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Wednesday's papers: Thoughts on terror, mass murder trial, drinks in the grocery, digging the past, and Koivisto funeral plans

Again on Wednesday, developments in the UK in the wake of the Manchester attack were high on the agenda of the Finnish newspaper press. However, there was plenty of room for items including evergreens such as alcohol policy and this summer's planned archeological digs.

Daily newspapers.
Image: E.D.Hawkins / Yle

Most of the nation's main newspapers continued detailed coverage of developments following Monday night's bombing in Manchester, England.

Helsingin Sanomat also has an essay by foreign desk reporter Heikki Aittokoski entitled, "Resentment is the keyword of our age, and repeated terror attacks can test Europe even more".

Aittokoski presents a review of the centuries-long history of terrorism in Europe and the rash of political assassinations in the late 19th and early 20th century. He also takes up the concept of resentment as a motivating factor in terrorism.

He says that radical Islamic terrorists would also surely prefer to assassinate heads of state. However, their security arrangements these days are so extensive that murderers strike where they can: a concert in Manchester, a shopping street in Stockholm, a Christmas market in Berlin, the metro in St. Petersburg, cafes in Paris.

These are all soft targets, part of daily life, where the hurt is the greatest.

Aittokoski argues that Europe has moved into an age of repeated terror attacks and we do not know how long it will last. If the spiral of terror just goes on and on, it is easy to predict that the pressure for tough measures will grow. That will mean even more armed guards, more security checks, more surveillance, more raids on flimsy grounds.

He wraps up this piece by pointing to the long-term impact terrorism may have, "If this happens, liberal democracy will no longer be so liberal, so believing in freedoms, so open-minded. Security and freedom cannot be maximized at the same time, so finding a balance will turn out to be really hard."

Twin mass murder trial

The Tampere-based Aamulehti reports that the Pirkanmaa District Court will hand down a verdict today in the trial of Iraqi twin brothers accused of taking part in a massacre in Tikrit, Iraq in 2014.

The prosecution's charges say that one or the other of the brothers, who came to Finland as asylum seekers, shot and killed at least 11 people in the Camp Speicher massacre in which ISIS forces slaughtered over 1500 unarmed Shia Iraqi Air Force cadets.

The charges are for terrorism with the intent of committing murder, aggravated war crime by murder and aggravated assault with the intent of terror.

A life sentence is being sought for the shooter and 12 years in prison for the other as an accessory.

The case has been problematic because the accused are twins and almost identical in appearance. If neither is found guilty of the murder charges, both, says the prosecutor, should serve time for accessory to murder.

To sell or not to sell

Oulu's Kaleva today published the results of a survey by the Uutissuomalainen newspaper group on a subject that never fails to interest the media and the public - should grocery stores be given the right to stock and sell strong beers, strong ciders and higher-alcohol content ready-mixed drinks?

The Uutissuomalainen poll of 1000 adults found a slight majority, 51 percent, do not believe that a more liberal sales policy would increase alcohol consumption in the country. Forty-one percent said they think it would, while 7 percent had no opinion on the subject.

The survey found a clear relationship between attitudes on more liberal alcohol policy and political party support. A large majority of Centre Party voters believe that sales of stronger drinks in supermarkets would boost consumption. The least concerned were Finns Party voters.

Public dig

According to Turun Sanomat, the public this summer will have the chance to take part in an archeological excavation of a medieval convent right in the middle of the city of Turku.

The dig will be launched this month with test trenches in the courtyard of the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova museum. As of July, members of the public will be able to get down in the dirt with the professionals.

The project is aimed at promoting archeological research in Turku and to expand interest in the field. The museum wants to create an open research platform, drawing in non-professionals with an interest in the city's cultural heritage, and to explore whether or not members of the public can provide their own expertise.

Thursday's state funeral

The freesheet Metro today carries a short item with some details of Thursday's state funeral for former President Mauno Koivisto at Helsinki's Lutheran Cathedral.

The paper says that up to 10,000 people are expected to gather in the Senate Square and along the route to Hietaniemi Cemetery.

Traffic in the city centre will be rerouted and a number of streets, Snellmanninkatu, Vironkatu, Meritullinkatu and Hietaniemenkatu will be closed between 2PM and 4PM. Parking is already temporarily banned on those streets.

The funeral service begins at 1PM.

A police spokesman quoted by Metro said that good sites for the public to gather to watch the funeral procession would the steps of the cathedral, along Pohjoisesplanadi or near the Mannerheim statue on Mannerheimintie.

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