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« April 2004   Mai 2004   Juni 2004 »
29. Mai 2004  
Opera Software boss' star keeps rising

Jon S. von TetzchnerJon S von Tetzchner, the Icelandic-reared chief executive of Oslo-based Opera Software, finds himself in good company these days. Now he's been named one of 25 "Stars of Europe" by a leading business magazine, right up there with the CEOs at BMW and Air France.

Business Week magazine likens Von Tetzchner to the rare entrepreneur who manages to tackle Microsoft Corp head-on "and live to tell the tale." Von Tetzchner, the magazine claims, "is that rare survivor."

His company, launched with business partner Geir Ivarsoy in 1995, even managed to mount a successful stock offering earlier this year. Opera Software now boasts millions of users attracted by its browser that allows quick and easy Internet use.

Opera also has been an innovator, Business Week notes, offering its browser free of charge if users accept ads on the screen, or for USD 39 in an ad-free version. Von Tetzchner also spotted opportunities for browsers in mobile phones and other non-PCs, and he dreams of the day when browsers will be built into most household appliances.

The Business Week recognition is the latest for the 36-year-old entrepreneur, who's been the subject of profiles in national newspapers in Norway of late. Success doesn't seem to have gone to his head, though. As one paper noted, he still drives a fairly old car and lives in a modest neighborhood in Oslo with his wife and children.

Via Aftenposten News in English.

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22. Mai 2004  
Norwegian Nazi-hunting a failure

NSThe Wiesenthal Center has prepared a report on the international pursuit of Nazi WWII war criminals. The document, which will be published later this summer, classes Norway's efforts a failure and gives the country a spot in the lowest group, newspaper Dagsavisen reports. Norway's statute of limitations is the main stumbling block.

The report grades countries from A - very successful - to F - total failure. Norway is in the final group, with Colombia, Venezuela, Sweden and lowest ranked Romania.

Norway has a statute of limitations of 25 years on all crimes, while international law puts no limit on the pursuit of genocide and crimes against humanity.

The Norwegian government is currently assessing proposed changes to legislation that would bring the country into line with the international stance on such crimes.

Professor of criminology at Oslo University, Per Ole Johansen, has researched Norway's post-war efforts to prosecute those who committed crimes against Jews.

"The great majority of those involved in the Norwegian persecution of Jews went free," Johansen said. He argues that post-war prosecutions were random and many of the worst offenders went free.

Via Aftenposten News in English.

19. Mai 2004  
Beer strike as of today

UtepilsOh my God! Summer's coming, all the open-air restaurants have a lot of beer thirsty customers and now this:

More than 2500 brewery employees went on strike as of Wednesday morning. As a result stores, bars and restaurants will soon run out of beer and mineral water.

The strike in the brewery industry became a fact when the parties had not yet managed to reach an agreement at the deadline, midnight Tuesday. Norsk Nrings- og Nytelsesmiddelarbeiderforbund (NNN) took out its 2560 members on strike. As a result, the production and delivery of beer, soda and spring water at 12 breweries and spring water producers nation wide have been stopped.

According to the employers, the strike hits companies that represent 96-97 percent of the beer and mineral water market. NNN predicted yesterday that there would not be any beer and mineral water left in the stores by the beginning of next week.

Subconciliator Siri Berg Paulsen presented at 1 a.m. last night a plan for a solution after NNN and NBL had gone one hour overtime, in order to prevent conflict.

The employer side recommended the plan as a solution, but the employers refused to accept it, and the conflict was a fact.

Eystein Gaare, union branch secretary in NNN, said that the subconciliator's plan did not include an acceptable solution on the fundamental question regarding hiring temporary personnel. NNN demands to have a right to have a say in when and to what extent temporary personnel is hired.

Our suggestions have been turned down all along, Gaare said. This is so important for us that we could not go back on this.

Director Carl E. Rnneberg in NBL said to the Norwegian news bureau (NTB) that the plan presented by the subconciliator was good and that they would accept it. He said that it was impossible for the employers to accept the demand presented by NNN.

They have demanded veto right in the evaluation of when workers are to be hired in, and we could not agree on that, Rnnberg said.

The following breweries are included in the strike that went into effect as of Wednesday 6 a.m.:

Aass P. Ltz A/S, Coca-Cola Drikker, Eden Springs, Grans Bryggeri, Hansa Borg Bryggeri, Lerum Fabrikker A/S, Mack Distribusjon AS, Mack's l Bryggeri og Min.v.fabr., Olden Brevatn, Polytech Emballasje, Ringnes, Telemark Kildevann AS, Trio Bryggeri, Voss Production AS.

Via Nettavisen News in English. Photo: Scanpix.

18. Mai 2004  
May 17th - Norway's Constitution Day

Click to enlargeMay 17th, is Norway's National Day. It is celebrated all over the nation, from the largest community to the smallest, with parades, bands, flags, national costumes, festival services and festivities with everyone taking part, marking the day in 1814, when Norway adopted its new constitution.

