Morning headlines: Monday 30th September 2019

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Opportunities, language and cost are factors for Finns studying medicine abroad

A growing number of Finnish students are choosing to go abroad to study medicine, and taking into account the start it gives their international medical careers, as well as cost. It’s because the number of places to study medicine at five Finnish universities outstrips supply. “There are several times more people than places, it’s something like only 1-in-10 gets a place to study so there’s a lot of people who like to start studying medicine and they head abroad because it’s very much quicker to start their studies” says Piitu Parmanne from the Finnish Medical Association Lääkäriliitto. Doctor Tammar Al-Nassar from Tampere studied in Romania and says cost was a big factor, and also the chance to do more practical work in Finland during the holidays, something that’s not possible if he had studied in Sweden or Norway. Read more at our original story here.

Statistics Finland: population set for rapid decline

The population of Finland is set for rapid decline by 2031 when deaths outstrip births. That’s according to new data released by Statistics Finland on Monday morning which predicts that the country’s population will have dropped by 100,000 people in 2050. Experts say the population drop will have an impact on Finland’s regions where fewer services like schools will be needed. The new forecast predicts that by 2030 only Uusimaa, Pirkanmaa and Åland would see population growth thanks to migration gains.

Prime Minister in Prague & Budapest; Foreign Minister in Balkans

Finnish PM Antti Rinne (SDP) is on a working trip to Czech Republic this morning where he’s been meeting with his counterpart Andrej Babis. The focus of their talks is bilateral relations, and the EU’s internal market. This afternoon the Prime Minister continues on to Hungary where he’ll meet right wing populist Victor Orban in Budapest. Orban’s government has fallen out of favour with the EU on immigration and press freedoms and has openly attacked Finland for wanting to use its six-month rotating EU Presidency to focus on rule of law issues – something Orban sees as interference in his country’s internal affairs. The pair will hold a joint press conference this afternoon. Meanwhile Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto is only traveling today, beginning a three-day trip visiting six countries in the Western Balkans.

Helsinki firefighter school gets temporary reprieve 

Helsinki’s Rescue School, which has trained the city’s firefighters for almost half a century, has been granted a reprieve from closure by the government. Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) has granted a temporary permit for the school to continue training students. The last class will be admitted in 2021 with a 2023 graduation. Before then, a full independent evaluation will be carried out of the Helsinki Rescue School’s teaching. “I am happy, and I was very satisfied when I heard the news” says Matti Waitinen, Principal of Helsinki Fire School. Supporters of the school say being based in Helsinki gives it training scenarios just not found in Kuopio, where the previous government wanted to centralise all operations, including tunnels and the metro system, a large public transport network, the sea and archipelago and high rise buildings. Read more at our story here.

Monday morning weather 

It’s an overcast start to the week across the whole country today with the best chances of seeing sunshine on Monday morning down the eastern border. Everywhere else expect cloud, and some light rain around Turku and Inari – with warnings of sleet and tricky road conditions in the most northerly parts of Lapland. Temperatures: +11°C in the capital city region; +12°C in the south west; +8°C in Central Finland; +7°C in southern Lapland and right on zero degrees for parts of northern Lapland this morning.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Monday morning 30th September 2019 / Credit: FMI