Foreign Minister in Israel Talks
Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini is in Brussels today with his EU counterparts, attending the Foreign Affairs Council. High on the agenda is Israel, and the EU foreign ministers will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. There have been clashes in Israel over US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. European countries, including Finland, have their diplomats based in Tel Aviv, and view Jerusalem as a divided city, with its status to be decided in the final stages of peace talks.
Niinistö on NATO
President Sauli Niinistö, who is seeking a second six-year term in office in January’s elections – says that the opinions of the Finnish people must be heard when deciding whether the country should join NATO or not. According to Niinistö, Finns would be divided if the President, Government and Parliament were to decide on this issue without input from the public. In a new interview with STT Finnish News Agency, Niinistö said he is not proposing to have a referendum about starting NATO negotiations, but only for the eventual outcome. Niinistö has kept his own personal opinion on NATO membership secret. Only a minority of Finns – around around 22% in recent polls – are in favour of joining NATO, and that percentage has fallen during 2017.
Poll: Grocery Store Alcohol
A slim majority of Finns would welcome the chance to buy strong beers and ‘alcopops’ like lonkero, in supermarkets. That’s according to a new survey out today, conducted for Helsingin Sanomat newspaper. Some 53% of those people polled responded positively to the idea that strong beers, long drinks and hard lemonades or ciders could be sold in grocery stores, while 37% of people disagree with that idea. According to a new government plan, supermarkets, grocery stores, kiosks and service stations could eventually sell alcohol up to 5.5% strength.
Dangerous Driving Forecast
Driving conditions across large parts of Finland are likely to become more dangerous in the next 48 hours due to slush and snow on the roads, according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI. They’ve issued a warning for the whole country – but excluding Lapland – and say the probability of very poor driving conditions has increased by about 30%. According to the forecast, these bad conditions would continue through Wednesday. Today, driving is bad in Satakunta and Southwest Finland as well as part of Lapland due to snow.
Firefighters in Kirkkonummi rescued two people from a burning apartment on Sunday evening. One of the people rescued is said to be seriously injured. Local police were the first on the scene after the alarm was raised, and tried to put out the fire with a household fire extinguisher, but it had little effect. Building residents were evacuated as the local rescue department arrived with more heavy duty firefighting equipment and brought the blaze under control. There was extensive smoke and fire damage to the apartment, and some damage to the building stairwell, although the rest of the homes in the building were undamaged.
Monday Morning Forecast
It’s a surprisingly mild start to Monday morning across the whole country, according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI. Even in Lapland, temperatures will only range between -6°C and -1°C. Moving further south temperatures remain slightly below zero into central and eastern parts of the country. In the southwest, expect temperatures above freezing, with some rain forecast at the start of Monday. While in the capital city region temperatures should start the day around -2°C and overcast.