Morning headlines: Tuesday 5th March 2019

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Timo Soini to leave parliament at elections

Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini (Blue) has announced that he won’t run for re-election at the upcoming elections, and will step down from parliament at that time. He made the announcement on his blog this morning, on the last day possible for candidates to register their intention to stand at the election. Soini gave no indication whether he will bid for a European Parliament seat – those elections happen at the end of May and he still has time to announce his decision. Soini’s time at the Foreign Ministry has been overshadowed by his controversial personal views on reproductive rights for women and girls which are contrary to government policy. He was rebuked in an official investigation for attending an anti-abortion rally while on official business in Canada last year.

Authorities investigate new elder care shortcomings

Authorities in eastern Finland say they’ve identified “significant shortcomings” at an elderly care facility in the town of Siilinjärvi. The nursing home is run by Attendo company, a service provide which operates a number of similar facilities. Inspectors visited the location a week ago after receiving reports of deficiencies there, and found shortcomings in staff levels, drug treatments, record keeping and the implementation of residents’ individual care plans. For example, some night time and weekend care had been at minimum levels,  and not met the needs of the residents; and too little time was allowed for activities outdoors. Attendo has until the middle of this month to sort out the problems, or face possible action.

Police still searching for Helsinki stab suspect

Police in Helsinki are still searching for a man in connection with a stabbing incident on Sunday which involved his ex-wife, their three children, and a family friend. Officers released a picture and description of Haydar Abdulerar Al-Hmedavi, born in 1985, and say he is 168cm tall, and suspected in two counts of attempted murder and three assaults. Police have said they don’t consider him a threat to members of the public. Read more at our story here.

Finns celebrate Shrove Tuesday

Finns celebrate Shrove Tuesday today – known as Laskiainen. It’s traditionally a celebration of late winter, and the start of the Easter period and blends official church religious doctrines and pagan traditions as well. In Finland some of those traditions involve going sledging today, and eating laskiaispulla: buns filled with whipped cream and either strawberry jam or almond paste.

Tuesday morning weather

The cold snap continues this week with temperatures in Lapland down between -22C and -28C this morning – but there’s lots of bright sunshine and clear skies around in the north as well. In the southern half of the country – south of Oulu more or less – there’s snow in the forecast as well, for everywhere except the west of the country. The snow extends from Jyväskylä south to Hameenlinna, Lahti, Helsinki and the capital city region; and east to Lappeenranta and the border as well. Temperatures range from -14C in Central Finland to -3C in Åland.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Tuesday morning 5th March 2019 / Credit: FMI