Regional News • World
Both UK and South Africa Covid-19 variants found in Finland

Finland has confirmed that one person tested positive for the new UK Covid-19 strain and two people tested positive for the South African variant. At least a dozen countries have confirmed cases of both new variants.

Regional News • Europe
Finland: 'Serious' nuclear radiation leak, automatic shutdown, no radiation espaced facility
The nuclear power plants Olkiluoto 1 and Olkiluoto 2 in Olkiluoto in Finland
The nuclear power plants Olkiluoto 1 and Olkiluoto 2 in Olkiluoto in Finland Credit: kallerna, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, a 'serious' nuclear radiation leak was detected in a Finish Olkiluoto 2 power plant which led to an automatic shutdown of the plant. No radiation espaced the facility though. Tomi Routamo, deputy director at the nuclear safety authority STUK, said there was “no danger to people or the environment.”

Finland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen said: “This is a significant and an exceptional incident and we consider it important to spread correct information about it.”

First Covid-19 cases at ski jumping World Cup
First Covid-19 cases at ski jumping World Cup
Credit: / Nao Takabayashi

First bad news for ski jumpers in the Corona season 2020/2021: After the World Cup opening in Wisla, Austria's head coach Andreas Widhölzl and two athletes have tested positive for Covid-19, as the Austrian Ski Federation (ÖSV) officially confirmed on Wednesday morning. Widhölzl and record World Cup winner Schlierenzauer currently show slight symptoms.

All three persons have been quarantined. All other athletes of the Austrian team, who were still competing in Wisla last weekend, will also be in self-quarantine, and the ÖSV will instead be competing with a B-team in northern Finland.

Florian Liegl, group trainer of the second training group, as well as the two assistant coaches Björn Koch and Alexander Diess have nominated Manuel Fettner, David Haagen, Timon-Pascal Kahofer, Clemens Leitner, Markus Schiffner and Marco Wörgötter for this.

Technology • Internet & Web
Patients of psychotherapy clinic blackmailed after data breach
Patients of psychotherapy clinic blackmailed after data breach

After patient data has been stolen from a large psychotherapy clinic in Finland, patients have been contacted individually by a blackmailer. The data appears to have included personal identification records and notes about what was discussed in therapy sessions. It said it believed the data had been stolen in November 2018, with a further potential breach in March 2019.

Technology • Internet & Web
Hackers hijack and publish mental health data of hundreds of people
Hackers hijack and publish mental health data of hundreds of people
Credit: Blogtrepreneur (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The criminals demanded from the psychotherapy center Vastaamo 450,000 euros in exchange for stopping publishing the data. The release of patient data - including minors - ceased on Friday, sparking rumors about a possible payment. The information published so far includes the patient's personal data and the content of the therapy sessions.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin leaves EU summit as contact tests positive
Sanna Marin
Sanna Marin Credit: FinnishGovernment (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Sanna Marin, Finland's Prime Minister, will immediately leave the EU summit in Brussels, return to Helsinki to take a Covid-19 test and self-isolate.

Marin came into contact with Tom Packalenin, who has since tested positive for Covid-19, in the Finnish parliament.

The Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven will represent Marin for the rest of the summit.

On Thursday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen left the summit after a member of her team tested positive, entering voluntary self-isolation "as a precaution".

Helsinki airport tests usage of sniffer dogs to detect Covid-19
Archive picture from 2017
Archive picture from 2017 Credit: / CDC

In a pilot scheme four trained sniffer dogs have started working at Helsinki airport to detect Covid-19 infected passengers.

During preliminary university tests the dogs were able to identify the virus with almost 100% accuracy, even days before patients developed symptoms.

Regional News • Europe
EU leaders reach deal on €750 billion coronavirus recovery package
EU leaders reach deal on €750 billion coronavirus recovery package
Credit: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Following the fourth night of talks, EU leaders have struck a deal on a huge post-coronavirus recovery package involving €750 billion in grants and loans to counter the impact of the pandemic in the 27-member bloc. The deal includes as well as a seven-year €1 trillion EU budget.

Member states were split between those hit hardest by the outbreak -- Spain and Italy --, and those more concerned about the costs of the recovery plan --Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Finland. While the first group wanted a minimum of €400 billion in grants, the later set €375 billion as their upper limit.

The €390 billion figure was suggested as a compromise, and "frugal" nations were reportedly won over by the promise of rebates on their contributions to the EU budget.

Regional News • Europe
Finland's air force quietly drops swastika symbol
F/A-18 from the Finnish Air Force
F/A-18 from the Finnish Air Force Credit: Airwolfhound (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Finnish Air Force Command removed the swastika from its emblem without making any announcement. The symbol had been in use since 1918 when Swedish Count Eric von Rosen gifted a plane to the nascent air force of Finland.

While the air force had stopped using the swastika on its planes after World War II, the symbol featured on unit emblems, unit flags and uniforms until recently.

Lifestyle • Travel
Finland to remove Covid-19 restrictions for some European tourists
Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki, Finland Credit: Érico Andrei (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Finland’s Minister of Interior Maria Ohisal announced the country would remove, from July 13, restrictions for leisure travellers from European countries where infection rate remained at a maximum of 8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a period of two weeks.

Dogs taught to recognize smell of Covid-19 infections
Dogs taught to recognize smell of Covid-19 infections
Credit: Eff

In a pilot study by the University of Helsinki, researchers have taught dogs to pick up on the smell of Covid-19 infections. According to the study, it took only a few weeks until the first dogs were able to distinguish urine samples from Covid-19 patients from the urine of healthy individuals. As a next step, a randomized, double-blind study with a larger scale of samples will be prepared.