If there is a further dramatic cost increase on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), Norway will reconsider its participation in the programme. "If there should happen to be something that would really affect the cost curves in the next months, in the next years, all nations including Norway will, of course, reconsider the whole project," says Norway's state secretary for Defence, Roger Ingebrigtsen. "I have no reasons to believe that. I was more nervous two years ago than I am today." Should something go horribly wrong, however, Norway would be forced to reconsider the programme, he says. But Norway needs the F-35.
At least ten Norwegian top leaders have been exposed to espionage attacks, according to the National Security Authority (NorCERT). It is feared that state secrets may end up in the wrong hands. Espionage attempts against Norwegian key personnel have become more sophisticated, according to NorCert (Norwegian Computer Emergency Response Team) which coordinates preventative work and responses against IT security breaches aimed at vital infrastructure in Norway. The number of cases handled by NorCERT have trebled over the past four years, according to its latest report.
- People are naive. Top leaders and key personnel are in the posession of sensitive information which is of interest to others, says NorCERT CEO Erlend Løkken to public broadcaster NRK.
Norway's Prime Ministers informs reporters that he agreed to visit the White House for a photo opportunity that can be used for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign efforts that would help him win over the 5 million Norwegian-American vote, where they are particularly prevalent in swing Midwestern states.The Houston Chronicle reports that, “it has been eight years since a Norwegian prime minister was invited to the White House, and a big group of Norwegian press had gathered to cover the event. But as (Prime Minister) Stoltenberg said to Norwegian reporters after the show was over: ‘I think Obama spends more time on his 2012 campaign than on thinking of Norway.’”It’s the fate of many an international head of state: They get a coveted invitation to the White House and then, as they are photographed with the president, everybody asks the American president a question about a subject that has nothing to do with the visiting dignitary.
Last week, that was the fate of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who met with President Obama in the Oval Office on the day Muammar Gadhafi was killed in Libya.
This time, however, Obama went out of his way to praise his NATO ally for its contributions to the alliance’s military mission.
“I’ve said this before but I want to repeat, Norway punches above its weight,” Obama said. “And their participation in the humanitarian mission, protecting civilians, the capacity of Norwegian pilots, their willingness to engage in some very critical missions there, made an enormous difference.”
President Obama invited the Norwegian prime minister to the White House in 2008, when he visited Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
“Michelle and I have incredibly fond memories of our visits to Oslo, and the extraordinary hospitality that the Norwegian people extended to us and our family,” Obama said after the meeting with Stoltenberg.
It has been eight years since a Norwegian prime minister was invited to the White House, and a big group of Norwegian press had gathered to cover the event. But as Stoltenberg said to Norwegian reporters after the show was over: “I think Obama spends more time on his 2012 campaign than on thinking of Norway.”
As if you didn’t have enough to worry about during those sleepless nights, a Norwegian study yesterday said that people with insomnia face a 27 to 45 percent higher risk of heart attack. About one-third of people report having trouble sleeping and should see a doctor for help, urged the authors of the study published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.
“Sleep problems are common and fairly easy to treat,” said Lars Erik Laugsand, lead researcher from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Department of Public Health in Trondheim. “So it’s important that people are aware of this connection between insomnia and heart attack and talk to their doctor if they’re having symptoms.”
The data came from 52,610 Norwegian adults who answered a national survey about their insomnia symptoms in 1995-97.
Over the next 11 years, researchers identified 2,368 people who had their first heart attacks, via hospital records and Norway’s National Cause of Death Registry.
After adjusting for factors such as age, sex, marital status, education level, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, weight, exercise, shift work, depression and anxiety, researchers found the highest boost in risk among the most troubled sleepers.
When they compared data from people who said they usually slept fine to people who said they had trouble falling asleep almost daily over the course of the last month, they saw a 45 percent higher risk in the sleepless group.
Those who said they could fall asleep but not stay asleep all night showed a 30 percent higher risk of heart attack than the group that slept well.
Similar links between insomnia and cardiovascular disease have been suggested in previous studies on US populations.
“It is becoming increasingly evident that insomnia is a significant modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” said Girardin Jean-Louis, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, who was not involved in the study.
The body’s regulatory cycle for sleeping and wakefulness, known as circadian rhythms, could also play a role, according to Edward Fisher, professor of cardiovascular medicine at New York University.
Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has highest income in the parliament with his 41,786,363 NOK fortune. Tax lists for last year has been published and accordingly, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg earned 2,043,946 NOK taxable income last year and paid 927,636 NOK tax, while having no saving. The increase in his earning was 59.6 percent from 2009, when his income was 1,280,739 NOK. However, Stoltenberg has been supprassed by some ministers. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has become the richest person in the government. According to tax figures from 2010, the Minister had a fortune of 41,786,363 NOK.
The second richest of the government is fisheries minister is Lisbeth Berg-Hansen with a fortune of 20,688,433 million, followed by Defense Minister Grete Faremo having 1,791,305 NOK.
The most striking name on the bottom of the fortune list is Finance Minister Sigbjørn Johnsen. According to the tax list, Johnsen has only 152,728 NOK fortune, while earning 993,860 NOK a year.
Yemen's former President Ali Nasser Mohamed says he will extradite the killer of Norwegian woman, Martine Vik Magnussen, found murdered in London in March, 2008. Norwegian Newspaper Dagbladet revealed that high-level opposition in Yemen plans to extradite Mr Abdulhak to the UK if there is a power shift in the country.
The Norwegian national newspaper reported powerful forces have been involved in the Martine case and feel the case may be important for Western goodwill in the event of a regime change in Yemen.
In an exclusive interview with Dagbladet, Yemen's former president says, “We will take care of this matter and stop abusing the good relations between Yemeni and Norwegian people and the governments of Yemen and Norway.”
“Farouk should surrender to British authorities and we will take care of this matter.”
There have been conversations between the head of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights, Kjell Magne Bondevik, and the Abdulhak family. The talks have not been as constructive as the foundation and Martine's family had hoped.
For the opposition, extraditing Farouk Abdulhak could provide a major diplomatic gain. The matter has been discussed at ministerial levels in both the UK and Norway. Dagbladet reports the opposition hopes to reap great goodwill if Farouk is returned to the UK.
Martine Vik Magnussen had been out on the town when she was killed. She studied in London. Farouk Abdulhak, son of one of Yemen’s wealthiest men, is a suspect in the case.
Production from Norwegian oil company DNO International’s Tawke field in Iraqi Kurdistan is back to around 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day after a pipeline malfunction on Sunday. A spokesman for DNO said the company had experienced some downtime since it had restarted production in February. "There was a stoppage which lasted for about 26 hours, but now we are back again at full production," the spokesman told Reuters.
Kurdistan halted oil exports on Sunday, with the regional government blaming technical problems and “malpractice”, not a policy move, for the decision.
Iraqi oil minister Abdul-Kareem Luaibi said at the time that this would result in big losses for the nation’s economy.
Reuters reported the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had said Iraq's North Oil Company had "serious technical difficulties" with its main export pipeline, which carries about 100,000 barrels of crude per day, on Sunday. It also labelled "false" reports that exports had been deliberately suspended.
KRG said technical problems and "serious operating malpractice" at Iraq's North Oil Company export system had "resulted in the automatic shutdown of the main oil export of the region.”
"All false assumptions and accusations of export suspension should be totally discarded," the KRG said in a statement.
"The KRG remains committed to its interim agreement with the federal government of Iraq for exports of oil from Kurdistan's fields until a permanent solution is reached based on the Constitution."
People who suspect a conspiracy was at work in the 9/11 terror attacks, or in the way the U.S. government responded to it, are not crazy, says one Canadian psychology professor working in Norway. Floyd Rudmin, with the University of Tromso, says those labelled "conspiracy theorists" with regard to 9/11, the John F. Kennedy assassination or any number of other dramatic events have good reason to doubt the explanations given to the public by authorities. "Some people say there are no conspiracies and that all conspiracy theories are nonsense," he says. "That simply is not true. Humans do conspire."
Rudmin says some of the elements that create conditions for conspiracy theories to emerge include improbable events occurring that have political implications, coinciding with indications that officials are not being completely forthcoming about what they know.
He says 9/11 contains all these ingredients.
"It never happened in history that a steel-framed building fell down without demolition," Rudmin says. "And we've had buildings in war zones.
