Morning headlines: Thursday 11th October 2018

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

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Norwegian company buys VR Track

Finnish railway maintenance and engineering company VR Track is being bought by a Norwegian company called NRC Group. The deal was announced this morning, but no price tag for the deal was revealed. VR Track is a subsidiary of state railway monopoly VR which does engineering work, construction and infrastructure maintenance on railway lines in Finland and Sweden. The deal means the new company can expand operations in the Nordic region. The new combined group will have more than 2450 employees, and annual revenues of more than 6 billion Norwegian krone.

Finland invests in Africa wind energy

Finland is investing funds in more renewable energy projects in Africa, using the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation IFC. The latest €1.54m will help research into climate projects, especially in Africa’s poorest regions. In total, Finland will invest €114m through the IFC for commercial climate and energy projects in developing countries over the next four years. “More than a billion people are still living without electricity” says Minister Anne-Mari Virolainen (NCP). “In developing countries, access to electricity is a question of human rights, and the power shortage is like like a handbrake to the development of societies” she says. “he first investment of €3m was made to a Moroccan-based energy company, which wants to build 22 mainly wind power-generating power plants in nine different African countries including Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Tanzania. The World Bank’s IFC is due to repay the funds that Finland is investing, with interest, over a 25 year period.

Growing numbers of personal debt

Credit tracking company Asiakastieto says the number of people in serious debt continues to grow in Finland, with an increase in bankruptcy debt in particular. The number of people declaring bankruptcy has grown by 7500 per year. “The number of insolvent people has grown faster than in many years” says Jouni Muhonen from Asiakastieto. The number of people who fell behind on loan payments, including their mortgages, rose especially among the 35-39 and 55-64 age groups.

Thursday morning weather

It’s another fairly mild start to the day for much of the country with the best of the sunshine in the far north of Lapland and the southern part of Finland. Watch out for slippery driving conditions where temperatures drop below zero, mostly across Lapland. There’s rain forecast for parts of central Finland and the temperatures could hit +15°C during the day.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 11th October 2018 / Credit: FMI