Morning headlines: Friday 26th June 2020

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

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Ministers, Border Guard unsighted on UK ‘travel corridor’ plan

The BBC reports that Boris Johnson’s government is set to announce a list of countries, including Finland, to be part of a scheme for travel in both directions with no quarantine restrictions. These “travel corridors” would be formed with countries that have low instances of coronavirus like France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Norway and Germany. According to the BBC “the initial list of destinations exempt from the quarantine is expected to take effect early next month.” The only problem is, nobody’s told the Finns, even though an announcement could apparently come as early as the weekend from British ministers. a travel corridor is “not currently in preparation” confirms Minister of Interior Maria Ohisalo‘s office, while a senior official with the Border Guard says they haven’t heard of any such scheme either. Finland does allow quarantine-free travel from a number of Nordic and Baltic countries, and plans to broaden this list to include other EU and Schengen countries from the middle of July but at present the UK is not on that list. Read more at our original story here.

Parliament ends spring session with MP immunity vote 

Members of Parliament will vote today on whether to lift immunity of a fellow MP from the right-wing Finns Party, and allow the Prosecutor General to prosecute him on race-bait charges. Juho Mäenpää made comments about asylum seekers on the floor of the chamber a year ago, but as MPs have broad latitude to say things in Parliament that they couldn’t say outside of Parliament, it would need a five-sixth majority to lift his immunity. This is unlikely to happen with the Finns Party, Christian Democrats and some National Coalition Party and Centre Party politicians voting against the move. The debate this week has been fierce, but Friday’s vote sets an important precedence on the limits of political speech inside the Parliament chamber. Friday is the last day of the current session before summer holidays begin.

Halt in the number of abortions in Finland

A pattern of declining number of abortions carried out in Finland came to an end in 2019, according to new figures released Friday by the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare THL. The statistics show that in 2019 there were 8,700 abortions carried out, equating to 7.7 terminations per 1,000 women of childbearing age (15 to 49 years old). Researchers say it’s still too early to conclude whether the trend for fewer abortions seen in recent years is over. “The number of abortions is still significantly lower than, for example, 10 or 20 years ago” says THL’s Anna Heino. According to the new figure 51.2% of women who had abortions in 2019 had given birth at least once before. The government has said it is committed to carrying out a trial offering free contraceptives to young people aged under 25.

Climate strike protesters back outside Parliament for first time since March, 26th June 2020 / Credit: Atte Ahokas

Fridays for Future climate protesters back at Parliament

A small group of climate strike protesters are back outside Parliament today, for the first time since March. The Fridays for Future events, inspired by Swedish school girl Greta Thunberg, had been a regular fixture on the steps of the Parliament building for more than a year. However the coronavirus crisis in spring put an end to the gatherings until today. By 09:00 a handful of people with colourful banners were camped on the steps outside Parliament with banners reading “stop fossil burning” and “planet on fire.”

Friday morning weather

The heatwave of recent days continues in central and southern parts of the country, with temperatures in the high 20s again for Friday. However cooler air is already flowing in across the north and the temperatures will be noticeably lower in Lapland. Rain showers and thunderstorms can be expected as the day moves on for some areas of Central Finland, but the day starts off bright and sunny with temperatures already in the low-to-mid 20s, up to +26°C by 08:30 across a large portion of Finland.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 26th June 2020 / Credit: FMI