Morning headlines: Monday 10th August 2020

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

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Campaigners push for VAT reduction in menstrual products

A campaign spearheaded by the Finnish Feminist Association Naisunioni is working with political parties to raise awareness of the issues of period poverty, and to get a tax cut on their agendas. There’s currently value added tax of 24% put on women’s sanitary products in Finland, including tampons, pads and menstrual cups, and Naisunioni wants to see it reduced to 10%. “Why are we paying 24% tax on these products that is not a luxury item?” asks Fatim Diarra, President of Naisunioni. “If you menstruate then you will need these products, and women will have to pay this tax on it, and when you go to the store it’s not priced like a medicine with the lower tax” she explains. Many other European countries have lowered their VAT on menstrual production, including some which dropped to 5% the lowest level allowed under EU regulations. Finland has one of the highest taxes on sanitary products in the EU. Read more at our original story here.

Minister: Coronavirus restrictions could be introduced regionally

Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen (Left) says that different levels of restrictions could be introduced regionally in response to any second wave of coronavirus infections. Speaking on a morning television show, Pekonen said that she thought it was worth considering regional restrictive measures. Legislation has been updated during the summer so that this would be an option open to public health authorities under the Infectious Diseases Act in a way it wasn’t in the spring. “The disease situation is not the same in all areas. It therefore makes more sense to take regional restrictive measures now that we have updated the legislation” Pekonen says. One recommendation on teleworking could be an early test of the regional approach to slowing any second wave of coronavirus.

Finland takes part in Lebanon aid conference

Finland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (Green) has taken part in an international conference to raise assistance for Lebanon after last week’s devastating explosion damaged an estimated 50% of buildings in the capital Beirut. Finland has previously earmarked €1 million to support the Red Cross targeting water, health and food security in Beirut and helping local hospitals with some supplies they need. Sunday’s online summit was arranged by France and donors pledged more than €250 million extra to help Lebanon – and called also for reforms to be made in a country whose currency had already collapsed and where there is widespread corruption. “In addition to alleviating the immediate distress caused by the explosion, Lebanon must pay attention to political change. Finland has also supported peace and security in Lebanon and the region through long-term participation in peacekeeping” says Haavisto in a statement.

Investigation continues into Hanko racing boat crash death

An investigation continues today into the death of a child at the weekend, with the Finnish Accident Investigation Authority Otkes appointing a team too look at the deadly incident. The crash happened off the coast of Hanko on Saturday when a powerboat taking part in a race known as the Poker Run hit a pleasure boat. One person was injured and a child of primary school age killed. Both were occupants of the pleasure boat which was one of many watching the Poker Run race in Hanko’s East Harbour. Otkes says their investigation will focus in particular on security issues related to the organisation of public events. Police says a criminal report has been prepared with possible charges including endangering safety, and suspected manslaughter.

Valtteri Bottas gets podium finish at 70th anniversary Grand Prix race

Finnish racer Valtteri Bottas has climbed back onto the podium after finishing third in Sunday’s British Grand Prix. Bottas started the race in pole position but at the chequered flat he finished behind Dutch driver Max Verstappen driving for Red Bull, and Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton. The Espoo driver had been in second place with just two laps to go until Hamilton caught up with him and then overtook him. “It was very frustrating, starting on pole and finishing third. As a team we were sleeping at some points, Red Bull’s strategy was far better and we have to look at this” Bottas told reporters after the race. The result means that Bottas has fallen back to third place overall in the driver’s championship race title. Read more at our story here.

Monday morning weather

The weather on Monday morning starts of bright and sunny across much of the country, with temperatures rising to a high of +22°C as the day goes on. However in the north and east there’s more unsettled weather with windy gusts and cloudy skies. Temperatures across Lapland this morning are a little cooler around +10°C. Further south there’s +15°C for Oulu, and +16°C for Vaasa, Jyväskylä and through Central Finland into Tampere, Turku and the southwest. Expect +17°C and sunshine in Uusimaa and the capital city region.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Monday morning 10th August 2020 / Credit: FMI