Morning headlines: Thursday 30th January 2020

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

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Huge drugs case puts dozens of defendants in the dock

A trial opens at Helsinki District Court today which is the biggest drug case in the court’s history. More than 50 people have been charged with proceedings set to continue for several months. The main suspects are the former Cannonball crime gang’s boss Janne ‘Nacci’ Tranberg who was extradited from Spain, and businessman Niko Ranta-aho. They’re suspected of heading up a huge drugs empire based in Spain that funneled illegal drugs into Finland, specifically for sale in the Helsinki capital region and Prikanmaa. Among the others facing charges in connection with this case are Instagram model Sofia Belórf and Sunrise Avenue singer Samu Haber. The initial proceedings are being held in the high security underground court room where Tranberg and Ranta-aho are expected to appear. No images of them can be shown, the trial is closed to the public, and journalists have to watch proceedings in an adjacent courtroom via video feed.

Lapland coronavirus case: not all possible patients have been contacted

Not everyone who might have come in contact with a Chinese tourist confirmed with Wuhan coronavirus have yet been contacted. The head of the infectious disease unit at Lapland Central Hospital in Rovaniemi says that some of the 15 people have already been reached, and officials will try to catch the rest today. The 32-year old woman, visiting from Wuhan, is in isolation after being the first confirmed case of the deadly virus in Finland. Health experts say it can be transmitted from human-to-human, even before the carrier is showing any signs of illness. People who might have come into contact with the sick tourist will have their health monitored for up to 14 days, but will not be quarantined during that time.

Swedish Gripens ground due to clouds and bad weather

Two Swedish Gripen fighter jets, which arrived at Pirkkala Air Base on Wednesday for a week of testing, are apparently not taking off today due to clouds and bad weather. They were supposed to take to the skies at 12:30 but will be grounded. The jets are the third contenders to replace Finland’s ageing Hornet fighters to come to Finland for evaluation in – among other things – their ability to operate during Finland’s winter weather scenarios. However bad weather also affects Finnish planes – there was no Hornet escort flight for the arriving Gripens on Wednesday also due to bad weather.

Sitra: Finns interested in learning, regardless of age 

The Sitra Fund says that Finnish people are interested in lifelong learning. That’s one of the main results in a new survey they carried out with nine out of ten respondents saying they believe lifelong learning is a fundamental right. Respondents reported that they’ve been using the internet in particular to learn, looking up information and reading more – which is typical of learning taking place not just in formal classroom settings but in everyday life situations. According to the new Sitra survey, the biggest obstacles to boosting one’s own skills are lack of money and time.

Thursday morning weather

It’s a wet start to Thursday in southern parts of the country, and even further north there’s wet snow or light sleet with variable temperatures a few degrees below zero. In Lapland temperatures are around -10°C with fresh snow falling in many areas.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 30th January 2020 / Credit: FMI