Tele payback for Piccoli? As far as junkets go, a trip to meet education officials and visit schools in Helsinki (where temperatures can drop as low as -18 degrees in winter) hardly seems one of the most glamorous. Yet The Daily Telegraph continues to pound NSW Education Minister for taking a taxpayer-funded trip to the Finnish capital for two nights …

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The Tele even dispatched London-based Europe correspondent Charles Miranda to tail Piccoli during his stay — and chronicle his purchase of a beanie. Miranda writes today:

“After missing his first Helsinki meetings due to flight connections, he made up for it the following day with a full eight hours of meetings with several officials from the Ministry of Education and the school visit. At night there were no saunas or beers by the log fire but stays indoors at the Radisson Hotel and, on his final night, a meal with the Saarnilaakso principal at the Kappeli Restaurant, one of Helsinki’s finest with pride in their fillet of reindeer in dark rowanberry sauce. At one point he did duck out for beanie shopping — and hats off to the minister, he didn’t buy the first beanie he saw, instead trying on a few in one store before shuffling to the local ‘Stockmann’ department store.”

The Tele previously took aim at Piccoli for travelling to Vietnam in December and is outraged that his wife, who paid for her own flights, shared accommodation with her husband without paying her half privately. There’s been bad blood over the years between Piccoli and the paper. State political reporter Andrew Clennell called him a “fool” after disabled children were left stranded at bus stops in 2012. And last November, Piccoli was the most senior NSW government MP to speak out against the Tele‘s controversial decision to reveal Labor MP Nathan Rees’s relationship with a constituent. Piccoli argued the relationship was a personal matter and should have remained that way. — Matthew Knott 

Video of the day. The death of BBC journalist Komla Dumor from a heart attack over the weekend sparked glowing tributes from colleagues and even the president of his birth nation, who called him one of Ghana’s most “illustrious sons” and an important voice for Africa around the world. Dumor worked in London for the BBC World News channel, but led coverage of African events and gave a voice to ignored people. In a 2013 TEDx event, he spoke passionately about telling African stories …

Front page of the day. On the cover of The Age, the first two people executed in Melbourne 172 years ago today. The Melbourne City Council will build a memorial to the two Aboriginal Australians …

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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