Morning Headlines: Thursday 29th March 2018

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

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Easter’s Busiest Driving Day

Today is the busiest day for Easter traffic on the roads, as people take the day off work,  leave work early, or drive to spend the holiday weekend with their family. However traffic may be a little lighter than recent years as continued winter weather means many people will opt to avoid a trip to their countryside cottages. Congestion can be expected on major roads around the capital city region, as well as the main arterial routes heading north, east and west from Helsinki. Traffic will be brisk on Friday as well. On Sunday, people start returning home and peak return traffic happens on Monday afternoon.

Huge Marijuana Drugs Bust 

Finnish Customs authorities are announcing a huge marijuana drugs bust this morning. The bust happened in February when agents seized 74kg of marijuana worth an estimated  €1.4 million. Customs say six foreign men living in Finland were behind the drugs smuggling operation, where narcotics were brought in via Helsinki and Tornio. Authorities say the gang was trying to recruit people who needed the money, but didn’t have a criminal record. Four of the suspects are still in pre-trial detention. Preliminary investigations are in the final stages and, once completed, the case will be transferred to the prosecutor’s office of Southwest Finland.

Easter Politics: Centre Party Slump Continues

A new politics opinion poll this morning shows the National Coalition Party regaining top spot, the Social Democrats in Second, while Prime Minister Juha Sipilä’s party falls to third place. The survey for state-funded broadcaster YLE finds NCP on 21.5%; SDP on 20.2% and the Centre Party on 16.3%. Only NCP has gained support, up 1.5%, from the last opinion poll in February. The next three parties, including the Greens in 4th place, have all lost popularity with prospective voters. More than 2600 people were interviewed during March for this new poll. About 1600 gave their party affiliation. The margin of error is 2.1%

More Money Earmarked For Police

Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen is expected to announce additional spending for police. That’s according to a new report this morning in Keskisuomalainen newspaper. Mykkänen says he’ll earmark several tens of millions of euros for police work, to be used mainly in recruitment, operational spending, and development of technical systems. The money would be allocated next year. According to Mykkänen, the additional funding will help boost actual police numbers to around 7,200 officers for next year, that’s up slightly from 7,150 this year. However, the Federation of Finnish Police Associations has called for an increase of at least 700 officers, saying they are needed to perform additional tasks brought about be reforming the Alcohol Act, and to fight against organised crime.

Thursday Morning Weather

It’s another mostly bright and clear day across the whole country today, according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI. It’s still chilly outside, with the coldest weather in the southern third of the country. Temperatures in the south, south west and capital city region range from -5°C to -10°C. In the south east border it will feel colder at -12°C. From Central Finland all the way up to northern Lapland expect more sunshine and temperatures from -3°C to -7°C.