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Wednesday's papers: Stricter citizenship requirements, dead lion and car prices

Minister's call for stricter citizenship rules following a suspected sexual abuse case in Oulu, the death of Helsinki zoo's male lion and a drop in car prices.

Leijonanpentu urosleijonan kimpussa Korkeasaaren eläintarhassa.
Two lions at the Korkeasaari Zoo. Image: Korkeasaari

Reacting to news that seven men with foreign background are suspected of the sexual abuse and rape of an underaged girl in Oulu, Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen told tabloid Iltalehti that the criteria for granting Finnish citizenship should be stricter.

"It is scandalous for anyone to think that this is the way to act in Finnish society," Mykkänen said.

Police suspect the girl who is under 15 had been abused over a period of several months. Some of the suspects are Finnish citizens.

According to Mykkänen, more needs to be done to educate people migrating to Finland. "Finnish rules are based on gender equality and the right to live free from harassment, without an exception," he noted.

"While the current integration programme into the Finnish society includes education about the country, we need to see how migrants could to a larger degree commit to our values and rules."

In addition, the minister called for improvement in the co-operation between police, child protection and health services. "Especially in long-term sexual abuse cases, which the one in Oulu seems to be, the exchange of information between different organisations may help uncover such wrongdoing earlier," Mykkänen noted.

A new law, which will speed up the repatriation of foreigners convicted of serious crimes in Finland, will go into force at the start of next year, Iltalehti writes.

Mohan the lion dies

Daily Helsingin Sanomat reports that Mohan, a male lion in the Korkesaari Zoo, has died. Despite medication, Mohan increasingly suffered from leg and joint pain during the last year of his life, and was therefore euthanised on Tuesday, HS writes.

Mohan – an Asiatic lion – came to the zoo as a two-year-old from Germany in 2004 and lived to be 16 years, the paper said.

Zoo manager Sanna Hellström said Mohan was known for his loud roars in the evening. "Mohan acted quite indifferently towards zoo visitors, but he guarded his pride closely ," she added.

Two female Asiatic lions remain in the zoo, which plans to form a new pride, HS said.

"There can only be one male per pride and there tends to be an oversupply of male lions. We need to see what the situation is at European zoos at the moment," Hellström explained.

The zoo works with Asiatic lion conservation specialists to decide how to best protect the vitality of the species. Asiatic lions are an endangered species: only 600 of them exist in a small area of north-western India, HS said.

Car prices fall

Meanwhile, government's surprise move to slash car taxes has had an immediate effect, writes Kauppalehti. According to the paper, many importers have already reduced prices, while others will introduce lower prices at the start of January.

Based on calculations by the Finnish Central Organisation for Motor Trades and Repairs, the cost of a car will decrease by 750 euros on average, Kauppalehti said.

In an unexpected move on Monday, Finland's finance ministry said will adjust the country's emissions-based vehicle tax, thereby levelling out a previous tax hike for owners of cars that pollute more than others.

Kauppalehti writes that the price of a Mercedes-Benz E220d 4Matic Business AMG has fallen by more than 1,900 euros to about 66,900 euros, while buyers would now be able to snatch a Toyota Yaris 1,5 Hybrid for slightly less than 20,000 euros, a discount of 560 euros from the previous price.

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