President Niinistö’s Inauguration
Newly re-elected President Sauli Niinistö begins his second term in office today with inauguration ceremonies in Helsinki. Events begin at 12 noon in parliament, where the President gives a solemn statement. Outside he is greeted by an honour guard of Finnish troops. Later he’ll move to the Presidential Palace and wave to citizens from the balcony; and then shake hands with members of the diplomatic corps. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) will join the President in making a short speech. Heavily pregnant first Lady Jenni Haukio will attend the festivities if she’s feeling up to it.
Winter Storm Causes Travel Disruptions
Flights: A winter storm is causing travel problems across much of the country. At Helsinki Airport only one runway is in operation due to snowfall, and there are air traffic restrictions in force. Finnair has canceled a few flights due to strong winds and heavy snow. The airline also warns that tens of flights will be delayed between 15 minutes and two hours today. Driving: The Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI has a dangerous driving conditions warning in force for Åland, southwest Finland, Stakunta, Uudellamaa, Kanta Häme, Päijät Häme and Kymenlaakso. Police warn drivers to reduce speed, make sure their headlights are on and seatbelts fastened. Public Transport: In Helsinki region, some commuter trains are cancelled due to heavy snowfall. A and K trains will be running on 20 minute intervals according to VR. Buses and trams in the capital region could be moving slower due to snow ploughs at work on their routes. Passengers are urged to allow more time for their journeys.
Russian Family Jailed For People Smuggling
A Russian family has been jailed up to five years for people smuggling in eastern Finland. Dozens of people were brought into Finland through the Saimaa Canal. According to court documents, the three family members brought up to 67 people on their boat. The smuggled people were Arabs and Kurds, and came from Yemen, Lebanon and Turkey. Many of them had paid large sums of money to human traffickers already to get to Russia and didn’t know they would then be brought Finland by boat. Some of the smuggled people reported that they had been drugged or blindfolded before being put on the boat. Police intercepted the boat in the Saimaa Canal last year.
Nokia Reports Strong Operating Profits
Nokia says its operating profits rose by 7% between October and December to just over €1 billion. The company describes the fourth quarter as a strong one, but predicts the online business market will fall further next year. Looking towards 2019 and 2020, Nokia thinks the market conditions will improve again thanks to 5G network projects.
Centre Party Bosses Want To Oust Unpopular Paavo
A survey of Centre Party district chiefs by Helsingin Sanomat newspaper found that many want the party to take action to get rid of Paavo Väyrynen. The veteran politician, former long-time government minister, previous Centre Party chairman and three time Centre Party presidential candidate Väyrynen has embarrassed the party in recent years by quitting to form his own Citizens Party; and running against – then beating – the official Centre Party candidate in the 2018 presidential elections. However he still holds an honourary title and membership of the Centre Party. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, who is also the current chairman of the Centre Party, said last autumn that Väyrynen should resign, as the party doesn’t allow membership of two parties.