Kristiansand-Norway

Kristiansand, Norway: cruise port guide

Planning a shore excursion to the Norwegian port of Kristiansand? Follow Andrew Stone’s pick of the best things to see and do, days out and restaurant tips.

Stunning natural beauty all around, picturesque 17th and 18th-century houses and a beach in the middle of town conspire to make  Kristiansand one of Norway’s most charming ports of call. Whilst there is not much to do in town other than relax in a waterfront cafe or stroll around the historic streets, Kristiansand is the gateway to great outdoor adventures. The town comes alive during Quart, its annual mini music festival, which starts in late June or early July.

Getting around

All the transport – boats, buses and trains terminate at the port. The main shopping and dining drag is pedestrianised Markensgate. Regular trains run to Stavanger, Bergen and Oslo.

What to see and do

There’s no single compelling museum or gallery in town but simply strolling around the historic centre (Posebyen) is hugely rewarding, as is a stroll along leafy Festningsgata, Gyldenløves gate and the town square.

Christiansholm Festning

Cannons bristle from the walls of this modest 17th-century fortress, which offers commanding views along the coast and over the moorings.
Address: Christiansholm Fortress, Strandpromenaden.
Admission: Free.
Opening hours: 9am-9pm mid-May- mid-September.

Kristiansand Domkirke

This large, late 19th-century, neo-Gothic church on the town square is no beauty but its tower does offer good views across town. There are guided tours twice daily in summer Mondays to Saturdays.
Address: Kirkegata.
Contact: 381 07 75 0.
Admission: Free, tower entry 20kr.
Opening hours: 10am-4pm Mon-Fri; 10am-2pm Sat mid- June–mid-August.

Day trips

The woodland parks Baneheia and Ravendalen, situated  northwest of the city centre, are threaded with hiking trails that lace around some small lakes. An enchanting lakeside spot for refreshment here is Generalen Cafe in Ravendalen, offering food and refreshment and lively summer blues and folk concerts.
Address: Generalen Cafe, Ravendalen.
Contact: 380 90 791; ravnedalen.no.
Prices: main courses around 160kr.
Opening hours: May-August.

Shopping

Skippergada is where you’ll find many of Kristiansand’s better little independent clothes and gift boutiques, as well as some good cafes and bakeries. The bustling Kvadraturen area is also home to the central market, ideal for sampling local produce.

Where to eat & drink

Restaurant Luihn

Luihn’s rather cramped interior is not as appealing or lively as the outdoor restaurants in the town square but the food more than makes up for it. The menu changes with the seasons and the available produce and the kitchen makes an effort to transcend the standard tourist fare so common elsewhere in town.
Address: Raadhus Gaten 15.
Contact: 3810 6650; restaurant-luihn.no.
Prices: Mains 150-250kr.
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 6-11pm.

Sjøhuset

A great harbour setting and a menu that makes the most of the local seafood with traditional as well as Japanese flavours (including shellfish bisque and super fresh salmon sushi) makes this one of the two or three best restaurants in town.
Address: Østre Strandgate 12A.
Contact: 380 26 260.

Båksgarden

New, spacious and spotlessly clean, every chair and every booth in this pub comes well-padded for a very comfortable drinking session. There is also a heated outdoor smoking area, a pub menu, and darts.
Address: Tollbodgaten 5.
Contact: 380 45 969.

Norway officials release

Norway officials release new defence White Paper.

The Ministry of Defence has publicised a new White Paper covering defence spending between 2013 and 2016.

In it, officials state they aim to increase Norway’s defence budget by seven percent, which makes room for the purchase of the new F-35s. Purchasing four for training purposes is already planned, which leaves 48.

Withdrawing the country’s troops from Afghanistan also allows resources to strengthen the army.

Moreover, the new White Paper continues the development of the armed forces with the introduction of the Naval Strike Missile, the NH 90 Maritime Helicopter, and an increase in enlisted personnel.

Minister of Defence Espen Barth Eide says, “Over the past four years, we have undertaken a massive restructuring of our operational structures and equipment. The time has now come to focus even more on our people.”

The main focus of the paper is the new F-35 fleet, with the aim still being to purchase 52 of the aircraft. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Defence says the decision to buy the last six will be “confirmed separately at a later stage.”

Recommendations for the aircrafts’ main base at Ørland, with a smaller base at Evenes to allow for a quick response time, are also made.

“We remain confident that the F-35 represents the best capability for the best value possible. The purpose of the adjusted procurement plan is to give the Norwegian Government greater financial freedom of manoeuvre during the years of the main procurement by spreading out the cost more evenly,” added Minister Barth Eide.

Offshore

Norway: Lundin Reports Successfully Completed Offshore Test Well.

Lundin Petroleum said Monday that the Johan Sverdrup appraisal well 16/2-11 located in PL501 has encountered a 54 meter gross oil column in Upper and Middle Jurassic sandstone reservoir in an oil-down-to situation.

The reservoir was encountered at depth prognosis. The well is located 2,2 km south-east of well 16/2-8 in PL265 and 3,3 km south-west of well 16/2-6, in PL501.A comprehensive logging and coring program has been successfully completed as well as a production test (DST) in the previously untested Middle Jurassic reservoir. The data from this first well in the 2012 PL501 appraisal program confirmed good reservoir properties. This is in line with the earlier Johan Sverdrup wells where the Upper Jurassic reservoir was of excellent quality with a high net to gross ratio.

A full scale production test (DST) in the Middle Jurassic reservoir to investigate its flow properties resulted in flow rates, in excess of 2,700 barrels of oil per day (bopd) through a restricted 40/64 choke, with good reservoir properties indicating a lateral continuous reservoir.

The well will now be side-tracked towards the east to investigate the lateral thickness and property variations of the Jurassic reservoir as well as establish an oil water contact to investigate the possibility of a deeper oil-water-contact in this area. The side-track will take approximately 25 days.

