ICYMI: Week 38

The highlights of news you might have missed during the past seven days.

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Credit: News Now Finland

It’s been a busy week for news in Finland, so in case you missed anything, here’s some of the highlights to get you all caught up:

Politics

Finland’s Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö (Blue) says he’ll have to “think very carefully” before exporting military hardware to Middle East conflict zones. He made the comment in a TV interview after a News Now Finland investigation uncovered the first clear evidence that Finnish-made Patrias, sold to the UAE, have been fitted with Russian heavy weapons and deployed to parts of Yemen where the United Nations say scores of civilians have been killed.

Also this week Foreign Minister Timo Soini (Blue) survived a no confidence vote in parliament, which was brought by opposition MPs to challenge his stance on abortion. Earlier this week, the Chancellor of Justice called Soini’s actions “problematic” in an official report into why the Foreign Minister attended an anti-abortion rally in Canada during an official working visit to the country.

The Greens this week picked a temporary leader to fill in while Touko Aalto is on sick leave. Maria Ohisalo is not an MP herself, but serves on Helsinki City Council, and will cover many of Aalto’s duties.

The government has proposed scrapping a special exemption from military conscription for Jehovah’s Witnesses. The exemption has been in place for a couple of decades but politicians now say there’s no reason to give one group of people special treatment when it comes to military service. NHL players and women are still exempt from mandatory military service.

Veteran politician Paavo Väyrynen admits he’s running out of time to gather enough voter registration cards to form a new political party. Read the latest twists and turns in the Lapland MP’s political saga.

And international pop star Rihanna has been tweeting to Prime Minister Juha Sipilä to encourage Finland to attend a donor conference in Africa next year on girls’ education.

Business and economy

A new supermarket – the first of its kind in Finland – opened this week selling surplus foods at reduced prices. It’s based on a Danish model and aims to help people living in food poverty as well as cutting food waste. Campaigners say too many people in Finland are still affected by food poverty issues. Read journalist Petja Pirhonen‘s original story, with all the details.

New figures out this week show Finland’s house sales have cooled down in the last year.

Chinese firm AAC Technologies is opening a research and development centre in Tampere which hopes to tap into tech student talent in the city, and could bring as many as 100 jobs in the next three years.

The ongoing redevelopment of Kalasatama district in east Helsinki hit a milestone this week when Redi shopping centre opened its doors to the public. It’s all part of the master plan to bring more homes, businesses and jobs to the area. The new mall comes complete with indoor sky diving tunnel, a climbing wall, a car dealership, dozens of shops and more than 40 restaurants. Watch a video tour on opening day from our Facebook Live event.

Crime

One story that’s still unfolding, is a police and border guard raid on a series of properties in the Turku Archipelago. A hundred law enforcement officials were involved in what’s being officially described as an investigation into tax evasion and money laundering. However there’s been a lot of speculation about the Russian links of the company Airiston Helmi at the centre of the raid, which was serious enough for authorities to impose a no-fly zone for 24 hours over the weekend.

Police in Joensuu held two people in connection with an attack on two foreign students in the city. Police, city hall and the University of Eastern Finland are describing it as an unprovoked racist attack which they strongly condemn.

Sport, art and weather

Formula One star Kimi Räikkönen has been cooling down between races with an ice bath and some karting on a track in Thailand.

Domestic ice hockey season is underway, and the latest NHL signing for HIFK says it’s been really easy to fit in at his new club. Watch our interview with Kyle Quincey for more on his move from the USA to Finland.

Espoo schools have suspended a sports test for children, after one pupil died during testing. The ‘MOVE’ campaign has been adopted by many schools across the country, and aims to get children moving during the school day, or at least, being less sedentary.

A flock of endangered birds has been flying south over Finland this week. The endangered ‘screaming geese’ are being tracked as they head to their winter home in Greece.

Autumn is coming, and if you liked our long hot summer then those days are far behind us now. Watch more with meteorologist Anniina Valtonen in our video.

And finally… a vibrant new art exhibit is the perfect antidote to gloomy autumn days. Utsjoki-based artist Outi Pieski draws on her Sámi culture to work with brightly coloured threads, creating visual and spacial surprises for her audience.

Detail from Outi Pieski’s new EMMA exhibit / Credit: News Now Finland