Morning headlines: Monday 3rd December 2018

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Oodi Helsinki: the library is (almost) open

The brand new Helsinki Central Library opens this week, just in time for Independence Day. Designed by Finnish architects ALA, Oodi is meant to be a welcoming and open place for the city’s residents spanning three floors of books, performance spaces, cafes, a cinema, and a maker’s studio. Wrapped in spruce, the new public library is the latest addition to Töölönlahti neighbourhood, where it’s expected that Oodi will continue the renewal of this part of the city which has seen the addition of new outdoor space, offices, restaurants, housing and more greenery over the last five year. “It’s not only a building. It’s a building with a heartbeat. And I think we have now a heartbeat in the city centre of Helsinki. And that’s quite something” says Razmyar. says Deputy Mayor Nasima Razmyar (SDP), whose portfolio covers culture and leisure. The library opens on Wednesday 5th December, with the full range of services inside rolling out incrementally over the next few weeks. Read more in our original article here.

Tax payments due today

If you owe money to the tax man, today is the first due date for paying them. If you owe more than €170 you get to split the payments into two installments but the first amount has to be paid no later than today, with the second payment due by 1st February 2019. However if you owe less than €170 to the tax man from your 2017 taxes then you need to pay that amount in full by today.

Minister links child benefits to vaccines

Education Minister Saani Grahn-Laasonen (NCP) says that benefits for children should only be paid by the state if the child has been vaccinated. It comes after a measles outbreak in a community in Ostrobothnia where only 75% of people have been given the MMR vaccine which protects against measles, mumps and rubella. Health officials says that a 95% immunisation rate is required to provide proper protection for communities. However Grahn-Laasonen’s coalition partner, Health Minister Annika Saarikko (Centre) doesn’t agree there should be a link between vaccinations and receiving child support benefits. In Finland vaccines are offered for free at health centres.

Finland’s busiest week of winter

This is officially the busiest week of winter in Finland, as Santa, Slush and celebrations are the highlights of early December. Tens of thousands of tourists and delegates are descending on events in the north and south; while the whole country gets ready to celebrate 101 years of independence. This is approaching peak tourist season for Christmas travelers to Lapland as charter flights from all over Europe and beyond land at Ivalo, Kittilä and Ivalo. In the south, some 20,000 people will be taking part in Slush, the annual startup and tech conference. Christmas markets are in full swing attracting thousands of people; Independence Day is one of the highlights of December as well, not to mention that the President’s 6th December gala is the most-watched TV event of the year! Read more about Finland’s busiest day of winter in our original story here.

Monday morning weather

It’s a bitterly cold start to Monday morning along the eastern border where the temperature dips down to -12°C. It’s not so bad across the rest of the country, with temps ranging from a positively balmy +4°C in Åland to -7°C in east central parts of the country. It’s an overcast and cloudy start to the week as well, with snow forecast across a large part of Lapland. There’s also snow forecast for later today in western Finland and a warning of slippery road conditions when it comes.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Monday morning 3rd December 2018 / Credit: FMI