Morning headlines: Monday 25th February 2019

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

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Minority-background candidates aim to shatter parliament’s glass ceiling

With campaigning well underway for spring elections, a slew of candidates with minority backgrounds are hoping to win enough votes to get into office, a sign perhaps that Finland’s parliament might more closely resemble the increasingly diverse constituents it represents. At present only two out of 200 MPs have minority backgrounds (not counting linguistic and cultural minority Swedish-speaking Finns) and they’re both from the Greens. However, this year most of the main parties – but especially those on the left – are fielding more candidates with minority backgrounds, particularly in the capital city region where the Helsinki City Council is already the most diverse elected body in the country. Read more at our original story here.

PM with EU leaders at Egypt summit

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä is in the Egyptian Red Sea town of Sharm El-Sheikh with other EU leaders today, at a joint summit with the League of Arab States. On the agenda is trade and investment, security in the region and migration – as well as measures to combat climate change. However Britain’s exit from the European Union is also being discussed in the sidelines, as Prime Minister Theresa May attends the event, and tries to get some additional guarantees from the EU about the brexit deal she is trying to convince the British parliament to vote for. Brexit happens – deal or no deal – on 29th March.

Feminist Party launches election campaign today

The Feminist Party is launching its election campaign today in Helsinki, unveiling a manifesto with 100 initiatives on equality that it hopes to get parliament to tackle. The Feminist Party has joined forces with three other smaller parties in the capital city region hoping with a combined list, they will get enough votes to have at least one member of parliament. The Feminists, Pirates and Liberals already have seats on Helsinki and Espoo local councils, but hoping to convert that into representation at national level.

Tallinn tunnel plans set for zoning decision today

The Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council is set to consider zoning approval for two tunnel projects linking the Finnish and Estonian capitals. One project, backed by the government, is a normal-speed train link that plans a route to Helsinki Central Railway Station; while the other is a high-speed connection championed by Peter Vesterbacka that links Helsinki and Tallinn airports via a new Baltic Sea island and Espoo. The regional council chairman – who is also the Mayor of Espoo – tells Finnish media that he would be happy to approve both proposed routes. However, Finnish ministries and the cities of Helsinki and Vantaa are against the idea of two approved routes – they want only one official route to be decided on, going through central Helsinki. Read more about the global architects who want to collaborate with Vesterbacka’s tunnel, at our original story here.

Monday morning weather

It’s a bright and clear start to the week across most of the country this morning. Expect some flurries of snow around Kilpisjärvi however. The temperatures are above freezing almost everywhere except the far north of Lapland and also down into south central Lapland where they dip to -11C. The best of the sunshine is also in Lapland, and Tampere, Turku and the south west. Monday morning temperatures reach +4C in Jyväskylä, +5C in Vaasa, +6C in Hanko and Åland, +5C in Helsinki and the capital city region.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Monday morning 25th February 2019 / Credit: FMI