News in Brief

  • Report: Harder for immigrant women to find jobs in Finland than other Nordic countries

    A new publicationby the Finnish Business and Policy Forum (Eva) has revealed that the employment rate for female immigrants in Finland is lower than that of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.  

    EconomistSanna Kurronen, who authored thereport, cites the provision of welfare services such as unemployment security and child home care allowance as a key cause of the problem.

  • Researchers say 80% of new studio apartments in Finland are too small

    The results of a study recently published by the University of Helsinki suggest that the growing trend of “micro-apartments” (studio apartments that are smaller than average) in Finland’s cities is cause for concern. 

    Asummary of the research, which was published by the Helsinki Institute of Urban and Regional Studies (URBARIA), revealed that upto 80 per cent of new studio apartments are extremely small and tubular, with a fifth of micro-apartments for sale measuring 30–37 square meters.  

  • Restaurants struggle with worker shortage as restrictions ease

    Iltalehti reports that restaurants in Finland are facing an acute shortage of labour now that restrictions on opening hours and capacity have been relaxed. While the industry has had to deal with recruitment challenges in the past, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation significantly worse. 

    Sirpa Leppäkangas, an expert on employment contracts with PAM (a trade union for people working in private service sectors)told Iltalehti that the development does not come as a surprise.

  • Restaurants to remain open, slot machines return as Finland eases restrictions 

    The Finnish government has elected to relax restrictions on restaurants and bars from Friday onwards. On Thursday,Krista Kiuru, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, announced that the ban on singing and dancing would be completely lifted across the country.

    Restrictions on opening hours and capacity will remain in place for regions that are still in the community transmission phase of the epidemic. However, as of Friday, restaurants in these areas will be allowed to keep their doors open from 5 am to 1 am and serve drinks from 7 am till midnight—an extension of one hour

  • Russian and Ukrainian families unite in landmark prisoner exchange between the two countries

    A former prisoner embraces relatives at Kyiv's Boryspil Airport (Image: Lehtikuva)

    RUSSIA AND UKRAINE have exchanged dozens of prisoners in a landmark deal which represents the most significant diplomatic gesture between the two countries since Russia's invasion of Crimea in 2014. 

  • Russian man who built fake 'border' with Finland to con would-be migrants arrested

    An image of an authentic border point between Finland and Russia (Image: Lehtikuva)

    A RUSSIAN CONMAN HAS BEEN ARRESTED for constructing a fake 'border post' and charging thousands of euros to would-be migrants. The individual, who has not been named, promised at least for migrants of South Asian origin that he would smuggle them past the border into Europe for a €10,000 fee. 

  • Sales of psychiatric drugs increased in Finland this year

    Statistics fromthe Association of Finnish Pharmacies (AFP) and Kela indicate that there has been a significant increase in the sales of psychiatric medication this year. 

    As per Kela, there was an 8 per cent rise in the purchase of antipsychotic medicines during January–November this year compared to the same period last year. According to AFP, sales of antidepressants have also increased by 9 per cent over the past year.

  • Sanna Marin calls for immediate release of Navalny

     Prime Minister of FinlandSanna Marin has demanded the immediate release of Russian opposition leaderAlexei Navalny, who was detained upon arriving at a Moscow airport on Sunday.

    The 44-year-old Kremlin critic was returning from Germany, where he had spent five months receiving treatment for a suspected poisoning attack. Navalny chose to return to Russia despite widespread suspicions that he would be arrested.

  • Sanna Marin, Krista Kiuru barred from bar for “political bullying” 

    Helsinki-based cocktail bar Chihuahua Julep has announced that it will refuse entry to Prime MinisterSanna Marin, as well as five other officials who played a key role in imposing restrictions on Finland’s bars and restaurants during the COVID-19 crisis.  

    In a post published onFacebook, the bar’s managersJami Järvinen andMinna Kettunen accused the ministers and health officials of “political bullying.” The entrepreneurs believe that the decision makers (or “corona controllers”) employed a strategy that has unfairly targeted the restaurant industry, particularly in the Helsinki metropolitan area.  

