Sun sets on Norway’s far north

Even though it's called "the dark time" of the year, mid-winter can actually offer some of Norway's most spectacular light. Here's a photo of an early afternoon in Tromsø during what the Norwegians call "mørketiden." PHOTO: Wikipedia

The sun has gone down for the last time this year in Norway’s northernmost counties, and won’t rise again until well after New Year. That doesn’t mean simply dark skies, though, as the sun below the horizon can still send out spectacular colors at midday. Many areas of Finnmark “lost” the sun last week, and now […]

Battle begins over coal on Svalbard

Næringsminister Monica Mæland besøker Svalbard. Her utenfor den nye gruva Lunckefjell. Foto: Trond Viken, Nærings- og fiskeridepartementet.

As debate flies over how Norway can cut its own carbon emissions, the top political leader on Svalbard is mounting a battle to keep the Arctic archipelago’s coal mines open. Svalbard’s coal-fired power plants release around 200,000 tons of carbon emissions every year, but she nonetheless hopes to get support from environmental organizations even though most such groups […]

Oil fund grilled over its coal holdings

Statoil continues to pump up profits from its oil and gas operations. Pictured here, the Sleipner platform off Norway. PHOTO: Statoil/Dag Myrestrand

Norway’s huge sovereign wealth fund, known as the oil fund since it’s fueled by the country’s oil revenues, is being grilled once again, this time over its investments in coal. While environmentalists want the fund to dump its coal mining stakes, some economists do, too, warning that they can become unprofitable as well as damaging for the planet. […]

Kjos calls conflict ‘completely crazy’

PHOTO: Berglund

Bjørn Kjos, embattled chief executive of Norwegian Air, was lashing out at EU and US authorities this week as he braced for another meeting between them that may decide the fate of his airline’s trans-Atlantic service. He calls the ongoing delays in his airline’s attempt to win a permanent license for the service “completely crazy.” […]

Solberg’s comments ‘lost in translation’

Prime Minister Erna Solberg was in Ukraine last week on a visit that has had unexpected consequences. PHOTO: Statsministerens kontor

Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s staff and Norway’s foreign ministry were fending off reports in Ukraine this week that Norway had “frozen” all contact with Russia. That’s simply not true, claim Norwegian officials, blaming the reports on a mistaken translation of Solberg’s remarks during an interview while in Ukraine last week. Solberg visited Ukraine directly after […]

Putin hailed Norway’s champ

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Chess World Champion Magnus Carlsen on Tuesday, as challenger Vishy Anand looked on at left. PHOTO: NTB Scanpix/Berit Roald

UPDATED: Russian President Vladimir Putin took time on Tuesday to not only congratulate the Chess World Champion, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, but also invite him to a tea party along with his challenger Vishy Anand of India. Carlsen’s meeting with the controversial Russian leader, however, couldn’t escape political overtones. Carlsen had resisted committing to play the championship tournament […]

Syse tapped for Nobel committee

Henrik Syse, an author, lecturer, philosopher and peace researcher, looks set for a seat on the Norwegian Nobel Committee. PHOTO: Cappelen Damm

Henrik Syse, a high-profile philosopher, peace researcher and public speaker in Norway, has emerged as the Conservative Party’s choice to fill its newly won extra spot on the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Syse is also the son of the late Jan P Syse, a former prime minister and veteran politician for the Conservatives. Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported […]

Shopping bag tax sets off new row

Coop was cooking up something extra indeed this week, with Rema 1000. PHOTO: Coop Norge

NEWS ANALYSIS: A new tax on shopping bags in Norway suddenly crept into last week’s difficult state budget negotiations, and it has since kicked up nearly as much of a fuss as the budget itself. None of the politicians involved will accept blame or credit for the tax, which takes effect next spring. The debate was turning comical this […]

Telenor lifts the veil on VimpelCom

Telenor's CEO, Jon Fredrik Baksaas, finally revealed more about the "differences" he claims exists between TeliaSonera's dealings in Uzbekistan and Telenor's. Critics say that TeliaSonera and VimpelCom, in which Telenor owns a large stake, gained access to the Uzbekistan market in the same way, by making large payments to a company in Gibraltar that investigators suspect were bribes. PHOTO: Telenor

After refusing to answer questions about bribery suspicions at mobile phone firm VimpelCom, Norwegian telecoms company Telenor has finally revealed some of the contact it’s had with the firm, in which it holds a large shareholding. Telenor now claims it tried to ensure that VimpelCom was complying with Telenor’s ethical standards, and believed it was. Telenor Chairman Svein Aaser […]

Statoil seeks to shake off politics

Prime Minister Erna Solberg, busy opening Statoil's new Gudrun platform in the North Sea, has called on Jonas Gahr Støre to clarify his position on oil and gas exploration and production. At far right, Statoil CEO Helge Lund looks on as Solberg is greeted by platform boss Ole Martin Bakken. PHOTO: Statoil/Harald Pettersen

The Norwegian state still owns 67 percent of the shares in Norwegian oil company Statoil, but the company itself wants to shed some of the political terms under which it’s run. Top politicians, however, don’t seem likely to give the country’s largest firm a lot more freedom to do what it wants. Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported on Monday […]