Russia military expansion close to Kotka
The Russian military says it’s building a helicopter base just 35km off the Finnish coast, close to Kotka, on an island in the Baltic Sea. Russian forces are constructing five helipads, a command and control centre, weather station, fuel depot and maintenance facilities. Special lighting being put in could help with year-round all-weather military operations. The construction was started in an operation the Russians are describing as “special tactical drills”. Gogland used to belong to Finland but was ceded to the Russians after the war. Russia claims it’s an important location for the defence of St Petersburg, even though it lies well to the west of the natural land border between Finland and Russia, and Estonia and Russia as well.
MTV News: MEPs failed to declare large Facebook ad spends
Two MEPs have failed to declare large spends on Facebook advertising in their European Parliament campaigns. MTV News reports that Teuvo Hakkarainen (Finns) spent €2033 on his ads, but didn’t declare a single penny of it. He tells the broadcaster it was a simple mistake that he forgot to declare it. Previously, Hakkarainen had failed to turn in the required reports of his campaign spending and said at that time he forgot because he was on a trip. Meanwhile Henna Virkkunen (NCP) declared €3720 spending on FB ads but MTV News uncovered €7827 spending. Asked about the large discrepancy, Virkkunen says she will update her campaign spending report this month.
Back to school for many pupils today
It’s the end of summer holidays for many pupils across the country as classes start up again. Students are going back to elementary and high schools in Helsinki, Tampere, Jyväskylä and Oulu today. According to the Basic Education Act there are 190 days of classes every year and that means variations around the country about when school is in session. Rovaniemi area kids already went back to class on Wednesday, while in Turku the students have another week off until 14th August.
Susijengi fall to Serbia in away game
The Finnish men’s basketball team Susijengi have been beaten on the road by a dominant Serbia 95-75. The Finns made a strong start in the first part of the game in Zrenjan on Wednesday night but the Serbs – who are World, European and Olympic silver medalists – got the upper hand fairly quickly, despite a spirited Susijengi effort. Finland’s top scorer was Elias Valtonen with 12 points. Serbia’s 222cm-tall NBA star Boba Marjanovic got 12 points as well.
Thursday morning weather
There’s quite a lot of rain around, and plenty of cloud cover too, on Thursday morning. Expect some heavy downpours around Inari in northern Lapland, and down through north east border regions. There’s lots of cloud through Central Finland and into Pirkanmaa as well; and down the west coast into Turku and the south west of the country. The brightest patches of sunshine can be found in the capital city region this morning. Temperatures range from +8C in Lapland to +18C in Åland. There’s warnings of heavy rain to come later on Thursday for the south and west of the country.