One dead in Arctic military exercises
A soldier from Sweden has been killed in the Northern Wind military exercises taking place in Sweden and Finland this week. Finnish military personnel are also participating in the exercise along with NATO forces from Norway, UK and the USA. The soldier died in the early hours of the morning in an accident involving an armoured vehicle. According to Swedish media reports, the soldier was trapped underneath. Although the majority of the exercises are taking place in Sweden, some components are taking place in Finnish Lapland as well. There are 1500 soldiers and 500 vehicles from Finland involved in the Northern Wind exercise which started last Monday, and continued until Wednesday.
Finns divided on regional reform
Finns are divided – or at least undecided – on how many provinces there should be in the country. That’s the findings of a poll out this morning in Rural Future magazine. Reforming the number of provinces in the country for administrative reasons, was one of the biggest sticking points of the government’s ‘crown jewel’ sote reform which sought to overhaul the country’s social, healthcare and regions. The Rural Future poll finds only 1-in-6 Finns wants to maintain the same 18 provinces that we have now. Meanwhile there was a divided along supporters of the main government coalition parties, with 40% of National Coalition Party voters thought 12-15 was a good number to have, while 28% of them thought 6-8 provinces was enough. From the Centre Party 48% want to keep 18 provinces while only 7% want more. The survey asked 1155 people in Finland for their opinions.
Kokoomus candidate: “Why does multiculturalism not work?”
Officials from the National Coalition Party – known in Finnish as Kokoomus – are distancing themselves from an election candidate who used a campaign event to spread his views that multiculturalism doesn’t work. It’s the kind of rhetoric which shows how blurred the lines are between some of those on the right of Kokoomus’ ideology, and the ethno-nationalism of some Finns Party members; and exposes a divide within the National Coalition Party itself between more traditional right-wingers and liberals. Atte Kaleva gave a talk to Kokoomus supporters in east Helsinki addressing the issue, but others in his party say he doesn’t represent its values, or many of the mainstream members. Read more at our original story here.
New Finnish trend: plant dating brings likeminded people together
A fun new trend is bringing hundreds of people together for ‘plant dating’. It’s been a big success in Helsinki where organisers encourage green-fingered gardening enthusiasts to meet in real life to swap or trade plants. It could be a house plant which gets swapped for something new, or seedlings for sale to grow some new plants, but organisers say it’s making a lot of people happy, and encouraging new forms of social interaction. Watch more at our original video story here.
Monday morning weather
It’s a return to chilly weather across the country this morning, although with lots of bright sunshine as well. Temperatures range from -8C in Lapland to -2C in the capital city region and +2C in Åland at the start of Monday. The best of that sunshine is through Central Finland and up into the north. It’s a bit overcast in the south, south west and along the eastern border. There’s some warnings of icy roads as temperatures dropped overnight, so be careful if you’re driving to work this morning.