Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Norway electric car sales made up 54% of market share in 2020
Norway electric car sales made up 54% of market share in 2020
Credit: / Andrew Roberts

Norway has become the first country in the world to sell more electric cars than those powered by petrol, diesel or hybrid engines. Battery Electric vehicles made up a record 54.3% of all new cars sold in 2020. Fully electric vehicles are exempt from tax in Norway.

Climate & Environment
Ocean Panel countries commit to higher level of ocean protection
Manta Ray
Manta Ray Credit: Tchami (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

14 countries worldwide have committed themselves to the sustainable management of their national waters. The "Ocean Panel" is a body for sustainable marine management. A goal is it to place until 2030 a third of the seas under protection.

Involved are countries like Australia, Canada, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Norway and Portugal. Together they have a marine area that is about the size of Africa.

Diversity & Inclusion
Norway extends legal protection for queer people
Norway extends legal protection for queer people
Credit: / Alexander Sinn

Since 1981 hate speech against gays and lesbians has been a punishable offense in Norway. Now the Scandinavian country extended its protection law to include bisexuals and trans people. In the hate speech prohibition, the category "homosexual orientation" was changed to the category "sexual orientation" and so among other things also Bi- and Pansexual humans were included. Furthermore, "gender, gender identity or expression" was added. Under the law, hateful comments in public can be punished with up to three years imprisonment.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Norway: 61.5% of newly registered cars are now electric
Norway: 61.5% of newly registered cars are now electric

In September 9,560 new electric cars have been registered in Norway making it 61.5% of the total number of car registrations in that month.

Since the beginning of the year, 48,175 electric cars have been registered in the country. Volkswagen is leading in newly registered cars with 1,989 VW ID.3 in September followed by 1,116 registrations of the Tesla Model 3.

Norwegian police arrests suspect in 1982 attack on Jo Goldenberg restaurant in Paris
Restaurant Jo Goldenberg in 2005
Restaurant Jo Goldenberg in 2005 Credit: David Monniaux

The Norwegian police have arrested a man suspected to take part on the August 1982 attack on the Jo Goldenberg restaurant in Paris. The attack killed six people and wounded more than 20 others.

The man immigrated to Norwegian in the 1990s and is accused of being a former member of the Abu Nidal Organization. In 2015 French authorities issued an arrest warrant against him, but Norway denied the extradition request on the grounds the country would not extradite its citizens.

As Norway recently adopted new pan-European regulations on arrests, French prosecutors decided to request the extradition for a second time. A legal process will determine if formal grounds for extradition have been met, and if he is tried, any judgment will be by a French court.

Climate & Environment
Norwegian study shows black turbine blades reduced bird mortality by 72%
Smøla Wind Farm
Smøla Wind Farm Credit: Statkraft (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A study led by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research observed a reduction of 71.9% of bird deaths from turbine collisions if one of the three blades was painted black. The study was conducted at the Smøla wind farm, along the West Norwegian coast.

Bård Stokke, one of the study's lead authors, stated: "Our hope is therefore that these measures, given their positive effects on birds and the fact that they are relatively simple and low cost, will be used in future wind energy developments both in Norway and abroad."

Regional News • Europe
Norway expels Russian diplomat on suspicion of espionage
Norway expels Russian diplomat on suspicion of espionage
Credit: Ghirlandajo (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Siri Svendsen, spokeswoman for the Norwegian Foreign Ministry has stated that "we have informed the Russian ambassador that an employee of the Russian embassy is unwanted as a diplomat and will be asked to leave Norway".

The reason for this is "machinations" that are "incompatible with his role and status as a diplomat". The diplomat, who is assigned to the economic department of the Russian embassy, now has until the end of the week to leave the country.

The Russian embassy in Oslo protested to the Norwegian Foreign Ministry against a "violation of diplomatic status". The Russian diplomat had been "arrested for no reason", the embassy wrote on Facebook. Russia would "naturally draw its conclusions" from the case. According to the Norwegian side, the man was released.

The Russian diplomat is the companion of a Norwegian man who had been arrested in Oslo on Saturday on suspicion of espionage.

Lifestyle • Cruises
Norway: Cruise line Hurtigruten halts cruises after Coronavirus outbreak
Norway: Cruise line Hurtigruten halts cruises after Coronavirus outbreak
Credit: Holger.Ellgaard / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

After a Coronavirus outbreak on the MS Roald Amundsen, Cruise line Hurtigruten has halted all "expedition" cruises until further notice. It's confirmed that 41 people on board of the MS Roald Amundsen were tested positive for Coronavirus, the rest of the crew and hundreds of passengers were urged to self-isolated.

Hurtigruten's Chief Executive Daniel Skjeldam: "Our own failure, as well as the recent rise in infections internationally, has led us to halt all expedition cruises in Norwegian and international waters."

Lifestyle • Cruises
Norwegian cruise ship: Four crew members hospitalized with Covid-19
MS Roald Amundsen
MS Roald Amundsen Credit: Hurtigruten

Four crew members of the Norwegian cruise ship Roald Amundsen have been hospitalized with Covid-19 after arriving in Tromsoe.

The scheduled trip to Spitzbergen has now been cancelled and all 160 crew members have been quarantined on the ship. The passengers of the Roald Amundsen had already left the ship when the cases were detected but are now being contacted by telephone with the order to self-isolate in order to stop a further spread of the virus.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilian Goverment bans fires in Amazon rainforest

Vice President Hamilton Mourão announced the Brazilian Government is banning setting fires in the Amazon for 120 days. The announcement happened after a video-conference with representatives from foreign investment funds.

The Brazilian government has started new talks with Germany and Norway on the Amazon Fund and Mourão expects they will overcome differences over policy that last year stalled funding of sustainability projects.

"We managed to present positive results in the second semester in relation to the fires, it is something that can be put on the negotiating table, saying 'look, we are doing our part, now you will do your part again,' said Mourão.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Norwegian Air nearer to a $1.2 billion debt-for-equity swap deal as bondholders support plan

Norwegian Air reached an agreement from enough bondholders to a $1.2 billion debt-for-equity swap.

The budget airline is poised to run out of cash by mid-May without approval for its plan, which involves handing over most of the company to its lessors and bondholders.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Norwegian Air bondholders reject debt plan, and company may run out of cash by mid-May.
Norwegian Air plane in Stockholm
Norwegian Air plane in Stockholm Credit: Captain Raju (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Although talks will still continue, Norwegian Air’s bondholders have turned down a proposed debt-to-equity swap, casting doubt on a plan that is vital to help the airline survive the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company may run out of cash by mid-May unless its plan is quickly approved by creditors and shareholders.

This plan involves swapping up to $1.2 billion of debt into equity and hands over most of the ownership of the company to lessors and bondholders.