Morning headlines: Thursday 14th February 2019

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Former pro-hockey player bids to be Finland’s first NHL member of parliament

Former pro-hockey player Sean Bergenheim is planning to swap pucks for politics at the upcoming general election, as he makes a bid to become a member of parliament. Bergenheim is running as a Swedish People’s Party candidate on the Uusimaa list, and hopes his name recognition could tempt floating voters from other parties who share similar policy outlooks on education and the environment to vote for SFP/RKP instead. While the former pro-player, who made more than 500 NHL appearances in his North America career, never thought it was appropriate to speak about politics while he was an athlete, he now wants to talk about environmental issues and family-friendly policies. Read more at our original story here.

WATCH: Celebrating Valentine’s Day in Finland

Romantics from Rovaniemi to Riihimäki (and all points in between!) are saying it with flowers, and celebrating St. Valentine’s Day today. In Finland however, it’s not just a day for loved-up couples. It’s also known as ‘Ystävänpäivä’ or Friends Day and it’s not uncommon for friends or work colleagues to give each other cards, or small gifts like cookies, balloons or flowers. At Kaivo Kukka in Helsinki’s Kamppi shopping centre, florist Susanna is braced for a busy day. She and her colleagues expect to serve up to 300 customers per hour. “Everybody should have €10 to make your husband or wife or whoever works with you happy” she says. WATCH our original video here, as we ask some locals what Valentine’s Day means to them!

Helsinki votes for 50% meat and dairy reduction

Helsinki City Council last night voted by a margin of 42-39 to cut the city’s municipal meat and dairy consumption by 50% over the next six years. It’s part of an initiative brought by Green politicians to draw attention to climate change, and let the capital city take a stand to reduce its contribution to greenhouse gasses. Although no firm rules have been set, the new motion likely means that schools and social services in Helsinki will have to cut their food offers of meat and dairy in half, and replace them with vegetarian or vegan options instead.

Two pieces of legislation inch forward in parliament today

Two key bills in the current government’s legislative programme could find out what happens next in parliament today. A report on the proposed intelligence laws will be issued by officials about whether the new act has taken into account concerns raised by parliament’s Constitutional Committee. The new act would give Finnish law enforcement stronger powers to intercept emails or phone calls, and be more proactive with targeting terror suspects, among other powers. Also today the social and welfare reform act, known as sote in Finnish, is still being discussed by the Constitutional Committee but committee members have let it be known that they would like to make a decision this week about the next steps for the legislation, and whether it is in compliance with Finland’s constitution before it can proceed.

Last day of school celebrations

Today is the last day of school for many high school seniors around the country before they start their exam preparations. It’s a very Finnish tradition for the students to get into trucks, and drive around throwing caramels or other wrapped candies to people on the streets.

Thursday morning weather

Temperatures across the country are gradually creeping up as we move towards the weekend. In the capital city area the temperature is already around or above freezing this morning, and it’s the same in Åland, the archipelago, Turku and the south west of the country, inland to Lahti and east to Lappeenranta. The best of the sunshine first thing is in the east where temperatures get down to -10°C in some place. There’s snow forecast in Jyväskylä and Central Finland with temperatures around -4°C. In Lapland some snow too in the west, and temperatures between -10°C and -14°C.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 14th February 2019 / Credit: FMI