Sipilä to meet US Vice President today
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) is set to meet American Vice President Mike Pence today for talks in Washington DC. The meeting was announced Tuesday evening, and is scheduled to be the first bilateral meeting between a Finnish PM and American VP since 2012. “I look forward to meeting Vice President Pence” Sipilä said in a statement released by his office. Wednesday marks the third day of the Prime Minister’s official visit to the USA. So far he’s spoken at an economic forum, and held talks with US Senators. He will also meet Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The PM’s visit ends on Wednesday evening.
Finlandia literature prizes awarded today
The winners of the annual Finlandia prizes in literature will be announced today. Winners in three categories, fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature will receive the €30,000 prizes which are awarded by the Finnish Book Foundation. This year there are 18 finalists competing for the top spot. The Finnish Book Foundation was established in 1983 by the Finnish Book Publishers Association and the Ministry of Education, with the purpose of fostering and supporting domestic book and word art.
Newspaper: speed limit experiment ahead
The Finnish Transport Agency is considering increasing the speed limit on the Helsinki to Tampere motorway to 130 kilometres per hour. According to Keskisuomalainen newspaper this morning, a feasibility study is underway and expected to report by February next year. Any experiment in higher speeds would take place in summer 2020, and only apply to some parts of the motorway, not the entire route between the capital and Tampere. The report is looking at speed limits in other countries, and how it would affect fuel consumption and traffic flow. The experiment could be halted if, for example, there were any more accidents than usual at the higher speed.
Sami reconciliation report moves forward
A new government report about the sensitive issue of addressing historical wrongs by the Finnish state against indigenous Sámi people, moves the likelihood of an official truth and reconciliation commission one step closer. The report, published in three Sámi languages, Finnish and Swedish, comes after weeks of consultations earlier this year with Sámi people around the country. These discussions looked at whether any sort of truth and reconciliation process would be welcomed in the first place; what issues should be addressed; who should be appointed to any commission; and whether Sámi people would trust the state of Finland to confront any injustices in the first place. “In general the Sámi people in Finland think the idea of a truth and reconciliation commission is a good idea. It could be important for the Sámi as well to be able to tell about the past, what has happened, what has gone wrong, how do they feel, and the impact of the state’s wrongdoings on the Sámi people” explains Anni-Kristiina Juuso, a special adviser in the Prime Minister’s office who was part of the consultation process. Read more about the process and the issues at our story here.
Wednesday morning weather
It’s another cold start to the morning with temperatures down to -11°C in west Lapland and along the eastern border. It’s not too much warmer elsewhere: expect temperatures between -5°C and -8°C in Vaasa; Oulu; Jyväskylä and across central Finland; Turku and the south west; Tampere; Imatra and south east Finland; Lahti; Helsinki and the capital city region. It’s overcast and cloudy everywhere at the start of the day with snow expected for the Joensuu area.