The well will then be plugged and abandoned. The total depth of the well is 2,125 metres MD.

Ashley Heppenstall, President and CEO of Lundin Petroleum comments; “We are pleased with the latest appraisal well which was in line with our pre drill forecast and has provided us with excellent data for development planning purposes. It has confirmed as with the previous Johan Svedrup wells, the excellent reservoir characteristics of the field as well as encountering the reservoir at the prognosed depth. In view of the upcoming further appraisal drilling on Johan Svedrup in PL501 and in PL265 we have decided to delay the release of updated resource estimates most likely until after the completion of this years drilling program.”

Lundin Petroleum is using the semi-submersible drilling rig Bredford Dolphin. After completion of the side-track the rig will move to PL519 to drill the Albert exploration prospect operated by Lundin Petroleum.

Lundin Norway AS is the operator with 40 percent interest. Partners are Statoil Petroleum AS with 40 percent interest and Maersk Oil Norway AS with 20 percent interest.

U.K. Natural Gas Rises on Norway

U.K. Natural Gas Rises on Norway, North Sea Production Halts.

U.K. natural gas for immediate delivery rose after Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA reported production halts and pipeline deliveries declined.

Gas for immediate delivery climbed as much as 12 percent after Total evacuated its Elgin platform in the North Sea after a gas leak and Shell said power use at the Ormen Lange field in Norway fell due to an “unplanned trip.” Imports through the Langeled link from Norway fell 70 percent, grid data show.

“The gas leak at the Elgin Well Head Platform remains ongoing and we are taking all possible measures to try to identify the source and cause of the leak and to bring it under control,” Total said in an e-mailed statement.

Within-day gas climbed as much as 6.35 pence to 59.85 pence a therm. It was at 57.75 pence at 4:30 p.m. in London, according to broker prices compiled by Bloomberg. That’s equal to $8.98 a million British thermal units. A therm is 100,000 Btu. Gas for tomorrow was at 55.65 pence at that time.

Norwegian imports through Langeled, the pipeline transporting fuel from Ormen Lange (NGRFELAN) to Britain, dropped to a rate of about 19 million cubic meters a day, National Grid Plc data show.

The Elgin platform’s 19 core crew along with 150 non- essential personnel were evacuated from the platform after a “well control problem” caused a gas release, according to the company’s Twitter Inc. account.

LNG Cargo

The April gas contract added 0.35 pence to 58.65 pence a therm. The summer contract advanced 0.45 pence to 59.2 pence.

Electricity for tomorrow declined 1.5 pounds to 43 pounds a megawatt-hour ($68.53), according to broker data. Summer power added 25 pence to 46.15 pounds.

The Dragon LNG terminal in south Wales will receive a cargo of liquefied natural gas April 1 aboard the Methane Nile Eagle carrier from Trinidad, according to the Milford Haven Port website. It’s a BG Group Plc-owned vessel. Two additional LNG carriers are heading to Belgium’s Zeebrugge terminal, port data show.

About 32 percent of Britain’s electricity was being generated by gas-fed stations today, with 47 percent coming from coal-fired stations, grid data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Norske Skog Advances

Norske Skog Advances as Norway, Chile Sales Cut Debt: Oslo Mover.

Norske Skogindustrier ASA (NSG), the second-largest newsprint maker, climbed the most in a month in Oslo after selling assets in Chile and Norway as it seeks to cut debt amid excess industry capacity and growing competition.

Shares in the Lysaker, Norway-based group rose as much as 9.1 percent, the most since Feb. 27, and closed 2.9 percent higher at 6.12 kroner. That extends the stock’s advance to 17.7 percent since the start of the year, outperforming the OBX benchmark index’s 12 percent gain.

Norske Skog sold its Bio Bio newsprint mill in Chile for $56 million to “improve Norske Skog’s cash flow and financial position,” Chief Executive Officer Sven Ombudstvedt said today. The company, grappling with 7.9 billion kroner ($1.4 billion) of debt, is trying to improve its financial standing amid excess supply in the newsprint market, competition from online media and rising raw-material costs.

The sale follows a trend that has developed in recent years, where “financially weak players constantly have to sell good, cash flow-generating assets, just to satisfy their debt holders,” Mikael Jafs, an analyst with Credit Agricole Cheuvreux SA, said by phone from Stockholm. “When challenged companies reduce their financial risk, their share prices can move quite violently,” said Jafs, who has an outperform recommendation on Norske Skog.

Papermakers have closed mills and cut jobs to reduce costs and capacity as demand weakened.

Highest Unit Costs

Sappi Ltd. (SPP), the world’s largest producer of fine-coated paper, shut mills in Switzerland and South Africa to reduce debt that stood at $2.58 billion in 2009, while its Helsinki-based competitors, Stora Enso Oyj (STERV) and UPM Kymmene Oyj, have also both closed units. M-real (MRLBV), also based in Helsinki, has sold assets for 2.2 billion euros ($2.9 billion) since 2006 as it trims its paper and pulp division to focus on more profitable paperboard operations.

Norske Skog also agreed to sell its Follum unit in Norway for about 60 million kroner, it said today. Production at the unit, which has the highest unit costs of all its mills in Norway, will be halted at the end of the month and equipment removed, it said.

India-Norway

India assures Norway fair solution for Telenor.

India today assured Norway of a fair solution for Telenor whose multi-billion investment in the country faces uncertainity following cancellation of 122 telecom licence by Supreme Court. The issue came up for discussion at a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with his Norwegian

counterpart Jens Stoltenberg on the sidelines of Nuclear Security Summit here.

“Prime Minister assured Stoltenberg that all attempts will be made for a fair solution and the Norwegian PM felt reassured,” sources said.

