Morning headlines: Thursday 7th November 2019

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Possible lifeline for Malmi Airport 

Helsinki’s local airport Malmi is getting a possible lifeline thanks to local residents. The airport had been slated to end commercial and private operations before the end of the year, and the land redeveloped into housing. However a municipal initiative to hold a referendum on the issue has received more than 22,300 votes meaning Helsinki City Council will now have to consider whether or not to hold a referendum on the issue. There has never before been a local referendum in Helsinki. Campaigners say the airport area has historical, cultural and environmental significance and it would be a great loss if it closes because there’s no other equivalent space within 150km to move private pilot operations. Political opponents say that councilors were elected to make decisions on behalf of constituents, and the decision to stop flight operations at Malmi has already been taken, so no need to revisit the issue.

Stranded cruise ship inspected today 

A passenger ship heading from Stockholm to Helsinki will be inspected this morning to see whether it can continue its voyage. The Princess Anastasia is owned by Moby St Peter Line, and ran aground on Lindigö island in the Stockholm archipelago late Wednesday night. The ship’s engines apparently stopped due to a power outage. The Swedish Maritime Rescue Service say the ferry, which has 1065 passengers on board, is being towed back to Stockholm harbour where inspections will be carried out this morning. The 177-metre long passenger ship was originally built in Turku and launched in 1985, and can carry up to 2500 passengers. Since 2011 the Princess Anastasia has sailed a service from Stockholm to St. Petersburg which stops at Helsinki on the outward journey; and both Helsinki and Tallinn on the return journey from Russia to Sweden.

High school study reforms in the pipeline

Finnish high school students will soon be taking classes for credits, get more study guidance, focus on student well-being and improve literacy and communication skills in their mother tongue. That’s some of the guidelines in the new High School Curriculum framework, set to be published Thursday by the National Board of Education which gives high schools more leeway to plan their own studies. Students who start high school in autumn 2021 will be the first to transition to the new teaching curriculum. The aim behind the reforms is that by 2030, half of people aged 25-34 will have completed a university degree. The current figure is 41%.

Lufthansa strikes hit Finland flights

A strike by Lufthansa’s German cabin crew on Thursday and Friday is going to have an impact on the airline’s flights to Finland. Employees are seeking salary increases and improvements in their working conditions. So far 600 flights on Thursday and 700 flights on Friday have already been canceled in anticipation of the industrial action. According to Finavia, the strike will also affect Lufthansa flights between Frankfurt, Munich and Helsinki. The first flights have already been canceled from Finland to German cities on Thursday and passengers should check the airline or airport website for the status of their Lufthansa flights.

Roadside advertising rules changing today 

New rules for roadside signs and advertising are changing today. The new regulation will aim to improve pedestrian and cycling safety by restricting the placement of advertisements and other announcements near the sidewalk and the start of crossings or cycle paths. Adverts must not pose a danger to road users or obstruct the roads, paths or cycle ways. Any temporary announcements which are placed for specific events, will have to be removed within a week of the event taking place, according to the new regulations.

Thursday morning weather 

It’s another very cold start to the day across the northern half of the country, while in the south the capital city region is waking up to snow. Temperatures range from -16°C in northern Lapland, with plenty of snow across the region; to -12°C in Central and eastern areas, snow forecast for Jyväskylä this morning as well. There’s snow too for Turku and the Helsinki capital region. The best of the sunshine today is found in the south east around Lappeenranta, and in Ostrobothnia where temperatures stay at -10°C on Thursday morning.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Thursday morning 7th November 2019 / Credit: FMI