Morning headlines: Thursday 20th February 2020

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

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Sunshine living: Meet the residents of Little Finland, Spain

Tens of thousands of Finns chose to live on the Costa del Sol either full time, or for part of the year and a whole Finnish community ecosystem has grown to support them: shops, restaurants, doctors, a church, local newspaper, radio station and a primary school. And over the years the profile of the typical Finn has changed from retiree to more young families and entrepreneurs arriving in Spain. “People like it and they think it’s the whole package. You get the weather and sun, but you can live like it’s Finland” says Marja Aulas from Barona, which employs 250 Finns at its Fuengirola call centre. “You can do everything in Finnish, but my advice is to try to integrate yourself more with the Spanish lifestyle too” she says. Read more about life for Finns on the Costa del Sol in our original story here.

PM in Brussels for EU budget showdown, as Finland charts the middle ground 

Months of EU budget negotiations come to a climax in Brussels today as leaders from the 27-nation block try to find agreement on the region’s financial framework for the next seven years. Finland’s Europe Minister Tytti Tuppurainen was involved in much of the heavy lifting during the country’s EU Presidency in the second half of 2019 and now charts a course between the countries who give more to the EU’s budget than they receive, and who want to keep budget increases to a minimum; and countries who, broadly speaking, take more money than they contribute who are worried about cuts to their funding. Tuppurainen tells News Now Finland that a middle ground between those positions has to be found but that it comes with conditions: countries that want more aid money like Poland or Hungary have to stick to the EU’s rules and values. Read more in our original story here.

Court ruling due on alcohol import tax case

Helsinki District Court is due to give a ruling today about distance selling of alcohol. Prosecutors say a Finnish man avoided taxes of more than €1.65 million by importing and selling more than 235,000 liters of alcohol and other items. The court has heard that customers could order booze, soft drinks and tobacco from Estonia and Latvia via the company’s two websites vironviina.com and balticbrannvin.se. The site then asked the buyer to pick their transport company for delivery so the prosecutor is arguing that the seller, at least indirectly, transported the products to Finland and is therefore liable for import duties on the products. The accused man who ran the websites denies he committed any crime.

Flu season going slower than expected

Finland’s seasonal flu epidemic is spreading at a slower rate than usual, but experts warn the peak is still to come. According to THL there’s a lot of influenza at the moment in North Karelia but at moderate levels in other parts of the country. There’s been fewer cases reported than expected but the peak might still come in March. As of Wednesday more than 65,000 cases of influenza A have been recorded, and 1000 influenza B virus cases recorded. About 1.1 million doses of the flu vaccine have been administered by public healthcare staff this winter. The vaccine is given free to young children and people over 65.

Thursday morning weather

It’s a bright, sunny, chilly and snowy start to the day across Finland. Temperatures in the north drop down as low as -25°C and there’s more snow in the forecast for central Lapland. Elsewhere expect lots of sunshine with the brightest weather in Central Finland and across Ostrobothnia as well. There’s sunshine all the way in the far northwest around Kilpisjärvi and in the southeast in Lappeenranta as well. Expect cloud cover in the capital city region but there will still be some sun shining through as well.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 20th February 2020 / Credit: FMI