Morning headlines: Wednesday 11th December 2019

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

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President weighs in on al-Hol refugee camp case

President Sauli Niinistö says the new Finnish government – sworn in on Tuesday – should consider making a clear political decision about the fate of Finns at the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria. The president made the comments through his office to Helsingin Sanomat newspaper. Previously, government parties have been reluctant to make a decision which they worry would be politically damaging. The president’s intervention comes as the Finns Party lodges an interpolation in parliament – essentially a vote of no confidence – in the government over the issue; and the Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori (NCP) also calls on the government to make a clear decision on repatriating the Isis-linked Finnish women and their children.

Finns Party leader spreads Isis airport conspiracy theory 

An official exercise at Helsinki Airport today has sparked a conspiracy theory from a senior politician. Finnish Customs says it planned the exercise back in 2017 to work with airport authorities to combat biological threats. However, the leader of the Finns Party Jussi Halla-aho suggested on Twitter that it was a cover story to repatriate Isis-linked Finnish women and their children. Halla-aho’s conspiracy theory was roundly criticised by other politicians, and Tulli had to again issue a denial that he’d got the wrong information, saying they would video everything today to ensure complete transparency. wrote on Twitter that it’s -Vantaa Airport on Wednesday has sparked speculation about preparing for “Isis families” repatriation. According to Customs, the exercise has no connection with the situation of the returnees from the al-Hol camp, but is a routine exercise to combat biological threats.

Decline in number of children who smoke

The number of young people in Finland who smoke continues to decline, according to the latest figures released by the National Institute for Health and Welfare THL. However, the decline in adult smoking seems to have stopped. Just 7% of boys and 6% of girls reported smoking this year – compared with 21% for boys and 17% for girls a decade ago. The study highlighted the differences in school types among young people who smoke. Significantly more students at vocational schools smoke every day than high school students. In vocational schools 18% of first year students reported smoking every day – however this percentage also declined over the past year.

Deadline day for cheaper Christmas mail

If you’re sending Christmas cards this year in Finland using the cheaper stamp option, today is the last day to write a season’s greeting and get it in the mail box. Customers have until midnight on Wednesday to put this year’s cards into letter boxes (or until closing time at post offices). If you’re planning to use a first class stamp the deadline for postage is 17th December to ensure that cards arrive at domestic destinations by Christmas.

Wednesday morning weather

There’s colder weather and more sleet and snow in the forecast for Wednesday morning – and a storm warning for the Northern Baltic, Åland, the Archipelago, Bothnian Sea and Kvarken areas. Across northern Finland cloud cover this morning brings snow which may be heavy in southern Lapland. Temperatures range from -19°C around Inari to -10°C around Rovaniemi. Further south there is still some snow around but mostly cloudy skies bringing a mix of sleet and rain in some western areas – there’s a high wind warning in effect for Ostrobothnia this morning as well.

 

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Wednesday morning 11th December 2019 / Credit: FMI