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Wednesday’s papers: The 2 faces of Xi, return of a Cold War dinosaur and the costs of a baby

The midweek editions of Finland's newspapers feature previews of Wednesday's meeting between the Chinese and Finnish presidents as well as other items from across the political and human-interest spectrum.

Kiinan presidentti vierailee Suomessa.
The Chinese and Finnish presidents posed with their wives on Wednesday morning. Image: Yle

The main Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet runs a front-page evaluation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who arrived in Finland for a state visit on Tuesday. He meets on Wednesday with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and Speaker of Parliament Maria Lohela before heading to Florida for talks with US President Donald Trump. 

"Xi presents a contradictory image of himself. On one hand he appears as a progressive defender of free trade and the climate treaty. On the other hand he has substantially tightened the grip on his country's dissidents and minorities," the paper writes. It quotes Timo Vuori, Director, International Affairs at Finland Chamber of Commerce, who notes that on a per-capita basis Finland is the European country that has invested most heavily in China.

HBL also picks up a report from Sweden's Svenska Dagbladet and the Norway-based Independent Barents Observer saying that Russia plans to bring the world’s biggest nuclear submarine into the Baltic Sea this summer. The 172-metre TK-208 is a dinosaur remnant of the Cold War which can carry 200 nuclear warheads.

Russia intends to sail the sub out of the White Sea and into the Baltic through the narrow strait between Sweden and Denmark – which is so shallow that the naval behemoth will have to surface and thus be visible. The aim is for it to take part in a naval parade off St Petersburg at the end of July.

TS: Turku "welcomes" 300 refugees

The Turku broadsheet Turun Sanomat looks into last year's statistics regarding refugees settling in the former capital. It only officially offered 15 municipal berths for refugees, but altogether more than 300 moved in. The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Southwest Finland (ELY Centre), counts 304 new refugee residents, including those who have moved in voluntarily, through family reunifications or as unaccompanied minors.

"We have received 234 refugees from other municipalities, so Turku is really bearing its responsibility for refugees," says Minna Virta of Turku's Family and Social Work Services.

Meanwhile one of the most-read stories on the paper's website is an item from Monday revealing that a middle-aged man who was killed in the early hours of Sunday in the Raisio suburb was a Finns Party candidate in the ongoing municipal elections. A man in his early 40s has been detained in connection with the killing, which took place around 1:30 am on a square in Raisio. Any votes for the candidate will be tallied as usual and benefit his party according to the D'Hondt method used in the election.

Advance voting ended on Tuesday, with election day this Sunday.

AL: The costs of a baby, the risks of hockey

The Tampere daily Aamulehti reports that as of this month Finland is paying each employer a lump sum of 2500 euro whenever a worker takes time off to have a baby.

The chair of the Finnish women entrepreneurs’ association calls it “a moment of joy”. The organisation has long argued that the cost burden has been unfair to employers with female workers. It calculates that the average childbirth leads to losses of 17,500 euros for the mother’s employer. The group that denies that the new reimbursement will give female entrepreneurs an unfair advantage, pointing out that the payment is a small fraction of the total cost.

AL also devotes many column inches to Tuesday night's men's hockey semi-final game between local heroes Tappara and visiting Helsinki rivals HIFK. Tampere won by a score of 1-0, their eighth consecutive win over the capital side. That gives them a 2-0 lead in the series.

But the match was overshadowed by a particularly brutal-looking high-speed tackle by IFK's Kai Kantola against Tappara's Juhani Jasu, which spurred a heated online debate, although it was not immediately ruled foul by the referees. The incident seemed to have steeled Tampere's resolve as five minutes later Sebastian Repo slammed in the winning goal. Alas for Tappara, their celebration was also muted by the fact that less than 5,000 spectators pitched up, meaning nearly a third of seats were empty at the Hakametsä arena.

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