Wednesday’s newspapers: Nuclear NATO, Bank Bishops and Pandemic Preparedness

Wednesday's newspapers: Nuclear NATO, Bank Bishops and Pandemic Preparedness

The debate on Finland’s possible NATO application is still at the forefront of national news.

Helsingin Sanomat published an article analyzing some issues related to NATO membership and nuclear weapons.

The HS closely investigated the issue of tactical nuclear weapons – nuclear weapons that are significantly lower in payload than strategic nuclear weapons, intercontinental ballistic missiles and designed for use on the battlefield. That model was the U.S. B61, small enough to carry fighters.

Tapio JuntunenA researcher specializing in nuclear weapons policy at the University of Tampere reminded HS readers that NATO’s nuclear weapons policy is more than technical.

"Nuclear weapons have a symbolic value as they demonstrate the commitment of the United States to defending Europe," Juntunen told HS.

The HS clarified that nuclear weapons will not come to Finland unless Finland allows it, even as a member of NATO. Of the 30 NATO members, only five have nuclear weapons in the United States – Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey.

Since the 1970s, the number of U.S. nuclear weapons has plummeted, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put NATO’s nuclear policy at the forefront.

HS wrote that Finnish politicians have been concerned about receiving NATO nuclear weapons and have declared that Finland should not allow nuclear weapons to be hosted on its territory.

Juntunen considered that Finland’s policy should be more open to the receipt of nuclear weapons, as their use is a core principle of NATO’s deterrence policy. If Finland refrained from distributing nuclear weapons, other NATO member states could consider them free-riders without committing to common defense. However, other NATO members, such as Norway, have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which in practice means that the Nordic countries do not own nuclear weapons or participate in the joint use of NATO’s nuclear power. In addition, most of NATO’s nuclear weapons are grouped in Western Europe, and post-Cold War NATO members do not have nuclear weapons.

According to Juntunen, deterrence is an effective strategy in nuclear policy, but it is also important that these weapons do not fall into the hands of the opponent. That is why NATO is deploying its nuclear weapons further away from its borders, which means that Finland is not an ideal host for nuclear weapons, given its 1,300-kilometer border with Russia.

"It is important that Finland is aware of NATO’s nuclear power distribution program and ready to accept its principles. Finland must engage in a political debate on the importance of nuclear intimidation, including nuclear disarmament," Juntunen added.

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The human error behind the differences in bishops’ salaries

Evening paper has studied the finances of some of the top bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland.

The finances of the church’s top people are often left behind in the dark tax book, so Iltalehti asked the church for their accounts.

Iltalehti found that 16 bishops are paid more than 100,000 salaries a year. Archbishop Tapio Luoman salary was reported at more than 150,000 euros, the highest salary.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland raises its funds through church tax, which is levied on taxpayers who are also members of the church.

Iltalehti’s research also revealed a contradiction in the church’s finances. Some bishops were paid higher salaries and offered higher increases than other bishops. The church was not aware of this difference until Iltalehti asked them about it.

Timo von Boehm, the church ‘s labor lawyer explained this from the pay adjustments in 2015, when the bishops’ housing allowances were also changed. This affected wages and their subsequent increases, and had gone unnoticed as a human error in recent years.

Although the salaries of church leaders seemed high, von Boehm assured Iltalehti that salaries were fairer.

"The church is definitely a fair employer. In the church, the difference between the lowest and highest wages is about three times greater. In large companies, the difference can be thirty-fold," von Boehm clarified.

Salminen about future pandemics

Covid surprised Finland and the world more than two years ago, and Evening News asked Mika SalminenThe director of the Department of Health and Welfare (THL), how would he react to a pandemic if he could go back and start over knowing what he now knows.

"In an emergency, we had to virtually shut down society as a whole. It’s not a good way to treat infectious diseases," Salminen replied.

IS asked Salminen whether or not the Swedish state epidemiologist had a moderate Swedish approach Ander Tegnell was right in assessing the disease.

"The issue is much more complicated in this regard. I don’t think Tegnell was right because he took too much risk without enough information. Therefore, the Swedish line posed a great risk, which unfortunately also materialized, especially for the elderly," Salminen told IS.

According to Salminen, one of the biggest improvements is the vaccine cooperation between the countries.

"Vaccine development should have been organized and agreed worldwide before the Covid pandemic began. In this way, all countries would have received vaccines on time and there would have been more capacity for the whole world. In this way, it would have helped to prevent the spread of Covid," Salminen told IS.

According to Salminen, Finland is currently considering a model for preparing for future pandemics.

"Efforts must be made to better prepare for all crises. At EU level, for example, the situation in Ukraine has been very unanimous. The same should happen in the event of a health crisis," Salminen emphasized.

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Source: The Nordic Page

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