Finland’s prime minister offers his home to asylum seekers

Al Jazeera reports: Finland’s prime minister has offered his private home in northern Finland to asylum seekers, at a time of massive flow of refugees to the Western Europe through land and sea.

Juha Sipila told state media that his home in Kempele, located in 500km north of the capital Helsinki, could be used to accommodate asylum seekers after the end of the year.

“We should all ask ourselves how we can help … My house is not being used much at the moment. My family lives in Sipoo [east of Helsinki] and the prime minister’s residence is located in Kesaranta,” Sipila told public broadcaster YLE.

The prime minister also called on other citizens, churches and voluntary organisations in the country of five million inhabitants to open their facilities to asylum seekers. [Continue reading…]

The Guardian reports: Supporters’ groups in England are looking to follow the example set by their German counterparts in holding aloft “Refugees Welcome” banners at home matches in response to the crisis gripping Europe.

Inspired by support and offers of practical help from fans across Germany in recent weeks, Aston Villa and Swindon Town fans became the first to say they planned to hold aloft such banners amid attempts to coordinate support via social media. Villa supporters plan to send a message supporting refugees during their televised match at Leicester City on Sunday week when the teams meet after the international break. Similar banners have already been spotted at non-league matches involving Kingstonian and Dulwich Hamlet, as well as at FC United games. The Premier League said there was nothing in its rules to prevent clubs from welcoming the banners into their stadiums.

The former Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore is among those supporting the campaign to show solidarity with those entering Europe after fleeing war zones in Syria and elsewhere. “I remember Doug Ellis and our team taking aid to Bucharest in 1997 ahead of playing Steaua, and also Birmingham is a vibrant multicultural community,” he said. “I think our great club could and should do our bit to help.”

The organisers of a campaign on Facebook and Twitter (@RefugeesEFL) said they had been directly inspired by the images in Germany. “The German fans using “Refugees Welcome” banners was a big inspiration,” said Dena Nakeeb, who is organising the Facebook campaign. “It’s not just the imagery behind manly blokes holding banners supporting an issue which is so poignant at the moment. It’s the fact we as the British public are showing solidarity.” [Continue reading…]

AFP reports: Irish rocker Bob Geldof on Friday offered to house four Syrian families at his two homes in Britain, calling the migrants crisis a “sickening disgrace”.

“I can’t stand what is happening. I cannot stand what it does to us,” Geldof told Ireland’s RTE radio.

“Me and Jeanne would be prepared to take three families immediately in our place in Kent and a family in our flat in London immediately,” he said.

Geldof said he and his partner Jeanne Marine could house the refugees “until such time as they can get going and get a purchase on their future.” [Continue reading…]

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