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Wednesday's papers: Tax Day 2, end of coal and Eremenko revelations

Finland's press carries more information mined from yesterday's release of 2015 tax data, a story on the government's plan to ban coal, and revelations from a new book about a prominent Finnish-Russian family.

Helsingin Energian kivihiilivoimalaitos Hanasaaressa.
Coal-fired power stations will be history by 2030, reports Helsingin Sanomat. Image: Jyrki Lyytikkä / Yle

It's the day after the publication of 2015 tax data, and all of the newspapers carry new stories about the information dump. There is, after all, a lot to get through.

Helsingin Sanomat reports on some of the highest earners, explaining where their wealth comes from, while also analysing the taxes paid and earnings made by those with the biggest incomes.

The story shows that earnings for those at the top of the income tree have risen over the last few years, but their tax percentages have remained the same -- which is news in a country with aggressively progressive taxation.

Coal on the way out?

Finland is planning a new energy strategy, and it will be much cleaner and greener than what's gone before. Helsingin Sanomat reports on Wednesday that the plan involves banning coal burning power stations by 2030 -- by legislation if necessary.

The plan states that some 40 percent of transport should be run on renewable energy, at least 50 percent of overall power consumption should be based on renewables, oil imports should be halved and self-sufficiency in energy should exceed 55 percent of Finnish needs.

The centrepiece of the plan is, however, the move to eliminate coal. It is driven by EU targets on reducing carbon emissions in a bid to counter climate change, which commit each member state to a 40 percent reduction in emissions. The minister in charge, Olli Rehn, says that it will be a momentous decision that puts Finland in a position of historic leadership.

"It would be equivalent to the move to give women the vote," said Rehn, referencing the momentous 1906 move to allow women to vote and to stand as candidates for election to the country's new, unicameral parliament.

Eeremenkos' dual heritage in the spotlight

The Eremenko family are one of the biggest success stories in Finland. Dad Alexei Eremenko moved to Finland in the 1990s to play football, eventually settling in the Ostrobothnian town of Jakobstad and raising his family there. The kids all became footballers too, and Alexei Junior, Roman and Sergei all represent Finnish national teams.

They're also trilingual, speaking Finnish, Russian and Swedish--as well as English--and that multicultural background provides fodder for a new book out this week. Eeremenko - berättelsen om en fotbollsfamilj  (Eremenko - stories of a football family)  is a Swedish-language tome by Mårten Westö that gathers anecdotes and stories from the whole family. Ilta-Sanomat has a couple of nuggets from the book, and they focus on the cultural heritage that makes the family so unique.

Roman, who now plays in Moscow for CSKA, says in the book that now it would be impossible to choose which national team to represent, as he feels part of both: in Finland he sometimes feels like an outsider, while in Russia he is not regarded as a 'true' Russian.

His brother Alexei Junior, meanwhile, has a different and more dramatic tale to tell. He ponders in the book the circumstances under which Russia might attack Finland, and comes to the conclusion that it could only happen if Finland joined Nato. That's a disturbing thought to Alexei Jr, who says that the Finnish media is too critical of Russia and too positive about Nato.

Alexei Junior also says he's noticed an increase in anti-Russian sentiment in Finland, recounting an instance of racist abuse at a petrol station last year.

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