Muji's self-driving Gachabus on the streets of Espoo earlier today (Image: Lehtikuva)

MUJI'S SELF-DRIVING 'GACHABUS' that has been deployed on the streets of Espoo since spring 2019 has been awarded the prestigious Beazley Design of the Year award in the transport category, one of the most widely-coveted gongs in the world of design. 

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Kittilä, a roughly 6,300-resident municipality in Finnish Lapland, will maintain its municipal tax rate at 20.25 per cent in 2020. (Otto Ponto – Lehtikuva)

FIFTY-THREE Finnish municipalities have decided to raise their municipal tax rates for 2020, reports the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities (Kuntaliitto).

Including large regional centres such as Tampere, Kuopio, Kouvola and Vaasa, the municipalities have a total population of approximately 1.1 million, which is the highest number of people affected by municipal tax hikes since 2014.

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Refugees are driven away from a DFDS port in the Netherlands, where 25 stowaways were found aboard a ferry (Image: Lehtikuva)

IN TODAY'S BEST PHOTOS from around the world, we lead with a photo of a bus in Vlaardingen, Netherlands, where 25 refugee stowaways were found aboard a ferry bound for the UK. We also have a funeral in Syria, protests in India, and a refugee camp on Lesbos. 

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An open pit at the multi-metal mine of Terrafame in Sotkamo, Eastern Finland, on 3 October 2018. (Kimmo Rauatmaa – Lehtikuva)

FINNISH AUTHORITIES are unable to sufficiently supervise the operations of mines.

Helsingin Sanomat on Saturday revealed that permit authorities are currently struggling to verify the information presented in permit applications, whereas supervisory authorities only take the necessary samples in special circumstances.

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Pekka Perä and Lassi Lammassaari of Talvivaara attending a hearing at the District Court of Kainuu in Kajaani on 4 August 2015. (Kimmo Rauatmaa – Lehtikuva)

THE SUPREME COURT of Finland (KKO) has upheld the sentences handed down to Pekka Perä and Lassi Lammassaari of Talvivaara, a now-defunct miner based in Sotkamo, Eastern Finland.

Perä, a former chief executive and board chairperson at Talvivaara, was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence for aggravated impairment of the environment by the Rovaniemi Court of Appeal in March 2018.

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Alasdair Scott, a senior economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), presented the international organisation’s latest estimate of the Finnish economy in Helsinki on Wednesday, 19 November 2019. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH GOVERNMENT will have to re-consider a number of previously ruled out policy options if it is to balance its budget by 2023, views the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF on Tuesday pointed out that the objective seems challenging in light of the one-off spending increases of up to three billion euros – 1.4 billion euros of which has already been committed – announced by the government and the subdued growth rate forecast for the national economy for 2020–2021.

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Li Andersson (Left Alliance) believes the central administration should do more to encourage motorists to switch to low-emission vehicles. (Akseli Muraja – Lehtikuva)

MINISTER OF EDUCATION Li Andersson (Left Alliance) believes the central administration should do more to encourage motorists to switch to biogas and bioethanol-powered vehicles.

Andersson drew attention to the importance of making sure green transport options are available to everyone in addressing her fellow party members after securing her second three-year term at the helm of the left-wing party in Kuopio, Eastern Finland, on Saturday.

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An entryway to the Slush main room at Messukeskus (Image: Lehtikuva)

SLUSH 2019 HAS KICKED OFF TODAY at Messukeskus, Helsinki, drawing 25,000 attendees from dozens of countries. One of the world's largest tech startup festivals, this year's event aims to highlight why companies need to be focused on "profit over growth" and pivot towards sustainable models. 

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The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL) has announced further sympathy strikes that are to have an impact on, for example, public transport services in Greater Helsinki on 25–26 November. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

THE TRADE UNION for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL) will ramp up the sympathy strikes it announced in a bid to inject a sense of urgency into the stalled collective bargaining negotiations between the Finnish Post and Logistics Union (PAU) and Service Sector Employers (Palta).

The sympathy strikes will be expanded to cover airports around the country and public transport services in the capital region on Monday, 25 November.

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Letterboxes outside Postitalo in Helsinki on Monday, 18 November 2019. (Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)

LITTLE OPTIMISM continues to surround the gridlocked collective bargaining negotiations between the Finnish Post and Logistics Union (PAU) and Service Sector Employers (Palta).

“There are lots of issues to address and several major issues on the table, which is why this is taking its time. I’m nonetheless under the impression that both sides are still seriously looking for an agreement,” Tuomas Aarto, the chairperson at Palta, commented on Monday.

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Jani Mäkelä delivered the Finns Party’s group speech as lawmakers discussed the alternative budgets of the four opposition parties – the Finns Party, the National Coalition, Christian Democrats and Now Movement – in the Finnish Parliament on Wednesday, 20 November 2019. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNS PARTY came under serious criticism as lawmakers dissected its alternative budget in the Finnish Parliament on Wednesday.

Members of the five ruling parties rejected the right-wing opposition party’s claims about the economic impacts of its budget proposal, one even by branding the proposal as an alternate-reality budget.

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Heidi Nieminen, the chairperson at the Finnish Post and Logistics Union (PAU), said PAU has no choice but to turn down the settlement proposal. (Seppo Samuli – Lehtikuva)

THE FINNISH Post and Logistics Union (PAU) on Tuesday turned down a proposal to settle the long-running dispute over the terms and conditions of employees at Posti, the Finnish state-owned postal services provider.

Tabled yesterday by National Conciliator Vuokko Piekkala, the settlement proposal was accepted by Service Sector Employers (Palta).

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Students of HKPU rest between clashes with police in Hong Kong on Monday (Image: Lehtikuva)

IN TODAY'S BEST PHOTOS from around the world, we lead with a photo from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which security forces have laid siege to as protests from students continue to spiral. We also have a bridge collapse in Toulouse, protests in Tibilisi, and a Christmas festival in Bergen. 

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Pierre Moscovici, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, gestures while presenting the commission’s latest economic forecasts in a press conference in Brussels on 7 November, 2019. (Aris Oikonomou – AFP/Lehtikuva)

FINLAND is one of a handful of countries at risk of being non-compliant with the growth and stability pact of the European Union in 2020, warns the European Commission.

The European Commission on Wednesday issued its comments on the budgets of eurozone countries for next year, warning the Finnish government that its spending increases will jeopardise its medium-term fiscal goals.

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sto lays a bouquet at the Helsinki Synagogue (Image: Lehtikuva)

FINNISH POLITICIANS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS gathered at the gates of the Helsinki Synagogue late last night to lay bouquets of flowers in a show of solidarity with Finland's Jewish community, which has been subjected to a spike in anti-Semitic attacks this year. 

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Jorma Malinen, the chairperson of Trade Union Pro, says employers have tabled unreasonable demands in the ongoing collective bargaining talks. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

EMPLOYER ORGANISATIONS have tabled harsh demands during the ongoing round of collective bargaining negotiations, according to Trade Union Pro and Finnish Industrial Union.

Trade Union Pro on Sunday revealed that employers have made dozens of proposals to weaken the terms and conditions of employment, such as halving holiday bonuses, increasing working time without compensation, limiting the right to strike and abolishing the practice of employers collecting union fees.

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