Morning Headlines: Monday 22nd January 2018

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

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Matti Vanhanen Interview

Centre Party presidential candidate Matti Vanhanen says he will keep on campaigning despite low poll numbers, and expects a surge in support from early voting. In a Monday morning interview with News Now Finland and MTV Uutiset, Vanhanen says that following some health issues he was feeling strong, after doctors ‘jump started’ his heart. Vanhanen denied that popularity problems with the Kestkusta-lead government were hitting his campaign, saying that Prime Minister Sipilä was doing a good job leading the country. Vanhanen, himself a former Prime Minister and previous presidential candidate, supports Finnish engagement in the UN and EU, and warns of Russian influence in Syria, saying that Finland should be pushing the EU to take a stronger stance, and become more involved in efforts to end the conflict. You can see the whole interview again on our website and social media later this morning.

Defence Minister’s ‘Infiltration’ Warning

Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö (Blue) says that it’s important for Finland’s authorities to have sufficient powers to deal with situations when land, apartments, or summer cottages are used in a way that could threaten the country’s security. The Minister is raising fresh concerns over possible ‘infiltration’ of foreign nationals near critical military or infrastructure sites like bases, power stations or water production facilities. Niinistö says that some new laws will be required to give sufficient powers for example to stop sales, or seize property that might be considered problematic due to how close it is to important areas. Officials are worried in particular about Russian land or property purchases.

Japan Airliner’s Return to Helsinki Airport

A JAL flight heading from Helsinki to Japan had to turn back and make an unscheduled landing after apparently experiencing technical problems. It happened on Sunday evening shortly after the Boeing 787-9 departed for Tokyo’s Narita airport. The technical problems seemed to happen just after takeoff, as the plane made three 180 degree turns off the southern coast, before dumping fuel and returning again to Helsinki Airport. Rescue trucks were waiting on the runway when the plane landed again, but were not required. According to Lentoposti website, the problem appears to have been with one of the engines.

Faulty Länsimetro Commuter Numbers

The new western metro extension Länsimetro has been hit by gremlins ever since it launched in November. But it turns out another problem is counting. HSL admits a failure in the system that keeps track of the number of people using the the new metro, which means passengers were counted twice at Matinkylä, Tapiola and Niittykummpu stations. How did they find out there was a glitch? By manually counting passengers, old school style. Some 50,000 passengers each day use the new metro, with Maintkylä being the busiest station with 18,000 per days. Commuters have complained about overcrowding during the morning rush hour but HSL says the congestion is due to the fact that passengers are crowded into one end of the train, when only one entrance to the station is open. Overall, metro passenger numbers are lower than predicted – HSL estimated that 60,000 people would use it on week days.

Ice Hockey’s Olympic Team Names in the afternoon

Finland’s Olympic ice hockey teams will be revealed today. The Ice Hockey Association and the Olympic Committee will announce the men’s and women’s teams this afternoon. Twenty five men and 23 women will be going to PyeongChang in South Korea, but no Finnish NHL stars will be on the squad. NHL players do not participate in the Olympics, so the men’s team is mainly composed of KHL and Finnish domestic players.