Morning headlines: Wednesday 19th February 2020

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

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Marin meets Merkel for Berlin talks 

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) is in Berlin on Wednesday for her first meeting on German soil with Chancellor Angela Merkel. The main topic on the agenda is the looming EU budget negotiations, but Marin’s visit comes as Germany is mulling the future of its own political leadership, and the optics of a young prime minister at the start of her time in office meeting an older politician in the twilight of her 15 year career as chancellor are not lost on political observers. “There’s something very symbolic and Sanna Marin arrives at a time when Germans themselves are asking the question if it’s not time for a change in generation in politics, or if the political elite should not maybe also think about options to get in fresh blood” says Niklas Helwig, Senior Research Fellow at the Finnish Institute for International Affairs FIIA. Read more about Germany’s fascination with Sanna Marin, and how Finland’s EU Presidency is giving Berlin some tips on how to be sustainable at our original story here.

Political poll has good news for SDP, Centre

A new political poll from Helsingin Sanomat on Wednesday morning shows a rise in support for the Social Democrats who are up to just over 16% and the Centre Party up slightly to 12%. Those figures reverse a falling trend for two of the biggest parties in government, who had seen their support slip. The Finns Party is still the single most popular party with 22.4% but their support has fallen by almost half a percent. The National Coalition Party is also down slightly at 17.3%. The Greens fell by half a percent and the Left Alliance is down 0.6% as well in the new poll. Overall, the five parties which make up Finland’s coalition government enjoy 52.2% support in this poll, which was carried out from 19th January to 14th February with 2,204 people interviewed by telephone. The margin of error is 2.1 percentage points in either direction for the largest parties.

Police in Lahti have a house under siege

Police in Lahti say they’ve surrounded a home in the Patomäki neighbourhood, south of the city centre. Ten patrol cars have responded to an incident at the scene which police say is under control, and stress that there’s no immediate threat posed to anyone else in the area. The street where the incident is happening mostly contains private residences although there is one apartment building.

Savo train services hit by power line damage

Damage to power lines in Iisalmi in North Savo is stopping train traffic between Iisalmi and Kajaani although officials hope to get the problem cleared up as the morning goes on. The 04:35 service from Kuopio to Kouvola was canceled; and the train from Kajaani to Helsinki at 03:40 was canceled between Kajaani and Kuopio – passengers were put on a replacement bus service which calls at all the stations on the route.

Parliament Committee to decide on Haavisto investigation

The Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Affairs is set to decide today whether to launch a preliminary investigation into the activities of Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green). In December, ten opposition Members of Parliament asked the Committee to look into whether Haavisto had acted legally in all his actions around possible plans to repatriate Isis-linked Finns from the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria. If a formal investigation is opened, it will likely be carried out by the Prosecutor General.

Wednesday morning weather 

There’s a bright and rain-free start to Wednesday morning across much of the southern part of the country, although there’s the chance of sleet and snow north of Central Finland. The best of the sunshine on Wednesday morning is in Turku and the southwest, Tampere and Pirkanmaa, and into Vaasa and Ostrobothnia. Temperatures range from -14°C in northeast Lapland to +3°C in Åland.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Wednesday morning 19th February 2020 / Credit: FMI