In Oslo, the children's parade is the main attraction, with all the city schools represented, 110 in all, each headed by the school's banner and brass band.

This unique parade has become a world attraction, and each year thousands of visitors from all over the world come to watch. A few were fortunate to obtain special seats set up in front of the Royal Palace, mainly reserved for diplomats and special guests.

The long parade marched up Oslo's main street, Karl Johans gate, to the Royal Palace, where they were received by the Royal Family standing on the front balcony, waving to the crowd.

(You may see my granddaughter, Ida, in the parade in Retropixels.)

King Harald and Queen Sonja were this year joined by Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, and little Princess Ingrid Alexandra also spent a few minutes looking out on the cheering crowd.

Princess Mrtha Louise and her husband Ari Behn with baby Maud Angelica are celebrating privately, and no one is saying where.

The school children of the municipality of Asker just outside Oslo however, are particularly favoured on May 17th. Early in the morning, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit greeted the youngsters as they paraded past the Royal Family's country home at Skaugum. The couple received flowers from two of the children. This has been a tradition for many years.

After several years of celebrating the Constitution Day attending a festive performance at the National Theatre in Oslo, the King and the Queen have the last couple of years changed this tradition by visiting other parts of the capital and nearby communities.

This year, 2004, Queen Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon will visit the Oslo ward of Torshov, where they among other things will attend a performance of the Puppet Theatre.

With all of the important outdoor festivities, the weather is very important on this day, and the whole nation watches the weather forecasts days in advance, with joy or dismay as the case may be.

This year large parts of the nation faced a rather gray day, with most of the sunshine reserved for regions of the south east and the far north.

Norwegians abroad on this day are also sure to gather and celebrate Norway's birthday, be it at an embassy, a mission station or not to forget the 32 Norwegian Seamen's churches around the world.

Here there will also be parades, festival services, speeches and activities for the children, as well as coffee with the beloved waffles.

Via Norway Post.
The children's parade on Karl Johans gate towards the royal palace. (Photo VG)

6. Mai 2004  
Military guards on pizza and beer

On duty

Norwegian soldiers guarding Gardermoen military airport during the Iraq war relaxed with beer and pizza while on duty. Newspaper VG presented a photo taken by one of the soldiers on watch, showing four colleagues ignoring monitoring equipment in favor of other distractions.

The photographer and former soldier posted the picture on a web site, saying that he wanted to give people a glimpse of what really goes on in the Norwegian defense.

The photograph shows four soldiers, drinking beer, eating pizza and potato chips, playing chess and talking on the phone while paying no attention to surveillance equipment in the room.

Base chief Kjell Belbo told VG that the men in the picture, as well as the photographer, have violated Defense security statutes.

The incident has been reported to military police and Belbo has informed Air Defense staff and the Defense security administration.

The picture was taken during heightened security at the military airport, which is also the nearest neighbor to Oslo's Gardermoen International Airport.

Via Aftenposten News in English. Photo: VG.

5. Mai 2004  
Fighter planes against Norwegian tourists

F16.jpgTwo Dutch fighter planes had to signal with their wings for 20 minutes in front of the charter plane filled with Norwegian tourists before the plane identified itself.

According to Dutch media, it was a dramatic incident that took place in midair when the passenger plane did not identify itself Saturday afternoon.

The fighter planes were allegedly getting ready to shot down the plane, but according to the Norwegian paper VG, neither the tour operator Star Tour nor Ving Reiser was aware of the situation.

This is the first time since September 11, 2001, that something like this has happened, said Fred Konnemann, press officer at Eurocontrol, the European organization for the safety of air navigation.

The fact that Europe was celebrating the expansion of the European Union made the situation even more dramatic.

It is still unknown why it took 20 minutes before the pilots in the charter plane saw that they had two fighter planes in front of them. The charter plane is owned by the Spanish company Air Europe.

Civil Aviation Authority Norway was not aware of the incident as the charter operator is not Norwegian and the incident occurred in Dutch air territory.

Via Nettavisen News in English.

4. Mai 2004  
Work starts on embassy security fence

usemb.jpgThe US Embassy in Oslo started work Monday on its so-called "perimeter security project," aimed to ward off terror attacks. Construction is expected to take a year.

The project includes a high steel fence that will surround the embassy, which occupies a site at the corner of one of the city's busiest intersections.

The embassy has been dubbed "Fort America" by critics unhappy with the concrete barriers, cyclone fencing and round-the-clock armed police guards positioned around the site since terrorist attacks on the US in September 2001.

Embassy officials argue that the new fence "will be a great aesthetic improvement." They also contend that the "security enhancements" will "in no way detract from the Embassy's commitment to move from its current location."

US and Norwegian officials have been negotiating a new site for the embassy, but a move isn't expected for several years.

Via Aftenposten News in English.

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