Morning Headlines: Thursday 22nd March 2018

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

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Court Decision For Talvivaara Bosses 

Rovaniemi Appeals Court will give its decision today on the fate of four former bosses at Talvivaara mine. Prosecutors have demanded jail time for the men, over their part in massive environmental damage at the troubled mine. The company is also facing fines of more than €13 million which defence lawyers are fighting against. The men facing jail include founder and CEO Pekka Perä and the company’s former production director Lassi Lammassaari.

Prime Minister To Brussels Summit

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä is in Brussels today to meet with other EU leaders at a European Council summit. On the agenda: Donald Trump’s threatened trade war that would add customs tariffs to products imported from the EU to the USA; and the chemical attack in England that left a Russian double agent and his daughter, and a policeman, in hospital.

Plastic Bag Consumption Drops

The number of plastic bags being used in Finland is dropping. That’s according to a story in Kaleva newspaper this morning. In S-Group stores, use of small bags for fruit and vegetables has fallen by 20%. In Intersport, plastic bag use dropped by 40% after a charge was introduced six months ago.

Exiled Catalan Leader Visits Finland

The displaced leader of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont is visiting Finland today. He’s a guest of Parliament’s Catalonia Friendship Group and will give them an overview of the ongoing political situation in the Spanish autonomous province. Tomorrow, he will give a talk at Helsinki University. A previous arrest warrant for Puigdemont was lifted, allowing him to travel. His visit to Finland is being championed by Lapland MP Mikko Kärnä who has been a very vocal supporter of Catalonia, which has brought him into conflict with his own party and even sparked some fake news stories being pushed by Wikileaks mastermind Julian Assange. Read more about how Mikko Kärnä is embroiled in Catalan politics at our original story here.

Spy Games On Finnish Soil

Foreign spies in Finland are trying to recruit more people in prominent positions to steal secrets; they’re pressuring citizens of their own countries who live here to keep tabs on dissidents; and continuously trying to hack into Finnish companies to steal research data or figure out how to cripple Finnish infrastructure in times of crisis. That’s the conclusion of the latest report from the Finnish Intelligence Service SUPO. One expert says “pressuring other countries by attacking their critical infrastructure seems to be in the Kremlin’s toolbox”. Read more analysis and context on the new report at our original story here.

Finland’s Favourite Baby Names

The country’s most popular baby names are revealed today. For girls it’s Aino, and for for boys Leo in Finnish-speaking families. For Swedish-speaking families the most popular names in 2017 were Ellen and William. The information is based on some 52,000 infants who were born last year, and who were named by 15th March this year.

Thursday Morning Weather

There’s a warning in place for dangerous driving conditions in many parts of Finland today. The Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI says south and Central Finland are particularly dangerous, as well as Päijät-Häme, due to snowfall and ice on the roads. Temperatures in the south and capital city region, southwest, and into Central Finland are only around zero degrees this morning with more snow forecast. In south east Finland temperatures start the day just below zero. Further north into Lapland there will be some snow flurries, plenty of sunshine, and temperatures down as low as -14C