Morning headlines: Friday 13th September 2019

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Asylum seekers from Turkey on the rise 

The number of people from Turkey arriving in Finland to claim asylum has grown to the point that Turks are the second biggest number of asylum seekers in 2018. According to new figures published this morning in a story by Lännen Media, so far this year 283  Turkish citizens applied for asylum in Finland, and last year’s number was 293. If the application rate goes on like this, there will be a 45% increase in applications between 2018 and 2019. Back in 2015 only 57 Turkish people applied for asylum in Finland. It’s a similar picture in other parts of Europe as well: a total of 24,000 Turks claimed asylum in EU, Norway and Switzerland last year. The main grounds for claiming asylum are membership of the banned Gulen political movement.

Swedish Foreign Minister pays first visit to Finland

The new Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde is making her first foreign visit today, with Helsinki the destination. Linde was appointed to the role only on Tuesday, and replaces long-time Foreign Minister Margo Wallström in the government of Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Wallström was a strong proponent of Sweden’s so-called “feminist foreign policy” and she clashed very publicly with countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia during her time in office on foreign policy matters. Minister Anne Linde previously held trade and Europe ministerial portfolios in government, and today she’ll be meeting her Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto. “I am very please that Minister Anne Linde had an opportunity to accept an invitation to visit Finland so soon. Cooperation between Finland and Sweden is very close and important” says Haavisto in a statement. On the agenda for today’s meeting, the pair will discuss the European Union, Finland’s EU Presidency and bilateral issues between the two countries.

EU ministers link finance to climate change 

Finance Ministers from the European Union continue their meeting in Helsinki today, looking at ways to use the tools at their disposal to fight climate change. The Finnish host of the meeting is Minister Mika Lintilä (Centre). Finland would like to reform EU energy taxation which they say is out of date because it does not distinguish between renewable and fossil energy sources. This morning there is also a meeting of Eurozone Finance Ministers who are also in disagreement about financing of the budget to improve competitiveness in the euro area. And again, Helsinki Police are cautioning local residents about road closures and traffic snarl-ups around the meeting venue Finlandia Hall, and going to the airport especially later this afternoon when the meetings come to an end and the VIP visitors leave for the airport.

Airbnb landlords are avoiding their taxes

Around 1-in-3 people who rent out their homes or apartment on short-term platforms like Airbnb are not paying taxes on the income it generates. That’s a story being reported by Uutissuomalainen newspaper on Friday morning. The paper says that information from the Tax Administration around 3000 short-term rental landlords failed to register their income, which is taxable. There’s an estimated 8800 such properties in Finland, with Airbnb one of the most popular platforms for people to post the availability of individual rooms, or the whole property, for short-term rent. The total unreported taxable income last year on these type of accommodations was more than €15 million.

Friday the 13? It’s sort of unlucky

Today is Friday the 13th – a date which rolls around usually once or twice each year. It’s considered by many Western cultures to be the unluckiest day of the year but is that fact or fiction? Helsingin Sanomat newspaper reports this morning that for Finns, Friday 13th is no worse than any other Friday, however, Fridays in general see more car accidents. This can be explained by the increased traffic on the roads on Fridays as people either leave work to drive home, or head off to their summer cottages in the afternoon, and the roads get more congested. According to data compiled by the Accident Information Institute, between 2008 and 2017 on Fridays some 13% more traffic accidents took place than on other days.

Friday morning weather 

It’s a fairly clear start to Friday morning across much of the country with some rain in the far north east around Inari and in the south in the capital city region. Otherwise the sun is coming out from behind the clouds pretty much everywhere else although it is going to feel cooler again today. Temperatures range from +5C in Lapland to +10C in Oulu and down through Central Finland; +12C in Vaasa, through Tampere and Lahti as well and down the eastern border; and a little bit warmer this morning +14C in Åland, Turku and Helsinki.

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