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BREIVIK

‘I am a very likeable person’: Breivik

The gunman behind Norway's massacres told a court Friday he is a nice person and not a psychiatric case but had trained himself to shut out emotions before killing 77 people.

Anders Behring Breivik acknowledged that his twin attacks last July were "gruesome, barbaric actions" and said he had to work on his psyche for many years because "you can't send an unprepared person into war".

Breivik in his rampage on July 22nd first bombed an Oslo government building, killing eight people, and then shot dead 69 people, mostly teenagers, at a Labour Party youth camp on a nearby island.

The 33-year-old has said he was motivated by the belief Norway is being overrun by a "Muslim invasion" and claimed he is part of a militant ultra-nationalist network named after the Knights Templar Christian order.

The self-confessed killer insisted he was not "a psychiatric case," telling the court he was a "caring person" who spent years meditating to "de-emotionalize" himself.

"I am a very likeable person under normal conditions," he said on the fifth day of his trial, which was expected to be the most difficult yet for survivors and victims' relatives in the courtroom.

"I was rather normal until 2006 when I started my training," he said, adding that he cut back his social life to focus on his goal.

"You have to choose tactics and strategies to dehumanize… the enemy … those who I see as legitimate targets," he said. "If I hadn't done that… I wouldn't have managed to do it."

On the island, where he was disguised as a police officer, he spent more than an hour methodically shooting at hundreds of people, many of whom tried to flee by jumping into the icy waters.

Many victims had multiple gunshot wounds to the head and back, in what was the deadliest shooting rampage committed by a lone gunman.

Breivik, often speaking coldly of his massacre under questioning from his defence team, said his "technical" wording was necessary to "distance himself" and to hold up throughout his testimony.

"If I were to use more normal language, I don't think I would be able to explain everything," he said.

The gunman has explained to the court that he sees himself as a militant nationalist "knight" heroically fighting to defend "ethnic Norwegians" from being wiped out by a "Muslim invasion".

He reiterated on Friday that he especially blames Norwegian and European media for making his attacks "necessary," since they "systematically censor" ultra nationalists like himself.

He said he would not have carried out his attacks if he felt that Norwegian media had provided fair coverage of the immigration-skeptical Progress Party ahead of 2009 parliamentary elections.

Breivik, charged with "acts of terror", has entered a plea of not guilty, saying his actions were "cruel but necessary".

He told the court on Thursday he had initially thought of placing three bombs across Oslo before carrying out a shooting spree, in what was planned to be a suicide mission.

But it was too difficult to acquire bomb-making materials without raising warning flags so he decided to make just one.

His goal had been to kill everybody in the government building, including the entire Norwegian government and Labour Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

He had also intended to kill all 569 people on Utøya, including former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland — an icon of the Labour Party who had been on the island earlier in the day — by beheading her and posting a video of her execution on the internet.

Many of the survivors and families of the victims sobbed quietly and shook their heads as he recounted the details of his plans.

On Friday he was expected to testify in detail about how he killed each of the 69 Utøya victims, the youngest just 14 years old.

His lawyer Geir Lippestad warned that Friday "would probably be the hardest day" for the families, and chief judge Wenche Elizabeth Arntzen reminded them they were free to leave the courtroom at any time.

Two psychiatric evaluations have drawn contradictory conclusions on Breivik's sanity, and ultimately it will be up to the judges to rule on them when they hand down the verdict sometime in mid-July.

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TRAVEL

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

Find 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 
Oslo Operahus .Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Only one in ten Norwegians plan to travel abroad this summer 

Around ten percent of people in Norway are planning to take a holiday abroad this summer, according to a survey carried out by tourism organisation NHO Reiseliv.

Seven out of ten respondents said they still plan to holiday in Norway this year, even if they receive a vaccination before the holidays start.

READ MORE: ‘My arguments didn’t matter’: How I ended up in a hotel quarantine in Norway 

Viken and Vestland are this year’s most popular travel destinations for Norwegians planning a “staycation”. Young people were the most likely to want to remain in Norway this summer. Just under half of those aged between 18 and 29 said they wished to stay in Norway this summer. 

Third of Utøya survivors have received abuse or threats

A third of Utøya survivors have been victims of hate speech or received threats, according to a new survey. 

Three-quarters of respondents said that the reason they received the abuse was linked directly to the Utøya terror attack, the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Studies (NKVTS) found. 

The massacre on Utøya was the second of two terror attacks carried out by Anders Breivik on July 22nd, 2011. Of the 69 people who died in the attack, 32 were under the age of 18. 

Fewer in Oslo willing to ditch cars 

A climate survey carried out by the city of Oslo has shown that fewer people than before are willing to cut back on using their cars. The proportion of those who think that Oslo city centre should be car-free has fallen to 45 percent from 52 percent last year. 

READ ALSO: Could Norway introduce mandatory inbuilt car breathalysers 

When asked whether Oslo City Council had gone too far in removing cars from the city centre, almost half said that they believed that this was the case. 

“A change in the attitude around these measures may be due to more people feeling dependent on cars during the pandemic. There has been a lot of debate about measures that have been introduced or are planned to be introduced,” Heidi Sørensen, Director of the Climate Agency, told the Dagsavisen newspaper

Tighter Coronavirus measures in Trondheim 

Gyms, museums and swimming pools have been closed, and alcohol service in hospitality has been stopped in Trondheim. The new measures come barely a week after restrictions were last tightened. 

“We need to shut down most of Trondheim to get control. It is only days since we last tightened measures, but we are in a situation where we must take even stronger action,” Morten Wolden, the municipal director for Trondheim, told state broadcaster NRK.

Norway reports 292 new Covid-19 cases

On Monday, 292 new coronavirus infections were registered in Norway. This is a drop of 52 compared to the seven-day average of 344. 

In Oslo, 48 cases were recorded, an increase of two on the capital’s seven day average of 46. 

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 1.0. This means that every ten people that are infected, will, on average, only infect another ten people, indicating that the infection level is stable. 

Total number of Covid-19 cases so far. Source: NIPH
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