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26. November 2004  
Caged thief had to help police arrest him

SmartassA spectacularly unsuccessful thief was trapped and on display for arriving police, who needed inside help getting their man out and under arrest.

Police responding to the alarm found their suspect caged and waiting.

The 33-year-old broke into a pawn shop in downtown Oslo, but as he smashed the window at the entrance the alarm went off, sending an rolling iron gate crashing down behind him.

The thief was then trapped and on display while waiting for police to respond to the alarm. Nearly half an hour later, the law arrived.

"We have control of one person but he is not yet apprehended," the first patrol on the scene reported. "Well, there isn't much of a difference here really," head of operations replied.

But bringing their man in did take some effort as the lock resisted the efforts of both police and security guards to open it from the outside. The extraction of the caged burglar was only managed when police lent him their tools and he opened the lock himself.

"Don't take photos, that's double punishment," the man said while caged.

The 33-year-old claimed he didn't smash the entrance window, but had no explanation for his bloody hands or who else had arranged the break-in that left him trapped.

Via Aftenposten News in English.


24. November 2004  
Ministry to end Microsoft standard

Norway's new Ministry of Modernization wants to end dependency on Microsoft products for those wishing to read documents produced by public administration.

Minister of Modernization Morten Andreas Meyer wants a more democratic IT (Information Technology) policy that allows public Internet services to be accessible to all, regardless of their operating system or software, Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reports.

Meyer promised that users can expect equal treatment in the future from public administrations and services based on open standards.

"If a document from a public department is only available in Microsoft's .doc, that is, Word format, then users without Microsoft's office suite will not have access to the document," said Kristine Hafskjold, project leader in the Technology Council.

Via Aftenposten News in English.

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20. November 2004  
Munch head stolen

munchhode.jpgThe head of a bust portraying Norwegian artist Edvard Munch located near his grave in Oslo had its head cut off and stolen, police said Thursday.

The bust by Norwegian sculptor Arne Durban of Norway's best known artist was placed on the so-called Honor Ground of Our Savior's Cemetery in 1992 by friends of the Munch Museum in Oslo.

"We don't know the exact time of the theft, but that it was sometime between Monday and today," police inspector Britt Togba of the Oslo police said Thursday. She said they were seeking evidence at the scene, and tips from the public.

Munch's body is interred in a nondescript nearby tomb in one of the city's oldest graveyards that dates back to 1808. Norwegian writers Henrik Ibsen and Bjrnstjerne Bjrnson, who won the 1903 Nobel Literature Prize, are buried a few meters away.

So far, no trace has been found of the paintings stolen in the Aug. 22 armed robbery.

Via Aftenposten News in English.


17. November 2004  
Royal immunity suggested abolished

Law experts and politicians want to change the Norwegian constitution making royals liable according to the law like everybody else.

"The law should apply to everyone," said Kåre Willoch, former Norwegian prime minister, to the Norwegian paper Dagsavisen.

Prince Joachim of Denmark was filmed this weekend while he was driving close to 170 kilometers (105 miles) per hour on the freeway, gravely extending the speed limit. According to Danish law, he will not be fined because he is royal, something which has erupted into a heated debate regarding the royal immunity in Denmark.

Politicians, law experts, and others are calling for a similar debate in Norway, according to the people Dagsavisen has interviewed.

"The King is today instituted as a symbol, but we have seen the royals walk around with a frozen pizza, carrying a café latte", said Trond Nordby, professor in political science at the University of Oslo, himself a declared republican, to the paper. "As they lose their elevated distinction, I see no reason why they should keep their immunity."

Carl-Erik Grimstad, expert on the royals and deputy head at the Royal Castle, stated that the time has come for a constitutional amendment.

"I have for a long time thought that the immunity law is outdated and not adequate," Grimstad said. "It was originally a constitutional protection between the governmental powers and not a protection against ordinary offences that anybody can get themselves into."

Socialist Left Party's Ågot Valle and Siri Hall Arnøy sued this fall a proposal to change the law. However, since a constitutional amendment is required, it will at the earliest be viewed when the next Parliament is in place after the election next year.

Via Nettavisen News in English.


16. November 2004  
New claim on location of Atlantis

Computerized AtlantisAmerican researchers claim to have found convincing evidence that locates the site of the lost kingdom of Atlantis off the coast of Cyprus.
The team spent six days scanning the Mediterranean sea bed between Cyprus and Syria using sonar technology.

They believe they found evidence of massive, manmade structures beneath the ocean floor, including two straight, 2-km (1.25 mile) long walls on a hill.

They say their discoveries match accounts of the city written by Plato.

'Greatest coincidence'

Team leader Robert Sarmast said the walls appear to be sited on a flat-topped hill where the temples of Atlantis once stood.

He intends to use the sonar data to make a three-dimensional computer image of the site, 1.5km below sea level, before returning for further research.

"The hill, as a whole, basically looks like a walled, hillside territory and this hillside territory matches Plato's description of the Acropolis hill with perfect precision," he said.

"Even the dimensions are exactly perfect, so if all these things are coincidental, I mean, we have the world's greatest coincidence going on."

However, Mr Sarmast and his team are not alone in believing they have found the lost city of Atlantis.