Singh also informed Norwegian Prime Minister that all countries will be given equal treatment while the government finds a solution following the judicial pronouncement.

Sources said Stoltenberg appreciated that there is an independent judiciary in India and there is a Supreme Court ruling in the case which has given four months for issue of fresh licences and allocation of spectrum through auction.

Telenor’s had acquired 67.25% stake in Uninor which was given 22 licences for 2G telecom services along with spectrum that was allocated under controversial method in 2008.

All Uninor licences were among those cancelled and the company would not be able to carry out business after June 2 unless a solution is found.

According to Telenor, it has invested over Rs 6,100 crore in equity and over Rs 8,000 crore in corporate guarantees.

The Norwegian firm has also run into a legal battle with its Indian partner Unitech.

Norway PM

Singh talks to Norway PM on custody of NRI kids.

India is keen to find an “amicable” and “good” solution to the custody battle of two young Indian children in Norway within the ambit of the law, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today told his Norwegian counterpart.

Singh who is here to attend the Nuclear Security Summit, met Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and said that he expected a decision on the issue within the ambit of the law. “We are keen to see an amicable and good solution emerging out in the interest of the welfare of the children and within the ambit of the law,” Indian sources told reporters after Stoltenberg briefed Singh about the issue.

Abhigyan, 3, and Aishwarya, one, were placed in foster care by Norwegian Child Welfare Authorities in May last year on grounds of “emotional disconnect”. “Singh emphasised the deep sense of family values that are prevalent in India and the feeling that parents are best equipped to take care of their children,” the sources said.

Stoltenberg told Singh that the local municipality is planning to take the next steps in consultation with the district court and all parties concerned, they said. In a setback to the parents of the two children, Norwegian authorities last week said they were not going ahead with a deal to hand over the kids to their uncle in view of “conflicts” in the family.

The statement followed reports of differences between the parents — Anurup and Sagarika Bhhatacharya. “In the light of the great uncertainty that now prevails, the Child Welfare Service (CWS) cannot maintain that a move to India would be in the best interests of the children,” CWS chief Gunnar Toresen had said.

Norway MEA

Norway custody row helps MEA make pro-people policies.

While the case of the NRI couple seeking custody of their children from Norwegian authorities may have been marred by marital discord, it is contributing in making India’s foreign policy more “people-centric”. Confirming that India has issued fresh instructions to its mission in Norway to provide all possible help to the Bhattacharyas, who seem to have again patched up, MEA sources said that foreign minister S M Krishna will crisscross continents in the next few months to impress upon Indian envoys the need to be “receptive” to Indian nationals and also appoint welfare officers to handle complaints from those who have suffered at the hands of local authorities.

Sources said that the minister will hold a meeting with Indian envoys in West Asia in Abu Dhabi on April 14 and then with those based in Europe in Madrid on April 21, where he will discuss with them the fallout of the Norway case. “The minister will make the point about how Indians missions have to be more pro-Indians in the light of what happened in Norway. He will also ensure that welfare officers are appointed to handle complaints directly from Indians,” said a source.

In June, Krishna will attend another conference of Indian envoys in Argentina, where he will discuss the same issues. Sources confirmed that Krishna had sent a “formal note” earlier this month in which he insisted that welfare officers are appointed by all missions.

The source added that there was no question of backing off from the Norway case despite the criticism in media that MEA had overplayed its hand. It was reported last week that the husband Anurup Bhattacharya was seeking divorce from his wife Sagarika whom he described as mentally unstable.

“The matter will come up for hearing in court only in August, but the Indian Embassy has been asked to provide whatever help the couple seeks for them,” he said, adding that the decision to postpone the visit of a diplomat to Norway last week resulted from the “confusion” over reports about marital discord.

The couple is said to have signed an agreement again last Friday to allow Anurup’s brother Arunabhash to get the custody of the children – Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (1).

“The agreement will be presented before the Norwegian Child Welfare Services who will then approach court which will take a decision based on the validity of this document. The Indian government will continue to help them in this exercise,” he added.

Officials said that Krishna’s initiative was a definite attempt to make MEA’s role more public oriented. “The case in Norway has come as a catalyst in that sense. The foreign ministry is preparing to help any Indian family facing any problem abroad,” said an official.

Norway’s mass killer

The ordeal of defending Norway’s mass killer.

The morning after militant rightist Anders Behring Breivik ran amok on a small Norwegian island, hunting down and shooting dead 69 people, Geir Lippestad received a call from the police asking if he would defend him.

“My first reaction was ‘no, I don’t want to do this, it’s just too difficult.” He turned to his wife, a nurse. “She said ‘wait. If he was shot, the doctors and nurses would… help him, they’d do their job. You’re a lawyer, so don’t you want to do your job?’”

Eight months have passed since that call and there have been hard times for Lippestad. In the first days, he received anonymous threats and had to deal with the dismay of some acquaintances. For a while he was assigned a security detail.

Now the April 16 trial is approaching, reviving memories of what for the whole of Norway was a traumatic event; but Lippestad has no regrets about taking the case.

Breivik detonated a car bomb in central Oslo On July 22, killing eight. In the chaos that ensued, he traveled to a small island where the Labour Party were holding a youth camp. There, brandishing an automatic rifle, he worked his way across the island gunning down terrified victims. He did it, as he told police, to “protect” the Nordic nation from multiculturalism.

After his capture by police, he asked for Lippestad to defend him as once he had defended a neo-Nazi accused of murder.

Ole Nicolai Kvisler received 15 years in jail in 2002 for killing Norwegian-Ghanaian teenager Benjamin Hermansen.

Lippestad, a short, stocky shaven-headed man with a measured, soft-spoken manner, does not subscribe to Kvisler’s far-right ideology.

A member of the ruling Labour Party, 47-year-old Lippestad’s own values reflect the way Norway likes to see itself – as a liberal country with tolerant attitudes cutting across ethnic, social and cultural lines.

