 3,400 MW, must be imported from abroad, mainly central Europe.

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