Data shows Finnair was world’s safest airline in 2018

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THE JET AIRLINER CRASH DATA EVALUATION CENTRE (JACDEC)which examines safety data from all global airlines, has announced that the Finnish national carrier Finnair was the safest airline to fly with in the world in 2018.

The rankings show that Finnair has the lowest number of accidents, safety incidents, and injuries out of the 100 airlines assessed, with Finnair beating last year’s winner, Emirates, by a considerable margin.

In new rankings published on Thursday evening, Finnair has been awarded a risk index of 93.91%, placing it ahead of runners-up Norwegian Air and Singapore Airlines. Finnair has had zero major accidents since at least the 1960s, with pilot training and maintenance checks being among the most thorough in the world.

With Finnair looking to greatly expand their services in Europe and beyond in 2019, its position as the safest option for travellers will likely prove a welcome boost to ticket sales.

The worst performer in this year’s index was Garuda Indonesia, with a risk index of 52.11%.


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Oulu sex crime suspect to be extradited to Finland from Germany in coming weeks

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A MAN SUSPECTED OF INVOLVEMENT IN A CHILD SEX ABUSE RINGin Oulu has been arrested in Germany and is expected to be returned to Finland to face charges at some point within the next few weeks.

The suspect is believed to have taken part in the sustained sexual abuse of several underage girls in the northern city of Oulu earlier in the year, alongside seven other men of foreign-born origins. The case has attracted widespread outrage and revulsion across the country, as the grim allegations have emerged over a period of months.

The suspect is a male aged between 20 and 30 and is wanted in connection with the aggravated rape of a girl younger than 15. He had previously been arrested on German soil, before being quickly released following an apparent mix-up among the German police.

He was re-arrested in the German city of Saarbrücken on Wednesday evening, with conversations between Finnish and German authorities now ongoing. In a statement to News Now Finland, the leading detective on the case, Superintendent Markus Kiiskinen, has said that “it will take about two to four weeks to move him to Finland. Sometime during January, depending on how fast the process goes, because there is a certain process between Finnish and German police”.

The list of suspects involved in the case includes both foreign and Finnish citizens and has ignited a heated debate over asylum and immigration policy in Finland.


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KT: Harmonising wages in health care to cost employers up to a billion euros

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYERS (KT) has urged lawmakers to mitigate the effects of the wage harmonisation necessitated by the upcoming social, health care and local government reform.

Markku Jalonen, the labour market director at KT, on Monday reminded that the wage harmonisation is expected burden employers in the social and health care sector with substantial costs, ranging from roughly a hundred million to almost a billion euros.

The wages, he underscored, should under no circumstances be aligned with the highest wages in each hospital district but rather with the median wage, for example.

Employee and employer organisations remain up to hundreds of millions of euros apart in their estimates of the costs of the harmonisation, partly because there have yet to be any negotiations on the remuneration system to be adopted as part of the massive reform.

The harmonisation is to be carried out as approximately 220,000 employees of hospital districts and local governments move on to the payrolls of counties most likely at the beginning of 2021, unless the reform bill fails to pass in the Finnish Parliament.

Labour market organisations also disagree on whether the harmonisation should be implemented through legislation or negotiations.

Public Sector Negotiating Commission (JUKO), the largest bargaining body for social and health care professionals, for example, has been reluctant to allow lawmakers to intervene in wage formation, which has thus far been the responsibility of labour market organisations.

The Union of Health and Social Care Professionals in Finland (Tehy) reveals that wages for the same job can vary by hundreds of euros a month even within a single hospital district. Tehy views that the current situation is unlawful and has demanded that it be addressed as employees move from municipalities and hospital districts to counties as part of the reform.

“The harmonisation should have already been carried out. Hospital districts are paying different wages for the same job without no proper justification,” states Else-Mai Kirvesniemi, the head of labour market affairs at Tehy.

She laments that lawmakers have failed to address the issue, despite being aware of it for a long time.


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Avalanche seekers are almost pinpointed

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Tamok Avalanche seekers finns

From the left, the Finns André Stenfors (32), Niklas Nyman (36) and Mikael Sten (29) are three of the four who are believed to have perished in the avalanche in Tamokdalen last week. Photo: Private / NTB scanpix

The last two avalanche seekers are located in the avalanche area in the Tamok Valley in Troms during helicopter searches in the night before Wednesday, the police confirms. 

