Morning headlines: Thursday 31st October 2019

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

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Council of Europe: intolerance & nationalism put pressure on Finland’s minorities

A new report by the Council of Europe published on Thursday says that rising intolerance and nationalism have begun to put pressure on traditional minorities like the Sámi people and Karelians. The Council also urges authorities to have an open dialogue with Swedish speakers, as their mother tongue gets subsumed in practice by English and other languages. Experts from the Council of Europe visited Finland earlier this year and have drawn up a range of action they want the government to take to safeguard language revitalisation, and rights for minority groups. “As trust decreases and distance between communities increases, it is important that Finland’s elaborate system of minority protection evolves” the report says. Read more at our story here.

Interior Minister voices her support for cannabis law changes 

Minister of Interior Maria Ohisalo (Green) has voiced her qualified support for changes in the laws on cannabis growth, possession and use. Writing on Facebook, Green party leader Ohisalo notes that a citizen’s initiative earlier in October collected the required 50,000 signatures to progress to parliament. She said her party’s policy is that use and possession of illegal substances in small amounts should not be punished. “The problems related to drugs are vile, and often affect society more widely than the individual” says Ohisalo. The minister says that drug trafficking must continue to be punished, and bringing drug dealers to justice, and the fight against organised crime, are key ways to deal with the problem. Read more at our story here.

Police investigate missing conscript case as murder 

The National Bureau of Investigation says it’s now investigating the case of a missing Somero conscript as a murder. Milla Aronen, 21, from Somero was last seen in June, and was reported missing when she didn’t return to her military conscription after a weekend leave. The officer in charge of the case says they have one suspect, a man born in 1995, who was detained at the end of August. Previously the police investigation was looking at homicide but they now believe there was an element of premeditation which raises the level to murder. Investigators say the suspect accessed Aronen’s bank accounts and tried to take out a loan in her name. Police are still appealing for any witnesses to come forward, and the deadline to formally charge the suspect has been extended to January 2020.

More tourists staying overnight during September

Overnight stays by foreign tourists in Finland increased by nearly 10% in September compared to the previous year. That’s according to the latest accommodation numbers published on Thursday by Statistics Finland. In September, about 510,000 overnight stays were recorded for foreigners. The number of nights spent by Italians increased the most, increasing by 3600 at night. This is more than a third more than in the previous year. The number of nights spent by domestic tourists in accommodation establishments increased by two per cent from September last year with 1.3 million overnight stays.

Thursday morning weather 

It’s a cold and cloudy start to the day across the whole of Finland. There’s snow in the forecast for many parts of Lapland, where temperatures drop down to -13°C in Kilpisjärvi and -16°C around Inari. Further south the temperatures warm up a lot, and although it’s a few degrees below freezing down the eastern border, it’s a few degrees above freezing in western, central, and southern parts of the country. In the south west expect the warmest start to the day +5°C in Turku, Salo and Hanko.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday 31st October 2019 / Credit: FMI