Morning headlines: Friday 24th January 2020

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

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Two suspected cases of coronavirus in Lapland

Two Chinese tourists from Wuhan are in hospital in Lapland suspected of having coronavirus. A new strain of the disease, which apparently started in animals in Wuhan but now spreads from human-to-human, has infected more than 800 people in China and killed at least 25. Three Chinese cities including Wuhan are under lock-down by authorities to try and prevent the spread of the virus. Public broadcaster Yle reports that two Chinese tourists went to hospital in Ivalo on Thursday presenting with symptoms of the coronavirus. Blood samples have been taken and are being sent to Helsinki for analysis. The Chinese family had apparently been touring Lapland for a few days before becoming sick.

Rescue school makes another push to recruit more female firefighters

Helsinki Rescue School is making another push to attract more women to become firefighters, with the application period open until the end of January. Traditionally a male dominated job field, there have been some successes in recruiting women in recent years but the Helsinki Rescue Department reckons the physical side of the job, and rigorous testing criteria, puts off women from applying in greater numbers. “I always keep telling whoever I meet, don’t think about it too much. If you have the feeling you want to try to go and be a firefighter, then just apply and you will see. That’s my message” says Sanna Elonen, one of only three female firefighters in Helsinki. “It’s very good work, but it’s hard” she adds. Read more about Sanna’s life as a firefighter in our original story here.

Court to decide on United Brotherhood ban today 

The Eastern Uusimaa District Court is set to rule today on whether to impose a temporary ban on the United Brotherhood crime gang. Authorities have sought the ruling because they want to outlaw the organisation. However, before the court case started the United Brotherhood said it had voluntarily decided to stop its activities – a move that was met with a large amount of skepticism from law enforcement agencies. A court ban would mean that it’s illegal to use the group’s logo, for example.

Thousands apply to be summer shepherds 

Thousands of people have applied for summer jobs as shepherds. Metsähallitus has received 15,638 to spend the summer working in remote areas looking after sheep, in different parts of the country. The most popular destinations are in Punkaharju, and two places in Lapland. The summer shepherds will have to look after the sheep and manage endangered traditional habitats, and the successful applicants will be informed in February.

Chinese New Year celebrations tonight 

Chinese New Year is being celebrated in Helsinki this evening with traditional lion and dragon dancing, music, singing and lots of food. The Year of the Rat event begins at 16:00 in the city’s Kansalaistori and includes a firework display at 18:00. Find more information here.

Friday morning weather

There’s clear skies across much of the country on Friday morning, with the best of the sunshine found down the eastern border, into the capital city region and the south west as well. Temperatures range from +4°C in Åland to -11°C with snow in Inari.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 24th January 2020 / Credit: FMI