“We have made discoveries, that is, signals from the transmitting and receiving equipment in the helicopter,” Operations Manager in Troms Police District, Rune Nilsen, tells NTB.

The localisation was made during a helicopter search in the search area. All four avalanche seekers are thus located in the avalanche in the Tamok Valley, where four top tourists are still missing. Signals from the two other avalanche seekers were picked up on Friday.

The distance between the discoveries on Friday and Wednesday precludes that the signals stem from the same avalanche seekers. The police assert that it is certain that all four the missing persons are caught in the avalanche below Blåbærtoppen (Blueberry Peak).

The result of the search is that we have a defined area that will be further scanned in the search for the missing persons, the police states.

On Wednesday, more helicopter searches will be conducted to further delineate the focus area.

Electronic search

The searches during Wednesday night were performed by a Sea King helicopter from the Armed Forces’ 330 helicopter squadron with crew suspended below the aircraft. Having a good view of the ground. They started earlier than planned because the weather cleared up enough during the night to facilitate for over-flying the avalanche.

The helicopter used transmitter and receiver equipment to obtain accurate positions of the two signals picked up previously. In addition, the hope was to locate the last two seekers in the snow masses. This will make it easier for the ground crews to dig out the missing tourists.

There are no plans to deploy ground crews in the search today.

“It is not justifiable to deploy ground crews as the conditions are now. The plan is to locate the missing persons first, then consider the avalanche hazard and secure the area before the persons are dug out and removed from the site,” Nilsen explains.

Missing since last Wednesday

The four missing skiing tourists are three male Finns: Mikael Sten (29), Niklas Nyman (36), André Stenfors (32) and a Swedish woman, Disa Bäckström (29). They were on a top tour to Blåbærfjellet and were last observed at 2 pm on Wednesday, January 2nd. After a few hours, a fifth person of the tour group became worried and notified the police.

The police have stated that there is no longer any hope of finding survivors and that they are, therefore, searching for bodily remains. The main theory of the police is that the four are buried in the avalanche.

“We no longer receive a signal from the two avalanche seekers which were located on Friday. These findings are marked, but it is necessary to position the discovery as accurately as possible. It will limit the focus area. The avalanche must, therefore, also be searched thoroughly with Recco equipment. This is planned to conduct with assistance from the Helicopter team during daylight on Wednesday,“ the police write in its press release.


Source : Norway Info

The Salvation Army tracked down 45 missing people last year

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Salvation Army

The Salvation Army Search Office in Norway tracked down and found 45 missing persons last year.

We are very pleased with the result, says Major Inger Marit Nygård to Dagen newspaper. She heads the Salvation Army search office in Norway.

Last year, the office received a total of 202 written inquiries in addition to some telephone calls that were not registered. The number of people found by the Salvation Army is the lowest in five years and 15 fewer than in 2017.

Since the Salvation Army Search Office started its work in Norway in 1897, they have found a total of 58,379 missing persons.

“The Salvation Army works in 131 countries around the world, so we have an extensive contact network, even though it is not as common in all countries,” says Nygård.


Source : Norway Info

Wants sanctions for human rights violations

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Sergei Magnitsky human rights violations

The Helsinki Committee implore Norwegian Government negotiators to implement a system of sanctions against persons who commit serious human rights violations.

The Conservatives (Høyre), the Progress Party (FrP) and the Liberals (Venstre) are now negotiating with each other and the Christian Democrats (Kristelig Folkeparti) with the aim of putting together a majority Government.

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee believes there is a need for more instruments to protect human rights defenders and notifiers. The committee envisages a system of personalised sanctions.

«The sanctions will be aimed at individuals who commit or order gross human rights violations, such as torture, disappearances, extrajudicial executions, rape, slavery and human trafficking,» a memorandum from the Helsinki Committee states.

Inspired by the EU

Denial of entry fees to Norway or freezing of assets such as bank accounts or properties are examples of such sanctions.

The sanctions will be directed at persons who abuse their official position or who are formal and/or factual leaders of private organisations.

