Morning Headlines: Monday 28th May 2018

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Soini Under Fire For Ireland Abortion Comments

Finnish government ministers have been forced to take to social media this morning, to say that comments Foreign Minister Timo Soini made about the result of Ireland’s abortion referendum do not reflect official government policy. On Sunday, Soini wrote a blog post where he said the world was going crazy if the defence of life needs to be defended, and he said he would continue to do so in a “suitable and inappropriate moment”. Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen (NCP) points out that he increased funding for sexual and reproductive health rights, including provision for safe abortions in developing countries when he was Development Minister under Soini. The current Development Minister Anne-Mari Virolainen wrote “abortion law is not a matter of opinion. It is a human rights issue”.

Foreign Affairs Meeting

Meanwhile Soini has left Finland today, taking part in an EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels. On the agenda, according to a press release from the Foreign Ministry, are topics including Iran and the US decision to pull out of a nuclear treaty that the EU supports; the situation in Venezuela and the Democratic Republic of Congo; EU’s Caribbean relations and the situation in Gaza as well as the USA’s decision to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Consumer & Business Confidence Strong

Finnish businesses and consumers are feeling positive about the country’s economy. That’s according to new data released this morning by Statistics Finland. Compared to May last year, Finns’ confidence in their own economy, and the decline in unemployment, has been strengthened. The data is based on a survey of more than 1000 people in early May. The expectations for Finnish businesses are still brighter than average. Trade confidence rose sharply, while the construction confidence indicator weakened slightly, although the outlook for construction is above the long term average according to Statistics Finland’s findings.

Finland’s Flag Turns 100

The flag of Finland turns 100 years old today, so expect to see flags flying throughout the country. According to regulations, flags start to be flown at 08:00 and come down the flag pole again at sunset – but no later than 21:00 during summer months. The familiar blue cross on a white background was designed by artists Eero Snellman and Bruno Tuukkanen, with parliament passing a law to introduce the symbol of the new nation on 28th May 2018.

Monday Morning Weather

As you can see from the map it’s another very bright and hot start to Monday morning according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Temperatures across the southern half of the country will already hit up to +19C in the morning, although cloud cover means it’s cooler in Lapland.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Monday morning 28th May 2018 / Credit: FMI