Other researchers have placed it off the coast of Spain, Cuba and the south west of England, as well as under the South China Sea.
The story of Atlantis, a fabled utopia destroyed in ancient times, has captured the imagination of scholars ever since it was first described by the philosopher Plato.

Writing more than 2,000 years ago, he depicted a land of fabulous wealth, advanced civilisation and natural beauty.

Via BBC News.

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15. November 2004  
Environmental activists due in court

Barents Sea actionEleven environmental activists have been ordered into court after they refused to pay fines for a protest action over the weekend. The activists tried to disrupt the transport of a drilling rig that's bound for controversial exploration operations in the Barents Sea.

The activists braved terrible weather in Western Norway to protest the transport of a drilling rig bound for the Barents Sea.

Frederic Hauge, leader of the environmental group Bellona, and 10 others were hit with fines of NOK 5,000 each on Sunday. All were arrested by the coast guard and police after they surrounded the drilling rig Eirik Raude as it was being towed from len in Rogaland, western Norway.

The protesters are adamantly opposed to oil drilling in the Barents Sea and wanted to hinder the drilling rig from heading for the area, before their organizations' complaint about its emissions are considered by state pollution authorities.

The activists, which also included the leader of environmental group Natur og Ungdom (Nature and Youth), claimed their protest action was tantamount to civil disobedience, which they will defend on moral grounds.

"The issue of oil production in the Barents Sea is so important that we're willing to break the law when we can't move forward through democratic means," said Ane Hansdatter Kismul of Natur og Ungdom.

Via Aftenposten News in English.


13. November 2004  
Norwegian weapon industry reports growth

gun.jpgNorway may be a peaceful nation, but it is one of the top nations when it comes to weapon export, according to numbers presented by Statistics Norway.

New numbers from Statistics Norway (SSB) indicate that Norwegian weapon export during the first three quarters of the year amounted to NOK 918 million (USD 146 million), indicating that the export has fallen somewhat from last years record. However, there is still a growth compared to previous years.

SSB reported that Norway is the world's sixth largest exporter of weapons. The list is topped by the US, Canada and Great Britain followed by Italy and France. However, compared to the population, Norway ranks at the absolute top.

During the first nine months of this year, Norway has exported military equipment to Spain for NOK 175 million (USD 28 million), to the US for NOK 91 million (USD 15 million) and to Turkey and Sweden for NOK 50 million (USD 8 million) each.

Some of the growth is connected with the development of the Norwegian of frigates in Spain, in addition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

SSB used data from the customs declarations in order to compile the numbers. The statistics includes products in ordinary sale from Norwegian exporters to buyers abroad. Equipment which is delivered between Norwegian and foreign military powers as part of military agreements are not declared so they do not appear in this statistics. The same goes for equipment from Norway that Norwegian military use on missions abroad.

There are no secret goods in the Norwegian export of military equipment, according to SSB.

Via Nettavisen News in English.


11. November 2004  
Open for extended whale hunting

Whale huntingSocialist Left's group leader in the county of Troms wants to increase the hunting rights to include killer whale, sperm whale, and grampus.

Minke whale is the only type of whale which is hunted in Norway today, but in regards to the future of the Barents Sea, Pl Julius Skogholt, Socialist Left's group leader in the county of Troms, suggests expanded rights for hunting whale. Skogholt has a Master in Marine Management and extensive expertise on the issue.

Skogholt's argument is that if the fishing continues at the same pace in the Barents Sea, then a synchronizing should be conducted in regards to the fishing of other species as well. He states that more seal should be hunted as well.

It's about time to look at hunting other whales like killer whale, sperm whale and grampus as well, in order to create a proper balance between the withdraw of fish and the need to create a balance between the species in the Barents Sea, said Skogholt to the local paper Nordlys. We are actually talking about stocks that consist for several million animals.

Skogholt is not without support.

I'm in favour of us hunting whale, but I don't know enough about this to comment on this particular suggestion, but I'm willing to look at this, said Labor politician Martin Henriksen.

Via Nettavisen News in English.


5. November 2004  
Munch museum considered moved

ScreamIn light of the thefts of two famous Munch paintings, there has been a call for increased security measures. The cost is huge, and it has been suggested to move the museum.

Det Norske Veritas (DNV) has evaluated the security at the Munch museum and claims the current museum has to be upgraded for between NOK 200 and 300 million (USD 31.5 and 47.2 million), reported the Norwegian daily Aftenposten.

DNV does not recommend a reopening of the museum until the upgrading have been completed. Among other things, it is suggested that a metal detector is installed at the entry and the most valuable paintings secured behind glass bolted into the wall.

These upgrades alone amount to about NOK 20 to 30 million (USD 3.1 and 4.7 million), but it does not end there. The costs of a number of required measures have been estimated to between NOK 200 and 300 million (USD 31.5 and 47.2 million).

We have to evaluate if this is an investment that we should do, or if we instead should build a completely new space at Vestbanen, said Anette Wiig Bryn, cultural city council member, to the paper.

Wiig Bryn said the city council will evaluate both the suggestions.

But I'm not going to hide that I think Vestbanen is a better alternative as we are building a library there for NOK 600 million (USD 95 million), Wiig Bryn stated.

Via Nettavisen News in English.



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