"So if you say the probability of one (building) collapsing is rare, but now you've got three at once, this is like three separatists getting that bacteria infection," he says, recalling how when Lucien Bouchard lost a leg to flesh-eating disease, it did not spark conspiracy theories among Quebec sovereignists. He says if it also happened to Jacques Parizeau and Gilles Duceppe, it might have.
Things about the subsequent 9/11 investigation and information released — such the lack of investigation into the collapse of Building 7, the smallest of the World Trade towers that fell, and not releasing video of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon — helped fuel the suspicions surrounding these unusual happenings, Rudmin says.
Rudmin notes that many of the organizations of people who question what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, are experts in architecture, aviation and military. "These are not wackos. These are professional people."
Rudmin says he has no specific explanations for how 9/11 happened, but he does not believe the official version of events.
Norwegian oil firm Statoil ASA remains unable to access China’s rich shale gas resources nearly a year after the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, a top company executive said. Last year Statoil was in talks with Chinese oil firms to explore for unconventional gas and was hopeful it could announce a deal by the end of 2010. That announcement never came and it is unclear whether it ever will.
The awarding of the prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee to Liu, serving an 11-year sentence for subversion, infuriated Beijing as the rising Asian power becomes more assertive on the world stage.
“We haven’t managed to make any inroads in China,” Tim Dodson, Statoil’s head of exploration, said.
“There is a reluctance to engage (by) the Chinese ... Obviously what has happened around the Nobel Peace Prize had its impact.”
Dodson, who said Statoil had looked at China’s potential offshore resources but found they were not as interesting as those onshore, suggested Chinese authorities may be reluctant to open their natural resources to other foreign firms too.
“It is genuinely difficult to get any traction in China. You have to wonder whether it is protectionism,” he said.
Statoil aims to grow its oil and gas output by a third to 2.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) by 2020.
This year it expects to spend some $3 billion in exploration, around half in Norway and half abroad, drilling some 40 to 50 exploration wells worldwide.
“Going forward you can expect a similar activity level and a similar spending level,” said Dodson.
Following two recent major exploration deals in Angola and Kazakhstan, Dodson said he was working on at least three other material opportunities.
“I hope that I can close at least two of those before year-end,” he said.
Dodson’s priority is to focus exploration activity on its home base in Norway, expand in some key areas abroad where it is present — such as the Gulf of Mexico, offshore Canada and Brazil — and access unexplored areas like the Arctic.
In the Gulf of Mexico, the scene last year of the largest oil spill in US history, Statoil has two rigs exploring, the second one beginning work last Wednesday.
“Ideally we would like to have a higher share of high-impact opportunities in our portfolio,” the English-born executive said.
“We can afford to take somewhat more risks given our size (and) as long as we have a balanced portfolio ... The challenge is to get access to those opportunities because it is extremely competitive.”
Regarding Russia’s Arctic, where Statoil has no exploration activity but has a share in the much-delayed giant Shtokman gas project with Total and Gazprom, Dodson was hopeful Statoil could get access to new acreage via partnerships with Russian firms that have been getting exploration licenses in recent months.
Dodson said he expected more partnership deals as Russian oil firms seek the technical expertise to develop offshore reserves in harsh conditions.
Statoil recently made two major discoveries off Norway, Aldous Major South in the North Sea and Skrugard in the Barents Sea, breathing new life into a region where oil majors have largely stopped looking for new discoveries.
Statoil aims to continue drilling near these areas to find if there is more oil and gas. Towards the end of the year, it will drill on Havis, a prospect near Skrugard that has a high probability of being a significant discovery, said Dodson, and it will drill another well at Skrugard to further appraise its size.
“We will drill other wells in the Barents Sea (after that),” Dodson said. “There is potential for two to three more wells.”
In the North Sea, the firm will drill two more wells near major discovery Aldous Major South once it is done with the drilling on a nearby prospect called Aldous Major North, which began last week. One of those two extra wells could come “quickly,” Dodson said, declining to give a timeline.
In the so-called pre-salt blocks off Angola, where Statoil has two concessions to operate and three to participate in and where Dodson believes billion-barrels discoveries can be made, Statoil expects to drill its first exploration wells within two years of signing a production-sharing agreement eyed for completion in September.