  • Saudi Arabia to offer tourist visas for the first time in its history

    A Journalist at the tomb of Madain Saleh, a UNESCO site in Saudi Arabia (Image: Lehtikuva)

    THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA will begin offering tourist visas to non-religious travelers on Saturday for the first time in the country's history. The move is an attempt to diversify the economy of the heavily oil-reliant nation, which has become increasingly vulnerable as oil revenues become less secure. 

  • Save the Children: Extremist groups recruiting youngsters through online platforms

    According to a new report by Save the Children Finland (Pelastakaa Lapset), extremist groups have been using online campaigns to recruit children and young adults in the country.

    The groups attract the attention of young people via digital platforms such as social media, dark web forums and video game platforms, using humour and conspiracy theories to radicalise them.  

  • Scientists worried by new COVID variant found in several countries 

    Researchers have identifieda new variant of the COVID virus which shares similar traits with the South African mutation. The variant, known as B1525, has already been detected in 13 countries so far.

    Two mutated strains of the virus appeared in the UK and South Africa earlier this year, resulting in a spate of infections in multiple countries. According to Yle, the UK variant of the virus is currently responsible for 1 in 10 infections in Finland’s capital region.

  • SDP Minister Sirpa Paatero resigns over handling of Posti strike

    Sirpa Paatero at a Parliament Session on 27 November (Image: Lehtikuva)

    GOVERNMENT MINISTER SIRPA PAATERO handed in her resignation today, making her the latest casualty in the ongoing fallout over the Posti strike. Her resignation came after it emerged that she had failed to take sufficient action to prevent 700 Posti workers receiving a pay cut. 

  • Seasonal worker virus outbreak, infections from Spain and Estonian travel restrictions: Today’s news roundup

    Dozens of seasonalberry pickers in Kainuu, Eastern Finland have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. According to health authorities in the region, 44 cases have been detected so far.

    Finnish tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reports that several cases in Helsinki have been linked to travellers returning from Spain in July. According toTerhi Heinäsmäki, an infectious disease specialist at Aava Medical Center, 11 per cent of all COVID-19 infections detected in the city last week were traced to people who had travelled abroad.  

  • Several business leaders in Finland have criminal convictions, study finds

    According toareport by Yle, a yet to be published study by the University of Oulu has revealed that every third CEO of a publicly listed company in Finland and Sweden has a criminal conviction. 

    The study, which was led byJuha-Pekka Kallunki, professor of accounting at the University of Oulu, examined records and information on all Finnish limited companies with a turnover of over 100,000 euros from 2000–2019.

  • Several ice cream products, sugar recalled due to carcinogens

    Mars Finlandis withdrawing several batches of Snickers, Twix and Bounty ice cream from supermarkets due to the presence of ethylene oxide. Finnish ice cream manufacturer SIA Jäätelö and sugar company Suomen Sokeri Oy will also recall products containing the substance. 

    The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) classifies ethylene oxide, an organic compound commonly used as disinfectant in hospitals, as a cancer-causing substance or carcinogen. 

  • Severe thunderstorms, wind, and heavy rainfall expected across country

    Flooding on Helsinki's Mannerheimtie last month (Image: Lehtikuva)

    STORM RIIKKA IS EXPECTED TO BRING EXTREME RAINFALL AND HIGH-SPEED WINDS to much of Finland starting from this afternoon and continuing through the week. 

  • Sexual offenses against minors and fake vaccines: Today’s news roundup

    Locals news outletsrevealed that an employee at a Southwestern Finland school is suspected of photographing underage girls in the shower without their knowledge.

    Police have also reported multiple instances of fraudsters selling fake COVID-19 vaccines across the country. 

  • Shocking family murder and vaccinations for the elderly: Today’s news roundup

    Local newspapers reported the gruesome deaths of a woman and her two children, who were found in an overnight lodging facility in Oulu on Monday. Preliminary investigations into the suspected murder-suicide began yesterday.

    In other news, the city of Helsinki is set to begin vaccinations for elderly residents who are 85 or older on Monday.

  • Smoking inequalities and student depression: Today’s news roundup

    Multiple newspaperscarried stories about the declining mental health of high school and university students precipitated by the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

    A new study that highlights socioeconomic differences in smoking in Finland also received substantial attention.