Morning Headlines: Friday 31st August 2018

News Now Finland morning news headlines and weather first, every weekday at 09:00

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Finnair Substance Abuse Problems

Finland’s national airline Finnair admits that it is dealing with dozens of cases of staff with substance abuse problems, including flight crews. Helsingin Sanomat newspaper reports that there is an increasing number of personnel with problems, and that staff who have been seen by Finnair’s occupational health service for help are only the tip of the iceberg. In recent years, Finnair has done a lot of recruiting and now has 3600 staff members who take to the skies, including about 1000 pilots. Finnair says they have zero tolerance for cabin crew or pilots who are intoxicated at work, with strict rules in place banning flight crews from consuming alcohol before flying. The company also plans to revamp its own substance abuse programme, for example, so that managers can better identify people who need help. In September, a Finnair flight to to Rome was delayed after a pilot turned up to his shift drunk. He was reported to police and fired from his job.

Helsinki Commuter Train Bids

Severn different rail companies are competing to provide commuter train services for Helsinki Region Transport (HSL). In addition to Finland’s state railway VR, Swedish State Railway Sveriges Järnväg is bidding for the new contract, as well as five public transport companies from different parts of Europe. The winner of the bidding competition will be announced in April 2020 and the company will start running the capital region’s commuter traffic in June 2021. So what’s at stake? The winning bidder will take over running rail traffic on the ring line, the main route from Helsinki to Kerava, and from Helsinki to Siuntio as part of a move to open up state rail monopoly VR to more competition.

Soini In Vienna For EU Talks

Foreign Minister Timo Soini (Blue) continues two days of discussions with other EU foreign ministers at the ‘Gymnich’ summit in Vienna. On the agenda for today, the ministers will continue a discussion on the Western Balkans, building on the outcome of the EU-Western Balkans summit held in Sofia last May. Traditionally, the foreign ministers of the EU candidate countries Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey attend some of the sessions, according to the Foreign Ministry. Today, Finland will emphasise that those countries who want to join the EU must ensure their foreign policy is in line with the EU’s foreign and security policy. Soini will also attend the opening ceremony of the new Finnish Embassy in the Austrian capital.

Susijengi Launch Autumn Internationals

Finland’s men’s basketball team takes on Latvia tonight, in the build-up to qualifying for the World Championships – and both teams are doing it without their star players. Finland’s Lauri Markkanen, who plays for the Chicago Bulls; and Latvia’s Kristaps Porzingis, Davis Bertansin and Rodions Kurucsin are all preparing for the start of the NBA season in October. Finnish coach Henrik Dettmann is expecting a tough game, especially as Latvia has a strong defence, and he’s called up several fresh faces to the squad. Latvia has beaten Finland in their last four encounters. The game takes place tonight at Metro Arena in Espoo.

Mixed Fortune For Finnish Tennis Star

Finnish tennis star Henri Kontinen had some mixed fortunes competing at the US Open tennis tournament. He played two matches last night, winning the first with his doubles partner, Australian John Peers, and advancing to the second round in a long battle that saw them hit 14 aces and 14 breaks of service to defeat Marcel Arevalo of El Salvador and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela of Mexico 5-7, 7-6, (7-2), 7-6 (7-5). However that match might have taken its toll in hot humid weather in New York, as Kontinen’s next match with mixed doubles partner Hao-Ching Chan of Taiwan was over in just an hour, and ended in defeat at the hands of US pair Cor Gauff and Christopher Eubanks 6-4, 6-4.

Friday Morning Weather 

It’s a bright start to Friday morning if you live in north and east parts of Lapland, or Turku, but most of the rest of Finland has cloud cover this morning, and western Lapland will have fog. Temperatures range from +6°C in eastern Lapland to +15° in the south east. Expect cloudy and +12°C in the capital city region at the start of Friday.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 31st August 2018 / Credit: FMI