«The sanctions will only affect persons who have not been held accountable for their violations. It is a global scheme that is not aimed at any state or civilian population, in particular,» it further reads.

The Helsinki Committee points to that on December 10th of last year, the EU adopted a proposal to establish an EU scheme for human rights sanctions and proposes a Norwegian scheme in cooperation with other countries.

The US has a similar act in place. The US legislation is named after Sergei Magnitsky, who was arrested after exposing a scheme in which officials allegedly defrauded the Russian state of $230 million.

He died in a Moscow jail in 2009.

Historical measure

The parties that are present at Gran have the opportunity of a lifetime to stand up for human rights, the Secretary-General of the Helsinki Committee, Bjørn Engesland, believes.

“Instead of being discouraged by international developments, Norway should seize the opportunities this gives us,” he tells NTB.

“More tools are needed in the struggle to protect human rights. If, for example, the budding Norwegian Government succeeds in introducing a system of sanctions against individuals, it will be a historic move to strengthen human rights internationally,” Engesland continues.

In addition to the wish for human rights sanctions, he hopes that the negotiators can agree on increased support for human rights defenders.  Engesland further hopes that the EEA funding for European civil society can be more strongly used to promote human rights and freedom of expression in the EU.


Source : Norway Info

Weather Warning Across Iceland

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Wind speeds are expected to reach 40-50m/s today in North Iceland, the Icelandic Met Office reports. The office has issued a yellow alert for the Westfjords, as well as North and East Iceland. Stormy weather is expected to begin at noon today and last until noon tomorrow.

In the Westfjords, southwest gales are expected near Ísafjörður, Bolungarvík, and Hnífsdalur, as well as on most mountain roads. Wind speeds will be between 15-23 metres per second with gusts reaching 35-40m/s. Similar conditions are expected in Northwest Iceland, with gusts reaching up to 45m/s near mountains. Travellers are advised to show caution.

In the Northeast and East of the country, wind gusts are expected to reach 40-50m/s, particularly near Langanes peninsula, in Jökuldalur, and in Vopnafjörður. The storm will reach its peak in the afternoon or evening today. Travellers are encouraged to check road and weather conditions before setting out.

Temperatures warmer than seasonal

The storm front is not expected to bring snow, and in fact could bring with it unusually high temperatures for January. According to the Met Office’s weather outlook, temperatures in the east could reach 10-15°C (50-59°F) today, and even approach 20°C (68°F) tomorrow.


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Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Closed Due to Damaged Vegetation

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The popular tourist attraction Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in South East Iceland has been closed due to severe damage to vegetation, Vísir reports. The Environment Agency of Iceland made the decision to protect the area. The area has been under stress in recent times, which has caused damage to vegetation alongside a trail. It’s believed the damages can be caused to the increased numbers of travellers in the area.

The weather played its part as the last couple of weeks have been warm along with the area receiving copious amounts of precipitation. This has caused the trail, which lies along the canyon, to become damaged and it is now ill traversed due to mire and mud.

“This causes guests to walk outside of the marked trail. The vegetation is in hibernation this time of the year so the area becomes extremely sensitive to intrusion. It is damaged quickly with the intrusion of travellers outside of the trail, as well as creating new faulty trails. A large number of travellers visit the area each day, so the stress on the trail and its surroundings is immense. A repair and reconstruction of a part the trail was completed this summer, and that part is in a decent condition. A new trail alongside all of the canyon has been designed which will withstand changeable weather as we’ve experienced in recent weeks. We aim to begin that construction at the first opportunity”, part of the Environment Agency’s statement read.

The Environment Agency of Iceland had previously closed off the canyon in March, 2018. The area is a naturally protected one, and is number 703 on the list of natural features in Iceland. The area will be closed off from January 9. The Agency intends to review the closing no later than within two weeks, if the area’s status changes.

The car park in the area will be closed off, and it will be impossible to park cars in the nearer surroundings of the area.

Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon is popular for its natural beauty. Situated in South East Iceland, the Fjaðrá river runs through and has carved itself around 100 metres deep. It is about two kilometres long, with steep walls and a winding river. It is situated close to the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur.

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