Bomb threat evacuated downtown Fredrikstad

UPDATED: The Quality Hotel and several surrounding buildings in central Fredrikstad were evacuated Wednesday afternoon after someone phoned in a threat that a bomb had been placed at the hotel. The area was still cordoned off by early evening but the police could cancel the alarm around 7pm. State broadcaster NRK reported that the threat was called […]

Foreign minister backs website’s independence

Norway’s foreign ministry, which finances the operations of the Barents Secretariat in Kirkenes that owns the website BarentsObserver, has grown weary of an editorial conflict between the two. Foreign Minister Børge Brende himself has now sent a message to the secretariat, all but ordering it to allow the website to function independently and in accordance with established journalistic principles […]

Delays plagued Oslo-Stockholm train line

The new high-speed express train line running between the Norwegian and Swedish capitals had a sluggish start to its first few weeks of service. Newspaper Dagsavisen reported last week that only 30 percent of its scheduled departures arrived on time. The journey, launched amidst much high-level festivity in August, is supposed to take as little as four-and-a-half […]

‘Mehr Deutsch, bitte’

As Germany celebrates the 25th anniversary of its reunification this week, also with a major reception in Oslo, Norwegian business leaders worry that far too few young Norwegians are studying German and other foreign languages. They want “mehr Deutsch, bitte” (more German, please), to avoid losing business contracts with foreign firms because they lack knowledge of language […]

Higher tax for having fun

Norway’s conservative coalition government claims it’s lowering taxes for the majority of Norwegians, but it’s going to cost more to drive and have some fun. It will also cost more to pay the obligatory annual “license” fee that funds state broadcaster NRK. The state’s VAT on travel and cultural events will still be less than […]

Authors mourn death of Mankell

Norwegian authors were mourning the death this week of Swedish author Henning Mankell, saying he’d been an inspiration for their own work and helped pave the way for export of Scandinavian crime. Author and editor Jon Michelet hailed Mankell both on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK)’s nightly national newscast Monday evening and in newspaper Aftenposten on Tuesday. He noted […]

Bigger cities win new police hubs

The largest cities with the most residents have been chosen as the new hubs for merged police districts around Norway. Over the next few years, Norway’s 27 police districts will be reduced to 12, to improve efficiency and cut costs. Oslo has won out over Sandvika as the base for the merged Oslo and Asker […]

New big office complex to rise in Stavanger

A Norwegian investor is defying his hometown’s oil crisis with plans to develop two large office and retail buildings with parking facilities in the heart of Stavanger. Knut Øgreid’s real estate firm hopes to start construction next year. Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that Øgreid, who made his fortune in lumber, real estate and the sale of […]

Two arrested in Philippines kidnapping

Police in the Philippines have arrested two suspects in last month’s kidnapping of four people including a Norwegian man from a resort and yacht club where he was working. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that the arrests were confirmed by the local mayor in Davao, Rodrigo Duterte. Kjartan Sekkingstad, originally from Sotra on Norway’s west coast, was […]

Controversial thriller draws in viewers

More than 630,000 Norwegians watched the first episode of a new controversial TV thriller that premiered Sunday night, and already has sparked protests from the Russian Embassy in Oslo. That’s because it portrays the Russians as invading Norway to take over the country’s oil and gas industry, at the request of the EU. The series, […]