Norway presses India on cancelled mobile permits

Norway raised its concerns with the Indian government on Tuesday about a Delhi court decision cancelling mobile phone licences held by Norwegian phone giant Telenor.

India's Supreme Court last week scrapped 122 telecom permits, including 22 held by Telenor's majority-owned Indian unit, on the grounds the 2008 licensing process was underpriced and rigged.

Norway's information technology minister Rigmor Aasrud raised the issue with Indian telecom minister Kapil Sibal, to seek "fair treatment" for Telenor.

"We took up Telenor's case," she told reporters in New Delhi after talks with Sibal. "We had a good, fruitful and constructive meeting."

Norwegian state-backed Telenor is the majority shareholder in Uninor, a joint venture with Indian real estate player Unitech.

The licence sales are at the heart of one of India's biggest corruption scandals in which former telecom minister A. Raja is alleged to have mis-sold the permits and favoured some firms, costing the treasury up to $39 billion.

Telenor has said it is "considering all legal options" to resolve the problems embroiling its Indian subsidiary, which has 40 million customers, including filing a petition to review the court ruling.

Telenor paid $1.1 billion for its stake in the Indian mobile firm when it entered the country in 2009. Other foreign investors whose licences were cancelled include Gulf-based Etisalat and Russian conglomerate Sistema.

Sistema said on Tuesday it was preparing to file an appeal asking the Supreme Court to review the licence cancellations. It is the majority stakeholder in joint venture Sistema-Shyam which lost 21 out of its 22 licences.

A plaintiff can seek a review of a Supreme Court judgement within 30 days of it being passed, and if that plea is dismissed another one, known as a "curative petition," can be filed.

The licence cancellations take effect in four months, after which new auctions are to be held to re-allocate the permits. Those companies whose licences were scrapped have the right to bid.

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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Found out what’s going on in Norway on Tuesday with the Local’s short roundup of important news.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
The northern lights in Tromsø. Photo by Lightscape on Unsplash

One in ten international students in Norway has had Covid-19

Ten percent of overseas students studying in Norway, compared to just 2.9 percent of Norwegian students, have had Covid-19, according to the Students Health and Well Being Survey (SHoT).

Some 62,000 thousand of Norway’s 300,000 students responded to the survey.

READ MORE: Are Norway’s Covid-19 numbers on track for reopening?

Overall, nearly three percent said that they been infected with the Coronavirus, just over half have had to self isolate, and 70 percent took tests.

Woman in her 40’s charged with murder

A woman has been charged with murder in Halden, southeast Norway after a body was found in an apartment in the towns centre.

She will be questioned on Tuesday. A public defender has been appointed. 

Six police cars attended the scene at a small housing association in the centre of Halden.

A person found in the same apartment is being questioned as a witness.

Network provider Telenor’s revenues down 2.1 billion kroner compared to last year

Telenor’s revenues are down 2.1 billion in the first quarter and the company has written of its 6.5 billion kroner investment in Myanmar following Februarys military coup.

The mobile network operator became one of the first foreign providers in the country and had gained a 35 percent market share.

However, the country’s new military regime shut down the mobile network on March 15th.

“In Myanmar, we are experiencing a confusing and uncertain situation. We are deeply concerned about the development in the country,” The company stated in its quarterly report.

Norway and Sweden in reindeer border dispute

Swedish Sami reindeer herders will appear in court this week in a case against the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

The Swedish Sami herders believe they have exclusive rights to grazing areas across the Norwegian border because they have lived in the surrounding area for hundreds of years. The Norwegian government rejects these claims.

The reindeer grazing convention will be central to the case; the convention facilitates mutual cross-border grazing for reindeer herds.

Sweden withdrew from the convention in 2005. However, Norway enshrined the convention in law in 2005.

483 Coronavirus infections recorded

On Monday, 483 new cases of Covid-29 were registered, an increase of 75 compared to the average of the previous week.

READ ALSO: Norway considers lifting measures for people who have had their first Covid vaccine 

This is down from 1150 cases registered during the peak of Norway’s third wave on March 16th.

This is partly because fewer infections are registered during weekends and public holidays, causing an uptick on Mondays.