Morning headlines: Thursday 18th April 2019

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

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Finland rises up World Press Freedom Index 

The latest World Press Freedom Index has been released today, and it sees Finland climb from 4th to 2nd place. Although Finland had been sitting on the top spot for many years in the annual report compiled by the Reporters Without Borders RSF organisation, in the past few years it slipped down to 3rd then 4th place as a series of issues around political interference with journalists caused concerns about the state of press freedom. However, in the latest report RSF specifically cites a court case where far right agitators were convicted of harassment against a journalist, showing that extreme “hate speech cannot hide behind the pretense of free speech”.

European Parliament election candidate deadline today

Prospective candidates for next month’s European Parliament elections have a deadline today to submit their applications to the Electoral Commission in Helsinki today at 16:00. The nominations will be confirmed one week later. The Finns Party, which came second in Sunday’s general election, will announce their European Parliament candidate list at a press conference at noon although MP Teuvo Hakkarainen, who was convicted of a drunken assault on a female member of parliament, has already said he will run. Pre-voting for the Euro elections takes place on 15th – 21st May.

Busiest day for road travel

Today is the busiest day of the week on Finland’s roads, as people drive for the Easter holidays. Police say that all roads are going to be busy, and even in cities today will see the peak of the Easter holiday traffic. Towards the end of the holiday weekend traffic is not going to be so heavy as return journeys are divided over several days. Although summer speed limits are in force during good weather, police also warn against the dangers of speeding.

Thursday morning weather

It’s a very bright and sunny start across the whole country this morning, although a little chilly to begin the day. However – meteorologists say Thursday will be the warmest day of the week and are already forecasting temperatures up to +20C in central and southern parts of the country, with temperatures over +10C the norm. This morning however there’s temperatures as low as -8C in parts of north west Lapland, rising just to +1C or +2C down through Central Finland and +2C in the capital city region. The warmest weather in the morning is in Hanko on the south coast, and down the eastern border around Lappeenranta with +6C.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 18th April 2019 / Credit: FMI