Norway Weekly 165: Norway's top stories from the last seven days
There's been plenty going on in Norway this week with more fallout from the Panama Papers, the Prime Minister travelling to Korea, and an unusual amount of reindeer-related news.
Top Story: Radioactive reindeer roam Norway
Thirty years after Chernobyl, reindeer herds in central Norway graze on lichen and fungus that absorbed the fallout of the nuclear disaster. A report in Wired claims that many of the animals contain high levels of radioactivity that are well beyond EU limits for human consumption. Researchers saw a spike in levels of radioactivity in 2014.
While on the topic of reindeer, the Weather Channel published a drone video of a rare albino reindeer.
A secular future for Norway
The recent news that the majority of Norwegians don’t believe in god surprised many of our readers, but it reflects a growing trend towards a secular, and even atheist society in Norway. The separation of church and state is ongoing, while membership in Human-Etisk Forbund (HEF – the Norwegian Humanist Association) continues to grow. I had the chance to sit down and talk with Even Gran about the work of HEF and atheism in Norway. Read the interview.
The day Atlantic City blew away
Norwegian researchers are working on mapping the geology of Jan Mayen Island, Norway’s most northwesterly territory. In the process, they also found ruins from Atlantic City, an American base from the Second World War. Find out more.
Gay church weddings get the go ahead
Bringing to an end two decades (yes, really) of debate, the leadership of the Church of Norway finally approved new rules that will allow gay people to be married in a church. The Bishops’ Conference approved the move by 88 to 32, according to reports in The Local.
Erna Solberg to visit Korea
The Norwegian Prime Minister will travel to Korea this week for the first time since taking office in 2013. She will discuss bilateral and global issues with President Park Geun-hye and be invited to address the National Assembly on the importance of implementing the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
Telenor Chair faces scrutiny over Panama Papers
According to reports by Reuters, the newly appointed chairperson at Telenor will be questioned by a company committee following the leak of the Panama Papers. Gunn Waersted will be asked about her previous role as head of wealth management at Nordea.
Norway police arrest two in connection with Edvard Munch theft
The Guardian reports that the two men were suspected of handling stolen goods, after the hand-coloured Munch lithography was found last week. They will face a pre-trial detention hearing this week, but are not suspected of carrying out the theft itself. The theft of the NOK 2m artwork from an Oslo art dealer happened in 2009.
UPND concerned with closure of Embassy in Zambia
All Africa reports that Norway has closed its embassy in Zambia: “The UPND finds the closure of the Norwegian embassy a great shame especially that Norway has one of the most generous aid budgets in the world.”
Norway won't take any more refugees from EU
The Local reports that the Norwegian government will not take any additional refugees from the EU despite the bloc's new agreement with Turkey. Norway has offered to take 1,500 asylum seekers over two years as part of the EU’s refugee relocation scheme.
Diary of a guidebook writer: A surprising amount to do in Bodø!
From the Norwegian American Weekly: “Currently we’re surrounded by white on all sides. Not quite a white-out as the sky is patchy-blue, but an eerie experience all the same. To my left is Sweden and we’re about to cross out of the Arctic Circle. We’re basically in the middle of nowhere.”
Check out our brand new Facebook page Norway Traveller, where we share inspiring travel photographs from across Norway.
Aston Villa's Norwegian fans on their annual pilgrimage
Last weekend marked the annual pilgrimage of Norway's Aston Villa supporters group to Birmingham. Although Aston Villa do not boast nearly as many Norwegian followers as Manchester United or Liverpool, the membership of the Norway Lions is now up to around 500. Read the interview in the Birmingham Mail.
Norway Chess blasts Karjakin's pull-out
News in English (paywall) report that tournament organisers are furious that Norwegian star Magnus Carlsen’s main challenger Sergey Karjakin has withdrawn from this year's Norway Chess. Karjakin reportedly feels he needs the time to prepare himself for meeting Carlsen at the World Championships later this year.
Sandefjordsmør brings salmon to life
The Norwegian American Weekly shows how simple ingredients can shine in this typically Norwegian salmon and cucumber salad recipe.
Kjære Jarlsberg, let’s be friends.
From Norway Times: “I had gone from being the blissful (and very naive) casserole-making-romcom-wanna-be, to the outraged and exhausting queen of frugality. I am not sure how long that phase lasted, but it was a difficult one. I was sucking the life out of every occasion.”