Morning Headlines: Thursday 1st March 2018

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

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Fresh Criticism Expected for Finland’s Transgender Laws

Finland’s Human Rights Centre Ihmisoikeuskestus is set to release a new report this month about the status of transgendered rights in the country, and will highlight a problem which the United Nations, and many in the trans community say is discriminatory: that trans people must submit to sterilisation if they want to have their new gender legally recognised by the state. Now, Finnish activists are speaking out in a new international campaign and trying to raise awareness of their situation, while human rights experts urge the government to adopt more inclusive laws similar to European countries like Norway or Ireland. But activists say the political will to act is lacking.

New Suicide Prevention Centre For Helsinki

The Mental Health Society is opening a new suicide prevention centre in Helsinki today. People can go to the centre for specialist help directly, without needing to wait on a referral through the healthcare system. “The aim is to provide support and assistance to those affected by suicide risk” says the centre’s head Marena Kukkonen from the Mental Health Society. All services at the new centre are free of charge. Almost 800 people in Finland committed suicide in 2016.

Next Archbishop Elected Today

A second round of voting today will elect a new Archbishop. In the first round of voting no clear winner emerged, so now the Bishop Tapio Luoma of Espoo faces Bishop Björn Vikström of Porvoo in a run-off vote. The first round had five candidates. The new Archbishop will take up his position in June when the current Archbishop Kari Mäkinen retires. The results of today’s run-off vote between the two top candidates should be known around 16:00.

US Ambassador Hearing

The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee in the USA will interview Donald Trump’s pick to be the next American Ambassador to Finland. Robert Pence – no relation to Vice President Mike Pence – was nominated last autumn but there is such a backlog of delays in processing new ambassador appointments that his hearing has taken several months. The Virginia businessman has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to conservative political causes. Read more about the Ambassador-designate here. Finland has been without a permanent American ambassador since Trump took office.

Thursday Morning Weather

There’s a split across the country when it comes to weather this morning, according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI. Lapland will see cloudy or overcast skies with some snow in the far north, and temperatures around -12°C to -14°C. The rest of the country should enjoy mostly bright sunny skies today. Along the eastern border and some inland areas, expect temperatures to drop as low as -26°C. It will feel slightly less cold along coastal areas from Oulu in the north down through Turku and Åland in the south west; around to Helsinki and east towards Kotka with temperatures ranging from -14°C to -17°C. Forecasters have warned of a new low front moving across Finland this weekend which will bring fresh snow to many parts.