Morning headlines: Friday 13th December 2019

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Finnair’s sky high domestic ticket prices

If you want to travel from Helsinki to Rovaniemi next Monday, a one-way ticket booked a week in advance at the Finnair website will set you back €354. For the same price, give or take a few euros in either direction, you could instead fly to New York, Miami, Boston in North America; Tel Aviv, Dubai, Cairo or Istanbul in the Middle East; or Hong Kong, Beijing and Bangkok in Asia. While Finnair is often dogged by complaints about the sky high price of domestic travel, at Christmas time the differences are much more stark. The state-owned airline says there are a lot of factors to take into account with ticket prices, but the CEO of Lapland Chamber of Commerce says the company needs more competition on domestic routes to make it affordable for people need to travel. Read more at our original story here.

Police investigate two stabbing cases 

Police in North Savo are investigating two stabbing cases as attemped homicides. One attempt happened in Kuopio and the other in Suonenjoki overnight between Thursday and Friday. Police have arrested a 50-year old man in Kuopio on suspicion of attempted homicide; and another 37-year old man in respect to the Suonenjoki case.

Two government apologies in 24 hours

The new government was only sworn in on Tuesday but already members have had to make two very public apologies. Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) wrote an online apology after one of her media handlers refused to let a journalist in Brussels ask a question about the situation of Isis-linked Finns at al-Hol refugee camp. Marin says they were pressed for time – however it’s not unusual for ministers to take questions on specific topics. And finance minister Katri Kulmuni (Centre) has had to delete an Instagram post where she asked a poll question should just children, or children and their mothers be repatriated from al-Hol. The poll received a big online backlash and Kulmuni had to concede “my Instagram query caused aggravation, it has been removed.”

EU summit second day

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) is still in Brussels attending the second day of an EU summit and it comes after the group failed to reach unanimous agreement on becoming carbon neutral by 2050. While most of the countries agreed, Poland was a hold-out and wants more financial incentives to compensate for carbon-intensive industries that will be hit by going carbon neutral. The PM writes “I am pleased that we achieved today harmony climate target. This has been one of the priorities of the Finnish Presidency. Work is still ahead, but we are now one step closer to a climate-sustainable future.”

Salvation Army Christmas charity collection begins

The traditional Christmas charity collection organised every year by the Salvation Army begins on Friday. Volunteers take to the streets until 23rd December with the distinctive red buckets. The donations are distributed in the form of food, clothing and gift vouchers to people in need, via the Salvation Army offices around Finland. In addition to cash, you can also give gift cards for grocery stores – either in person at collection points, or online. The annual Christmas collection has been organised in Finland since 1906.

Santa Lucia tradition today

Today is Santa Lucia, celebrated in particular by Swedish-speaking Finns. The tradition includes selecting the Lucia ‘maiden’, a teenage girl who will be crowned at Helsinki cathedral this evening and then parade through the city dressed in a white robe with red belt. This year the Lucia maiden is Sara Ray from Ostrobothnia. Other Lucia parties happen in kindergartens and schools on Friday.

Friday morning weather

It’s a mixed and unpleasant but mild start to Friday morning across the whole country. There’s wet snow, rain or sleet in the forecast from Lapland down through Central Finland and into the south west as well. Temperatures range from -2°C in southern Lapland to +4°C in Hanko.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 13th December 2019 / Credit: FMI