Morning headlines: Thursday 25th April 2019

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

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‘State Day’ for Parliament’s official opening 

There’s a series of ‘State Day’ events to mark the opening of parliament on Thursday. It begins with a church service in Helsinki Cathedral, and continues in the afternoon when President Sauli Niinistö addresses MPs and officially declares the new session of parliament open. Later this evening there’s a concert at the Music House in Helsinki. It’s part of a series of ceremonies and bureaucratic moves which all (somehow!) fit together when it comes to opening parliament, starting negotiations and forming the new government. Read more of those details on what happens next, at our story here.

Almost 25% of Finnish children are overweight 

The Ministry of Health says almost 1-in-4 Finnish children and young people are overweight. According to their latest statistics released this morning 27% of boys aged 2 to 16 and 18% of girls in the same age bracket are overweight. The new figures also show quite a lot of variation between different parts of the country.

Disability pensions on the rise 

The number of disability pensions is on the rise, after a decade-long decline. According to the latest information from the Finnish Center for Pensions there were 1300 – or 7% – more disability pensions issued last year than the year before. The increase was highest in people aged 25-44 and over 60 years of age. In particular, the figures show that the number of disability pensions granted for mental health reasons increased.

Overnight fire threatened Oulu church 

Police are investigating the cause of an overnight fire which threatened to burn an Oulu church. Rescue crews were alerted just after 04:00 this morning to the Tuira Church in Oulu, and when firemen arrived on the scene they found a fire in the back yard of the church building. There was nobody injured in the blaze, and the church itself didn’t catch fire. One reason for a police investigation is possible arson – shortly before the church fire another fire nearby just 15 minutes earlier on a construction site caused some damage. Officers will be checking to see if there’s a link between the two small property fires.

Profits up for Tokmanni department store chain

The Tokmanni department store says its sales were better than expected at the start of the year. The company reports net sales of €188.1 million for the first quarter of 2019. That’s compared with €173.7 million for the same period in 2018. Comparable sales, which don’t take into account the impact of new Tokmanni stores, grew by 4.1% in the early part of the year, when analysts were only expecting a 1.8% growth.

Harry Harkimo planning to make it official?

Finnish millionaire-reality TV host-businessman-politician Harry Hjallis Harkimo might be planning to turn his Liike Nyt political movement into a real political party. That’s a story reported by Lännen Media this morning. Harkimo went into the 2015 parliament as a National Coalition Party MP, but in 2018 he dropped out and became an independent, then formed his own political movement. Liike Nyt fielded dozens of candidates at the 2019 general election but only Harkimo himself was elected. Now, Lännen Media says he’s thinking of turning the movement into a party, because it helps with fundraising and financing.

Thursday morning weather

It’s another bright and sunny start to the day across virtually the whole of Finland this morning, with the exception being in the far north east of Lapland. Meteorologists say temperatures could hit +22C in some places during the day! This morning however, temperatures range from +5C in Lapland to +12C in Vaasa; +8C in Central Finland; +12C down the eastern border; +10C in Helsinki and the capital city region; +10C in Turku, the south west and Åland; and +11C in Hanko in the south.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 25th April 2019 / Credit: FMI