Finland sharply criticised over racism, trans rights and immigrant issues
A new report on the human rights situation pulls no punches as it describes rising racism and hate speech, problems with immigrant integration and outdated rights for trans people. The Council of Europe’s report is published today, and gives the Finnish government a two year deadline to fix some of the problem areas. “We were a little surprised that a Nordic country was less liberal than we might have hoped” says Michael Farrell, one of the Council of Europe Rapporteurs who wrote the report. Farrell says there are lots of areas that Finland must improve on, but they found a few bright spots especially in Helsinki. Read more at our original story here.
Foreign Minister goes to London for talks
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) heads to London today for talks with his UK counterpart Dominic Raab. The visit comes just hours after the British government suspended Parliament for five weeks, but failed to get enough support to call a general election. Britain is set to leave the European Union at the end of October but the timeline and political machinations around Brexit are in chaos. Brexit is on the agenda for Haavisto today, but he’ll also hold discussions about transatlantic relations, the Russia-Ukraine situation, climate change and the Persian Gulf. Pekka Haavisto has previously warned about the “nightmare the day after Brexit” – read more at our original story here.
Hundreds of workers in redundancy talks at Lehto construction
Negotiations begin today on redundancies at the Lehto construction company. The firm is having to make cuts in a bid reduce costs by €7 million per year and the negotiations involve up to 540 staff – with Lehto looking to cut 150 man years. The company warns that all parts of the business will be impacted, and they’re looking at a range of options including part time work, job reassignments or transfers, as well as redundancies. Lehto’s core business is in the construction and renovation of business premises, apartments, care sector facilities and other public buildings. They currently employ more than 1400 people.
Major operation against United Brotherhood crime network
The National Bureau of Investigation NBI says it has targeted the United Brotherhood’s criminal network with searches of homes in nine cities, and three prisons. Over the last week suspected members of the gang, including several leaders, have been arrested after raids in Tampere, Turku, Jyväskylä, Lahti, Joensuu, Vantaa, Porvoo, Tuusula and Helsinki. “A large number of firearms have been found during home searches. Drugs have also been seized from several locations” says the NBI’s Ari Lahtela. Police arrested 18 people in total, including nine people in Turku alone. Read more about the Brotherhood’s crime network and coordinated action against them at our story here.
Parliament’s Constitution Act centenary celebrated today
The 100th anniversary of the Constitution Act is being celebrated today in Parliament. The ceremony begins at 12 noon with President Sauli Niinistö, Prime Minister Antti Rinne (SDP), and Parliament Speaker Matti Vanhanen (Centre) presiding over events in the chamber. After the serious parts of the ceremony there will be three cheers for the Republic of Finland and then coffee is served – a very Finnish way to do things!
Tuesday morning weather
Warm temperatures are back in many parts of the country for Tuesday, and it’s going to feel a bit like summer again! Some of the best sunshine is found in the north on Tuesday morning, with temperatures ranging from +4°C to +10°C in Lapland. Further south things warm up to double digits quite early with Åland, the south west and capital city region already seeing temperatures of +17°C by 08:30 this morning.