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27. April 2004  
Norway may prolong Iraq deployment

In addition to the about 150 Norwegian engineer soldiers who are stationed outside Basra, Norway has a total of ten staff officers stationed with the British and the Polish forces.

We have gotten indications from the Ministry of Defense that they are considered to continue for the rest of the year, said Thom Knustad, press officer at Fellesoprativt headquarters, to TV 2 Nettavisen.


From a military standpoint the officers will not make much of a difference, but politically the contribution may mean a lot for the occupational forces. US Secretary of State Colin Powel recently asked in an interview with the Norwegian television channel NRK that Norway left their soldiers in Iraq. The request was denied by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen, who stressed that the Norwegian soldiers will return home when their commission ends June 30, but Petersen did not say anything regarding whether or not the government considers letting the officers remain in the country.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is very reluctant to comment on the future status of the Norwegian soldiers in Iraq.

Their commission ends July 1, and they are going home, but if that means that we are going to have zero Norwegians in Iraq is another matter, said one source.

26. April 2004  
World's youngest grandmaster

Magnus Carlsen og Garry KasparovNorway's chess prodigy Magnus Carlsen became the world's youngest international grandmaster (GM) on Monday after playing a draw against highly rated Alexei Fedorov of Belarus in the penultimate round of the 6th Dubai Open. Carlsen, 13, clinched the highest life title awarded by world chess federation FIDE with a round to spare.

Carlsen becomes the second youngest GM in the history of the game and the seventh titleholder in Norway.

He remains one of the front-runners in the nine-game tournament that boasts 39 international grandmasters but was clearly more concerned with securing the coveted GM title than taking risks, agreeing a draw after 17 moves after defusing his opponent's attempts at aggression.

In the seventh round on Sunday Carlsen defeated highly-rated Indian GM Suyra Shekhar Ganguly to move within half a point of the tournament lead.

Carlsen started the tournament slowly, conceding a draw to the weakest opponent he has faced. He responded with four wins and two draws from his next six games to sprint back into contention for first prize.

One of his victims was GM Evgeny Vladimirov, one of the top seeds and a former trainer of world champion Garry Kasparov.

Sergei Karyakin of Ukraine holds the record for the youngest ever GM, gaining the title at 12 years and seven months of age in 2002.

Carlsen is now widely considered to be a potential world title contender and the brightest prospect in the West, in a game still greatly dominated by players from the former Communist bloc.

Via Aftenposten News in English.

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22. April 2004  
Bin Laden turned him down

2004 Al Jazeera TV appearance by Mullah Krekar Mullah Krekar, former leader of the militant Kurdish group Ansar al-Islam, presents his book "Med egne ord" - In My Own Words - at a press conference on Thursday. The autobiography includes a series of shocking revelations, including the admission that Krekar tried to get funding from Osama bin Laden, newspaper VG reports.

Other riveting tales from the spiritual leader, born Najmuddin Farah Ahmad, include how the teenaged Krekar took a pilot's head as a trophy in his early years as a liberationist guerrilla and memories of how Kurds endured vicious bombing from Iraqi Baathists and others.

Krekar hoped that bin Laden would help fund the Kurdish jihad-movement and met with the al-Qaida leader in Peshawar in Pakistan around 1990.

Krekar describes bin Laden as a silent man who was only known as a wealthy, potential benefactor. Krekar relates that he did not receive any financial assistance from bin Laden, and two later attempts by an emissary to raise funds for the Kurdistan resistance also met with failure.

Krekar claims that bin Laden preferred to back rebels in Afghanistan.

The controversial mullah, who is currently fighting an deportation order in Norway, writes effusively about his new homeland, telling immigrant readers living here that it is a Muslim duty to maintain the laws of their new home.

Krekar thanks Norway for its protection and patience and says that Muslims gaining residency in Norway and other western nations have a holy duty to observe the laws and rules that apply there.

The mullah also defends the ongoing resistance effort in Iraq against the American-led occupation forces, VG reports.

Via Aftenposten News in English.

21. April 2004  
Wolves 'disappearing' every year

ulv.jpgWildlife experts claim that as many as 25 wolves are disappearing every year and the fledgling wolf population in Norway has stagnated. They suspect illegal hunting is to blame.

Wolves like this one spotted near Elverum in 2002 spread fear among sheep ranchers and local residents.

Researchers tracking efforts to bring back the wolf from near-extinction in Norway estimate that less than 40 wolf pups born in southern Sweden and Norway every year survive past a half-year. But even that modest growth in the wolf population doesn't seem to last.

A majority of the young wolves seem to mysteriously disappear. From an estimated net growth of 25 wolves a year in the 1990s, it's now stagnated.

"A wolf population with access to enough food doesn't simply come to a halt without a reason," researcher Petter Wabakken at the College of Hedmark told newspaper Aftenposten. "We're left with illegal hunting as the most important reason for the stagnation."

Both of Norway's national TV stations are highlighting the issue this week. Commercial station TV2 reported that a secret network of anti-wolf activists has shot as many as 120 wolves in the border area between Sweden and Norway over the past 20 years.

On Tuesday, Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) was also set to air a documentary about alleged illegal wolf hunts.

"We know that illegal hunts have existed as far back as 1965," says Wabakken. "Their frequency has increased, and appears to have changed the wolves' development."

Via Aftenposten News in English.

