News in Brief

  • July was hottest month ever recorded on Earth, says U.S. Agency

    Data fromthe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—an American scientific and regulatory agency—suggests that July 2021 was the hottest month on record. 

    The combined land and ocean-surface temperature around the world was 0.93℃ above the 20th century average of 15.8℃ last month, moving past the previous heat record set in July 2016 (which was matched in July 2019 and July 2020).

  • Kainuu residents receive gift vouchers for pizza, fuel as vaccination incentive

    Various institutionsin the Eastern Finland region of Kainuu have begun offering gift vouchers in a bid to encourage more residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine. According to areport by Helsingin-Sanomat, the vouchers include a chance for free pizza, coffee or gasoline. 

    The cooperative bank Kuhmon Osuuspankki is awarding locals in the Kuhmo municipality a voucher worth 20 euros, which can be used to purchase items such as pizza or fuel, when they get the first dose of the vaccine.

  • Katri Kulmuni resigns as Finance Minister over consultancy payments scandal

    Kulmuni answering questions in Parliament yesterday (Image: Lehtikuva)

    FINLAND'S MINISTER OF FINANCE KATRI KULMUNI resigned from her post on Friday evening as a result of widespread outrage over the revelation that she spent close to €50,000 of taxpayer money on speech training lessons from a private consultancy firm. 

  • KFC embroiled in minor controversy for decision to import chicken to Finland

    American fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has sparked heated discussions on social media after revealing that it plans to import chicken from Poland for its restaurants in Finland. 

    Earlier this week, the popular brandannounced that it would open its first, long-awaited outlet in Finland at the Itis Shopping Centre in Itäkeskus, Helsinki on 11 November. The company also plans to set up restaurants in Turku and Espoo by the end of the year.

  • Latest figures indicate alarming rise in sexual offences in Helsinki 

    New data collectedby the police suggests that sex crimes, including sexual harassment, rape and sexual abuse of minors, are on the rise in Finland. According to apress release, authorities registered nearly 2,500 cases of sex crimes between January and June 2021—a 25 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.

    Helsingin Sanomatreports that Helsinki police received a whopping 60 per cent more reports of sexual offences in the first half of this year compared to last year. Sexual harassment made up the majority of the reported offences. 

  • Lidl to remove Veikkaus slot machines from all stores  

    Lidl has announcedthat it will remove the slot machines operated by state-owned gambling agency Veikkaus Oy from all its stores in Finland, becoming the first nationwide retail chain in the country to do so.

    The German supermarket chain currently hosts 250 slot machines in stores across Finland. The removal of the machines, which is scheduled for this Summer, would result in the company losing out on millions of euros in commissions. 

  • Life satisfaction among youth lower than ever before 

    A new surveyby the Finnish Youth Research Network indicates that 15–25 year-olds in Finland are more dissatisfied with their lives than ever before.  

    The annual Youth Barometer, which compiles information on the attitudes and values of young Finns, along with issues relevant to them, registered the sharpest decline in overall life satisfaction yet last year. 

  • Malta's ambassador to Finland quits after comparing Angela Merkel to Hitler

    Merkel speaking to the German Bundestag last week (Image: Lehtikuva)

    THE MALTESE AMBASSADOR TO FINLAND has resigned from his post due to mounting outrage over his recent Facebook posts, in which he compared the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Adolf Hitler. 

  • Man suspected of sexually abusing up to 200 children on social media

    A 20-year-old man from Central Finland is suspected of sexually exploiting hundreds of children by posing as a primary school student on social media. While 53 victims have been identified so far, police believe the actual figure is closer to 200.  

    The Central Finland Police department is currently investigating the case. Authorities uncovered around 2,000 explicit videos of children on multiple devices when searching the suspect’s home. The youngest victim is reportedly 8 years old. 

  • Marin breakfast debate rages on as new details emerge 

    Iltalehti has revealed that Finnish Prime MinisterSanna Marin’s monthly meal benefit is 850 euros, not 300 euros, as was initially reported. The allocated sum, which covers breakfast for the premier and her family while they reside at Kesäranta ( the official residence), has become a subject of heated debate in the country since the tabloid first published thestory last week. 

