Morning headlines: Wednesday 24th April 2019

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

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First parliament session begins today 

The first session of the new parliamentary term begins today, with the President and Vice-Presidents of parliament to be elected. As the leader of the largest party, Antti Rinne (SDP) will be elected as President by convention, but if he becomes Prime Minister then a new President of parliament will be selected. There will be an opening ceremony today at 12 noon which marks the first plenary session of the new parliament term.

Stockmann warns of weaker-than-expected results ahead

Stockmann Group will publish it’s first quarter results next week, but this morning it’s  already warning those figures could be weaker than anticipated. The Group’s adjusted operating profits will exclude the impact of the sale of a shopping centre property in Russia, and are expected to remain about the same as last year’s level with €10 million profit. It’s a disappointment for the group, because even in February they were expecting adjusted operating profits to be better than last year, but they’ve now revised that estimate. In March the CEO of Stockmann Group Lauri Veijalainen quit to move to a new job outside the company. At that time, the Board of Directors said it would immediately start looking for a new CEO.

Valvira orders Esperi to fix care home problems

The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health Valvira, has issued a “national control order” which allows it to order Esperi Care facilities to correct deficiencies in conditions for elderly care. It’s the first time such an order has been issued in Finland, and although Esperi says it has already taken measures to improve conditions at its elderly care homes, Valvira says that “given the severity and extent of the shortcomings” they “cannot reliably assess the adequacy of the measures taken”. A series of scandals involving care for the elderly at Esperi facilities were exposed in the media earlier this year. Valvira says all the changes which need to be made by Esperi must happen by the end of July.

Melting snow and ice cause flooding problems 

Melting snow and ice have caused overnight flood problems in different parts of the country. In Pudasjärvi, north west of Oulu, rescue crews have closed off several streets after flooding which also threatened several houses in the town. A clogged drain was opened up and that helped to reduce the flooding intensity before dawn. Meanwhile road 9562 in Kittilä is closed this morning due to flood water on the roads. The Road Traffic Centre says the section of road between Raattama and Tepasto will likely be shut for several hours this morning.

ICYMI – Finlandia Hall lights up for Sri Lanka victims

The exterior of Finlandia Hall in Helsinki was floodlight in the colours of the Sri Lankan flag, to pay respects to 321 people killed, and 500 others wounded in Sunday’s terror attacks. The white marble was bathed in green, gold and dark red on Tuesday night. “Terrorist attacks on innocent people all over the world are cowardly and reprehensible” says Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori (NCP) in a statement. “We will never succumb to violence and terror” he adds. Read more in our story here.

Wednesday morning weather

It’s another bright and sunny start to the day, everywhere but the far north of Lapland, but temperatures will initially feel a little cooler than yesterday. Across Lapland, temperatures range between +2C and +6C. In Central Finland expect temperatures from +8C to +11C. In the south west and Åland temperatures start the day in double digits at +10C. Meanwhile the best of the early temperatures are down the eastern border and into Lappeenranta in the south east at +12C.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Wednesday morning 24th April 2019 / Credit: FMI