Morning headlines: Friday 22nd May 2020

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

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House prices falling during coronavirus crisis

The coronavirus crisis will lead to a fall in house prices of 2% across the country this year, according to mortgage credit association Hypo. A strong start to 2020 will save the market from falling further, and mortgage payment relief will protect against foreclosures Hypo says. However the organisation expects a rapid change in the situation at the other side of the coronavirus pandemic. “Prices will start to rise sharply next year if the return to everyday life continues without big setbacks” says Juhana Brotherus, Hypo’s Chief Economist. “We forecast prices in the Helsinki metropolitan area will rise by 3% next year, and at the national level the rise will be 1.5%” he says.

Number of school health visits drops during distance learning

The number of primary school students being seen by school health staff has dropped sharply to 20-25% of the usual figures according to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL. Although by law all children should still have access to school health and welfare services even during distance learning, the fall in visits cannot only be explained by students not physically being in school. For example, school nurses were transferred to other positions, while the availability of other services like school psychologists also declined in the last few months.

Finnish floorball gets an international-focused makeover

Finland’s semi-professional floorball league is being rebranded and given a new identity as F-Liiga. The new brand incorporates 30 clubs with 16 women’s teams and 14 men’s teams, and almost 900 players. The makeover is part of a drive to improve the Finnish league’s international standing, as more games are broadcast in other countries. Finnish floorball – salibandy – is already shown on sports channels in Czech Republic and Slovakia, and there’s plans to cooperate with other federations to stream floorball events in the future. Part of that international outreach effort is a newly designed logo for F-Liiga which combines a stylized falcon with the letter F for floorball. “We know there is demand internationally and we want to explore those options and we want to explore that strategy with brand development” says Toni Nikunen, F-Liiga’s Marketing Manager. Read more here.

Number of Finns with young families fell almost 20% during the 2010s

The number of families in Finland with children aged under 3 years old fell by almost 20% during the past decade. That’s according to new figures from Statistics Finland which show that the decrease is in line with the falling birth rate. The average size of families last year was 2.74 people while at the beginning of the decade the average family size was 2.79 and in the early 1990s the average was three people. Last year there were more than 1.46 million families in Finland, accounting for 72.6% of the population – but in 1990 the share of families in the population was more than 82%.

Laser beams and birds of prey battle goose migration problems

The annual migration of barnacle geese is underway as an estimated 130,000 leave their winter feeding grounds in the Netherlands and fly over southern and eastern Finland to their summer breeding grounds in Russia’s Arctic archipelago. Unlike neighbouring countries it’s illegal to hunt the geese in Finland, and when they land in agricultural areas they can devastate farmers’ crops. The state paid out €1.1 million in damages in 2018. “But how much is the real cost of the damage? I’m sorry to say we don’t know how much is the real amount but of course it is much bigger and it’s very difficult because these birds come every year again and again” says Timo Leskinen, from the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners MTK. New methods are being explored to discourage the geese from landing in agricultural areas, or public green spaces in cities – like laser beams in North Karelia, and encouraging urban prey animals in Helsinki. Read more here.

Friday morning weather

It’s a sunny and more mild start to Friday than we’ve seen lately with all parts of the country enjoying temperatures above freezing, and even into double digits this morning. The warmest temperatures are found in Vaasa, Central Finland, down the west coast into Turku, Åland and the southwest, and along the southern coast in Hanko and the capital city region. The high pressure system over Finland today could bring temperatures as high as +19°C to parts of the west coast.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 22nd May 2020 / Credit: FMI