Morning headlines: Thursday 30th July 2020

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


Centre Party leadership race heating up 

The race to be the leader of the Centre Party is likely to heat up on Thursday, as Annika Saarikko gives a press conference this morning and is expected to announce that she plans to challenge incumbent leader Katri Kulmuni at the party’s autumn convention. Saarikko has been on maternity leave and returns to her job as Minister of Science & Culture on Thursday. Meanwhile Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä has also hinted that he could be interested to lead the party but is not making any firm announcements just yet. Katri Kulmuni resigned from her position as Minister of Finance after a minor scandal involving ministry funding being used to pay for public speaking lessons, however she remains party chair – and is often regarded as seeing her party’s role in the coalition government less favourably than Saarikko. The Centre Party’s autumn conference takes place in Oulu at the beginning of September.

Coronavirus second wave is coming, but mask issues more complex

The Chief of Infection Control at Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District has warned that a second wave of coronavirus is very likely in Finland, but says the country is in a much better position to cope with it than during the spring. Dr Veli-Jukka Anttila says that as restrictions have eased on travelers, large gatherings or going back to work, there will probably be an increase in infection rates – although not immediately. “I expect there will be an increase in the number of new cases, but what kind of wave, it will be impossible to say” says Anttila. “In July, my feeling, and when I look at those statistics from our hospital, there’s no marked increase in the numbers of new cases, but we know that it is coming” he adds. Dr Anttila says that while we wait on any potential new national decision on whether or not to make wearing masks mandatory in certain circumstances, his own view is that they could be helpful in some situations. But he explains that a lot of the guidance on masks depends at that time about what the situation is with new cases of coronavirus in society. Read more in our original story here.

One person killed in Kehä III crash

One person has been killed in a traffic accident on Kehä III in Espoo. It happened early Thursday morning and rescue services says a passenger car collided head-on with a small van at the Kauklahti interchange. The road has been closed and traffic diverted temporarily while rescue crews and police are working at the scene of the crash to investigate exactly what happened.

Report: Many young victims of human trafficking in capital region

Helsingin Sanomat reports that a number of underage victims of human trafficking have come to the attention of authorities in recent years in the Helsinki region. According to the newspaper dozens of minors who were victims of forced marriage, forced labour or sexual exploitation are living in the capital. The Victim Trafficking Assistance System says that the young victims have usually moved to Finland from overseas, perhaps as asylum seekers, and then been exploited by adults once the arrive.

Apple season comes with a warning 

As fruits and berries start to ripen and fall from trees, public health officials are issuing a warning that fallen apples, berries and leaves could attract rats to suburban yards. In Helsinki authorities are reminding people that they’re responsible for keeping their own gardens clean, to pick up any fallen produce and sweep up leaves. Rotten fruit can be composted but the compost has to be tightly closed so that rats or birds don’t get inside. Advice for keeping gardens rat-free this year includes to also tidy up building material or other places where rats can find a place to shelter – or buy rat traps to kill the problem.

Thursday morning weather

The weather starts off bright in many parts of the country on Thursday morning with the best of the sunshine around the capital city region and in Lapland although there’s plenty of sunshine peeking out behind clouds in Turku, Tampere and Jyväskylä as well. There’s rain this morning on the eastern border and as the day goes on scattered rain showers move into central areas as well with up to 50mm of rain falling in some place. Expect some showers and thunderstorms in the south later.

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