Morning headlines: Thursday 21st February 2019

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

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Investigation highlights Neste’s lucrative reasons to classify biofuel as waste

When politicians decided in February to hike the share of biofuels on Finnish roads, they pumped a controversial ingredient into cars: a palm oil-based product that has already been reclassified due to environmental concerns in Sweden, Norway, UK and France. Finland’s state-owned oil company Neste stands to make potentially huge sums of money based on the careful legal definition of a product called PFAD. With a near monopoly on the production of renewable diesel, it’s in state-owned Neste’s best economic interests to keep PFAD designated as a waste product, since that entitles the company to huge tax reductions and hides the true cost, in emissions, of palm oil production. Read our full investigation here.

Alcohol Act increased booze consumption only slightly

Finland’s new alcohol laws were introduced in January 2018, and liberalised the sale of stronger beers, ciders and long drinks. Critics of the measure said it would have a dramatic impact on consumption of booze, but the latest figures out this morning show there was only a tiny increase in alcohol purchases in Finland over the last year – and even then, it was mostly due to a spike in summer drinking during an exceptionally hot few months. The new figures from the Finnish Grocery Trade Association PTY showed just a 0.5% increase in alcohol sales in Alko and supermarkets during 2018; and a 1% growth in passenger alcohol imports during the same time.

16-year old arrested in fatal stabbing incident

Police in Joensuu have arrested a 16-year old boy in connection with the death of another teenager. Officers responded to a home in the city’s Marjala neighbourhood on Sunday evening and found the 18-year old already dead, but the suspect had fled the scene. Police searched for him in a forest with a K-9 unit and apprehended the boy. The North Karelia District Court ordered the suspect held on police recommendation while pre-trial investigation is underway.

Susijengi faces France in basketball action tonight

Finland’s men’s national basketball team takes on France tonight, in a sold-out World Cup qualifier in Espoo. It’s going to be a huge clash, as Susijengi are coming off a win over Bosnia last December, but France are ranked number 3 in the world – while Finland are ranked 21st. The team for tonight’s game includes a mix of players from the Finnish domestic league as well as teams across Europe, but Finland’s biggest basketball star Lauri Markkanen who plays in Chicago is not available for selection.

Thursday morning weather

The cold temperatures of deep winter are back again – but there’s also plenty of sunshine to go around. Temperatures range from -32C in Lapland to -8C on the south coast. In betwee, expect -20C in Oulu, -15C in Jyväskylä, -10C in Tampere and -8C in the capital city region. There’s bright sunshine everywhere at the start of the day except for the very far north east.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 21st February 2019 / Credit: FMI