Morning headlines: Tuesday 12th February 2019

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Two children injured in school bus crash

Two children have been lightly injured in a school bus crash. It happened this morning around 08:00 in Iitii east of Lahti. There were 20 children on the bus at the time of the accident, and rescue crews say the bus ended up in a ditch. Around a dozen children were checked over by paramedics, but luckily there were no serious injuries among the students on their way to school.

Police warn over vigilante action

Finnish Police are warning vigilante groups against taking law and order into their own hands. It comes after MTV News reported that the Soldiers of Odin group had published a video warning that “pedophile hunting season has begun”. The far right group claimed to have set up some fake profiles of underage girls which attracted attention from “Arabic men”. The group also says they’re planning to use women to entice any pedophiles, thinking they’re meeting with underage girls. Police say they take such threats of violence seriously, and that is is unacceptable. The Soldiers of Odin action comes after a spate of accusations of sexual abuse against asylum seekers or men with immigrant backgrounds, in Oulu and Helsinki.

Parliament committee continues to meet 

The Constitutional Committee is meeting every morning this week, to try and figure out an impasse about whether the government’s plans for provincial, and social and health care reform is being undertaken in line with the Finnish constitution. Committee Chair Annika Lapintie (Left) says there’s going to be no hard timetable to reach a conclusion. The government wants to reduce the number of municipalities to streamline local services, although there is disagreement within the government’s three coalition parties about how to do this effectively. Planned new regional elections have already been pushed back as the reform bill stalled in parliamentary committees. In additional to issues with regional reform, politicians are bogged down in the social and health care reform, known as sote in Finnish, which has met with widespread opposition not just from opposition parties but also from within coalition MPs.

National Sign Language Day celebrated

Today is national sign language day in Finland, when the country’s two official sign languages are celebrated. Finnish and Finnish-Swedish both have their own distinct sign language, but according to the UNESCO criteria, Finnish-Swedish sign language is a seriously endangered language, and in danger of disappearing altogether. The first school for the deaf was founded in Porvoo back in the mid-19th century, and in 1995 sign language received constitutional recognition, guaranteeing the right of deaf people to learn their language and use it freely.

Tuesday morning weather

It’s going to be a bright and clear day across Finland, with some snow in northern Lapland, and along the eastern border. The day starts out below zero most everywhere, with temperatures dipping down to -16°C in Kilpisjärvi, -19°C in Oulu, -7°C in Jyväskylä and -3°C in the south west, and the capital city region as well.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Tuesday morning 12th February 2019 / Credit: FMI