A women walking at al-Hol, a Kurdish-controlled detention camp for the displaced families of the so-called Islamic State (IS), in Syria on 8 December 2019. (Delil Souleiman – AFP/Lehtikuva)

OLLI-POIKA PARVIAINEN, the state secretary of Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo (Greens), has reminded that it is an offence to leak classified information on the effort to bring Finnish nationals from al-Hol, Syria, to Finland.

Finnish news outlets have in recent days written exhaustively about the preparations made by authorities, citing documents related to, for example, the operations of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

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Olli Rehn of the Bank of Finland (left) and Jyri Häkämies of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (right) posed for a photograph at the autumn meeting of EK in Helsinki on 20 November 2019. (Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva)

JYRI HÄKÄMIES, the director of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), has warned the government of the serious problems looming over Finland.

Häkämies on Wednesday said the newly appointed government has been rightfully congratulated for the young age of its core members, but added that it is for that very reason that the government should take the youth of today into consideration in its decision-making.

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Minister of Education Li Andersson (left), Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo (second from left) and Minister of Finance Katri Kulmuni (right) met the press for the first time as members of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s (second from right) government in Helsinki on Tuesday, 10 December 2019. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

THERE IS NO disagreement between the five ruling parties concerning labour market policy, insists Sanna Marin (SDP), the newly appointed Prime Minister of Finland.

Questions about the labour market policy approach of the government arose following recent comments by Minister of Finance Katri Kulmuni (Centre). Kulmuni on Sunday criticised the previous government for its general handling of labour market issues.

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Katri Kulmuni, the chairperson of the Centre Party, told about the outcomes of a joint meeting of the party’s groups in the Finnish and European Parliament in Helsinki on Monday, 9 December 2019. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

KATRI KULMUNI and Mika Lintilä of the Centre are set to swap their ministerial portfolios, with the former taking over the portfolio of minister of finance and the latter that of minister of economic affairs, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

The Centre on Monday announced its ministerial candidates for the government to be formed by the Social Democrats, Centre, Green League, Left Alliance and Swedish People’s Party.

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President Sauli Niinistö has told Helsingin Sanomat that the Finnish government should consider making a political decision on organising returns for Finns held in al-Hol, Syria. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

PRESIDENT Sauli Niinistö has urged the Finnish government to make a clear political decision regarding its position on the repatriations of Finnish women and children from al-Hol, a detention camp for the relatives of so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) on Tuesday stated that the matter is being examined by government officials under a mandate granted by the act on consular services.

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Finland new Prime Minister with the Minister of Education, Finance Minister, and Minister of the Interior (Image: Lehtikuva)

THE LARGELY YOUNG AND FEMALE CABINET of Finland's new government met in Helsinki today, with PM Sanna Marin serving as the youngest sitting prime minister in the world. Joining her cabinet Li Andersson, the Minister of Education since June 2019, Minister of Finance Katri Kulmuni, and Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo. 

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Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo (Greens) has re-affirmed her confidence in her fellow party and cabinet member, Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (Greens). (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR Maria Ohisalo (Greens) has re-affirmed her confidence in Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (Greens).

Ohisalo on Sunday reminded that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has received negative publicity in recent years due to a number of internal disputes, inappropriate behaviour and harassment allegations.

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Greta Thunberg on the cover of TIME Magazine's Person of the Year issue (Image: Lehtikuva)

IN TODAY'S BEST PHOTOS FROM AROUND THE WORLD, we lead with the cover of TIME Magazine, where teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has been named as Person of the Year. We also have a hospital attack in Lahore, a satellite launch in India, and a photo from a Rohingya refugee camp. 

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Public transport made up 22 per cent of journeys made in Greater Helsinki in 2018, shows a new study. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

THE MOBILITY HABITS of Finns in the capital region have remained largely unchanged despite the number of newly completed transport infrastructure projects and newly introduced mobility apps and services, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

Its report is based on a study conducted collaboratively by municipalities in and around Greater Helsinki and Helsinki Region Transport (HSL).

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The Social Democrats’ Sanna Marin, 34, is set to become the youngest serving prime minister in the world and the youngest ever in the history of Finland. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

THE PARTY COUNCIL of the Social Democrats has selected Sanna Marin, the Minister of Transport and Communications, as the candidate to take over as the Prime Minister of Finland.

The 34-year-old Marin on Sunday received 32 of the 61 votes cast by members of the party council to win the candidacy over her rival candidate, Antti Lindtman, the chairperson of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Group.

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Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) spoke to the media for the first time in her new capacity in the Government Palace in Helsinki on Tuesday, 10 December 2019. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

SANNA MARIN (SDP) faced a number of difficult questions during her first appearance as Prime Minister of Finland on YLE’s A-studio on Tuesday.

Marin was asked, for example, whether the government will assume an active role in organising returns for the Finnish nationals at al-Hol, a detention camp for relatives of the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

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Chancellor of Justice Tuomas Pöysti prepared for a hearing at the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in Helsinki on Monday, 3 December 2019. (Seppo Samuli – Lehtikuva)

CHANCELLOR OF JUSTICE Tuomas Pöysti will examine the actions of Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (Greens) and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in regards to the situation of Finnish nationals at al-Hol, a detention camp for the women and children of the so-called Islamic State.

Pöysti on Monday stated to YLE that serious allegations about possibly illicit actions have been made in the public debate and formal complaints.

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Golden Retriever Nelli does a victory lap after scooping up a Hero Dog Award, given to animals that contribute to saving at least one human life (Image: Lehtikuva)

THE ANNUAL FINNISH KENNEL CLUB AWARDS, which recognizes the actions of lifesaving canines, kicked off at Helsinki's Messukeskus on Saturday afternoon and continues today. Dogs from the coastguard, army, and customs agency were awarded gongs for their services, whilst household pets were recognized for their sometimes lifesaving assistance to humans. 

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Petteri Orpo, the chairperson of the National Coalition, in the Finnish Parliament in Helsinki on Tuesday, 3 December 2019. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

THE CHAIRPERSON of the National Coalition, Petteri Orpo, has expressed his pride in the composition of the newly appointed government and what it tells about Finland.

“It’s a historic day,” he stated on Twitter on Tuesday. “The world gets its youngest serving prime minister and Finland a government made up of parties that all have women as their chairpersons. It’s wonderful that this is possible specifically in Finland.”

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Onlookers watch as the White Island volcano erupts earlier today (Image: Lehtikuva)

IN TODAY'S BEST PHOTOS FROM AROUND THE WORLD, we lead with an image from New Zealand, where a deadly volcano eruption on White Island has claimed several lives. We also have a crane collapse in Antwerp, flooding in Beirut, wildfires in Australia, and a rally in the UK. 

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Dear Finland,
The 6th of December is your day of celebration. During your 102 years of independence you have developed into an exemplary country in many respects. It is customary to praise the celebrant but as a Finn, giving praise is sometimes difficult. That’s why we searched around the world for examples on your successes.

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