Morning headlines: Thursday 14th March 2019

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Overnight fire closes Porvoo highway 

A fire in a truck on the Porvoo highway closed the road down for several hours, re-routing traffic. Eastern Uusimaa Rescue Department got a call around 03:00 and sent six units to the scene where they found the cab of a truck on fire – the truck was carrying a load of timber, and crews had to separate the cab from the trailer to stop the risk of the blaze spreading to the cargo as well. The driver was not injured in the fire, and the Highway 7 was back open again by 05:00.

Hundreds of checks on elderly care facilities

Municipalities have carried out hundreds of inspections on elderly care facilities around the country in recent weeks, sparked by a number of high profile cases of abuse hitting the headlines. The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health Valvira says that because the provision of elderly care is devolved to individual municipalities they don’t have full oversight of how many inspections have been carried out, nor their full findings, however Valvira is aware that the inspections uncovered some areas where shortcomings were revealed at individual nursing homes, for example. While attention has been focused on issues of neglect or abuse in private care facilities, experts say there are also issues to be addressed at state-run elderly care homes.

Hot dry 2018 was second worst year for grain harvest

The Natural Resources Centre Luke says that last summer was so hot that it produced one of the worst grain harvests on records. Last summer was the second hottest recorded in the country and resulted in the worst harvest of the 21st century, with the yield falling by 20% compared to the year before when heavy rains also produced bad harvests. Some of the hardest hit farmland areas are in Finland’s south west, which traditionally produces up to 20% of the country’s grain crops. The survey was carried out by asking 6200 farms – 660 of which are organic.

Michael Jackson dilemma for Espoo art museum, radio stations

Startling new allegations in a documentary that singer Michael Jackson sexually abused young boys have prompted calls for radio stations and streaming services not to play any of his music. It’s also giving pause for thought to one Finnish museum which has an exhibit about Jackson set to open at the end of summer. The ‘On The Wall’ exhibit features art work inspired by the King of Pop, and will arrive at the Espoo Museum of Modern Art EMMA in August. The museum says the are “actively following the discussion” about the documentary; but while they strongly condemn pedophilia, they also “want to be open and discuss even difficult topics”. Finnish radio stations are also having to consider whether or not it’s appropriate to play Michael Jackson music on the airwaves. Read more in our story here.

Facebook mostly back up and running normally in Finland

If you’re reading these headlines via Facebook, it means the social media service is back up and running again after a 10 hour outage that affected millions of people around the world. Third-party apps showed a cluster of mentions of the outage impacting Finland, especially the capital city region – as users were able to read the site, but not able to upload photographs. It’s believed to have been one of the longest outages in Facebook’s history, with the company denying it was hit with a denial-of-service hacker attack.

Thursday morning weather

Temperatures have warmed up quite a lot this morning, and that means temperatures above freezing in the capital city region, Turku and the south west, Åland, and round the coast to Pori as well. Warmer weather brings with it chances of rain in those areas. The temperatures stay below freezing across the rest of the country with snow forecast in Tampere, Lappeenranta, and into Central Finland as well as Lapland with temps from -11C in north west Lapland to -1C in Lahti.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 14th March 2019 / Credit: FMI