Morning Headlines: Friday 9th March 2018

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

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Cargo Ship In Distress

Coast Guards have been assisting overnight rescue efforts for a ship in distress in the Gulf of Finland. A Panamanian-registered cargo ship Glory Hong Kong with 20 crew members on board began taking on water on the west side of Suursaari, and sent out a distress call on Thursday. Marine Rescue Director Pekka Lehtonen says “there is no danger to human life”. Now, several other ships are at the scene in case more help is required, including the ice breaker vessel Nordica, and an Estonian pollution control ship Kindral Kurvits. Another oil spill clean-up ship Halli is also on the way. Kymenlaakso Rescue Department have been assisting on scene in the Gulf of Finland with water pumps, and the vessel remains on the surface, according to authorities. The Glory Hong Kong was heading to St. Petersburg, and the rescue operation may continue into Saturday, according to Coast Guards.

Positive January Trade & Manufacturing Numbers

Finland’s export of goods grew by 12% in January compared to the previous year according to new figures released this morning by Customs. According to preliminary statistics, the value of exports was nearly €5.2 billion at the beginning of the year. Imports grew by 3% to €5.3 billion. According to Customs, the value of experts grew rapidly especially for metals, ores and passenger cars. Meanwhile new manufacturing orders grew 6.9% in January compared to the previous year, according to new figures from Statistics Finland today. Two sectors in particular had a good start to 2018: the paper industry’s orders rose by 9.5% and the metal industry by 7.8%. Orders decreased slightly in the chemical industry sector however.

Finland Backs EU Trade War Unity

Finland’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen (NCP) says she hopes for EU unity over steel and aluminium tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump. Virolainen says she has a close relationship with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, and is concerned about the impact of Trump’s tariffs on jobs and competitiveness in Finland. Malmström has written on Twitter that as a close partner to the USA, the EU should be exempt from these new import duties. Trump has hinted that European NATO allies should not have customs duties relief unless they commit 2% of their economic output on military spending – a voluntary target which some but not all European NATO members currently meet.

Finnish Parents vs Kids With Homework

Finnish parents spend less time helping their children with homework from school than in many other countries, according to a new survey released today. Only 5% of Finnish parents give at least one hour of homework help, which is the lowest of all 29 countries surveyed. In Finland however, more children than in other countries don’t actually want any homework help from parents! The questionnaire was commissioned by the international education charity Varkey Foundation.

Finland’s Failing Grade On Gender Identity Rights

Human rights experts and trans rights activists say Finland is still failing to do all it can for transgender people who want to legally change their gender on official documents. At present, Finland is the only Nordic country where trans people are forced to prove they’ve been sterilised, in order to have their new gender reflected on a passport or official ID documents. This month, the Finnish Human Rights Centre is set to release a new report citing examples of best practice in other countries like Ireland, Norway and Malta, to call on politicians to push legislation through the committee stage in parliament. Finnish laws have been called discriminatory, and also criticised by the United Nations, and impact trans people in Finland. Read more at our original story here.

Friday Morning Weather

Snow is forecast around the country today with several centimetres expected as snow moves from south towards the north, according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI. By this morning, a large part of the south and centre of the country had received some overnight snow. And that means warnings for poor driving conditions, as snow falls on ice. Over the weekend the southern and western parts of Finland will see some warming temperatures, but at night it will still be below zero.