The lawyer became convinced defending Breivik was key in defending the values he believed in, especially at time when some were calling for a toughening of Norway’s open society and criminal justice system, where there is no death penalty and the maximum prison sentence is 21 years.

“It would be so easy to say ‘this case is so cruel and difficult that this person shouldn’t get the same rights as others’,” he told Reuters in an interview.

“But if we change the rules for one person, we threaten the core of democracy. People must enjoy the same rights and must be punished by the same laws.”

Lippestad, one of the few individuals in Norway with close, regular access to the killer, said Breivik “believes we are at war.”

“He wishes for a new world order that few people can agree with,” he said. Breivik has never expressed regrets for his actions.

At the trial, Lippestad may argue in Breivik’s favor that he spared the youngest children during the island massacre, collaborated with police, tried to surrender and confessed to his actions.

He will argue his client is sane, in line with the wishes of Breivik, who regards himself as sound of mind. A first medical report declared him to be insane, but the results of a second examination are pending.

SYMPATHY OF SURVIVORS

“No matter how horrible a crime was, a defendant has to have someone looking out for his interest. This is just a vital brick in the wall of democracy,” said Lippestad.

“I would say 99 percent of Norway understood this is absolutely vital to a sound justice system.”

Turkey-Norway

Turkey, Norway shut Syria missions.

Turkey and Norway closed their embassies in Syria yesterday; further isolating President Bashar Assad, whose forces again bombarded the battered city of Homs with mortars in an effort to quell unrest.

The deadly crackdown and conflict in Syria will be on the agenda for the Arab summit in Baghdad but the crushing of protests in Bahrain will not, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said yesterday.

He said clashes and protests in Syria, in which monitors say more than 9,100 people have died, had more of a regional and international dimension, though the suppression last year of pro-democracy rallies in Bahrain, which have sporadically continued, was a concern.

“The Bahrain situation is not on the agenda,” Zebari told reporters ahead of the start of the summit today. He said events in the Gulf kingdom may still be discussed, but the country had not requested that it be put on the agenda.

“With Syria, the situation is different, because Syria is a more pressing issue. …It has an international dimension, it has a regional (dimension), it has many many other differences.”

Video showed towering flames and thick black smoke billowing from at least two locations in Homs, Syria’s third largest city, which has become the epicenter for the yearlong revolt. Residents accused the army of indiscriminate shelling.

“Every day the shelling goes on. The regime is wiping out the city,” said Waleed Faris, an activist who lives in Homs.

Following the example of many Arab and Western states, Turkey said it had suspended all activities at its embassy as the security situation worsened.

Once a close ally of Assad, Turkey has denounced his efforts to crush the rebellion and has thrown its weight behind his opponents, announcing on Sunday that it would work with Washington to provide “non-lethal” aid to the Syrian opposition.

Annan, the joint envoy for the United Nations and Arab League, was due to fly to China later in the day as part of an effort to persuade all major powers to put pressure on Assad to accept the terms of his six-point peace plan.

Annan met Russian leaders on Sunday and won assurances that Moscow was fully behind his initiative, which calls for Assad to back a ceasefire and let in humanitarian aid, but does not demand that he quit – something Western powers are pushing for.

Both Russia and China have previously vetoed UN Security Council resolutions highly critical of Damascus, drawing accusations that they were giving Assad a license to kill. They argue that the West is too one-sided, but have given full public backing to Annan’s mission.

The United Nations says at least 8,000 people, including many women and children, have died in the uprising and human rights groups have accused the government of repeated brutality.

Syria says 3,000 security personnel have died, and accuses “terrorists” and their foreign backers of fomenting the trouble. The official news agency Sana said soldiers had killed “six of the most dangerous wanted terrorists” in a raid in the southern province of Deraa. They also thwarted a bid to blow up the Al-Najih Bridge on the Damascus-Deraa Highway, it said.

The authorities rarely allow Western journalists into Syria, making it hard to verify such reports.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there had been army raids and arrests on Monday in the northeastern city of Deir Al-Zor, on the road to Iraq, and the suburbs of Deraa, which lies close to the border with Jordan.

Western and Arab leaders are due to meet in Istanbul on Sunday to discuss a political transition, and the Arab League and Turkey were pressing various parts of the Syrian opposition to gather in the city on Monday and Tuesday to try to unite. Deep divisions within opposition ranks have hobbled efforts to draw up a powerful anti-Assad front, and irritated Western leaders eager to find a reliable partner.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who was to join US President Barack Obama at a nuclear security summit in South Korea on Monday, gave warm backing to Annan on Sunday.

“This may be the last chance for Syria to avoid a long-lasting and bloody civil war. Therefore, we will offer you our full support at any level and in various ways in those areas, of course, in which Russia is capable of providing support.”

But Moscow also suggested that foreign support for Assad’s foes was the main obstacle to peace.

Norwegian Labor Party

Norwegian Labor Party Youth Movement AUF has been notified by the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB) that the families and survivors that were unable to visit Utøya the 19th  and 20th of August will be given the opportunity to visit Utøya the 1st of October. The support group after 22th of July has requested that the media do not to visit the island until these persons have had the opportunity. Therefore, AUF ask kindly the media to respect this, and not visit Utøya before the 3rd of October or 1st of October.Practical information from AUF:

• It is not allowed to bring survivors or relatives to the island on the 3rd of October.

The terrible tragedy has happened at Utøya island in the Tyrifjorden lake in Hole municipality, in the county of Buskerud, Norway.

Norwegian referee

Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo was today smuggled out of Britain by police who feared for his safety because of his role in Chelsea’s exit from the Champions League at the hands of Barcelona. Ovrebo turned down four strong penalty appeals by Chelsea, who lost the semi-final on the away goals rule after Andres Iniesta scored in the 93rd-minute of the second leg to level the scores at 1-1 on the night and on aggregate. At the end of the game, Ovrebo was confronted by a furious Didier Drogba and had to be escorted down the tunnel by a group of Chelsea stewards who had difficulty restraining the striker.

