Police step up drink drive checks for party season
Police in Finland are stepping up their checks for drink drivers especially this weekend during peak Pikkujoulu – Little Christmas – celebration season. They’re focusing on evenings and late nights. A similar blitz exercise last weekend nabbed 134 drivers suspected of being under the influence, behind the wheel. “By monitoring, the police are trying to prevent serious road accidents” says officer Timo Ajaste in a press release.
Council of Europe parliamentary meeting
The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly PACE is meeting in Helsinki today, the first major gathering of politicians at the start of Finland’s Presidency of the CoE. During the day the organisation will launch a Europe-wide initiative to combat violence against women in parliaments around Europe. Later, there’s a meeting with foreign minister Timo Soini, a debate on how to promote sign languages in Europe – and Finnish rap artist Signmark will give a performance.
Government bans military sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE
The government has decided to ban all military sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The decision comes after a News Now Finland investigation highlighted for the first time the extent that Finnish-made Patria vehicles, some fitted with Russian heavy weapons, were being used by UAE forces in parts of Yemen where the United Nations says civilian massacres took place. “The decision was made very much on foreign policy grounds” says Jukka Salovaara, Director General of Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. State-owned company Patria has sold dozens of armoured modular vehicles known as AMVs to the UAE government. The government, and relevant ministries, continued to grant export licenses for spare parts to keep the AMVs on the road even as the extent of fighting, civilian casualties, and famine was known as late as July this year. Read more here.
Black Friday sales extravaganza begins
Although many retailers have been offering bargains all week, the main Black Friday sales extravaganza begins today. All sorts of Finnish companies from big box stores like Gigantti and Verkkokauppa, to restaurants, gyms, dry cleaners and even housing rental companies are getting in on the act. And it can be very lucrative indeed. “It has very much become a big shopping day in Finland and Gigantti has done record sales each years” says Anniina Korpela, Gigantti’s spokesperson. Last year the chain, with 41 stores across the country, set what they believe was a national sales record, shifting €21.3 million worth of products in just 24 hours. Their online sales in 2017 hit €1 million in the first seven minutes of trading alone. Read more about Black Friday in Finland at our original story here.
Take your children to work day
Some brave parents are taking their children to work today. The idea is to give children a better understanding of what it is their parents do. Hundreds of businesses and organisations have signed up to be part of the event, including some government ministries, municipalities, and companies like Turku Energia, Pöyry and the Heureka Science Centre.
Friday morning weather
It’s an overcast start to Friday morning across much of the country and the warmest temperatures will again be in the far north of Lapland where sleet is forecast, and in Hanko in the far south of the country too at +1°C. In between, temperatures drop as low as -10°C in western Lapland, -4°C in Oulu, and -5°C in Lahti.