Morning headlines: Friday 16th August 2019

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Susijengi bare their teeth in weekend games 

The Finnish men’s national basketball team is in action on the court this weekend, taking on top sides Lithuania and Russia in two friendlies. It’s a warmup for the basketball World Cup which starts in China in two weeks, but the Finns narrowly missed out on qualification for that tournament – so instead they’re looking further ahead to EuroBasket 2021 qualifiers which begin already next February. “We’ve had a good mix with young guys and also veterans and I think this summer has been about bringing the young players along, and so far they’ve been doing a great job” says team captain Shawn Huff, who will lead the players out against Lithuania on Friday, and Russia on Sunday at Metro Arena in Espoo. Read more at our original story here.

Social Democrat leadership to decide fate of MP 

Social Democrat leaders, on the second day of their party’s summer meeting in Helsinki, will discuss today the issue of MP Hussein al-Taee. The MP was caught up in a scandal right after April’s election, when it was revealed he had made extensive derogatory comments online about women, Jews, homosexuals and Sunni Muslims. He had been asked for several months before about the comments, but refused to address the issue, and only belatedly admitted that he wrote them. He later spent time addressing his mental health issues in hospital, and police are investigating his writings to see if they rise to the level of criminal activity. The Social Democrats could choose to sanction al-Taee in some way, athough the leader of the SDP parliamentary group Antti Lindtman told journalists on Thursday that he didn’t want to make any predictions.

Mental health hotline receives record calls 

A mental health telephone line has received a record number of calls in July, but most of them went unanswered. The Mieli line, which used to be known as the Finnish Mental Health Association, received almost 23,000 calls in July, the highest monthly total in 49 years. Unfortunately only a fifth of the calls were able to be answered. The most common topics for discussion in the summer were interpersonal issues, and people looking for help with problems related to exhaustion, studying and working life.

Convicted rapper A$AP Rocky set to play in Tampere

Controversial American rapper A$AP Rocky, convicted this week in Sweden of assault, is set to play Tampere’s Blockfest music festival today. The rapper, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, and two members of his entourage, were found guilty of the June assault of a 19-year old man in Stockholm. The rapper was fined and given a suspended jail sentence which means he doesn’t have to spend any time in custody, although he was kept in a cell on remand before the trial – something that prompted US President Donald Trump to complain to the Swedish government. The rapper is scheduled to be the headline act on Friday in Tampere, and takes to the stage for a one-hour set at 23:00.

Espoo project brings language learning back home 

A project in Espoo, the first of its kind in Finland, helps multilingual families understand the importance of maintaining the parents’ mother tongue, and at the same time developing Finnish language skills for their children. Nine-month old Majeste is one of the young clients, and although he’s not speaking yet he is responding to verbal cues from his mother Sister-Hope Asmah in English, as well as her native language Fante. The idea is that in Finland there’s a natural Finnish language environment, but sometimes if there’s another native language in the family then it might need more support, so as the child goes to Finnish daycare and school, the native language doesn’t fall down” explains Michelle Kaila, one of the Social Counselors at the MONIKU service – who herself is a mother, and an immigrant from Canada. Read more about the groundbreaking work being carried out in Espoo, at our #Sponsored story here.

Friday morning weather 

Most of the good sunshine can be found in the southern half of the country, and cloudy in the north. However the forecast is looking good for the weekend with warmer weather moving it – it’s going to feel like summer again on Saturday in most places! On Friday morning however, a little bit cooler, with temperatures ranging from +10C in Lapland to +16C in Oulu, +14C across Central Finland; up to +16C down the west coast, and +14C along the eastern border. The capital city region will enjoy temperatures around +15C.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 16th August 2019 / Credit: FMI