Fearing reprisals from furious fans, police changed Ovrebo’s hotel before organising his exit from the country, according to former international referee Graham Poll.

Poll, now a media pundit, revealed: “This morning he’s being smuggled out of our country under police escort – this is a referee of a football match. That is a disgrace.

“When he booked in a hotel they had to change the hotel he was staying at because of the fear that maybe fans would find him.”

Ovrebo’s situation has worrying echoes of the hounding of Swedish referee Anders Frisk, who retired from the game in 2005 after receiving death threats in the wake of another ill-tempered meeting between Chelsea and Barcelona.

Frisk had sent Drogba off in the first-leg of a second round match and was accused by Chelsea’s then-boss Jose Mourinho of having invited Frank Rijkaard, the Barca coach at the time, into his room at half-time.

Norwegian footballer

A Norwegian first division side said Tuesday it plans to nominate a 57-metre headed goal by one of its midfielders, Jone Samuelsen, to the Guinness book of world records. Samuelsen’s feat occurred late in a match Sunday as his team, Odd Grenland, led opponents Tromsoe 2-1. After Tromsoe’s ‘keeper moved up the pitch to take part in a corner kick, an Odd Grenland defender booted the ball down the pitch.

A Tromsoe player sent it back with a header, only to be met by Samuelsen, who from midfield headed it into an open goal as the goalkeeper rushed back towards the net.

After having police measure and verify the distance of the sensational goal, Odd Grenland manager Tore Andersen said: “According to our information, this is the longest distance ever recorded for a headed goal.

“We have measured 57.3 metres (187 feet and 11’9 inches).”

Samuelsen meanwhile played down his accomplishment.

“I could say that I was trying to score, but that would not be true,” Samuelsen told the NTB news agency.

“It was a punt, in fact, and I didn’t see that the ball was going into the goal or that the Tromsoe goalkeeper was not there.”

Norwegian soldiers

Norwegian and Russian Defence ministry officials agree for the first time to let their army soldiers have common training on land. The officials met in Moscow this week.  We are not talking about exercises with brigades or larger divisions, says state secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Defence Roger Ingebrigtsen to NTB. Ingebrigtsen is in Moscow and has talks with both Defence Ministry officials and representatives from Russia’s Security Council.

-  This is historical, says Roger Ingebrigtsen.

Norway’s Royal navy and Russia’s Northern Fleet have trained together several times, like during the exercise Pomor 2011 earlier this year, but this is the first time joint army soldier training will be on land.

According to State Secretary Ingebrigtsen, the idea is to let Russian soldiers train on Norwegian soil and Norwegian soldiers to train in Russia.

(BarentsObserver)

Paul McCartney Norway

Sir Paul McCartney has offered support to an anti-whaling campaign by urging the Norwegian government not to lift a ban on commercial hunting. The former Beatle has backed the protest, calling on the Norwegian government to “protect” the sea mammals. “It’s time to end the cruel slaughter of whales and leave these magnificent creatures alone,” the Daily Star quoted him as saying.In the 21st century how can we even contemplate killing whales – or any animal – in such barbaric ways? Governments should act on their responsibilities and protect these beautiful creatures,” he added.

Hold Annual Conference In Norway

The intergovernmental organisation behind some of the most iconic images of Earth weather from space will host its annual conference next month. On 5-9 September, meteorologists, scientists and researchers will meet in Oslo, Norway, for the 2011 EUMETSAT Meteorological Satellite Conference. The conference is hosted and co-organised by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

A major theme of the conference is the assimilation of satellite data into global and regional Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models.

The conference will be attended by over 400 participants from around 40 countries. The opening session on the first day of the conference will be addressed by EUMETSAT Director-General Alain Ratier and Norwegian Meteorological Institute Director-General Anton Eliassen.

The first session will be devoted to current and future satellites, instruments and their applications. Other sessions will cover climate monitoring, Nowcasting, atmospheric composition, data access and utilisation, and satellite-based observations of the oceans, with an emphasis on the Arctic regions. These subjects will also be covered by the conference poster programme.

The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) operates the geostationary satellites Meteosat-8 and -9 over Europe and Africa, and Meteosat-7 over the Indian Ocean. The data and products from EUMETSAT’s satellites make a significant contribution to weather forecasting and to the monitoring of the global climate.

EUMETSAT is an intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, currently with 26 European Member States (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom) and five Cooperating States (Bulgaria, Estonia, Iceland, Lithuania, and Serbia).

Norway TV

Couch potatoes in Norway are being offered the unique chance to enjoy a 134-hour fjord cruise without leaving the comfort of their homes. Broadcasting on state television channel NRK 2, the self-proclaimed “longest TV programme in the world” has taken up the challenge to air a complete 8,043-minute cruise along Norway’s world famous coastline in real time. “We believe that there are many in Norway who have a strong connection to the coast and we hope to offer viewers an experience of the voyage,” Thomas Hellum, the project’s creator said to newspaper Aftenposten. Nine cameras installed on the MS Nord-Norge capture a voyage that connects Norway’s southwest to the arctic north. The ship sailed Thursday night from Bergen with 314 passengers on board and headed north where the sun never sets in the summer. On its way, the ship will pass the spectacular Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO heritage site, before reaching Kirkenes near Norway’s border with Russia.

Sweden Norway

Extends railway sidings between Luleå and Riksgränsen to meet increased iron-ore transport. The Swedish government allocate 3,6 billion SEK (€392 million) for upgrading of railway infrastructure in its autumn budget, a press-release  from the Government reads. Part of this funding makes it possible to start the improvements of the iron-ore railway in the high north of Sweden.

