Morning headlines: Friday 23rd August 2019

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

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Finnish MEP warns on Amazon jungle fires 

Finnish MEP Ville Niinistö (Green) has issued a stark warning about the situation in the Amazon rain forest, and says the EU has some leverage to force Brazil’s government to do more to tackle the problem. Thousands of fires are currently burning in the Amazon, with up to a fifth of the world’s oxygen-producing ecosystem at risk. Niinistö says the EU should use the Mercosur free trade agreement as leverage to force the Brazilian government to act more responsibly in line with climate-change goals. “The extreme right-wing president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, is not interested in environmental objectives or the prevention of climate change. The burning of the Amazon forests is, on the contrary, increasing” says Niinistö in a press release. The MEP says that as the current holder of the EU’s rotating Presidency, Finland should whip a tough line across the EU to put pressure on Brazil’s government. “As a large trading partner, the European Union has power in relation to Brazil. The EU needs to tackle Bolsonaro’s rainforest-destroying and climate-resilient policy” says Niinistö.

Arson suspected as overnight fire destroys Jehovah’s Witness Hall 

An overnight fire in the south west town of Pöytyalla has destroyed the Jehovah’s Witness meeting hall. Fire crews were alerted around 02:00 and when they arrived on the scene they found the 150m sq building fully engulfed and the roof already collapsed. According to media reports the exterior walls of the building are no longer standing and the local fire chief suspects arson. Nobody was injured in the blaze, and this morning police are beginning their investigation.

Foreign Minister in New York for UN talks

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) is in New York today, for talks with United Nations Secretary General. The visit paves the way for a series of events at the UN next month on the environment and sustainable development. One of Haavisto’s goals is to encourage more Finnish experts to get high level jobs at the UN, as well as discussing regional and international issues. “One of our foreign policy objectives is to build peace. Conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding are Finland’s long-term foreign policy priorities and are gaining even more importance” says Haavisto in a press release. “Finland aims to increase its participation in the UN’s mediation and dialogue process and in other similar processes, and this will be indicated in the discussions in New York” he adds.

Paper: Sitra choosing ex-PM as new head

Ilta-Sanomat newspaper reports that Sitra, the Finnish Fund for Innovation, will choose former Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (NCP) to be its new chief. According to the newspaper, Sitra’s Board of Directors has made the decision, and a final green light will be made in September by Sitra’s Supervisory Board. The position becomes vacant at the beginning of next year, and Katainen had been widely tipped to get the job, even though there were several other candidates in the running.

Friday morning weather 

There’s plenty of rain and thunderstorms around the country on Friday morning (but meteorologists are forecasting the return of warm summer weather next week, don’t worry!) Expect heavy rain across much of the south of the country, with perhaps the exception of Turku and the south west, during the morning. There’s rain as well in southern Lapland, and across Central Ostrobothnia. Temperatures range from a rather cool +6C in Lapland to +8C in Oulu; +13C in Vaasa, +15C in the capital region on Thursday morning.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 23rd August 2019 / Credit: FMI