Morning headlines: Thursday 29th August 2019

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

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EU Ministerial meetings cause traffic troubles in the capital 

Helsinki Police are warning that back-to-back meetings of EU Defence and Foreign Ministers are going to cause a lot of problems for traffic and pedestrians in parts of Helsinki, and on the road to/from the airport. There’s no bike or pedestrian traffic allowed around the area of Finlandia Hall where the meetings take place. Police warn of significant delays between 07:30 and 08:30 in the city centre, and again between 11:00 and 16:00; and also from 15:00 and 19:00 on the airport road. Expect the same issues on Friday as well as ministerial cars come and go with VIP passengers. Authorities urge people to allow extra time for their journeys.

Jan Vapaavuori interview: the rebel Mayor and the rise of the cities 

Helsinki’s CEO sets out his vision for the capital as they look for new ways to heat the city with green energy; consider the idea of linking Finland and Estonia by high speed rail tunnel; and align Helsinki with other cities who want a louder voice advocating on behalf of residents. Jan Vapaavuori (NCP) already had a major impact on the Finnish domestic political landscape, by forming an unprecedented coalition of city mayors to stand in opposition to the previous government’s plans to overhaul social and welfare systems: even in defiance of his own political party. “This was the biggest administrative change in Finnish history, and if cities which in any case have a bigger and bigger role in the future are in charge of the implementation oppose it, it’s evident and it’s natural that we are trying to ally ourselves in order to oppose the plans of the government” he tells News Now Finland. Read more about the man running Finland’s capital city in our original story here.

Somali-born politician receives a noose and death threat in the mail

Helsinki City Councilman Husu Hussein (SDP) showed up for the first council meeting of the new term on Wednesday night to find that someone had sent him a noose, and a crudely-written death threat to City Hall. Security had flagged the envelope as suspicious and when Hussein opened it “the first thing I saw inside was the rope and they had it ready for hanging a person” he tells News Now Finland. “These guys are trying different ways of intimidation. If we don’t stop these things, it’s going to become a reality soon” he says. Read more about the incident and see a picture of the noose and death threat note at our story here.

Police shooting suspects in court today 

Two brothers are due in Eastern Uusimaa District Court in Vantaa today for a remand hearing, in the case of the weekend shooting incident in Porvoo. One of the men has Swedish nationality while the other is a dual Finnish and Swedish citizen. Police want the court to remand the men in custody on suspicion of attempted murder. Two policemen were shot, one seriously injured, in the early hours of Sunday morning as they responded to an alarm call in the south coast town of Porvoo. The suspects were caught 20 hours later near Tampere after a car chase where they again shot at police who were pursuing them.

Cargo captain caught in smuggling operation

Finnish Customs say that a cargo ship captain smuggling more than one million cigarettes and more than 1200 litres of spirits into the country for resale. Authorities reckon the total amount of duty and VAT avoided was around €230,000. According to a press release from Customs, the cargo ship captain smuggled the cigarettes and booze from Germany 48 times in 2013 and 2014. A pre-trial investigation has ended and now the case proceeds to the District Court of Southwest Finland. The captain remains in custody until the trial.

Thursday morning weather

It’s a very warm start to Thursday morning, and comes after record-breaking temperatures in Lapland and Helsinki yesterday, with the highest recorded temperatures so late in the year above +25C. This morning the temperatures range from +13C in north west Lapland to +15C in Oulu, +17C in Central Finland, +18C down the western coast and Turku, +20C in Åland, +18C in the capital city region and +14C in the south east: and we’re already hitting those temperatures by 08:00! Enjoy the Indian summer while it lasts because autumn is just around the corner.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 29th August 2019 / Credit: FMI