Morning headlines: Wednesday 27th February 2019

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Latest twists in social and health reform

The government is set to submit its latest proposed fixes to the draft social and health reform law known as sote to parliament’s Committee on Social Affairs and Health. It’s the latest very slow plot development in a long running – but very tedious – effort by the government to get parliament to approve major changes in the way healthcare is provided across the country – including more elements of choice and opening up services to private companies. Although it’s considered the government’s flagship piece of legislation, there’s no guarantees MPs will get to vote on it during this current parliament term (time is running out before the general election) and even then, no guarantee it would pass, since the government only holds a very slim majority in parliament and several government MPs have said they would vote against it. The government could also need to seek EU approval for the new law, to make sure it complies with relevant legislation including on freedom of choice for citizens.

Prison sentence for Lapland child sex abuser

The Lapland District Court has sentenced a Tornio man to 3.5 years in prison on three counts of sex abuse of a child and possession of child pornography. He was also convicted of other counts of sex abuse carried out when he himself was a minor at the time. The court heard that the man had sexual intercourse with three children aged 13-14, and also sent explicit sexual messages to two other children, also aged 13-14. The man was born in 1998 and is now 20 years old, and court records show he has a Finnish name. The trial was held behind closed doors and although the court delivered its verdict on Monday, the verdict was only released to the media on Tuesday.

Shopping centre partly open after electrical fire

Ruoholahti shopping centre just west of Helsinki city centre is only partially open this morning, after an electrical fire on Tuesday evening forced an evacuation, and some people who were trapped in elevators had to be rescued. Today, the street level shops are open, but so far no other parts of the 5-storey shopping mall. There’s also no electricity in the garages yet. Nobody was injured in Tuesday evening’s fire.

Surgery for President Niinistö

President Sauli Niinistö goes to hospital for surgery today. The 70-year old suffers from osteoarthritis and is having surgery on his hip. The recovery time will take about a month, and although Niinistö will be able to work during that time, he won’t be undertaking any travel during his recuperation.

Wednesday morning weather

It’s a fairly bright start to Wednesday morning across most of the country, except perhaps for the far north of Lapland where there’s snow in the forecast. The best of the sunshine is across Pohjanmaa and into Central Finland, in other places patchy cloud cover but the sun should still shine through. Temperatures range from -2C in Lapland to +4C in Vaasa and +3C in Oulu and along the south coast.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Wednesday morning 27th February 2019 / Credit: FMI