Both LKAB and Northland Resources will benefit when the railway now will be upgraded. LKAB plans to increase its delivery capacity by 35 percent by 2015 by the opening of three new open-pit mines in the Svappavaara area between Gällivare and Kiruna. Northland Resources is in the process of opening iron-ore mines the border areas between Finnish Kolari and Swedish Pajala.

- Although the current capacity of Malmbanan will allow us to transport our high-grade, high-quality magnetite iron concentrate at the time we start production in 2013, the new investment will ensure capacity for the expected increase of iron ore volumes from Northland, as well as from additional players, says Karl-Axel Waplan, President of Northland Resources in a press-release.

- We’re planning Europe’s biggest railway project, and we have worked hard to make the government and the administration aware of our needs with respect to infrastructure investment, says Per-Erik Lindvall, Senior Vice President, Technology and Business Development, LKAB in a press-release. – We are very pleased with the decision. Now, we needn’t be concerned that the railway will become a bottleneck for LKAB’s future plans, Lindvall adds.

Sidings will be built at Ripats and Lakaträsk between Gällivare and Luleå, and at Rensjön and Kaisepakte between Kiruna and Riksgränsen. The new sidings will make it possible for trains up to 750 metre long to cross each other on the single track railway.

The railway continues from Riksgränsen to the Norwegian harbour town of Narvik where the Swedish iron-ore is shipped out to the world market.

Norwegian Krone

Whether you can call it the ripple effect, the domino effect or the butterfly effect it all amounts to the same thing; the repercussions of the Swiss National Bank’s pegging exercise are still being felt. Since September 6th when the Swiss Franc was pegged to the Euro, investors have sought out a new safe haven, and the Norwegian Krone is quickly becoming the darling of the currency world. And Norwegians don’t seem to like it anymore than their Swiss counterparts.

Much like its Swiss neighbor, Norway has a comparatively thriving economy, which is estimated to expand by 3% in 2011, and 3.75% in 2012. Its unemployment rate is the lowest in Europe at 2.8%. Inflation is rising, but at a moderate rate of 1.2% in July, as compared to 0.7% the previous month. Norway’s credit rating is AAA, and they have very low public debt. Further, the country is on track to have a 12.5% budget surplus this year. All in all, it’s an enviable economy.

But, for how long? The Norwegian Krone is continuing to rise, and like the then-overvalued Swiss Franc, is likely to wreak havoc on the economy as it appreciates. Already, the governor of the Norwegian central bank is considering an interest rate cut which would (hopefully) curtail the safe-haven inflows. The surge in the Krone’s value naturally has quite a few ramifications for Norway, including the possibility that the tourism industry could suffer (just as the high season approaches), as would exporters of Norwegian goods.

Maybe it won’t be any time in the near future, but with economic turmoil escalating in the Eurozone, and risk appetite waning, it’s a near certainty that the safe haven currencies will be sought after. And while the Norwegian central bank governor insists that the government has a policy of “not intervening,” central bank governors have been known to surprise the markets now and again.

Norwegian Prawns

Bioprospecting is opening up international markets for Norwegian seafood companies. Essences extracted from a prawn or octopus off the west coast of Norway could end up as flavouring in noodle packages in China.

This type of bioprospecting involves investigating marine organisms to find components or compounds that have commercial use. The potential results are particularly promising in relation to foodstuffs as well as for applications in medicine and the energy industry.

In the initial phase, researchers will be investigating various species and raw materials, including species already common in fisheries, untapped resources such as woodlice, and by-products such as leftovers from processing in the fishing industry, to cater for Chinese preferences.

Essences extracted from a prawn or octopus off the west coast of Norway could end up as flavouring in noodle packages in China.

“In China they sell a total of 100 billion noodle packages each year. Two-hundred million of these contain a packet of seafood flavouring. This enormous market is our target,” says Ola Ween of the Norwegian research company, Møreforskning AS.

Ween is heading a research project in cooperation with another company, Firmenich Bjørge Biomarin AS. Their goal is to identify molecules to use as a source of seafood flavourings they hope will catch on specifically in China. The process is a complicated one and begins with studying the Chinese palate.

Marine bioprospecting with commercial promise

If the researchers succeed, they can add yet another success to the growing list of products resulting from marine bioprospecting. This type of bioprospecting involves investigating marine organisms to find components or compounds that have commercial use. The potential results are particularly promising in relation to foodstuffs as well as for applications in medicine and the energy industry.

The Chinese have different taste preferences from Europeans. Møreforskning AS’s project receives funding under the National Programme for Research in Functional Genomics (FUGE), one of the Large-scale Programmes administered by the Research Council of Norway.

What do the Chinese prefer?

“We know that the Chinese have different taste preferences from Europeans. Our first step is to identify the appealing flavours which the Chinese associate with the sea. Subsequently, we will find raw materials off the Norwegian coast we can use to create similar flavours,” Ween explains.

In the initial phase, researchers will be investigating various species and raw materials, including species already common in fisheries, untapped resources such as woodlice, and by-products such as leftovers from processing in the fishing industry. They hope to end up with 3-4 promising sources to research further after this phase has been completed.

Just the right mix

Once the prospective ingredients for new flavours have been isolated, they will be analysed down to the tiniest molecule. This will enable the researchers to determine whether it will be at all feasible to extract what they have targeted. If so, these substances will then either be produced from raw materials or through artificial means.

The taste of a food is determined by its particular combination of amino acids, fats and other chemical components. The challenge is to find the perfect blend for Chinese noodles — perhaps a tasty mix of substances from Norwegian prawns, cod and woodlice?

