Continued Brexit uncertainty for Finns in Britain
It’s another important week in Britain’s departure from the European Union, with time running out for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to agree on a withdrawal agreement and get it approved by parliament in London, or ask for an extension on the 19th. Before all that there’s a European Council meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday where Brexiteer Johnson will face EU27 leaders. All of it adds up to more uncertainty for Finnish nationals who choose to make their home in the UK. While it seems clear that Finns and other EU nationals will not be summarily kicked off the island on the day after Brexit, nobody is quite sure what lies ahead if and when the previously abstract thought of Britain leaving the EU becomes a reality. We talked with two Finns – one who recently arrived, and one who moved to UK more than two decades ago – to find out how it’s all impacting them. Read more at our original story here.
Court of Appeal hears MV-Lehti case today
The Helsinki Court of Appeal will begin to hear the case of two right-wing agitators convicted by the District Court last October on charges of waging a sustained campaign of intimidation against a Finnish journalist. The founder of far right racist newspaper MV-Lehti Ilja Janitskin and pro-Kremlin propagandist Johan Bäckman were between them found guilty of 16 charges of stalking, aggravated defamation, inciting others to aggravated defamation against journalist Jessikka Aro. Lawyers said the convictions set a legal precedent in Finland, where journalists now know they have the law on their side in cases of online harassment and defamation. The convicted pair appealed their sentences.
Kurds in Finland voice their fears over Turkish invasion
EU Foreign Ministers including Pekka Haavisto (Green) are meeting today in Luxembourg to discuss Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria. As fighting intensifies in the area known as Rojava, Finland’s Kurdish community have been voicing their concerns about the humanitarian cost of the violence. The latest news from the area is that hundreds of Islamic State prisoners have escaped from a large prison after the Kurdish militias – previously valued allies of the West – who were guarding them had to escape the oncoming Turkish military operation. The international community is warning about further destabilising the area. “As a Kurdish community in Finland, we are extremely shocked by the immediate consequences of the invasion, which has led to deaths, refugees and the destruction of neighborhoods, but at the same time we are concerned about everything that can happen over time” says Welat Nehri from the Finnish Kurdish Federation. Many supporters joined pro-Kurdish rallies in Finnish cities over the weekend, and some in the community are calling for a boycott of Turkish products in supermarkets. Read more at our original story here.
School holidays start today
The autumn school holiday starts today for many school children, with the one week vacation staggered either this week or next week in different parts of the country. Today is the turn of pupils in Helsinki, Tampere, Vaasa, Joensuu, Jyväskylä and Kajaani. The National Board of Education is encouraging children and parents to pick up a book and immerse themselves in the world of literature this week – saying that it’s a more ecological way to pass the time than traveling during the school holiday.
Lapland blazes with autumn colours
At this time of year Finland’s forests and fells are rapidly changing through the short autumn season when the leaves turn many different shades. This is known as ‘ruska’ in Finnish, where the vivid reds from bilberry and lingonberry bushes can be seen in stark contrast with the yellow leaves of the dwarf birch, the dark green conifers, and the grey scree slopes of the fells. Explore Lapland’s Phyä-Luosto National Park in our new gallery of pictures.
Monday morning weather
There’s chilly, wet and windy weather in the forecast for the start of the week. Temperatures dip below freezing in Lapland and brings wet snow in many places. Further south there’s sunshine in central areas but temperatures are only a couple of degrees above zero. There’s rain in the capital city region and along the south and western coasts into Turku on Monday morning. Temperature highs of +9°C in the coastal south won’t be much consolation when it’s grey and raining outside.