The self-described perpetrator of Norway's deadly bombing and shooting rampage was ordered held in solitary confinement last month after calmly telling that two other cells of collaborators stood ready to join his murderous campaign. Anders Behring Breivik has been held incommunicado for two weeks in violation of the law. Oslo City Court acknowledges that it has made a mistake when Breivik detained for eight weeks, with four weeks of isolation.
It has been shown that at the first detention hearing may be decided on a maximum of two weeks' isolation. The decision can then be extended for four weeks at a new meeting. This according to a practice from 2005.
Court denies request for 'disturbing' attire
A judge on Wednesday closed the court for the next appearance of Anders Behring Breivik, who has confessed to Norway's July 22 attacks, and denied his request to wear a tailcoat as "disturbing."
After having requested in vain to be allowed to wear a "uniform" to his first court appearance in July, he had asked to dress in a kind of tailcoat, likely the freemason uniform he can be seen posing in on one of the photographs he posted online before the attacks.
His lawyer, Geir Lippestad, had explained that Behring Breivik thus wished to show his respect for the judicial process, pointing out that "the tailcoat is one of the most formal attires worn by men".
"In light of the extreme seriousness of the case, such an attire could be disturbing, insulting and provocative," the judge said, stressing that "ordinary, proper clothing is enough to show that he takes the judicial process seriously."
Went on to add 20 more victims to grisly total
Anders Breivik called police in the middle of his bloody rampage to surrender after phoning police and telling them 'mission accomplished'.
The 32-year-old - spoke to a control worker.
The call ended - inexplicably, though Breivik claims he was ignored - and he was left expecting a call back.
However, officers couldn't get in touch with him again, it is claimed.
He went on to kill another 20 people on the island of Utoya after attempting to hand himself in.
The shock new claims came after he was taken back to the scene of the massacre - in a bulletproof vest for his own protection - as police staged a chilling reconstruction.
His lawyer Geir Lippe told the Sun: 'He wanted to capitulate. If he had received confirmation that his message was understood, he would have stopped his mission.'
His lawyer has said he has admitted to the terror attacks, but denies criminal guilt because he believes the massacre was necessary to save Norway and Europe from Muslims and punish politicians who have embraced multiculturalism.
A teenage girl and an up-and-coming young politician were among the 32 Political Victims buried yesterday in Norway, two weeks after twin terrorist attacks hit the norway. Sharidyn Svebakk-Bohn, 14, was likely the youngest of the 69 killed in a shooting at a Labour party Political youth camp organised by the Labour Party Government on the island of Utoeya. The July 22 shooting was preceded by a car bomb in central Oslo that killed eight people. Former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland was among the speakers at Svebakk-Bohn’s funeral in Drammen, near Oslo. The former Labour Party leader had adressed youths at Utoya just hours before the shooting.
Funerals were held in 15 of Norway’s 19 counties yesterday.
Tore Eikeland, a 21-year-old student active in the Labour Party’s youth wing, was seen as a gifted young politician on track for a stellar career, Labour Party secretary-general Raymond Johansen said at Eikeland’s funeral in Osteroy, western Norway.
A memorial service was also held Friday for Monica Bosei, 45, who for 20 years worked at the island of Utoeya, the scene of the rampage.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg attended the service for her near Utoeya and said the Labour Party had planned to honour “mother Utoya” this autumn.
Norway's justice minister on Tuesday hailed "fantastic" police work after Anders Behring Breivik killed at least 76 people, setting aside criticisms that police had reacted too slowly to a shooting massacre. Although Breivik has spoken of "two more cells," police believe he probably acted alone in Friday's bombing and shooting attacks, which have united Norwegians in revulsion. "It is very important that we have an open and critical approach...but there is a time for everything," Knut Storberget said after talks with Oslo's police chief, referring to questions, mostly in the media, about the police response time.
An armed SWAT team took more than an hour to reach Utoeya island, where Breivik was coolly shooting terrified youngsters at a ruling Labour Party youth camp. He killed 68 there and eight in an earlier bombing of Oslo's government district.
Police are likely to release the names of the victims on Tuesday, a day after they revised the death toll down to 76 from 93, the NTB news agency said.
Storberget also denied police had ignored threats posed by right-wing zealots in Norway. "I reject suggestions that we have not had the far-right under the microscope," he said.
Many Norwegians seem to agree the police do not deserve opprobrium for their response. At a march of more than 100,000 in Oslo on Monday night, people applauded rescue workers.