20. April 2004  
Utvik shipwrecked after boat collision

Utvik SeniorThe accident investigation board investigating the loss of Utvik Senior in 1978 concluded Tuesday that a collision most likely was the reason for the shipwreck.

The people left behind when nine people lost their lives in the shipwreck of the coast of Senja in 1978, finally got their fears confirmed, 26 years after the tragic event. The investigation report was presented in Troms Tuesday.

Not surprising, but in the direct opposite of the first accident investigation report, the new commission concluded unanimously that a collision with another ship appears as the most likely reason for the shipwreck.

After the incident in 1978, the accident investigation commission concluded that the fishing boat had run aground.

The people left behind could never accept that the accident was due to the wrong doings of the crew. Among other, Karstein Fredriksen, age 77, the father of one of the deceased, started a fundraising in order to have the case investigated further. The findings of this private investigation contributed to uncover a completely different conclusion.

Via Nettavisen News in English.

8. April 2004  
Journalist deported from Western Sahara

Norwegian freelance journalist Erik Hagen was arrested by Moroccan security police in Western Sahara's capital Laayoune, and deported to the neighbouring country, Mauritania. He thinks Moroccan intelligence in Norway has contributed information.

Hagen was in the Moroccan occupied area in order to interview human rights activist and former prisoners of conscience, among them Sidi Mohammed Daddach, who two years ago received the Rafto prize for his struggle for an independent Western Sahara.

I was stopped on the street of policemen in plain clothes who asked if I was Mr. Erik, something I confirmed, Hagen explained on the phone to the Norwegian news bureau (NTB) from Nouadhibou in northern Mauritania. They said I was welcome to talk to the chief of police in town.

At the police station I was questioned regarding what I was doing in Western Sahara, who I had talked to, where I had been, what I had done in Norway earlier and what plans I had, Hagen said.

The questioning lasted for hours, and the chief of police himself did the questioning. According to Hagen, he was accused of supporting the Polisario Front and its struggle of independence.


6. April 2004  
Larger CO2 emissions from the North Sea

GullfaksThe emissions of CO2 and nitrogen oxides from the oil industry will increase dramatically in the years to come. As a result, Norway may not meet its requirement in the Kyoto agreement.

Norway's emissions increased greatly compared to last year. New numbers indicate that it will become even worse in the years to come. The reason is increased sale of gas to Great Britain and the Continent.

The increases will make it difficult to reduce the emissions to the level Norway is required to according to the Kyoto agreement. The goal is to get the Norwegian CO2 emissions to the level of the 1990s.

The oil industry is responsible for almost one third of the CO2 emission and about one fourth of the nitrogen oxides.

New numbers indicate that the CO2 emissions from the oil and gas installations alone in the period 2004 and 2006 will increase with 2.1 million ton. The new calculations were presented in a letter from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy to the Ministry of the Environment. The numbers are calculated in connection with the work of the revised national budget which will be presented May 11.

Frederic Hauge, head of the environmental organization Bellona, said that Norway will not meet its environmental requirement with the increase from the oil industry. Hauge said that he wants a method were the CO2 gas is used to increase the extraction of oil. Statoil has researched this method, but claims it is too expensive.

Via Nettavisen News in English. Photo by Statoil.

5. April 2004  
Norway is a woman's paradise

A womans paradiseNorway has passed Iceland, and it is now the best country in the world for women to live in, according to a new UN report.

Norway is definitely the best country to live in for women when it comes to political participation, economic independence, equality, health and social security benefits for women, reported the Norwegian paper Dagbladet.

The so-called Human Development Report includes 135 countries and lists the countries according to certain criteria for growth, development, sustainability and equality.

Iceland was listed in front of Norway for a couple of years, but now Norway has surpassed Iceland. Sweden is listed third.

The statistics which gave Norway top scores was recently published in Britain, and the Guardian journalist Tanya Branigan travelled to Norway to find out for herself. She interviewed women in all ages and some men.

It appears as if it is easier to combine children and work, and that the child care services are good, Branigan said. Men are pleased to be able to take paternity leave and stay home with the children. It appears as if work life is more family oriented than in my country. People who have lived in England say the same thing. But many stated that there are few women in executive positions.

The negative things women point out are body fixation and violence against women.

Violence against women in and outside the family is something women all over the world are worried about, also in Norway, Branigan said to Dagbladet.

Via Nettavisen News in English.

4. April 2004  
Woman paid for a car with breast milk

Cow??Anette Lie has the Norwegian record for delivery of breast milk. She made so much on the breast milk that she purchased a car for the money.

According to the Norwegian radio channel Kanal 24, Lie has produced 501.5 liters breast milk for sale last since May of last year.

I'm making some money on this as they pay 135 krone per liter, Lie said to TV 2. I've gotten my driver's license and bought a car, everything paid by breast milk.

With the liter price of NOK 135 (USD 19.56), Lie got an income of more than NOK 65,000 (USD 9430) on her breast milk. She has an 11 month old son.

According to Lie, it is genetic explanations why she produced so much milk.

My mother was the same way, and I've heard my grand mother nursed children around town, so it's hereditary, Lie said. It's my hormones. I apparently have lots of them.

Kanal 24 reported that the hospital across the country need breast milk, but stressed that the deliveries do not have to be as large as those from Lie.

The average donor provides one and half to two liters a week, while Lie has delivered as much as 11 liters.

Via Nettavisen News in English.

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