End of the line for Finland at Eurovision
Finland has crashed out of the Eurovision Song Contest, after failing to qualify from last night’s first semi final. It’s the 4th time in five years that Finnish acts haven’t made it to the Eurovision Grand Final. DJ/Producer Darude and singer Sebastian Rejman were the third act to perform in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night and gave a rousing rendition of their climate change anthem ‘Look Away’, which was lit up by a spectacular video show on a giant screen behind the pair. However it wasn’t enough to attract the combined votes of professional judging panels and televoters across Europe, who picked ten other acts to go qualify instead of Finland. Neighbours Estonia made it through to the final, while Sweden and Norway perform in the second semi final on Thursday night.
Advance voting begins for Euro elections
Advance voting begins today for the European Parliament elections. Finns, and EU nationals registered to vote in Finland, can vote in advance between today and next Tuesday 21st May at more than 900 advance polling stations around the country. They can be found at places like town halls, local libraries, shopping centres and post offices. If you want to vote in advance – or on election day – you have to take some form of official photo ID like a passport, an identity card or a driving license. Anyone without a valid proof of identity can obtain a temporary identity card free of charge from the police for voting purposes. Overseas, Finns can vote in advance between 15th and 18th May. The actual European Parliament election day in Finland is Sunday 26th May.
Residents evacuated in overnight Tampere fire
Fifteen people have been evacuated from a block of flats in Tampere after an overnight fire. Rescue crews received an emergency call around 03:30 on Wednesday morning and when they got to the building they found that a fire which started in an apartment on the second floor had already spread to the building’s attic and three other apartments. Residents were evacuated from the two-storey building which has 16 apartments in total. Two people were taken to hospital for further treatment. Rescue crews say extinguishing the blaze and clearing up will continue during the morning, as an investigation gets underway into how the fire started in the first place.
Euro price cap for mobile phone calls
A new EU-wide price cap comes into effect today, limiting how much users can be charged for calls or text messages to and from other EU countries. For consumers, this means things will get cheaper. But there’s a slight difference between Finland and other countries. EU customers will pay up to 19 cents per minute for calls from their home country to other EU countries, and 6 cents per SMS text message. In Finland the maximum cost for calls to other EU countries, with 24% VAT included, will now be €0.2356, and €0.0744 per text message. Phone operators don’t estimate that the new, lower, prices will eat into their profit margins too much.
Russian officials seize tools from Kainuu carpenter
A carpenter from Kainuu says that Russian customs officials seized €1700 worth of tools from his vehicle. That story is being reported in Iltalehti newspaper. The carpenter has been regularly filling up his vehicle on the Russian side of the Vartius – Lyttä border crossing for the last decade, and has a valid Russian visa. However on Friday he was stopped and some of his tools confiscated by Russian authorities. The carpenter tells Iltalehti that officials took the most expensive tools, and others behind. According to the Russian Customs website there are no restrictions on importing tools for carpentry to the country, but Finland’s Chief Customs Officer Mikko Grönberg tells the newspaper that there is a weight limit of 25kg on duty-free imports to Russia, and that perhaps the Kainuu carpenter exceeded this limit.
Wednesday morning weather
It’s a bright start to the morning across most of Finland today, with temperatures warming up as we head towards the weekend, with meteorologists forecasting up to +20C for Saturday. This morning however, expect temperatures between +4C and +6C across Lapland. Further south into Central Finland it’s a few degrees warmer, and into double digits down the eastern border. The forecast is for +8C in Vaasa this morning, +9C in Turku and Åland, and +9C as well through Uusimaa including Helsinki and the capital city region.