Morning headlines: Wednesday 9th January 2019

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Heavy snow: road warnings & flight delays

Up to 15cm of fresh snow overnight in Uusimaa is causing some problems on the roads and flight delays this morning. On social media, police forces around the country are warning drivers of challenging conditions, noting overnight accidents, and telling drivers that there’s no need to rush. Helsinki Rescue Department says that fortunately there’s been no serious road accidents, but the Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI has issues road warnings for Uusimaa, Kanta-Häme, Varsinais-Suomi, Päijät-Häme, Kymenlaakso, South Karela and South Savo regions. There’s also been some weather-related flight cancellations at Helsinki Airport with half a dozen flights affected – five domestic and one international flight to Brussels.

Footballer refuses national team trip over ‘ethical reasons’

A Finnish footballer has refused an invitation to join the national team on a winter trip to Qatar, citing ethical reasons for his decision. Riku Riski, who plays for Helsinki’s HJK club, was invited to take part in the training camp, but told Helsingin Sanomat newspaper that he decided not to go. “My decision was made for ethical reasons, and values that I wanted to stick to. I think it was important [to do so]” Riski told the newspaper. “‘I was pretty clear; I didn’t want to go” the 29-year old said. The training camp, which the Finnish Football Association says cost €100,000 and was paid in full from the national team budget, would have also offered Riski a chance to show his skills to selectors in friendly games against Sweden and Estonia. Qatar has come under repeated criticism from international human rights organisations for the conditions of workers building facilities for the 2022 Fifa World Cup. Read more at our story here.

Science expo sparks discussions and discovery

Finland’s largest science festival opens today in Helsinki. The Science Forum will have 300 events, including debates and exhibitions taking place at Helsinki University’s main hall. The festival is free to attend, and Finland’s leading scientific scholars from different fields will introduce their topic and latest research. “This year, the theme of The Science Forum is a courage, which is supposed to evoke many new perspectives” says Mandi Vermilä, one of the event producers.

Finland has the world’s 4th best passport

The world’s most powerful passport is again from Japan, according to a study which looks at which passports can travel visa-free to other countries. Japanese nationals can go to 190 countries without needing to apply for a visa. Next on the list are Singapore and South Korea with 189 countries. The first EU countries France and Germany rank at number 3 on the list, able to travel to 188 countries without a visa. And Finland comes in at number 4, sharing that spot with Denmark, Italy and Sweden. Finnish passport holders can go to 187 countries visa-free.

Wednesday morning weather 

It’s very cold start to Wednesday morning in the north of Lapland with temperatures down as low as -19°C in some areas of the far north east. There’s snow through Lapland, and in the south of the country too, for Tampere, Lappeenranta, and the capital city region as well. Temperatures are mostly just a few degrees below freezing this morning.

Finnish Meteorological Institute forecast for Wednesday morning 9th January 2019 / Credit: FMI