SCEPTICISM ABOUT ACCOMPLICES
Breivik, 32, told a judge at his custody hearing on Monday that two other cells in his "organization" existed.
However, a source close to the investigation said: "We feel that the accused has fairly low credibility when it comes to this claim but none of us dare to be completely dismissive about it either."
Researchers also doubt Breivik's claim that he is part of a wider far-right network of anti-Islam "crusaders," seeing it as bragging by a psychopathic fantasist who has written that exaggeration is a way to sow confusion among investigators.
Norway has felt some relief that Breivik seems to have acted alone in trying to save Europe from "cultural Marxism" and a "Muslim invasion" by striking at the ruling Labour Party.
The Aftenposten daily said Breivik's interrogation was moving slowly, with the confessed killer silent on his claims about sleeper cells or other potential collaborators.
Prosecutors will consider whether Breivik's acts fall under a 2008 law on crimes against humanity, said Staale Eskeland, professor of criminal law at Oslo University.
"To kill a group of civilians systematically is the basic criteria" for charges of crimes against humanity, Eskeland said, adding that the maximum penalty for this offence was 30 years in jail, rather than 21 years under the anti-terrorism law.
In both cases the sentence can be extended for up to five years at a time if there is risk of repeat offences.
So far Breivik has been charged with "destabilizing or destroying basic functions of society" and "creating serious fear in the population." Police attorney Christian Hatlo has said Breivik expects to spend the rest of his life in jail.
More than 100,000 Norwegians rallied in Oslo on Monday night, many carrying white and red roses, to mourn the dead and to show unity after July 22. Tens of thousands of others rallied in other cities from Tromsoe to Bergen.
In signs that police are skeptical that Breivik was part of a wider network, border controls imposed on July 22 were lifted late on Monday. Norway has not asked other countries to launch probes, nor has it raised the threat level for terrorism.
Even the final entry in Breivik's own 1,500 page manifesto says on July 22: "The old saying: 'if you want something done, then do it yourself' is as relevant now as it was then."
"Intuitively, it feels like he is alone when you read the document. It's like he's lost in this made-up world and can't distinguish between fantasy and reality," said Magnus Ranstorp, Research Director at the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defense College.
"They (mass killers) are usually alone," he said.
Police defended themselves from suggestions that some alarm bells should have rung about Breivik. The head of the PST security police even said he would have slipped through the net in former East Germany with its feared Stasi police.
PST says Breivik's name appeared only once, on a list of 50-60 Norwegians sent by Interpol after he paid 120 crowns ($22.16) to a Polish company that sold chemicals and was on a watch list. They found no reason to react.
"I don't think even Stasi Germany could have uncovered this person," PST chief Janne Kristiansen told the VG newspaper's online edition, adding he was "the incarnation of evil."
Breivik admits the attacks, but denies criminal responsibility. Even his father is horrified.
"In my darkest moments, I think that rather than killing all those people, he should have taken his own life," Breivik's father told Norwegian independent TV2 in France.
He said his son, with whom he has had no contact since he was a teenager, must be mentally ill.
Other researchers say that he shares traits with past mass murderers.
"He has no empathy, he is indifferent to the people he kills, he has no conscience and no remorse," said Ragnhild Bjoernebekk, a researcher at Norway's police school.
"Evil can kill a person but never conquer a people," Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said at Monday evening's rally, probably the biggest in the nation of 4.8 million since the end of World War Two.
"Our fathers and mothers promised 'never again April 9'. We promise 'never again July 22'," he said. Nazi Germany invaded Norway on April 10, 1940 and occupied it for five years.
Many Norwegians have expressed relief that Breivik seems to have been a home-grown loner, rather than, for instance, an al Qaeda militant. Many compare him to Timothy McVeigh who killed 168 people with a truck bomb in Oklahoma City in 1995.
"If this was done by a foreigner it would have been very difficult," said Raj Pereet Singh, a Norwegian whose parents immigrated.
(Reuters - With reporting by Walter Gibbs, Anna Ringstrom, Henrik Stoelen, Wojciech Moskwa, Terje Solsvik, Patrick Lannin, Johan Ahlander, John Acher, Jon Hemming, Mohammed Abbas, Victoria Klesty and Ole Petter Skonnord; Writing by Alistair Lyon; Editing by Jon Boyle)