Norway town to build toilets for beggars

Kristiansand’s town council voted on Wednesday to install toilet and shower facilities that can be used by beggars operating on the streets of the town in southern Norway.

Norway town to build toilets for beggars
Photo: Alex Bricov (File)

After a heated debated, the motion was passed by a slim majority of 28 representatives to 25. The town will now set aside 300,000 kroner ($52,500) for the construction of sanitary facilities for beggars.

Two parties, the Conservatives and the Progress Party, were deeply opposed to the move, newspaper Fædrelandsvennen reports.

“The money beggars get in their mugs goes to men in suits who drive them around and decide where to place them,” said Conservative representative Odd Nordmo.

“If we build sanitary facilities for beggars here in the town we are creating possibilities for the establishment of a new Christiania,” he said, referring to a hippie-like commune in the Danish capital Copenhagen.

Progress Party group leader Tor S. Utsogn was in full agreement.

“An ethnically segregated toilet like this will undoubtedly attract beggars,” he said.

“We know that there are Romanian men sitting in cars keeping control over their beggars.”

But Dag Vige, a Liberal Party member and one of the architects of the plan, cited simple human dignity as one of the prime reasons for erecting new facilities.

He laughed off suggestions that the project would attract beggars in increasing numbers.

“Nobody’s going to come to Kristiansand to go to the toilet. Human dignity is central to this debate,” he said.

After an hour-long debate, the council voted in favour of the proposal, on condition that volunteer groups commit to managing the upkeep of the toilets and showers.

In Wednesday’s session, the councillors also voted in favour of a Christian Democratic Party proposal that will enable the deportation after three months of out-of-work citizens from other countries in the European Economic Area.

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Norway wolverine causes havoc at US airport

A wolverine in transit from a Norway zoo to Alaska gnawed through his cage at customs in Newark Airport and began growling at passers-by, winning it the moniker "psycho killer" in the US press.

Norway wolverine causes havoc at US airport
A wolverine at Kristiansand zoo. Photo: Birgit Fostervold
“His head was sticking out,” Sarah Howard, the animal's handler, told the New York Times. 
The wolverine, named Kasper by staff at Kristiansand zoo, was in transit to a wildlife centre in Alaska when Howard spotted that he had managed to chew through his metal cage. 
“It’s believed he chewed a hole in it,” Joseph Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, confirmed. 
European Wolverines are known for their enormously strong jaws which can crush through the frozen meat  they find stored for the winter by other animals, and even through bones. 
After his escape was noticed, the 18kg animal refused to be moved to a new cage and had to be tranquilised with ketamine before continuing his trip to Alaska. 
Rolf Arne Ølberg, a vet at Kristiansand Zoo, said that the US press had exaggerated the danger. The tabloid New York Post headlined their story "Psycho-killer wolverine almost escapes". 
“He is a kind wolverine," Ølberg told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. ”I have spoken to the animal handlers at the airport in New York. Everything was under control. The wolverine was in good condition when it left us, and it still is.” 
”We have also sent wolverines to Canada and France. They managed the trips without drama," Ølberg continued. "We are considering whether to use cages made completely of metal in the future.” 
A good life awaits Kasper at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center that is set on nearly 70 hectares of land in the mountains were he will have plenty of room to roam. He will soon be joined by a female wolverine from Sweden.