Morning headlines: Monday 29th June 2020

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

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Russia denies its reactors are responsible for any nuclear leak

Russia says none of its nuclear facilities are responsible for a rise in radioactive isotopes detected in the atmosphere over the Nordic and Baltic region. Last week the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority STUK said they had detected small amounts of radioactive isotopes of cobalt, ruthenium and cesium in Helsinki’s air. There were similar findings from their Swedish and Norwegian counterparts and on Friday a senior official from the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation CTBTO tweeted a map showing increased levels of the isotopes over large parts of Finland, Estonia and the Baltic Sea, southern Sweden and southern Norway. In a statement to TASS Russian News Agency, the Russian state nuclear energy corporation said their two nuclear power stations in northwest Russia were “working in normal regime. There have been no complaints about the equipment’s work.” Nuclear safety officials in Finland and the CTBTO have stressed that the rise in isotopes is not harmful to human health.

Senate Square gears up for socially-distant reinvention

Helsinki’s Senate Square, usually the focal point of tourist activity in the capital during summer, is getting a socially-distant reinvention. On 1st July the square will become a summer urban garden with bars, restaurants and music, in a bid to bring in locals and domestic visitors and give the city centre an economic boost. Organisers are hoping the new venue will help replace some of the lost tourist revenue. “It’s going to be a really nice set up of restaurants, cafes and bars. We’re going to have 16 restaurants and cafes, and as a starting point we’re going to have 480 seats” explains producer Peggy Bauer. Read more at our original story here.

Poll: Three out of four people concerned about government debt

Three quarters of Finns are at least somewhat concerned about rising levels of government debt, according to results of a new survey published Monday in Helsingin Sanomat. The government is taking on more debt to help pay for financial support to help the country recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. The newspaper reports the concerns about the debt burden follow traditional political divisions with the majority of Finns Party and National Coalition Party voters voicing the most concern; while Left Alliance supporters were least concerned. Only 20% of people are not worried at all about taking on extra debt. More than half the respondents said they didn’t like the government taking on additional debt, but understood why the government was forced to do so. The survey was conducted by Kantar TNS between 12th and 17th June and 1,040 people were questioned.

50,000 sign up for Duolingo Finnish course

The online language learning app Duolingo says more than 50,000 people signed up to learn Finnish in the first four days after the new course became available last Thursday. Duolingo says that Finnish was one of their most-requested languages before it launched and that the majority of the new users – some 38% – signed up here in Finland. Other new users came from the USA and UK with 7% each; followed by Germany (4%); Russia and India (3%); China, Sweden, Netherlands and Australia (2%). There were also one new Finnish language student from Yemen, Guadeloupe, Benin, Brunei and Tajikistan, according to Duolingo’s statistics.

Monday morning weather

It’s a welcome, cooler start to the week than we’ve had in recent days with temperatures on Monday morning several degrees cooler over the weekend. There might be some scattered showers this morning and then later some more rain will move into western parts of the country before shifting slowly east. In Lapland, rain is more persistent in the evening and overnight. However on Monday morning temperatures are between +10°c and +17°C in Lapland; +17°C too in Oulu; +20°C in Vaasa, +18°C through Uusimaa and +16°C down the eastern border with plenty of sunshine – and a breeze along southern coastal areas.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Monday morning 29th June 2020 / Credit: FMI