PM meets Angela Merkel today
Prime Minister Antti Rinne (SDP) is in Berlin today for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It’s Rinne’s first visit to the German capital for discussions with Merkel since he became Prime Minister. On the agenda for talks: what Germany expects during Finland’s EU Presidency and other EU issues including EU enlargement and the climate crisis. The two leaders will hold a joint press conference this afternoon.
Finns want to shake up primary school subjects
Finns want to see a change in the subjects that students are learning in primary schools. A new survey for the Stock Exchange Foundation finds that 80% of people think it should be compulsory for children to study economic issues. So what subjects would be cut to make way for more economy classes? Half of the people in the survey say there should be less teaching of religion; about 25% say they would cut some Swedish lessons while 20% say there should be less art in the curriculum to allow space for the extra economy classes. The survey was carried out in May and questioned 1000 Finns across the country.
Pension increase info expected
Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen (Left) is expected to announce increases to pensions today. The government programme earmarked €183 million for pension increases – one of the campaign promises of the winning Social Democrats – and it could amount to a monthly increase of €50 for each person receiving a state pension. However, there has been criticism from opposition parties about whether the amount set aside for the pension increases will be enough to fully cover all the costs involved.
Panda birthday at Ähtäri Zoo
One of the pandas at Ähtäri Zoo is having a birthday today as Pyry turns six years old. The male panda arrived from China with female Lumi in early 2018 and there are hopes now that they might start to show an interest in breeding. Pandas mature at age 4-8 and although the two bears are kept apart, they could be introduced during Lumi’s short fertility period next spring. Last year there were 275,000 visitors to Ähtäri Zoo, a record high driven by the arrival of the pandas but this year visitor numbers have been down 20%. However, July is traditionally the busiest month at the zoo and managers hope to see an increase in visitors.
Wednesday morning weather
It’s a warmer and sunnier start to Wednesday morning across most of Finland than we’ve seen recently. The best of the sunshine is across Central Finland, and in the far north east at Kilpisjärvi as well. There’s sun coming out from behind the clouds in the south and south west as well. Temperatures range from +6C in north east Lapland to +14 in central areas, the capital city region and down the west coast, to a high of +16C this morning in Åland and Vaasa.