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Wednesday’s papers: Tele-marketing fraud, gender inequality, lesbianism and foreign-born crickets

A telemarketing scam targets the elderly, the origins of lesbianism, policies that favour men, and a growing appetite for crickets.

Ultraäänikuvassa muutaman kuukauden ikäinen sikiö.
Exposure to hormones in utero can impact sexuality, say Finnish researchers. Image: Yle

Helsingin Sanomat’s top story this morning exposes a multimillion-euro telemarketing scam involving a Finnish-language anti-bullying magazine, Kouluturvaa.

Headquartered in Spain, the company behind the magazine has allegedly preyed on the elderly and sent magazine invoices to people who never subscribed to the publication. The telemarketing company, now known to be run by a former criminal convicted for fraud, also neglected to pay staff salaries.

Consumer authorities in Finland are now looking into some 1,200 complaints regarding the magazine.

Study: Sexual orientation develops in womb

Turning to science, Finnish researchers say they’re the first scientists in the world to pinpoint the biological origins of butch (masculine) and femme (feminine) lesbian identity, reports national daily Helsingin Sanomat.

Evolutionary biologist Markus J. Rantala of Turku University and his colleagues argue that socialisation and environment don’t influence a person’s sexual orientation.

In The Archives of Sexual Behavior, an academic journal, the scientists propose that butch lesbianism is the outcome of female fetuses receiving an overdose of testosterone in the womb while those identifying as femme lesbians were bathed in oestrogen while in utero.

Kela: Economic policies favour men

Men have benefited from PM Juha Sipiä’s economic and social policies, writes Swedish-language national daily Hufvudstadsbladet, citing a fresh study by Finland’s Social Insurance Institution (Kela).

Kela's researchers say gender equality has suffered during the current government, with women being left with less disposable income than men.

They base their claim on findings that the austerity-minded government's 'competitiveness pact,' which cut salaries for public sector employees, disproportionately affects women who are more likely to be working in the field. The government's cuts to child benefit payments also hurt women, according to Kela.

Men’s disposable income grew by 0.6 percent between 2016-2018 while women’s rose by 0.51 percent. This means men pocketed an average of 150 euros more annually than women during the the three-year period.

Food for thought

Although some 50 Finnish companies have jumped on the edible cricket business bandwagon, many crickets used in domestic foodstuffs are still sourced from abroad, writes agricultural sector newspaper Maaseudun tulevaisuus.

Since Finland began allowing crickets to be sold as food last year they have been portrayed as more environmentally friendly to raise than livestock. However Finnish bakery and food service company Fazer is importing some of the cricket-based flour for its insect bread from the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Turku-based insect food company Entis, which launched a minced meat-substitute in Prisma grocery stores this week, is flying its crickets in from Canada. The company says it will source crickets from domestic bug businesses when the price is right.

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