Morning headlines: Thursday 2nd July 2020

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

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Maria Ohisalo interview: Borders, feminism and Finland’s green recovery

Finland’s Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green) has three big issues on her desk at the moment: the country’s border security, the country’s green economic recovery, and advancing equality through feminism. The government’s policy agendas are a difficult balancing act: opening some borders while keeping the frontier with Sweden closed; pushing environmental recovery while the state owns large shares in companies with less-than-stellar green credentials; and incurring the wrath of political opponents using words like intersectional feminism. “Maybe the biggest problem is that the people who always say that yes I am in favour of equality then you ask what are you willing to do to reach more equality, then you don’t hear much. There is a silence. You don’t hear any measures” says Ohisalo. Read more at our original story here. Listen to the whole interview with Maria Ohisalo in our new summer Podkäst episode available Friday on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher and News Now Finland social media channels.  

Poll: Finns consider racism a significant problem

Slightly more than half of Finns consider racism to be a significant problem. In a new poll by Uutissuomalainen newspaper group, some 51% of people said they fully agreed or agreed with the statement “I think racism is a significant problem in Finland” while 43% of people completely or somewhat disagreed with the statement. Six percent of people could not comment on the matter. The survey was carried out in late June and a thousand people were questioned. It comes just a few weeks after a new report by the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman found that a lifetime of racial discrimination in Finland begins at an early age, with children from immigrant backgrounds already experiencing systemic racism in the education system during pre-school. The report found the most common experiences of harassment range from seemingly harmless comments and acts – known as micro-aggressions – to violence at the extreme. Read more about that study into systemic racism in Finland at our story here.

Mosquito capable of spreading malaria found in Finland

Researchers from the University of Helsinki say they’ve discovered a species of mosquito new to Finland, which is likely to be capable of spreading malaria. The anopheles daviae mosquito was only recognised as a distinct species in 2004 but belongs to a group of mosquitoes which had previously been found in Finland, and is a close relative of the primary mosquito species responsible for transmitting malaria in Europe. Researcher assume this species was also responsible for transmitting malaria until the 1950s when the disease declined in Finland. “As malaria is not currently endemic in Finland, there is no reason to panic at this finding. However, the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated that we have to be prepared for all public health eventualities” says Lorna Culverwell, a PhD student at the University of Helsinki who carried out the research that lead to the new discovery.

Strawberry season off to a good start

The recent spell of warm weather means that Finland’s strawberry season is off to a good start in southern and central areas. The Association of Fruit and Berry growers says that even further north, strawberries will start to ripen in the fields over the next week. The heavy rains in recent days have brought some much-needed moisture to the crops and then the cooler weather has helped with the quality of the fruit. However, the association warns that the very high temperatures in June likely indicates a shorter strawberry season than usual – and urges people to already think about freezing and preserving their strawberries for winter!

Thursday morning weather

The widespread rains of the last few days have mostly cleared, but showers linger in the far northwest and the southwest as well, moving north later this evening. Elsewhere expect sunshine, with some cloud cover. Temperatures in Lapland start the day between +6°C and +12°C; and +14°C to +16°C everywhere else.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 2nd July 2020 / Credit: FMI