    Iltalehti pointed out that the benefit is paid for with taxpayer’s money, while Ilta-Sanomat reported that it is also non-taxable income. Police have launched a preliminary investigation into potential misconduct by employees of the Prime Minister’s Office. The prime minister herself is not suspected of any wrongdoing.  

  • Mask mandate for all public transport in the Helsinki region

    The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) has announced that it will begin implementing a mask mandate for all public transport in the Greater Helsinki region from 13 March onwards. 

    The move comes on the heels of state railway company VR’s announcement that all passengers (over the age of 12) travelling on long-distance and commuter trains must wear a face mask. VR’s new regulations came into effect on Thursday. 

  • Media company Sanoma files official complaint criticising Yle Areena’s content

    Finland’s largest media group Sanoma has filed a complaint with the EU Commission regarding the services provided by national public broadcasting company Yle. The former made the details of the complaint public on Monday evening. 

    Sanoma’s main point of contention is Yle’s educational content and online streaming services, which, it argues, exceed the scope of public broadcasting and make it difficult for rival firms to compete. 

  • Meet Osku, Finland’s new First Puppy 

    Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and his family have welcomed a new puppy into their home. NamedOsku, the black-and-white male puppy is a Tenterfield Terrier. 

    Niinistö’s spouse,Jenni Haukio shared the news, along with a picture of the adorable new addition to the household onsocial media on Sunday. According to Iltalehti, the dog has been with the First Family for a week. 

  • Memo reveals Sweden requested Finland take a more lenient approach to coronavirus measures 

    A new memorandumby Sitra, an independent think tank that operates under the Finnish Parliament, suggests that Swedish authorities hoped that Finland would preserve as much normalcy as possible when implementing preventive measures against the coronavirus last Spring.

    According toHelsingin Sanomat, the memorandum, which was written by journalist and non-fiction writerMatti Mörttinen, states that officials from Sweden appealed to Finland, requesting that schools remain open in March.

  • Migri suspends all deportations to Afghanistan as security situation deteriorates

    The final Finnish NATO troops return home from Afghanistan last month (Image: Lehtikuva)

    THE FINNISH IMMIGRATION SERVICE (MIGRI) HAS SUSPENDED all negative decisions and removals for Afghan asylum seekers in Finland as the security situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate markedly amid the withdrawal of western troops.

  • Migri: Processing times for work-based residence permits shortened since last year

    The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) says that it has made the process of obtaining a work-based residence permit for foreigners faster and more efficient in 2021 compared to the previous year. 

    In apress release, the agency stated that while the average processing time for a residence permit based on employment was 143 days in 2020, it has been reduced to 77 days this year.

  • Miniature pigs an increasingly popular choice of pet in Finland

    Miniature pigs, also known as mini-pigs, pot-bellied pigs and teacup pigs, are pigs that are bred to be relatively small in size. The animals have witnessed a surge in popularity in the country, with a growing number of Finns adopting them as pets. 

    According to Iltasanomat, the number of pet miniature pigs in the country is currently estimated at 1,600.

  • Ministry of Defence orders 4 new naval vessels to be built at cost of €1.3 billion

    An artist's rendering of the Pohjanmaa-class vessels (Image: Lehtkiuva)

    THE FINNISH MINISTRY OF DEFENCE has ordered the construction of four new Pohjanmaa-class naval vessels, for the total cost of €1.3 billion. The Finnish shipbuilder Rauma won the contract, whilst the Swedish company Saab will be supplying the battle systems for the ships. 

  • Ministry proposes new plan to support undocumented immigrants in Finland

    The Ministry of the Interiorhas proposed a new action plan for 2021–2024, which aims to tackle the issue of illegal entry and undocumented immigrants in Finland. The measures outlined in the plan, which was presented today, include easing restrictions on acquiring a residence permit for undocumented asylum seekers.

    Illegal entry is relatively uncommon in Finland, and determining the exact number of people living in the country without required legal documents has proved problematic. According to estimates, there were slightly over 1,200 people (from non-EU countries) living in Finland illegally in 2019.

  • More students seeking higher education in Finland 

    The number of students applying for higher education in Finland has increased over the past year. According to the Finnish National Agency for Education, higher education institutions across Finland received almost 158,000 applications this year— at least 6,000 more than last year.

    Additionally, students applied for nearly 51,000 open spots in courses offering higher education in Finnish and Swedish that are set to begin this Autumn.