Morning headlines: Friday 17th January 2020

News Now Finland morning news headlines and weather first, every weekday at 09:00.

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Government to update on employment measures

Minister of Labour Tuula Haatainen (SDP) is set to announce the government’s latest initiatives to boost employment. The aim is to identify measures that could create about 30,000 jobs, and boost the country’s employment rate. The government wants to raise the employment rate to 75% and while it had had been inching up slowly over the first months of the government’s term in office, the rate has mostly flat-lined now. Haatainen will give a press conference where she will unveil the plans.

Sports Gala winners 

Finnish footballers have enjoyed a night of awards glory at Urheilugaala in Helsinki on Thursday. Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki won Sportsperson of the Year for his performance in the English Premier League as well as for his role in the men’s national team qualifying for their first major international competition. Pukki also took home the Moment of the Year prize for his two goals against Lichtenstein last November. The Eagle Owls – Huuhkajat – scooped the Team of the Year prize; while their coach Markku Kanerva took home the Coach of the Year award.

SK: Finns Party MPs concealed China-linked cash

Two Finns Party MPs, including the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, concealed their links to a tech company that received funding from China. The reporting by Suomen Kuvalehti on Thursday afternoon outlines how Mika Niikko, Chairman of Parliament’s powerful Foreign Affairs Committee, has been active in promoting Finnish-Chinese business cooperation. At the same time, says SK, Niikko and his business partner Ville Vähämäki – who is also a Finns Party MP – became the founding shareholders in a Vantaa-based company Realmax Oy which received €1 million from its Chinese state-funded parent company Realmax Technology Group. Mr Niikko says their involvement in the company lasted only a short time, but SK reports the two MPs have not disclosed their stake in a business with links to a Chinese state-owned entity. Niikko has denied any wrongdoing, but SK reports that the Finnish Security Police Supo have been monitoring the situation. Read more at our story here.

Utsjoki wakes up from winter

Finland’s most northerly municipality is waking up from darkness today. The sun last set in Utsjoki on 25th November and for the last eight weeks local residents have been going through a period of Kaamos – or Polar Night – where there’s no sunrise. That all ends today, briefly, when the sun should peek above the horizon at 11:56 on Friday morning. It will set again less than an hour later at 12:49 but during that brief spell of daylight, there should be some sun with the forecast for clear skies.

Friday morning weather

Friday morning starts out with clear or partly cloudy skies in most places but rain is moving in from the southwest to central regions as the day goes on, and when it moves further north in the evening it will turn to sleet and snow where temperatures are cold enough. Temperatures for Friday morning are still fairly mild in the south, up to +5°C. In Central Finland, and around Vaasa expect it to be cooler at +1°C and then down to -14°C in parts of western Lapland.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 17th January 2020 / Credit: FMI