Morning headlines: Wednesday 29th July 2020

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

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Survey: Finns agree on ‘necessary evil’ of EU coronavirus recovery budget

A new poll by Rural Future newspaper finds that most Finns – two out of three – broadly agree agree with the recent EU budget deal which provides a €750 billion fund to help countries recover from the impact of the coronavirus crisis. Answering a series of questions, respondents indicated that 40% think the mix of grants and loans is a ‘necessary evil’ but acceptable nonetheless; around 25% replied positively to say the stimulus fund was completely the right solution, and a necessary one at that; while another 25% say it was a bad solution and should be rejected. Some 10% of people didn’t have an opinion on the subject in the survey which was answered by a thousand people in Finland.

HUS chief: Coronavirus second wave could come within a fortnight

The head of Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District says that looking at numbers of coronavirus infection, the capital region could be headed for a second wave of Covid-19 within the next two weeks. In comments to Helsingin Uutiset newspaper, Lasse Lehtonen said the R-rate (the number of people one single infected person can pass the virus on to) was already above 1 in the Helsinki area, whereas earlier in the summer it was below 1. “There is no definition of the condition for the second wave of the corona, but if the same pace continues for a couple of weeks, the situation will start to look like” a second wave, Lehtonen said. According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL there were just 5 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in the country between Monday and Tuesday this week, no new deaths and just five people in hospital – none in intensive care. But healthcare officials have also warned the situation can change quickly, and authorities must be prepared to take fast action in the future.

Ruling due in biker gang drugs case today

The Eastern Uusimaa District Court is due to rule today on a case involving biker gang members and allegations of international drugs smuggling. Two Finnish men, linked to the Hell’s Angels gang, are suspected of trying to bring a large quantity of amphetamines from suppliers in the Netherlands to be sold in Finland. Prosecutors say a Dutch Hell’s Angels gang was behind the drug smuggling ring, and the two Finns were arrested with 96kg of amphetamines in March near the German border. According to a preliminary investigation carried out by Finnish police to assist Dutch authorities, the biker gang was running a network of drug smuggling routes from the Netherlands to UK and Finland, among other countries.

Finns becoming more international, EVA values study finds

People in Finland are becoming more open to the idea of globalisation, and the benefits of international trade and cooperation. That’s according to a new values study by think tank EVA which finds 64% of Finns think internationalisation is an irreversible process in which Finland must be involved – just 19% disagree. “International cooperation is expected to intensify rather than fragment in the coming years. Realism seems to best describe the globalization attitudes of Finns” says Ilkka Haavisto, EVA’s research manager. The survey finds that more people than before, 33%, believe that globalisation leads to increased prosperity, with 26% disagreeing. However views on globalisation, migration and development aid are strongly divided based on political position, with the new study finding Finns are particularly opposed to cross-border solidarity, that is, helping people living in developing countries or receiving refugees – but there is now a more positive attitude towards immigration for demographic or economic reasons, EVA finds.

Wednesday morning weather

It’s a mixed weather picture for Wednesday morning. The best of the sunshine is across Lapland with temperatures up to +18°C. The rest of the country sees a fair amount of cloud cover and rain down the eastern border, across Uusimaa and into Turku and the southwest as well with temperatures here a few degrees lower. Across the next 24 hours the weather picture changes with rain likely in most parts of Finland – in particular Lapland – and scattered thunderstorms in many place as well.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Wednesday morning 29th July 2020 / Credit: FMI