Norway Conference

Norway hosted on 11 Monday 2011 a Conference  on Energy for All .The Conference was organized  by Norway in cooperation with the International  Agency (IEA) and five partners; Brazil ,Ethiopia, India, Liberia and South  Africa .The UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon , together with Raila Amolio Obdinga Prime Minister of Kenya, Meles  Zenawi  Prime Minister of Ethiopia  as well as  Jens  Slottenberg   Prime Minister of Norway  will participate together  with representatives from more than 70 countries.

Sudan was represented in the Conference by the State Minister for Electricity and Dams Eng. Elsadig Mohamed Ali  Elsheik.

In this context we publish hereunder the Article written by the Norwegian Minister of Environment and International Development Mr. Erik  Solheim.

Sudan is has ambitious plans for producing more electricity. It intends to increase capacity from 1 500 megawatt to 1 900 megawatts in five years. Today 83% of all energy in Sudan is renewable. The aim is to increase this to 97%.  Plans for the use of wind energy and geothermal energy are undertaken.

The first solar power plant in Sudan is soon a reality. Sudan has a huge potential in further developing its natural resources in order to meet the future energy needs. This would foster business development and provide several new jobs. Norway can help to promote these opportunities.

Electricity failures create huge problems: for the girl who cannot attend evening classes, for the doctor who cannot keep medicines cool, for the businessman who has to close down production. Such problems are widespread in Sudan and many other developing countries.

At the same time, there are many people who have no access to electricity at all. They depend on burning coal or other fuel for cooking and heating. The pollution this causes is not only dangerous for families in their homes, it is also detrimental for the climate.

The introduction of more modern and efficient stoves can help. This would enable families to save time and money, and breathe cleaner air in their homes, at the same time as greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

Energy is hope: hope for economic development, for a better future. Together with its partners, Norway is working to establish an international energy and climate initiative to increase access to energy services and limit greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector in developing countries. This initiative will be presented at the conference entitled “Energy for all – financing access for the poor” in Oslo on 11th October. The conference is being arranged in cooperation between Norway and the International Energy Agency (IEA). It will also be attended by Sudan’s State Minister for Electricity and Dams Eng. Elsadig Mohamed Ali Elsheik.

Today, 1.4 billion people lack electricity. That is 20% of the world’s population. Many countries also experience frequent power cuts due to an overburdened grid and inefficient energy use. Better energy systems would benefit everyone, as well as improving the economy and the environment.

Energy for all is an important goal. This means considerably more than just providing each family with a light bulb and the opportunity to charge a mobile phone. It means creating jobs, strengthening the economy and making it possible for doctors to use lifesaving equipment and medicines. It also means giving people access to new, clean cooking facilities. Today, around 1.5 million people – mainly women and children – die due to the cooking facilities in their homes.

If we are to achieve energy for all – including for industry – we must plan 10–20 years ahead. Electricity consumption will increase over these years, at the same time as there is considerable potential for using electricity more efficiently. Without a plan for improving efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions will increase.

In order to achieve the goal of access to more sustainable forms of energy, efforts are needed from many parties. The countries concerned must give priority to this sector and provide a good framework for investment. Companies must identify opportunities. Rich countries and the major international institutions must play their part, and so must NGOs by providing information and implementing concrete measures to increase access and improve efficiency.

Norway would like to play a leading role in this work. We would like to take part in the financing of energy developments in other countries based on the results achieved in terms of increased energy access and reduced emissions for the country as a whole. We will also encourage companies to invest in enterprises that increase energy access in poor countries.

If the countries themselves, the donors, the international institutions and the business sector join forces in putting energy for all on the agenda, it will be possible to achieve this aim. Political will is vital for change, and we have enough examples that show that it is possible. We therefore hope that this effort will be successful. Energy for all represents hope for a better future – for all. And together we can make it happen.

Norway launches international energy

Norway launches an international energy and climate partnership in support of the UN Secretary-General’s initiative “Sustainable Energy for All”. The Partnership aims to ensure access to sustainable energy for all and avoid greenhouse gas emissions through the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

In the presence of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations and other high-level representatives the new partnership, International Energy and Climate Initiative – Energy+, was launched by the Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg at a conference entitled “Energy for All: Financing Access for the Poor“.

The conference takes place in Oslo on 10-11 October and is co-hosted by Norway and the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The International Energy and Climate Initiative – Energy+ is Norway’s contribution to the Secretary-General’s vision for universal energy access, a doubling of energy efficiency and a doubling of the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030.

“We need to build political momentum around the energy for all agenda. The 2012 International Year of Sustainable Energy for All and the Rio+20 summit in June 2012 present us with an historic opportunity”, says the Secretary-General.

The Secretary-General has invited leaders from business, government, international organizations and civil society to come together to develop clear actions for all to take – locally, nationally, regionally and globally.

Energy+ is inspired by the successful program to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Through Energy+, developing countries’ efforts to transform the energy sector to achieve universal access to sustainable energy and decrease greenhouse gas emissions by scaling-up access to renewable energy sources and increased energy efficiency will be supported.

In turn, this will contribute to energy and job security, improved health, business opportunities for private investors and national economic growth.

“New energy investments must be results-based. We already have experiences from our support to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation that this creates the right incentives”, says Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

Representatives from more than 60 countries, international organizations, business and civil society organisations take part in the conference.

The following countries and organizations have formally declared the intention of becoming partners in the International Energy and Climate Initiative – Energy+ Partnership:

Kenya, Bhutan, Liberia, Ethiopia, Maldives, United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, the World Bank Group, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Energy Agency, World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Global Village Energy Partnership, United Nations Foundation.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations has launched the “Sustainable Energy for All” (SE4ALL) initiative. The initiative will seek to achieve the goal of Sustainable Energy for All by meeting three interlinked global targets by 2030:

* Achieving universal access to modern energy services;
* Improving energy efficiency by 40 per cent;
* Producing 30 per cent of the world’s energy from renewable resources.

