Morning headlines: Thursday 23rd May 2019

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Poll: National Coalition Party most popular ahead of Euro Parliament elections 

A new poll this morning from public broadcaster Yle reveals that the National Coalition Party are the most popular ahead of Sunday’s European Parliament elections with 19.7% of the vote. The Greens have seen their popularity rise, with 17.2%, and the Finns Party close behind in third place on 17%. The Social Democrats, who came out on top at April’s general election have 14.3% of support, with the Centre Party back in 13%. The survey asked the opinions of 2500 Finns between 23rd April and 21st May. The margin of error is 2.3 percentage points in both directions.

Overnight fire at child protection unit 

A fire at a child protection unit in Mänttä-Vilppula has caused damage, but no injuries. Rescue crews were called to the unit on Sammallammintie around 23:30 on Wednesday night where they found the fire already burning. There were seven children and one adult in the building at the time of the fire, and they were all evacuated safely. The unit is for children and young people aged 10-18 years with mental health issues. This morning, police are investigating the cause of the fire, which was confined to just one part of the building.

Government talks continue, but ending delayed 

Talks to form the next coalition government, lead by the Social Democrats and including the Greens, Centre Party, Left Alliance and Swedish People’s Party, continue in Helsinki today. However SDP leader Antti Rinne concedes that things won’t be wrapped on Friday as he first thought. The delay is caused in party by the European Parliament elections, but also by roadblocks on funding. Experts, officials and politicians have come up with a series of policy proposals that all parties can agree on, but now they have to shoehorn those ideas into the budget framework. In short: they need to make sure they’ve got enough money to pay for the things they want to do. Rinne now says the talks should be over next week, but he wasn’t able to say exactly when.

Finland takes on Sweden in World Champ quarter finals

The Finnish Lions take on Sweden in the quarter finals of the ice hockey World Championships this evening. The Finns had some solid round-robin results losing only two games to finish in second place in group A, but tonight is the first time they take on a group B country. Sweden finished 3rd in their round-robin matches. If the Lions win tonight’s clash against their old rivals, they’ll take on either Czechs or Germans in the semi final.

President Niinistö visits Slovenia 

President Sauli Niinistö starts a two day official visit to Slovenia this morning. He’ll be meeting Slovenia’s President, Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament during talks in the capital Ljubljana today. On the agenda for discussions are bilateral relations between the two countries, security policy issues, and the future of Europe according to a press release. President Niinistö will also be talking about climate change issues at an event to meet high school students. On Friday the two presidents will visit an eco-village. The last Finnish presidential visit to Slovenia took place in 2005 when Tarja Halonen went there.

Thursday morning weather 

It’s a much different weather picture for Thursday morning than we’ve seen recently. Temperatures cool across the country, there’s extensive cloud cover and more changeable forecast in store. In north Lapland temperatures start the day around 0C. A little further south, the best of the sunshine can be found in Oulu this morning but it only comes with temperatures of +5C. Cloud cover blankets Central Finland and everywhere south of there, with temperatures still only +6C this morning in the middle of the country. The highest temperatures are found on the south west coast at +16C.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 23rd May 2019 / Credit: FMI