Morning headlines: Tuesday 1st January 2019

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Fights, fires, and drunks for 112 responders to deal with

It was a busy New Year’s Eve for Finland’s police officers. Perhaps unsurprisingly Helsinki saw the most call-outs for officers with 363 – that’s up from 316 a year ago. There were fights and drunk & disorderly calls, and at one point officers were dealing with several brawls at the same time at the Central Railway Station. In the north, Oulu Police report a spate of drunk driving stops, and some assaults in the early hours of the morning. In south east Finland police put on twice the number of patrols they would normally have on a weekend and officers responded to burglaries, drunk & disorderly calls, drunk driving stops and where fireworks were shot at people and properties. Police in central Finland also responded to a lot of fireworks being let off at homes or even inside buildings, and picked up teenagers after they set fire to a trash bin with rockets which then caused damaged to nearby parked cars. Other police departments report a similar range of offenses for officers to deal with.

President & First Lady in Vienna 

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and his wife First Lady Jenni Haukio are spending New Year’s Day in Vienna at the invitation of the Austrian president. And they’re starting 2019 with culture, attending the traditional Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Concert at the Musikverein concert hall. During the short visit there will also be some time for talks, as President Niinistö discusses current bilateral and international matters with his Austrian counterpart, according to a statement from the President’s office. At lunchtime the President’s New Year message to the nation will be released.

ICYMI: Espoo’s firework-free New Year’s Eve

The city of Espoo staged Finland’s first firework-free New Year’s Eve celebration on Monday night, ditching pyrotechnics for a lavish laser show instead. The move came on sustainability grounds, and to try something different as the city reintroduced an official public celebration for the first time in many years. “At present, we do not see traditional fireworks as the right choice considering their environmental impact […] we want to stay true to the city’s values and lead the way in a more sustainable way of celebrating New Year’s Eve and event culture” said Lea Rintala, Espoo’s Manager of Event and Cultural Services. There was a no-fly zone in place around Espoo’s cathedral and along the banks of the Espoonjoki river while the laser show was taking place in Kirkkonpuisto. Watch video of the laser display here.

Tuesday morning weather

It’s a more mild star to the New Year in the south of the country with temperatures up to +4°C in Turku, the south west and Ostrobothnia coast; and hovering around freezing for Tampere, Helsinki and the capital city, and central Finland too. That means rain and sleet, mixed in with wet snow so be careful on the roads when the temperatures start to fall again as the precipitation is going to freeze over. Further north in Lapland temperatures get down to -9°C with snow in the forecast across much of the region, but even around Oulu there’s rain with temperatures above freezing for the start of 2019.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Tuesday morning 1st January 2019 / Credit: FMI