Morning headlines: Friday 21st December 2018

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Huge drugs bust catches Russian smuggler

Customs officials have made a huge drugs bust, netting 130,000 ecstasy tablets at Helsinki’s Vuosaari Harbour. The discovery was made at the start of the month in a Russian car. The 30-year old driver is thought to have purchased the drugs in the Netherlands, and was transporting them through Finland to his final destination in Russia. The drugs are said to have a street value of €2.6 million. Customs says it’s the biggest ecstasy bust agents have ever made.

Overnight fire destroys hotel

An overnight fire at the Hotel Iso-Syöte in Pudasjärvi has destroyed at least half of the building. Fire crews were alerted in the early hours of the morning and 15 fire enginges were deployed to battle the blaze. About 100 people from the hotel and nearby accommodation have been evacuated but nobody is reported injured in the fire itself. The hotel’s restaurant and reception areas have been gutted by flames but the fire didn’t spread to the accommodation. Firefighters are still working at the scene in challenging -10°C conditions.

Statistics: unemployment falls again in November

The latest statistics out this morning show there are almost 42,000 fewer job seekers in November than the same month one year ago – and down 800 from the previous month as well. The number of long term unemployed is also down compared with November 2017 as is the number of unemployed jobseekers under the age of 25.

First Lapland flight leaves Gatwick after drone delays

A Norwegian Airlines flight to Rovaniemi left Gatwick Airport this morning. Flight D82968 was scheduled to leave at 05:45 but took off at 06:34 local time (08:34 Finland time). It’s one of the first flights to depart Britain’s second largest airport after flights were grounded on Wednesday evening because of drones near the runways. Police launched a massive hunt for the drone operators, which authorities say was a “deliberate act to disrupt the airport”. Thousands of people remain stranded at Gatwick while airlines try to get people and planes where they need to go. The Norwegian flight should land at Rovaniemi around 11:05 this morning.

Friday morning weather

Today is the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, and the shortest day of the year in Finland. The temperatures feel colder today across much of the country south of Lapland. It’s down to -20°C along parts of the eastern border and -10°C through central Finland as well. There’s widespread snow forecast for Helsinki and the capital city region, Tampere and Pirkanmaa region, al along the eastern border from Lappeenranta to Kuusamo; and in the west on the Ostrobothnia coast between Pori and Vaasa, and up in Oulu as well. Up north in Lapland temperatures are more mild between -3°C and -7°C at the start of the weekend.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 21st December 2018 / Credit: FMI