Morning headlines: Monday 31st December 2018

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Firework safety for New Year’s Eve

It’s the busiest night of the year for fireworks at official displays and for private use all across the country. Firefighters say their busiest period for call-outs on New Year’s Eve is between 23:00 and 02:00. “Usually somebody manages to shoot a rocket into somebody’s house or other building” says Riku Rantala, Divisional Officer with Länsi-Uudenman Rescue Services. Rantala says if you’re too drunk to read the instructions on a packet of fireworks, you shouldn’t be using them at all. Other advice he gives for setting off fireworks on New Year’s Eve is that only adults should be doing it; to protect your eyes when you’re setting them off; and to leave a good distance between fireworks and spectators. High winds on Monday make fireworks even more unpredictable in flight so that’s an extra issue to watch out for.

Prime Minister mentions Oulu sex abuse case in New Year message

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) has spoken about the suspected abuse of young girls in Oulu by immigrants in his New Year’s Eve message to the nation. He said the stories “provoked feelings of shock and anger” and that everyone who comes to Finland must comply with Finnish laws. He says that if migrants are guilty of breaking the law they’ll be held responsible, and unlikely to get a permanent residence permit. Sipilä also stressed that in this case “the suspected offences have been committed by individuals, not population groups” a clear reference to the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the Finnish political right wing. “I urge everyone not to use these events to incite hatred against refugees or people with a foreign background” says the Prime Minister.

Drugs trial involving NHL player in Tampere court

Pirkanmaa District Court will reveal the charges against 20 defendants, including one Finnish NHL player, in a large drugs case. Police said previously that they had busted a drugs smuggling and dealing operation, and that 2kg of cocaine had been brought into the country and distributed to users in the Tampere region. Among the suspects is Jori Lehterä who plays for the Philadelphia Flyers – who was also a bronze medal winner for Finland at the 2014 Winter Olympics. In September police raided Lehterä’s home as part of their investigation.

Monday morning weather

It’s a cold start to New Year’s Eve across the whole country, with the temperatures dipping down to -13°C in Lapland and -15°C in central Finland. Even Åland is an uncharacteristically cold -8°C today! There’s also going to be a storm moving in later today with high winds in the evening moving from the west and temperatures will rise as well.



Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Monday morning 31st December 2018 / Credit: FMI