Morning headlines: Tuesday 22nd January 2019

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

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Neste still buying palm oil from mills caught in illegal harvests

State-owned Neste says it is still buying palm oil from an Indonesian company repeatedly caught sourcing illegally harvested fruit from a national park that’s home to endangered Sumatran tigers and elephants. An investigation by environmental groups in Sumatra was able to track palm fruit that had been harvested at illegal plantations inside the Tesso Nilo National Park to a mill where Neste buys palm oil for use in its renewable diesel product. The same company has been caught out numerous times, but Neste tells News Now Finland they’re confident it won’t happen again. Environmental groups say there’s no way to guarantee that. Read more at our original investigation here.

Government investigating ‘escape room’ safety

The Ministry of Interior has asked rescue services and the Safety and Chemicals Agency Tukes to investigate the safety of ‘escape rooms’. There’s an estimated 100 of these operations in Finland, where customers pay to be locked inside and solve a series of puzzles to find clues to keys, and gain their freedom within 60 minutes. In January five people in Poland were killed at a fire in an escape room, and concerns about safety have prompted the government investigation.

Overnight fire destroys North Korelia home

A large overnight fire in North Karelia has completely destroyed a home, although nobody was inside at the time. Rescue services were called to Liperi around half past midnight, with fire enginges from Joensuu, Liperi, Outokumpu and Viinijärvi responding to the blaze. The fire, which destroyed the 100 square metre single storey home, was out by 06:30 this morning. Officials say there was no danger of it spreading to nearby properties, and they’re trying to contact the owners to break the news.

Helsinki tunnel approved 

The Helsinki City Board approved a plan to build a tunnel under part of the city centre, connecting Kaisaniemi Park with Elielinaukio. The cost of the tunnel will be €22m and it would shorten the current east-west bike round by more than half a kilometre. Planners expect that up to 10,000 cyclists per day would use the underpass. The final decision will be taken by the full City Council on 30th January. Another plan to have a high bridge over the railway station as the new link was previously rejected.

Foreign Minister in Strasbourg

Foreign Minister Timo Soini (Blue) is in Strasbourg today, attending the Council of Europe winter session. He will also give a speech to the Parliamentary Assembly. Finland holds the current presidency of the Council of Europe. During his visit, Soini will also have talks with the CoE Secretary General and speak at a human rights event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, which was established on Finland’s initiative back in 1999.

Tuesday morning weather 

For much of the country it’s a slightly more mild – but still extremely cold – start to Tuesday morning with temperatures ranging from -3°C in Åland to -14°C in Jyväskylä and -30°C in southern Lapland. There’s also plenty of snow in the forecast today for the south west, eastern border, Central Finland and into Lapland. However in Uusimaa it’s definitely a colder start to Tuesday than Monday, with ‘real feel’ temperatures down to -26°C in the capital city region.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Tuesday 22nd January 2019 / Credit: FMI