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Microsoft blasted for sexist Norway show

The keynote speaker at a Microsoft conference in Norway last week has slammed the company over a lewd dance performance featuring women in hot pants and lyrics about developers' penises being neither micro nor soft.

Microsoft blasted for sexist Norway show
YouTube Screenshot

After video footage of the Oslo after-party show went viral, the software giant's head of corporate communications, Frank Shaw, apologized on Twitter for the sexist gaffe at the Microsoft Developers Conference.

“This routine had vulgar language, was inappropriate and was just not ok. We apologize to our customers and partners,” he wrote.

In a lengthy blog post, Aral Balkan, the conference’s keynote speaker, called on the company to review its policies and take steps to ensure it avoids a repeat incident.

Balkan explained how he had heard snippets of the song the night before and urged organizers to at least make women feel included in the lyrics displayed on screens to those attending the event.

Being tired, however, he hadn’t heard in full the line that caused most offence. It was this, he said, that explained the appearance on the screens the next day of the confusing line:

"The words 'micro' and 'soft' don't apply to my penis (or vagina)."

Appalled by what he had witnessed, Balkan wrote a direct appeal to Microsoft:

“How you can really turn this unfortunate situation around and do some good is to take action that matters: review your policies, find out where the communication failures were, fix those. And don’t fire the people responsible: instead, send them on a course to teach them feminist theory. We all make mistakes. Teach them the right way of doing things and let them make up for it with their actions in the future.”

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OFFBEAT

Norwegian road authority in hot water for dumping rocks near UNESCO-listed fjord

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration will need to clear up more than 1,000 trucks worth of stones and rubble it left near the stunning UNESCO world heritage listed Nærøyfjord.

Norwegian road authority in hot water for dumping rocks near UNESCO-listed fjord
Nærøyfjorden near to where the Norwegian Public Roads Administration left behind more than 11,000 cubic metres of rocks. Photo by Arian Zwegers on Flickr.

Fly-tipping and rubbish dumping are typically associated with rogue tradespeople and cowboy builders, but it’s the Norwegian Public Roads Administration that is being asked to clear some 11,250 cubic metres of rocks it left near a UNESCO listed beauty spot.

The breathtaking Nærøyfjord in Aurland municipality, south-western Norway, is a landscape conservation area meaning its protected and, therefore, the rubble shouldn’t have been left there.

“This is a blister. We will clean up after ourselves,” Stig Berg Thomassen, project manager for the road authority, told NRK.

The rocks were left behind following a project to upgrade the nearby Gudvanga tunnel.

Thomassen said the mess was left in the conservation area because it wasn’t clearly marked as off-limits.

Nærøyfjorden has been listed as a landscape conservation area since 2002, and the site was added to the UNESCO world heritage list a few years later in 2005.

READ ALSO: You can now get married at this famous Norwegian beauty spot

The municipality in Aurland has given the road authority until December 17th to clear the mess. The mayor for the municipality said the road authority would begin to clear up the remnants of its building project as soon as possible.

The stones won’t be going far, though and will only be moved around 50 to 100 metres along the road to where the conservation area ends.

Project manager Thomassen has admitted that the situation could have been avoided with better planning.

“Yes, we should have probably have done that (prepared better). The situation is as it is, so we just have to clean up. It won’t take long to move the rocks. The Stones will only be transported 50 to 100 meters,” he confessed.

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