Norway sorry for Tamil Tiger stamps

Norway's foreign ministry has issued an official apology to the Sri Lankan authorities after the Norwegian postal service published stamps depicting the founder of the Tamil Tigers, a violent separatist group.

Norway sorry for Tamil Tiger stamps
Velupillai Prabhakaran (Photo: Reuters/LTTE)

The postage stamps feature a picture of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the now deceased founder of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), against a backdrop of a flag bearing the group’s official emblem.

A small quantity of the stamps was ordered by a customer who commissioned the personalized prints on the postal service’s website.

The post office meanwhile was oblivious to the political preferences of the aspiring philatelist.

“This motif initially seems entirely innocent: it’s a picture of a person and what looks like a flower. But for people who are aware of the situation in Sri Lanka it can seem offensive,” post office spokesman Jørn Michalsen told newspaper VG.

In a statement published on the website of the Norwegian embassy in Colombo, the foreign ministry said the stamps “passed the postal service’s quality and assurance control and were printed without being stopped as they should have been.”

The customer who placed the order has been barred from designing further personalized stamps, the ministry said, adding:

“In a letter to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Oslo, The Norwegian Postal Service has offered their sincere apologies for this most unfortunate oversight. The Norwegian Embassy in Colombo shares this sentiment.”

The LTTE is considered a terrorist organization by a host of countries, including India, the United States and the European Union’s 27 member states.

The Norwegian postal service has not released any pictures of the offending stamps.

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All but six of Norway’s remaining post offices to close

25 of the 31 remaining post offices in Norway are to be shuttered for good.

All but six of Norway’s remaining post offices to close
Photo: Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

The country’s postal service Posten Norge announced the closures as part its ongoing process to replace post offices with counters in shops.

That means 25 post offices are to be closed by the end of 2022, NRK writes.

Five post offices in Oslo and one on Arctic archipelago Svalbard will remain, meaning there will be no post offices at all throughout most of the country.

“There is still a large enough volume in Oslo to justify that there are post offices there. There is a lot of post there connected to business customers, public administration and large institutions,” Posten Norge’s head of press communications Keneth Pettersen told NRK.

The closures will affect 170 employees and take place over the next two-and-a-half years.

A decline in the volume of physical post as well as the closure of DNB bank services at post offices were cited as primary reasons for the new round of post office closures.

“When the Post loses in September the ability to offer bank services from DNB and the decrease in letter volume grows, that will result in reduced activity and revenues for post offices. We have to adapt to that,” Pettersen said.

DNB announced last year that it intended to scrap post office banking and has instead reached agreements with Norgesgruppen supermarket chain to provide cash banking services in stores.

The closing post offices will themselves be replaced by counters in shops. An advantage of this for customers is more flexible opening hours in comparison with traditional post offices.

Posten Norge is also set to put in place around 1,000 ‘parcel boxes’ (pakkebokser) across the country, enabling parcels to be collected around the clock using an app.

“Society is becoming more digital and we must react to that. A solution such as this will make post services more accessible,” Pettersen told NRK.

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