Morning Headlines: Wednesday 14th March

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

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Drunk Drivers Decline, Drug Drivers On The Rise 

The number of drunk drivers stopped by police in Finland declined last year, but the number of people stopped for drugs possession and so-called ‘drug driving’ has increased. That’s according to new figures released this morning for 2017, from the Statistics Office of the Police National Bureau of Investigation KRP. Statistics also show the number of people stopped by officers and under the influence of alcohol is still nearly twice as high as those under the influence of drugs. The most commonly found substance in blood samples were amphetamine or methamphetamine, and second most common was cannabis. Overall, more than 12,000 blood samples were studied.

Prime Minister Sipilä meets with representatives of all parliamentary groups to discuss Finland’s 2019 EU Presidency agenda / Credit: Päivi Anttikoski, PM’s Office

Political Parties Meet To Discuss EU Presidency 

The Prime Minister hosted a breakfast meeting at his official residence today with representatives from all the political parties in parliament. They’re discussing Finland’s EU Presidency agenda for 2019. Finland takes over the rotating EU presidency in the second half of next year, and since the full agenda will be tackled by the next government – elections are scheduled for spring 2019 – all parties are involved in drawing up the country’s priorities for when it leads the EU. The PM’s office has already started advertising a number of jobs that need to be filled in advance of the EU Presidency, including protocol officers, travel planners and meeting coordinators.

European Council President Visits Helsinki For Talks

President of the European Council Donald Tusk is in Helsinki for talks today. He’ll meet with Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) and on the agenda is of course EU matters like developing the single market, Brexit, economic and monetary issues, security and defence policey and migration, according to the PM’s office. Polish politician Tusk will have a joint press conference with Sipilä this afternoon. You can watch live at this link starting 13:10.

More Education Recommended

The Education Trade Union OAJ is recommending more education for Finnish children. This morning, OAJ is calling for compulsory education to start at the age of 5, and continue until a young person has completed their secondary education exams, or age 19. That’s a change from the current situation, where basic education ends practically after 9th grade and at the latest, when a young person turns 17. According to OAJ, the current model is no longer working well, since a large number of students fall out of education every year. The union is hoping that their plan to extend compulsory education could be included in the next government programme. In related news, campaigners are also calling for upper secondary school and vocational training to be truly cost-free, to keep more teens involved in education, and not drop out if cost becomes an issue.

Wednesday Morning Weather

Temperatures are dropping across the country again today, according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI. And that means some of the rain and snowmelt from yesterday turns to ice, making conditions treacherous if you’re walking or driving, especially in the south of the country. Expect bright sunshine across much of Lapland this morning, with temperatures dipping down to -17°C, although there’s the chance of some snow in some parts of central Lapland. There’s snow forecast too for Central Finland with temperatures between -5°C and -10°C. Enjoy the sunshine down the west coast with temperatures around -6°C and there’s the chance of some sun between scattered snowfall on the eastern border too. Meanwhile in the capital city region, an overcast start to the day with temperatures below freezing again at -2°C.