Morning headlines: Friday 28th July 2019

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Overnight fire burns local hospital 

An overnight fire in South Savo has burned the Mäntyharju health centre, forcing the evacuation of 18 patients. Local rescue crews got a call about an electrical fire around 23:00 on Thursday night, and when they arrived on the scene heavy smoke forced them to evacuate some patients to another part of the building. By 03:00 the fire was out, and the smoke was being ventilated. This morning, investigators will be looking more closely at the cause of the fire. None of the patients was injured in the blaze.

Parliament heads for summer recess 

Parliament will hold its last plenary session today before Members of Parliament go off on their summer break. During the past week MPs have heard the government’s statement setting out their EU Commission Presidency programme, and discussed an additional budget proposal – as well as question time where Prime Minister Antti Rinne (SDP) faced a grilling on the fate of Finnish women who went to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. Parliament is back in business a few months from now, with the first plenary session of autumn scheduled for Wednesday 4th September.

Number of foreign tourists on the rise 

Overnight stays by foreign tourists in Finland increased by 12.3% in May according to new statistics out on Friday. The number of Russian tourists grew the most, with overnight stays increasing 72% – or 27,000 individual overnight stays. A total of 460,000 overnight stays were recorded during May with the biggest group being Russians, followed by Swedes and Americans. The rise is part of a trend throughout the first half of the year so far, up 1.9% from the previous year. The increase in overnight stays by domestic tourists is more than that of foreign tourists. Statistics Finland collected the data from accommodation establishments like hotels and hostels with at least 20 beds.

Tens of thousands gather for annual Laestadian religious event 

The annual summer gathering of Laestadian Lutherans gets underway today in Muhos in Northern Ostrobothnia. Some 80,000 people are expected to attend the event. Members of the church mostly come from Finland, Noway, Sweden, North America and Russia with more than 200,000 Laestadian church members estimated around the world. In the Laestadian religion couples are forbidden from having sex before marriage; drinking alcohol; dancing; watching television and listening to modern music; wearing make-up and jewelry; getting tattoos and swearing are all off limits as well for the members of this conservative church.

Friday morning weather

The rain of the last few days has cleared away and there’s bright sunshine across the southern half of the country for Friday morning. There’s some cloud cover over Lapland and the chance of showers in the far north east around Kilpisjärvi. But other than that, expect temperatures to range from +7C in Lapland to +13C in Oulu, +15C in Central Finland, +16C in the capital city region and +14C in the south west this morning.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Friday morning 28th June 2019 / Credit: FMI