Norway’s top four April Fools’ Day tricks

Norway’s media was more than usually po-faced on April Fools Day this year, with the biggest newspapers and TV channels opting out. But a few brave publications stood firm against the sanctimonious tide to maintain the “Aprilspøker” tradition. Here are some of the best gags of 2015.

Norway's top four April Fools' Day tricks
The University of Oslo's Professor Ruth E. Vatvedt Fjeld. Photo: Yngve Vogt/Apollon
Neither Norwegian state broadcaster NRK (one of the most prolific producers of Aprilspøker in the past), nor Aftenposten, nor VG, nor Dagbladet published April 1 spoof stories. 
But others did. Here are the three best media stories, and one bonus story from the Christian Democratic party. 
1) Professor calls for 100 new swear words: Apollon. The in-house research magazine for the University of Oslo, fielded arguably the year’s best April Fools’ Day prank, with a story about a Professor of Nordic languages calling for the creation of a hundred new swear words. “Today swearwords become so quickly outdated that they must be replaced,” Professor Ruth E. Vatvedt Fjeld told the magazine. “Swearwords such as ‘herregud’ [God] ‘drit’ [shit], ‘faen’ [the devil], ‘helvete’ [hell] and ‘Satan’ must go,” she said. “‘Jesus’, pronounced as ‘djisus’ doesn’t work any more either. ‘Fuck’ is completely worn out”. There are so overused that they have lost all their old potency.”
2). Church offers ‘Alter Ale’ to lure locals to CommunionVårt Land Per Inge Haavik, a beer brewer in Grinstead is known as the ‘beer priest’ for his past as a priest, has teamed up with Oddvar Tveito, the town’s local priest to offer a special wheat beer for communion instead of wine. The chuck is still discussing whether the beer should be alcoholic.  “More and more people, active churchgoers included, are keen on beer and brewing. As a vibrant national church we must show that we are of our time, and that we have the capacity for renewal. Therefore, I think this is a great idea, and I think it's going to be a success,” Haavik told the newspaper. 
The Christian Democrats take the prize for most hard-to-confirm April Fool’s Joke. The party's Hordaland wing marked the day with a press release (either brilliantly deadpan or horribly po-faced) condemning the practice and calling for all newspapers engaging in April foolery to be stripped of state subsidies.   “It is completely wrong about the state should support newspapers that tell people news that is untrue,” said Pål Kårbø, the head of the party in Hordaland. “How can people continue believing what they read in the papers when they know journalists don’t even take a breath before spreading lies without compunction.” By the end of the day, there was nothing on the party's website to indicate if Kårbo was in earnest, although according to the NTB newswire, it was, in fact, a joke. 
NRK's Buskerud office defied the state broadcaster's refusal to play the game, running a story about how the local fire department was using drones to sweep chimneys, complete with an image of a quadcopter dangling a chimney rod. "Drone Sweeping could be a big new thing, both in Norway and overseas," Frode Raaen, head of the local fire department said. "Drones have developed and we have great faith in this project. This is the future." 


Record Arctic heat drives reindeer into cool tunnels

Norwegian authorities have urged motorists to watch out for reindeer that are seeking refuge in tunnels to cool themselves amid extreme heat in the nation's far north.

Record Arctic heat drives reindeer into cool tunnels
File photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix

“It has been very hot for weeks in northern Norway,” Tore Lysberg, a senior official at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, told AFP on Thursday.

“The animals retreat to colder places, both reindeer and sheep find refuge in tunnels and shaded areas to cool down,” he said.

Although this phenomenon is nothing new, it could be intensified by record temperatures in Norway's northernmost regions.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute posted a temperature of 31.2 degrees Celsius on Wednesday in Finnmark, a major reindeer herding region located within the Arctic Circle.

The region is so hot that it has experienced 12 “tropical” nights with evening temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius so far this year, according to the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration said no serious accidents involving animals have been reported yet but described the situation as “a challenge”.

The government agency, which has multiplied its messages to raise awareness among motorists, should be helped by the weather, which is expected to return towards normal starting this weekend.

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