Morning headlines: Wednesday 18th December 2019

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Almost half of pastors have positive attitude to euthanasia

Around half of Lutheran ministers in Finland have a positive attitude towards euthanasia – a stark contrast to the official position of the church which forbids assisted suicide. That’s the findings of a new research project carried out by the University of Eastern Finland and released on Wednesday morning. It finds that about half of those who responded said they had a positive attitude towards it, while 20% said they’d be in favour if it was offered in the Finnish healthcare system. “I was very surprised because the church says no to euthanasia, and all the main religions do” says researcher Miia Kontro. “I knew that something like 50% of Lutheran pastors for example are okay with gay marriage, but I was still surprised that the same amount would accept euthanasia” she adds. But there were varying attitudes among ministers about how long in advance someone should be allowed to end their life, with many Lutheran pastors preferring to wait for a religious miracle to heal the terminally ill patient. Read more at our original story here.

Parliament holds vote of confidence in government, Haavisto

Members of Parliament will vote in a no-confidence measure in the government today. It’s been brought by opposition parties who complain about the government’s handling of what to do with Isis-linked Finnish women and their children at the al-Hol refugee camp. The issue was debated in parliament already on Tuesday, and opposition parties have also said that Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) also does not enjoy the trust of parliament. The government has the numbers to survive today’s vote when the plenary session gets started at 10:00.

Foreigners trust Finnish people, police and the president 

Foreigners in Finland say they rely on Finnish people more than compatriots from their homeland; have a strong confidence in the police, the justice system, the education and the health care system. That’s some of the key findings in a new study carried out among Russian, Estonian, Somali, Arabic and English-speakers living in Finland and supported by the cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa as well as the Ministry of Justice. Among all language groups President Sauli Niinistö is more trusted than Parliament or the Government. Politicians and political parties are less trusted still.

Swedish military chief visits Finland 

The Commander of Sweden’s Armed Forces is visiting Finland today. The working visit by General Micael Bydén is being hosted by his Finnish opposite number General Timo Kivinen. The main item on the agenda for the visit is defence cooperation, which has been deepening between the Nordic neighbours over the last several years.

HS poll: Majority think Antti Rinne’s resignation was justified

The majority of people – 78% – who responded to a Helsingin Sanomat survey believe that the resignation of Antti Rinne (SDP) as prime minister was justified. Just 14% felt that his departure was not justified. According to the newspaper more than half of those people who identified themselves as SDP voters also felt that Rinne went at the right time in early December, after losing the confidence of other government parties, in particular the Centre Party. The survey was carried out by Kantar TNS and 503 people were questionned. The margin of error is higher than normal due to the relatively small number of people involved, at 4.5% percentage points in either direction.

Wednesday morning weather 

There’s storm and heavy snow warnings in place from the Finnish Meteorological Institute on Wednesday. A deepening low pressure arrives in the south and moves east as the day goes on, bringing with it high winds to southern and south west coastal areas. Winds up to 23 metres per second are expected, and Eckerö Line has canceled two ferry crossings between Helsinki and Tallinn today due to the storm and rough seas. Meanwhile in central parts of the country snowfall intensifies and brings worsening road conditions later today.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Wednesday morning 18th December 2019 / Credit: FMI