Norway Egypt

“I am concerned about developments in Cairo over the last 24 hours, and deeply deplore the extensive use of violence against Coptic protesters on 9 October. Egypt plays a key role in the region, and it is vital that the democratic transition process doesn’t come to a halt,” commented Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

At least 25 people are reported to have been killed following yesterday’s clashes in Egypt’s capital Cairo between Coptic Christian demonstrators, soldiers and other protesters opposing the Copts. The demonstrators were protesting against an earlier attack on a Coptic church in Aswan.

“Egypt’s transitional military authorities are responsible for the security of all of the country’s citizens. All groups in Egyptian society must be able to enjoy freedom of belief, expression and assembly without fearing for their lives and health,” Mr Støre stressed.

Coptic Christians make up around 10% of the population of Egypt. In recent years there have been growing tensions between religious groups in the country.

“There is cause for concern if the state media have contributed to inciting unrest. The Egyptian media has a responsibility to cover incidents of this kind in an objective, critical and balanced way. It is also essential that independent media are able to carry out their role freely,” commented Foreign Minister Støre.

“I urge all actors to show responsibility and engage in common efforts to prevent further acts of violence. Norway supports the calls for the use of violence over the last 24 hours to be investigated, and those responsible must be brought to justice,” Mr Støre said.

Norway attacks

A US movie in the making of the July 22 shootings that claimed 69 lives in Norway has prompted Oslo police to urge the movie producers to pull a trailer from the internet, a news report said Sunday.

Norwegian police cited the distress the film project has caused next-of-kin, according to an email sent to the producers of the film, which is being made in the United States, the VG daily said.

The film is entitled Utoya Island. The trailer, which has been uploaded on video-sharing site YouTube, depicts some of the events at the island near Oslo where 69 participants at a youth camp organized by the Labour Party youth wing were killed.

A lawyer representing the Labour Party youth wing said the movie was inappropriate.

Anders Behring Breivik, the man who has admitted to the shooting and a car bombing in central Oslo that killed eight people, remains in custody.

Executive producer George Anton told VG that one reason for making the movie was to drum up support for stricter gun control laws, for instance by equipping legally sold handguns with global positioning system devices.

The director and writer of the film was named as Russian-born Vitaliy Versace.

Russia-Norway Ceremony

There will be no conferring ceremony for foreign ministers Sergey Lavrov and Jonas Gahr Støre in at the University of Tromsø in October. Lavrov has cancelled his trip to Norway. Norway’s and Russia’s foreign ministers were to meet in the Arctic town of Tromsø on October 12 to be conferred as Honorary Doctors at the world’s northernmost university

Today came the news that Lavrov has cancelled his trip. According to information from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Russian foreign minister is prevented from coming to Tromsø because of “duties given to him by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin”.

Some might speculate that the cancellation is a reaction to the incident in the Barents Sea last week, where Norwegian Coast Guard detained the Russian fishing vessel “Sapphire II” allegedly for dumping of fish in the fishery conservation zone near Svalbard.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an official protest to Norway’s ambassador to Moscow Knut Hauge called the actions by Norway “unacceptable and provocative”, underlining that “such practice runs counter to existing political arrangements for preserving favorable conditions for Russian fishing after the entry into force of the Russian-Norwegian Treaty on Maritime Delimitation and Cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean”.

Jonas Gahr Støre and Sergey Lavrov were appointed Honorary Doctors because of their role as frontmen for the maritime agreement.

Head of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat Rune Rafaelsen believes that there is no connection between the detainment of the Russian vessel and Lavrov’s cancellation:

- Relations between Norway and Russia are so solid that an episode like this will not have any impact. The level of cooperation between Norway and Russia has never been higher, he adds. At the same time Rafaelsen underlines that it is important that Norway ensures control with the rich fish resources in the fishery conservation zone.

Norway. Kongsberg Maritime

Kongsberg Maritime has successfully completed Factory Acceptance Tests for the K-Master aft bridge systems being delivered to two Platform Supply Vessels (PSV) built at Havyard in Leirvik for owner Sartor Offshore and Supply Service.The vessels are part of a four newbuild series, all featuring KONGSBERG K-Master, K-Pos Dynamic Positioning, C-Joy joystick control and K-Thrust thruster control. The FATs were for Havyard 103 and 106, vessels number 2 and 3 in the series and are due for delivery to the owner in Q1 2012.

In combination with the K-Thrust total thruster control system and K-Bridge forward bridge, the K-Pos Dynamic Positioning meets DNV DYNPOS AUTR requirements. The integrated system for the four Havyard PSVs is one of many flexible configurations supplied to PSVs that can be integrated with functionality available within the K-Master aft bridge operator chairs. In this context, K-Master is a complete working environment, designed primarily for improving efficiency and safety by ensuring the operator has all information and control within reach.

The first vessel in the Havyard newbuild PSV series – Havyard 102 ‘Saeborg’ – is already sailing with the full KONGSBERG system installed. Immediately after the FAT for Havyard 103 and 106, Kongsberg Maritime team members, along with DNV delegates joined the sea trial for Saeborg in order to evaluate operational performance and to train operators. The trials were classed as a success with the KONGSBERG integrated system performing to expectations.

“These deliveries reflect our good standing with Havyard and many other high-technology vessel builders around the world,” says Sven Brede Grimkelsrud, Operation Manager OSV/K-Master, Kongsberg Maritime. “Our project teams, product & development, logistics, training and customer support departments are all working closely together to ensure that Seacor’s new PSVs benefit from the enhanced safety and efficiency that our K-Master and Dynamic Positioning can bring to operations.”

Installation of the full Kongsberg Maritime systems aboard Havyard 103 and 106 will take place before the end of the year. Since April 2011, Kongsberg Maritime has delivered four integrated K-Master solutions; Fugro Symphony, Rem Commander, Rem Fortress, and Havyard’s Saeborg.

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