Tromsø conference raises questions over Finland’s Arctic priorities
An Arctic conference in northern Norway, attended by Minister of Trade Ville Skinnari (SDP) raises questions about whether Finland sees the region as a commodity, or a conservation project. The 2020 Arctic Frontiers event in Tromsø includes many many national and local government leaders, representatives from indigenous groups and universities; but there are also invitees from a shipping company; the European Space Agency; a petroleum company; big finance; and the US military – as well as a minister from the Singapore government. So with Finland sending the Minister of Trade what sort of message does this relay about how Finland views the Arctic region? Finland’s Ambassador for Arctic and Antarctic Affairs says that business is not bad for the environment, only unsustainable business is bad for the environment; however the government is still working on its new Arctic region strategy which will outline in greater detail the balance the Finnish state has between business opportunities and the economy on one hand, and environmental protection on the other. Read more at our original story here.
Education minister warns of school cuts
Minister of Education Li Andersson (Left) is warning that the number of children in some municipalities might not be enough to support separate schools there. She made the comments to Iltalehti newspaper, and attributes the problem to Finland’s falling birth rate. One answer the minister suggests is to share resources. “Sharing an elementary school among several municipalities is something that I consider a possible outcome in some parts of Finland” she says.
Paper industry workers on strike
Mediation talks between the Paper Union and forestry industry representatives broke down over the weekend and will resume on Tuesday. In the meantime workers continue into the third week of a strike that is impacting paper mills and companies like Metsä, Stora Enso and UPM. According to the Paper Union about 9000 of their members are covered by the strike which is scheduled to last for two more weeks if no solution is found in collective bargaining.
Police search for missing snowmobiler
Police in Eastern Finland are searching for a missing snowmobiler. The 70-year old man went out on Sunday morning for a snowmobile drive and has not been seen since. Authorities were alerted around 16:00 on Sunday evening, and family and friends of the missing man started their own search along with police and the rescue department in Pyhäselkä area. Police say the ice is dangerous there, and they’re advising people not to go out on the ice at this time.
President Niinistö in Auschwitz commemoration
President Sauli Niinistö is attending a memorial event in Auschwitz today, to mark 75 years since the Nazi-run concentration camp was liberated by Allied forces at the end of World War II. Heads of state and government from more than 20 countries will also be attending, along with around 200 survivors of the concentration camp. The site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp is now a Holocaust museum. During his visit, President Niinistö will also hold a bilateral meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Monday morning weather
There’s some extremely cold temperatures sitting across much of the country at the start of the week, with parts of Lapland down to -34°C. It’s -16°C in Oulu; -26°C in Kainuu; -12°C through parts of Central Finland; -25°C in Lieksa on the eastern border; -12°C in Joensuu and -5°C in Lahti. Ther’s snow in the forecast for parts of Ostrobothnia and Pirkanmaa; with precipitation falling as wet snow or slush in the capital city region. The warmest part of the country is Åland on Monday morning at +4°C.