Morning headlines: Thursday 7th January 2021

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

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Finnish leaders react to American political violence 

Finnish leaders have reacted to a night of political violence in America, when armed supporters of US President Donald Trump stormed Congress as lawmakers were certifying Joe Biden‘s win in presidential election. The protesters believe the election was rigged against Trump, a claim the president himself continued to make even as social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook suspended his accounts. Four people died in the incident – one shot by police, three others of apparent natural causes. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) called the protesters’ actions in Congress “a very serious and worrying matter”. “It shows how important it is to steadfastly defend democracy.” Meanwhile National Coalition Party leader Petteri Orpo said “the news of the infiltration of the US Congress is shocking. Democracy and the result of free elections must be respected.” Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) said “shocking news from the United States, one of the oldest democracies in the world. The result of the election must always be respected. The violence must end immediately.”

Coronavirus update, as entry restrictions continue

Public health officials are set to give a progress report on the state of coronavirus in Finland today at 12:45pm. It comes as entry restrictions are set to continue for another month in a bid to slow the arrival of a new, fast-spreading strain of the virus first identified in the UK. Also during January the Social Affairs and Health Committee in parliament will consider a proposal to amend the Infectious Diseases Act to allow authorities to close businesses to prevent coronavirus infection chains. The latest developments come as 331 new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Finland, the highest number of new infections are in Helsinki (76), Vantaa (50) and Turku (48). On Wednesday the European authorities approved another covid vaccine, this time from US pharmaceutical company Moderna. Officials say it will mean 160 million doses coming to the EU.

Apartment building burned in early morning fire

An apartment building has been badly damaged in an early morning fire in Haapavesi. Rescue crews were called to the scene of the blaze around 05:00 on Thursday morning, and when they arrived at the scene found one apartment on fire, and the roof of the whole building already burning. Although the fire was prevented from spreading into the other apartments, the building itself suffered major damage. The building is currently empty and so nobody was injured in the fire. The cause of the blaze is not yet known and this morning investigators will start working to determine how it started.

Pet chain ventures into veterinary business

Popular pet store chain Musti and Mirri is expanding into the veterinary business, by offering tele-vet services to customers. The new service will launch in Finland in February with a number of service providers joining, including FirstVet, LähiVet and Omaeläinklinikka. The company reckons that 60-80% of health problems of small animals can be treated remotely, and the new service means that pet owners will be able to connect online with a vet and show the problem over a video connection. “Our mission is to make the lives of pets and their owners easier, safer and more fun. The digital veterinary service as part of our welfare services supports this task excellently, as it helps us to serve our customers holistically and effortlessly” says Timo Tervo, the company’s Finland country manager.

Thursday morning weather

The cold snap continues across the country today with Lapland seeing double digit freezing temperatures, and everywhere else also below zero except perhaps for Hanko in the south. There’s snow in the forecast this morning for most parts of Finland as well.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 7th January 2020 / Credit: FMI