Investigation: Finnish-made Patrias deployed in Yemen war
Finnish-made Patria vehicles fitted with Russian weapons have been deployed to parts of Yemen where the United Nations says scores of civilians have been killed in the ongoing war. Despite warnings from aid agencies and the UN for more than a year that the Yemen war had created the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, Finnish ministries twice approved the export of spare parts for Patria vehicles during 2018, in January and July, even as civilian casualties mounted. An investigation by News Now Finland has uncovered the first video evidence that Patria vehicles used by Emirati forces, some fitted with heavy weapons, have been deployed to western Yemen where much of the fiercest fighting has taken place in recent months. Government ministries said it would have damaged Finland’s reputation to cancel the military export orders, despite some other European countries taking steps to do so. Read our full investigation here.
Customs bust snus smuggling ring
Customs say they’ve busted a smuggling ring bringing contraband snus from Sweden to Finland. The main suspect is a 50-year-old man living in Sweden, who Customs says ran a smuggling operation to bring the snus over the Kemi-Torniö border, and south to customers in Helsinki. They estimate the main suspect earned up to €80,000 over the last few years, and say he also worked with half a dozen Finns to run the operation. All of the suspects are accused of tax evasion as well as facing smuggling charges. The case will be transferred to the Prosecutor’s Office in Lapland in the coming weeks.
German President begins state visit
The President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier begins a state visit to Finland today. He is accompanied by his wife and the German couple will be hosted by Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and his wife. The visit begins with an official arrival ceremony in Helsinki this morning, followed by talks which include bilateral relations between Finland and Germany, security in Europe and relations with Russia and USA. As well as visits to an ice breaker, Suomenlinna and Espoo, there will be an official gala dinner, and a reception at the German embassy. On Wednesday the German president will head north to continue his visit in Oulu. In Germany, the president is not elected by popular vote like in Finland. Steinmeier has limited powers, and mostly carries out ceremonial duties. We will be covering the arrival ceremonies at the Presidential Palace live on our Facebook page.
Monday morning weather
It’s a rainy start to the week in the capital city region and most of south west Finland today. And it will feel on the fresh side with temperatures as low as +6°C in some parts of the south. It’s sunnier along the eastern border but not much warmer, as temperatures are still in single digits. There’s cloud cover in central Finland but the sun is out again in the north west border region with Sweden, although it will feel chilly with temperatures starting Monday down at +1°C.