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Wednesday diaries: Government talks continue, freediving concerns and a call for vice-presidency

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Center leader Annika Saarikko is at the center of negotiating deals with the government on Wednesday.

Image: Juha Kivioja / Yle

Monday’s state budget negotiations ended late in the evening without a resolution, leaving Finnish journalists to try to figure out what to say about the talks.

Head of Center Annika saarikko told reporters as she left the talks after 11 p.m. that she didn’t know how it would turn out. Its deputies were due to meet Wednesday morning to discuss the state of the talks.

IS reported on Wednesday that the budget deficit in 2023 is a major bone of contention. The deficit would then be 500 million euros, according to the initial proposal, and PM Sanna Marin (SDP) proposed to close this gap with 300 million euros in spending cuts and 100-150 million euros in tax increases.

This may or may not be enough to convince the Center Party. Their parliamentary group president Antti Kurvinen told Iltalehti that his colleagues are concerned about the direction of the government.

The Center and the Swedish People’s Party have advocated fiscal discipline, while the SDP, Greens and the Left Alliance are more relaxed on government bonds. Planned spending has increased due to the Covid crisis, so the current dispute is over how quickly Finland is returning to its spending framework.

This year the SDP figures including the vice president Mattias Mäkynen discussed public finances with a new focus. In January, Mäkynen told Helsingin Sanomat that the international discussion on the issue had evolved and the biggest risk was to cut spending too quickly, as he argues after the 2008 financial crisis.

This kind of speech has disturbed the Center Party, according to Kurvinen, and that is why the fate of the government is now at stake.

He told Iltalehti that he wanted to ensure that the government was a so-called “Red Land” administration, where the rural base of the Center was supported along with SDP interest groups. Fiscal discipline is crucial in creating that impression, according to Kurvinen.

“If economic policy continues along the same lines as the Lipponen and Vanhanen and other governments, then this is not a green left government,” Kurvinen said. “But if we move into some kind of new economic era and try to follow new economic doctrines which are different from Finnish economic policy, then we might move to a green left government.”

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Harris call

Several articles report on the president By Sauli Niinistö call with the US vice president Kamala harris, which the president’s office described as “long and pleasant”.

The two leaders stressed that bilateral relations were “excellent” and that the Finnish reading referred to relations between the United States and Russia.

“The discussion also focused on great power relations and the tense international situation,” the statement read. “President Niinistö explained his initiative to strengthen the spirit of Helsinki as it turns 50 in 2025.”

There has been speculation about a meeting between the US president Joe biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Poutine this summer. In 2018, then president Donald trump met Putin in Helsinki.

Apnea occurs more

Helsingin Sanomat publishes an article on the increasing prevalence of sleep apnea in Finland on Wednesday.

The paper quotes the medical publication Lääkärilehti as saying that about 1.46 million people in Finland can suffer from the disease, and 80 percent of them go undiagnosed. People with sleep apnea temporarily stop breathing while they sleep.

Snoring is one of the symptoms and people should see a doctor if they often wake up at night sweating or feel tired even after a full night’s sleep.

The condition increases the risk of suffering a heart attack and the fatigue it induces can be a contributing factor to dementia.

Referrals for apnea treatment jump 50% in Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district after Finnish musician Olli lindholm died of the disease in his sleep in 2019.

“The musician left an important legacy,” said ear, nose and throat doctor Miikka Peltomaa. “A lot of people found out about their disease because of him. But it shouldn’t have happened.”

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